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Reps Lament Kidnap of Judges, Senate Seeks Permanent Solution

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday lamented the rising spate of insecurity in Nigeria.

It condemned the kidnapping of judges in different parts of the country  and called for better security around judicial officers.

Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Mr Onofiok Luke,  moved a motion on the matter at the plenary on Wednesday, which  was unanimously adopted.

The motion was titled, “Urgent Need for Security Agencies to Ensure the Release of Hon Justice Chioma Nwosu and Increase Security and Protection Around Judicial Officers Across Nigeria.’

Moving the motion, Luke noted that judicial officers were charged with the fundamental responsibility of interpreting laws, adjudicating and resolving disputes, as well as conflicts and controversies between persons, natural or artificial.

He added that the responsibility involved presiding over serious criminal matters and politically charged cases, convicting and passing sentences on hard criminals, including drug dealers, kidnappers and murderers.

According to him, the exercise of this responsibility by judicial officers helps to maintain and preserve stability, peace and equipoise in the polity, and protect and safeguard the rights of citizens.

Luke said, “The House is conscious of the risks associated with performance of judicial responsibility on the lives of judicial officers and their families, and the necessity for judicial officers to be provided a safe, comfortable and conducive environment to operate; disturbed that judicial officers are becoming preys in the hands of criminals and the security of their lives and that of their family is under serious threat.

“Some weeks ago, Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court, Akure Division, was kidnapped on his way to discharge his official functions, and was later released after spending some days in kidnappers’ den. Just a few days after the release of Justice Dogo, Justice Chioma Nwosu of the Court of Appeal, Benin Judicial Division, was kidnapped in brutal circumstances.  His lordship’s orderly was shot dead.”

The lawmaker said the House appreciated the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies for general security of judicial officers, particularly for securing the release of Dogo.

The House, therefore, unanimously resolved to urge the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies “to ensure the immediate release of Hon. Justice Chioma Nwosu and the apprehension and prosecution of her kidnappers.”

The lawmakers also urged the police to “increase protection and security around judicial officers and their families across the country.”

Also on Wednesday, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly and the executive arm of government  were collaborating on the best ways to tackle insecurity and kidnapping in the country.

Lawan stated this following a  motion on the “Urgent need for Security Agencies to intervene in the increasing rate of kidnapping in the riverine areas of Ogun East Senatorial District and Securing the Waterways.”  The motion was sponsored by Senator Lekan Mustapha.

Lawan said there was an ongoing collaboration between the National Assembly and the security agencies to seek alternative ways of finding a permanent solution to the lingering situation of kidnapping and insecurity across the country.

Lawan identified funding as a major setback in the fight against insecurity.

He said the legislature with the support of the executive arm of government would explore the possibility of sourcing for funds separately from what was budgeted for security agencies in the 2020 budget.

He said the National Assembly had requested the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, to come up with a proposal for the acquisition of drones that would be deployed across the country to facilitate the arrest of kidnappers.

He said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had also received the nod to devise a means of tracking kidnappers through active mobile numbers used in the course of negotiations.

The Senate President disclosed plans by the Federal Government to launch a National Emergency Call Centre.

He said an emergency phone number was already activated for the purpose of contacting the various security agencies in times of distress.

He said, “In the last one month, I’ve been holding regular meetings with security agencies, including the Ministers of Communications and the Federal Capital Territory.

“What we are trying to do is to get a better and result-oriented approach to fighting kidnapping and insecurity.

“We have insisted that no amount of resources will be too much because we need to protect our people and secure the country.

“It will remain a pipe dream if we continue to ask investors to come to Nigeria; even those in Nigeria will not invest properly if the security situation remains very dicey.

“This is something that the National Assembly will have to do together with the executive arm of government. We have to look for something out of the ordinary for funding.

“We have to go out of our way to look for resources outside the national budget. If we can release seven billion naira to Distribution Companies (Discos) or Generation Companies (Gencos), nothing stops us from looking for such money to address the security situation of the country.

“We have already given a request for the NSA to come up with the different designs and models of drones.

“We hope there should be drones properly deployed to ensure kidnappers are arrested.

“We have to find a way to be able to track kidnappers through phones. We should have launched the National Emergency Call Centre with a specific number about two weeks ago.

“We have tried to reconcile all security agencies to have one specific number instead of separate and different ones. We want the emergency call centres to be established across the country. At the moment we have only two major ones.”

Mustapha had condemned  the recent increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around riverine communities in Ogun East Senatorial District.

He said  Ode-Omi, Makun and Iwopin in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun State, were the most affected.

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Bayelsa Decides: Army, Security Agencies Deserve Commendation Not Vilification, CDC Cautions Gov Dickson

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The Nigerian Army and other security agencies deserve massive commendation for a near-perfect election in Bayelsa State, according to the Centre for Democracy and Change (CDC).

At a press conference on Saturday in Yenegoa, the group of election observers stated that rather than vilify the Army and other security agencies as done by Governor Seriake Dickson, our gallant troops and other security agencies should be applauded for again rising to the occasion.

The outgoing governor had called for the cancellation of the election even before the exercise fully commenced, insinuating that the security agencies are conniving with the All Progressives Congress.

However, in response, the Centre for Democracy and Change accused Mr Dickson of plots to truncate the election meant to produce his successor.

In a statement by Executive Director, Gbenga Badamosi, the CDC disclosed that Mr Dickson and his likes would have had a field day if not for the brave soldiers on ground to support the police and other security agencies.

While calling him to order, CDC, however, apprised the governor that he will be held criminally liable for any breach of the peace in his state.

Read full statement:

The Centre for Democracy and Change (CDC) is alarmed at the plot by the outgoing Governor of Bayelsa state, Mr. Seriake Dickson to truncate the election that is meant to produce his successor.

Mr. Dickson has taken the unprecedented step of a governor calling for the cancellation of an election even before voting was properly underway. The instances and incidents he is latching onto to make this questionable call have been proven as being blown out of proportion, which raises the question of his motives for attempting to deny Bayelsans of their franchise when they have used the same instrumentality to keep him office for almost eight years.

Part of the justification for this treacherous call by Mr. Dickson is the lumping together of militias with the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force, something that has exposed the desperation on his part to have his party’s candidate win the election, possibly in order to install a lackey that will cover his tracks for whatever unacceptable acts he might have committed in his eight-year rule.

CDC elections observers are on ground in Bayelsa state and at no time did we witness the incidents that the Governor claimed to have occurred. Remarkably, neither local nor foreign observers have made any comment as to the conduct of the election along the line that Mr. Dickson did.

We are concerned that he made these indicting comments to provoke the army and other security agencies to abandon the electorates to his militias that have been paid to disrupt the vote. There have also been reports that the so-called army and police personnel are the militias that the governor procured fake uniforms for in order to use them for the agenda that he has now fully activated.

CDC is aware that the presence of legitimately deployed Army and other security personnel is the saving grace in Bayelsa at this electioneering moment as thugs loyal to politicians had made up their minds to destroy our democracy by sabotaging the governorship election.

We consequently call Mr. Seriake Dickson to order even as we warn that he shall be held criminally liable for any breach of the peace in Bayelsa state arising from his incitement of the populace against military and security personnel on election duty.

It does not matter whether his party or another political party wins the election because CDC will take this matter up when his immunity expires with his tenure as what he has done is capable of triggering a genocide.

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‘Is It Now Cool to kill?’ — Soyinka Writes N’Assembly Over ‘Hate Speech’ Bill

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Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has advised lawmakers not to impress murder as a way of life on the coming generations.

Soyinka, who was referring to the Hate Speech bill currently before the Senate which recommends death by hanging among other punishments for anyone found guilty of it, urged the lawmakers to know that the chickens have a way of coming home to roost.

He spoke in a statement on Friday titled, “Is it now cool to kill? – An anguished letter to Nigerian lawmakers.’

He said, “Remember that example, especially by leadership, is a hundred times more explicit and enduring than the mere propagation of any counter-doctrine. Do not embrace the awful responsibility of impressing homicide as a way of life on the ethical template of coming generations. The chickens have a way of coming home to roost. I may be wrong of course, but their droppings already foul the common air we all breathe. Just take a deep breath, look around you, and re-consider.’’

Saying he was a current sufferer–and not alone–from a persistent nightmare, the playwright said the affliction was induced by the legislators’ most recent approach to addressing an acknowledged problem affecting not only Nigerians, but the world.

He stated, “The nightmare consists of the fear of waking up one morning to discover that one’s name has been cited among those helpless victims on behalf of whom a repellent legislation is about to be enacted.‘’

The social critic also said he consistently denounced fake news and purveyors of public lies and hate material as the scum of the earth and closed down dozens of fake sites instituted over his name, and set in motion mechanisms for the pursuit of those who stole his identity, even where the content was harmless.

Soyinka added, “However, dear legislators, consider more deeply the path on which you have chosen to embark. I invite you to reflect quite objectively on the company into which you are about to throw yourselves, and the consequences for the very nation you represent –including its social psyche. You are about to corrupt youthful impression, to join the brigade of closet psychopaths for whom the only solution to any social malaise from the trite to the profoundly affective is – Kill! Is this what humanity and society are all about?

“You are psyching up your ranks to pronounce yourselves affiliates of inhuman aberrations such as Boko Haram, Isis (Da’esh), al Shabbab, nomadic cow herders etc. etc. for whom killing is the only response for real or imagined wrongs, perceptions of entitlement and/or deprivation, sense of righteousness and generally- concept of a thoroughly sanitised community of mortals. You are sending out applications to join the ranks of those inadequate males who believe that the only cure for adultery is to bury a woman up to her neck in earth and reduce her head to a pulp under a rain of stones.’’

Soyinka queried the lawmakers if they believed that a facile and final recourse to the gallows or a fusillade of bullets at the stake was the sole remedy to the phenomenon of the diffuse classifications possible under the abuse of communication and the sowing of hate among people.

He added, “How precise is the definition of ‘hate’ when it becomes a yardstick for the extinction of even one human life? Haunting, hopefully, our collective conscience as a nation, even till today, is recollection of a clique of social army reformers who instituted, and carried out the execution citizens under a retroactive law.

“Silencing the voices of criticism is a perennial preoccupation of power, but we know that a far more penetrative form of death, spelling the end of social vitality and relevance is incurred when human voices are silenced. Try and imagine how many “deserved” executions would be taking place in this nation right now – beginning with nearly all of you in the exalted homes of legislation – if Boko Haram had succeeded in subjugating this nation under its creed. Well, do not even bother with imagination, which is not as common a faculty as we tend to assume –simply check with neighbouring Mali how many, convicted of crimes against faith, Mr Answar Dine eliminated during his brief sway in northern Mali.’’

The Nobel laureate noted that such quick but facile option–killing–had become the current emblem of Nigeria where life was now held cheap, casual, and trite.

He noted, “Students kill for the thrill of it, and for assertion of cultic supremacy. Kidnappers collect ransom yet kill. They kill even intermediary couriers. Fetishists kill in pursuit of illusions of instant wealth. Others, highly placed, kill for political office, and yet others to cover up criminalities by the deployment of killers. You cannot claim ignorance that there have been identified, over the past few decades, consortiums of killers who actually advertise their trade in select circles and canvass for clients. Your businessmen–and women– have used them. So have politicians.

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2019 Presidential Election: Atiku, PDP Failed To Call Credible Witnesses, Says Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court has said that the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, failed to call credible witnesses in their appeal filed challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 Presidential Elections.

The Apex court which gave reasons for the dismissal of the appeal filed by the PDP and Atiku on Friday added that the Appellant failed to prove that Buhari is not educated up to secondary school level,

A unanimous summary judgment delivered by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Muhammad, on October 30, 2019, dismissed the appeal filed by Atiku and the PDP after the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal had earlier on in September 11, 2019, dismissed the petition against the election of Buhari on the grounds that the petitioners failed to substantiate the allegations made in their petition.

Justice John Okoro who read the submissions of the CJN held that the failure of the appellants to call credible witnesses was fatal to their case as they presented only five witnesses including a star witness who relied on hearsay evidence.

He added that the appellants failed to prove issues of over voting when it could not produce authentic voters register to validate its claim.

Justice Okoro stated that the unanimous decision of the court delivered on the 30th of October, 2019 is in total agreement with the verdict of the lower court which upheld and affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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