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COVID-19 Could Give Rise To Dictators – Dr. Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has spoken about something he finds positive in Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during a webinar organised by the Kofi Annan Foundation on Friday, Jonathan said the efforts of state governors is commendable.

The webinar was tagged: “Could democracy become the silent victim of COVID-19?”

The former president said some African countries have good stories to tell about the pandemic with governments taking steps they would not have bothered about.

“In Nigeria, I have seen one thing about the management of the COVID-19 which is also positive,” he said.

“We’ve seen the role played by the state governments, and some of the state governments are even looking post-COVID-19 era the economy of their people.

“And I have seen what could be described as the devolution of powers with the governors.”

Jonathan also said the pandemic could trigger dictatorship across Africa if adequate steps are not taken.

“This is the time that many continental bodies must come up with their own minimum standards for any country going into election to operate,” he said, adding that “otherwise people who ordinarily would have loved to be dictators will now exploit the problem of the COVID-19 pandemic and do what is not in line with the laws of the land.”

He added that with lockdown measures announced, credibility of various elections may be questionable.

“For democracy to be acceptable, elections must be credible; the process must be transparent and observers must participate especially for presidential elections,” he said.

“Currently, no international observer can travel to any country to observe elections. If you look at the case in Burundi where even the president announced that if you go there to observe the election, they will first quarantine you for 14 days. For the observers, it will be very difficult.

“It becomes clear that if elections will go on, definitely the credibility may be questionable. Nations may not have options than to go on with their elections but if they must go on, certain key things must be done.

“If you take Nigeria for example, our authority does not give any authority the power to extend the tenure of any elected official. So, under this condition, if there is complete lockdown, you are just between the devil and the deep blue sea.

“So, it is quite a dangerous period. But I believe it may not be extremely bad because in most cases of the lockdown, it is limited. Nobody wants to die in the process of democracy but at the same time, nobody wants his or her rights to be jettisoned using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse.”

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The Country’s Economy Sliding Into Depression – Gov. El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said Nigeria’s economy is going into a state of depression.

The governor said all the states are presently dealing with very difficult situation as they battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

El-Rufai said this while speaking to State House correspondents on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The economy is going to go into depression; there is nothing we can do about that; revenues have collapsed; yet you still have to invest in more public health facilities.

“Most of the leaders have to invest in treatment despite the condition and weighed to invest in security.”

He added that it is a difficult time for those at the leadership positions even as he called on all leaders to work in unity.

“This time is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and pray for God to end this Coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a major problem, but we are working together,” El-rufai added.

The Kaduna Governor, however, added that Nigeria will surely overcome as a resilient nation.

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Maikanti Baru, Former NNPC GMD, Dies at 60

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Maikanti Baru, the immediate past group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is dead.

He was 60 years old as at the time of his death, and only two months away from his 61st birthday.

This was disclosed by Mele Kyari, the current GMD of the state-run oil company.

“My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night,” Kyari said.

“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”

Baru was appointed NNPC GMD by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016, a position he held up until 2019.

Baru announced his retirement from NNPC in July 2019 when he clocked the age of 60.

“Today, having clocked the statutory age of 60, I have retired from the services of NNPC. I wish the new GMD Mallam Mele Kyari and his Team success. Thank you President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve,” he tweeted on July, 2019.

Baru was born in July 1959 in Misau, Bauchi state.

He attended Federal Government College, Jos for his secondary education where he graduated in 1978.

In 1982, he obtained his bachelor of engineering degree from Ahmadu Bello University.

Baru has a doctorate in Computer Aided Engineering from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

He was the 18th GMD of NNPC.

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Court Jails Six Air Force Personnel Over Badeh’s Killing

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A general court martial in Abuja has jailed six personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) who were attached to Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff (CDS).

The late Badeh served as Nigeria’s chief of defence staff between January 2014 and July 2015.

Badeh died from the gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack on December 18. He was returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi road when he was shot dead.

In a statement on Saturday, Ibikunle Daramola, NAF director of public relations and information, said the six officers, who were supposed to provide armed security for Badeh, were jailed on Friday. But he did not indicate the jail terms of the convicts.

He said the personnel involved are Tom Gwani, Amu David, Philemon Degema, Sabo Simon, Mukhtar Abdullahi and Alfred Alexander.

“Six NAF personnel, who were aides to the former CDS were awarded various sentences by the GCM sitting at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja,” he said.

“The personnel were standing trial for various offences. Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges.

“These included their failure to perform military duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS, while it came under attack, as well as conduct to the prejudice of service discipline, for giving false statements.

“The charges against the accused also included other civil offences of criminal conspiracy and miscellaneous offences relating to property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others.

“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.”

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