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#EndSARS: NDF Hails UK Parliament’s Intervention, Says It Is Testament Of Nigerian Army’s Progress

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The National Democratic Front (NDF) has welcomed the United Kingdom’s parliament’s intervention on the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, describing it as confirmation of the Nigerian Army’s progress under Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai.

According to the NDF, the keen interest shown by the UK indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is on the right track.

The group, in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Dr Bolaji Abdulkadir, on Friday, noted that this may not be disconnected from the improved human rights record of the troops under the COAS as well as a sustained partnership with his counterparts in the UK.

While urging the troops to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, the NDF also implored on allies never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria.

The group, however, called on the authorities in the United Kingdom to sanction those who engage in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations.

Read the full statement below:

The National Democratic Front is issuing this press statement in light of the recent debate by parliamentarians in the United Kingdom Parliament with regards to the state of affairs in Nigeria and concerning the EndSARS protests.

The National Democratic Front appreciates the concerns and interventions of the United Kingdom been an ally of Nigeria in the global scheme of things. This fact is indeed buttressed by the close affinity between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

We are also appreciative of the fact that events in Nigeria have elicited the interest of the United Kingdom Parliament that eventually culminated in the debate to put issues in proper perspectives with regards to the EndSARS protests and the events surrounding the violence that erupted afterwards.

It is the considered opinion of the NDF that such critical engagements should be sustained given that specific parameters are met, and the sovereignty of countries are not eroded for whatever reason and under any guise. We also believe that such engagement should be based on facts and the highest level of diplomacy.

The UK government has demonstrated that it has much confidence in the democratic ethos and norms of our dear country as being practised under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and cannot be swayed by the enemies of Nigeria.

The NDF wishes to put it on record that indeed some vested interests are out to undermine the efforts of the Nigerian government in addressing the security challenges in the country through the propagation of unsubstantiated information in the public domain, especially with regards to the violation of human rights by the security agencies in Nigeria.

The NDF wishes to inform members of the general public that the recent partnership between the Nigerian Army and the military of the United Kingdom are clear testimonies that the authorities in the United Kingdom have taken reasonable notice of the improved human rights record of our military under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which has translated to the numerous visits to the United Kingdom by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to engage other world leaders on the war against insurgency.

The Nigerian Army has been exemplary in the regard with the establishment of a human rights desk at all Nigerian Army units and formations across the country to address cases of human rights abuses by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

It is also on record that the Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria has on numerous occasions been rewarded with awards in the United Kingdom for the success recorded in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in Nigeria. A few of such awards are by the Anti-terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB) and Global Risk International United Kingdom, where the Chief of Army Staff was awarded the Pave The Way Award for exceptional bravery and peacebuilding in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region under Multinational Joint Task Force which are focal points of DAESH/ISIS.

The second award is – The Certified Master of Anti-terrorism Specialist Award. According to the organizers “Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is the first African to get this award”. The National Democratic Front sees these awards as notable and in recognition of the selfless services of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

Whilst we salute and call our military leadership to continue to make itself accessible to the world and genuine partners like the United Kingdom, we also implore Nigeria’s partners never to give in to the antics of fake news being used by external forces to destabilize Nigeria.

We are by this medium calling on the authorities in the United Kingdom to place a financial tag on those who engage her in frivolous discussions with ulterior motives meant to mislead and cause disaffection amongst nations.

We also call for sanctions were not necessary and equally discipline those that intend to take undue advantage of her democratic culture. It is our considered opinion that this would go a long way in serving as a deterrent to individuals and groups with mischievous intents.

The NDF consequently views the recent report by the Cable News Network as one of such instances where the Nigerian Army has been targeted for public ridicule and condemnation.

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2023: PDP Insists On Electronic Transmission Of Election Results

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no excuses not to use the electronic direct transmission of results in the 2023 general elections and other future polls.

The party’s position is predicated on INEC’s announcement of its readiness to conduct online (electronic) registration of voters for future elections in the country.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan.

According to the party, since INEC is in the position to deploy technology to conduct online registration of voters, which entails electronic transmission of voter’s data to its central server, the commission can also conduct an electronic transmission of results directly from the polling unit to its central server.

“Our party calls the attention of the commission to the fact that it no longer has any excuse not to employ the direct transmission of results from polling units, which will ensure credible elections by eliminating manipulations, alterations, switching, and disappearance of election results during manual collation processes.

“The PDP insists that if INEC can use the electronic platform for registration of voters it could as well deploys the same technology for electronic transmission of results in future elections including the 2023 general elections.

“Our party however urges INEC to ensure that the online registration of voters is credible, transparent, and not open to the manipulations of desperate politicians, particularly in the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the statement read in part.

The PDP also called on the APC leadership in the National Assembly not to delay the Electoral Act amendment bill.

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Fulani Will Always Revenge Injustice, Says El-Rufai

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says the Fulani tribe will always take revenge whenever they suffer injustice.

He, however, said they accept their fate whenever they are convicted of a crime. El-Rufai said this on Thursday during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group.

The governor was asked to clarify his tweet in 2012 wherein he said, “Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani, takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”El-Rufai had been asked why he made the comment and if the Igbo would be justified to take revenge on other Nigerians that killed them during the Biafran war.

In his response, the governor said, “If a Fulani man dies in war, it is different. If a Fulani man is arrested by the authorities and convicted, it is not an issue. What the Fulani never forgets is when he is innocently targeted and killed and the authorities do nothing. He will never forget and he will come back for revenge. This is it.

“So, it is better to understand the context given the context of what I tweeted which had to do with an issue in Plateau State in 2012. I hope you get the context. So, it is not that Fulani will never forget. Anyone that goes through pain and sorrow either forgets or doesn’t forget but when it is extrajudicial, when it is extra-official, the attitude is completely different.

“This is the context in which Fulani never forgets. It is not in every context. As I said, I lost relations during the war. It doesn’t mean I still hold a grudge. We’ve moved past that.”

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Buhari Probes N165.32bn Unremitted Operating Surplus by NPA

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The President, Muhammadu Buhari , is probing alleged non-remittance of about N165bn operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by the Nigerian Ports Authority.

There are indications that the development may not be unconnected to the recent suspension of the Managing Director of the agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman.

Documents sighted on Friday showed that the government figured out discrepancies in the remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA to the Consolidated Revenue Fund for two consecutive years under the leadership of Bala-Usman.

Findings indicated that a total of about N73.61bn (N56.3bn in 2017 and N17.31bn in 2018) realised within the two-year period was not remitted to the CRF as expected by the government, although the suspended NPA boss provided explanations to the contrary.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Transportation in a May 4, 2021 letter to the President claimed that the NPA failed to remit N165.32bn to the CRF from 2016 to 2020 and called for an investigation and audit of the financial accounts of the authority

But in a letter, with reference MD/17/MF/VOL-XX/541, dated May 5, 2021 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Bala-Usman said the NPA was aware of Buhari’s approval for the Federal Ministry of Transportation to conduct an audit of the accounts of the NPA and its remittances to the CRF.

The letter was entitled, “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Funds account by the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

In the letter, she explained that the audited financial statements of the NPA provided operating surpluses in 2017 and 2018 that were contrary to what were arrived at by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

The letter read in part, “Audited financial statements of the authority for the period 2017 and 2018 provides operating surpluses of N76.782bn and N71.480bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively as contrary to the sums of N133.084bn and N88.79bn arrived at by your office from the budgetary submission.”

The letter stated that the presidential approval for the audit of the NPA accounts arose from a correspondence between the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation where the budget office conveyed to the FMoT an observed shortfall of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

Bala-Usman said, “We wish to state that the authority’s basis for arriving at the operating surplus on which basis the amount due for remittance to the CFR is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as amended.

“It is further based on the statutory mandate Part 1, S.3(1) (b) &(d) whereby the FRC issued a template for the computation of operating surplus for the purpose of calculating amount due for remittance to the CRF.

“Accordingly, the figures so provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which basis they arrived at the shortfall are derived from submission of budgetary provision not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit of the authority’s financial statements.”

She argued that in line with the template issued by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the accessible operating surplus of the authority stood at N51.09bn and N42.51bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“This amount will give rise to a remittance due to the CFR in the sum of N40.873bn and N34.065bn representing 80 per cent of the surpluses for the year 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“Accordingly, the authority consequently made a remittance of N42.415bn and N33.969bn for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively for the full amount required as remittance for the period.”

On remittances for 2019 — 2020, the suspended MD said the audit of the 2019 financial statement had been completed and awaiting consideration of the authority’s board at which point the final figures for the 2019 operating surplus would be determined for consequent computation of the amount due for remittance to the CFR.

“But thus far, the authority has made a remittance of N31.683bn for the 2019 remittance. The sum of N51.049bn has also thus far been remitted for 2020, while awaiting the audited financial statement to determine the final amount required for both 2019 and 2020 at which point the authority will make the payment of the balance as required,” Bala-Usman noted.

She stated that based on the above, the authority wished to clarify that the computation of its remittances to the CFR were concluded from audited financial statements using the template forwarded to the authority from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and not budgetary provision.

“The authority has remitted the full amount due to it to CFR for the periods 2017 and 2018 arising from the operating surplus derived from the audited financial statement for the period totaling N76.384bn as evidenced in attached treasury receipts,” Bala-Usman said.

She added, “The authority has remitted a total of N 82.687bn for the periods 2019 and 2020 pending the audit of the financial statement at which point the amount so computed arising from the value of the operating surplus in the audited financial statement will be remitted to the CFR.”

She said the NPA wished to request the Chief of Staff and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation who were the statutorily custodian of status of payment to the CRF to provide clarification on the above so as to establish the true position of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

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