The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) has warned the House of Lords in the United Kingdom against promoting terrorism with its call for sanctions on Nigeria.
According to the centre, such sanction would truncate Nigeria’s democracy and ultimately enhance terrorism.
The CALSER made its stance known at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja in response to alleged killings targeted at Christians in the North.
In her address, CALSER’s President/ Convener, Prince Ajibola said the UK lawmakers’ move is laced with mischief and an agenda well-intentioned to cause international embarrassment to the Nigerian government.
Ajibola noted that the letter to Dominic Raab, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, House of Lords is meant to create discord between Muslims in Nigeria and Christians.
She noted that Christians are not the only victims of the killings as Muslims has also been targeted.
Instead of promoting a “religious sectarian debate” and terrorism, Ajibola urged the UK lawmakers to support Nigeria to overcome its current challenges.
The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights, however, called on the international community to join hands with Nigeria in tackling terrorism rather than placing senseless sanctions against the country.
The centre also advised the lawmakers calling for sanctions against Nigeria to put a stop to their actions and offer their apologies to the country.
Read full address below:
The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio Economic Rights ( CALSER) has expressed their indignation at the call for UK sanction on Nigeria by some members of the United kingdom house of Lords. For we know that, “to be feared is to fear, because no one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind.” The recent calls over the killings of Christians in the North are obviously sightless and intolerably frivolous. We consider this as an odious attempt to stultify democracy and cause disharmony.
Indeed, terrorist organizations have “harvested” the globalization process to improve their methods of operation. They often refrain from using factory-made explosives, for example, and instead use materials that can be easily obtained from local sources (such as ammonium nitrate).
And, ironically, locally-made materials are being used with greater frequency to achieve terrorist objectives. Perhaps the best example of this is the fact that even the well-known Al Qaeda (AQ) used locally-sourced American-made materials (Boeing airplanes) to destroy American targets on September 11 on America soil.
The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio Economic Rights having dissected the issues raised and canvassed by some members of the United Kingdom house of Lords, wishes to state that their stand is laced with mischief and an agenda well-intentioned to cause international embarrassment to the government of Nigeria. It worthy of note that most of these terrorist organizations have local and international backings; they disseminate vital information to them on having a good strategic plan, and also help in funding, so that they can procure standard equipment and machineries of war.
It is pertinent to note that it is misleading and unfair for Intersociety and other agencies to infer that only Christians has been the major victims of this attacks by reporting adulterated and exaggerated figures, just to stir up religious intolerance among the peaceful citizens. Report has it that many of the casualties of the terrorist attacks in the northern part were of the Islamic faith.
We therefore say that, reducing the act committed by this terrorists to a religious sectarian debate is an irresponsible act that should not be encouraged by anyone or nation.
It is imperative that the members of parliament who made this calls be aware of the influence and power they possess in parliament. They should therefore exercise this power towards promoting peace in Nigeria rather than create discord and hostility. What Nigeria needs from the UK aren’t sanctions, but rather support towards overcoming the current challenges the country is faced with.
The letter to Dominic Raab, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, House of Commons, London tends to slander the Islamic Religion and its appurtenances. It only serves to create discord between Muslims in Nigeria and Christians. Nigeria has suffered a lot from inter-tribal and inter-religious wars for a long time. The signatories to that fallacious letter should have been aware of the growing tensions between the two religions in the country and would have done well to avoid any offensive innuendos that might stir up hostility in the country.
The statistics stated in the petition were grossly exaggerated. They claim that over 34,400 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since 2009 by both Boko Haram and Fulani Militia. This is obviously inaccurate as they are merely claims by organizations that are yet to prove these facts. These are figure blown out of proportion in order to put this administration in bad light.
Let us be cognizant of the fact that Christians are not the only ones attacked by these so-called Islamic Militia and Fulani Militia. Muslims are also victims of this senseless terrorism. There have been several proven cases of Islamic women and children being kidnapped and raped by these terrorists, yet, they weren’t mentioned in the petition. This is a clear attestation to the fact that these members of parliament involved had mischievous intentions of sowing discord and disharmony and attempt to defame the Islamic religion.
It was also stated that Nigerian security forces had committed crimes against humanity which according to the petition include: murder, rape, enforced disappearance and other cruel treatments. This is a big insult on the brave and noble men of the Nigerian armed forces who have given their all towards ensuring the protection and safety of the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens. The petition also accused the Nigerian armed forces of crimes such as unlawful imprisonment and conscripting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces. This is laughable as every good citizen of Nigeria is aware of the fact that the minimum age for enlisting into any division of the Nigerian Armed Forces is 18 years. This has been the law and till date, it hasn’t changed.
The petition made reference to the publication of a new report by Nigerian human rights group, Intersociety. The reports and statistics regarding the scale of human rights abuse in Nigeria were gravely aggrandized and uncorroborated. A matter as delicate as this shouldn’t be based on unproven reports and publications.
CLASER therefore calls on these members of the UK house of Lords to identify any Nigerian under the age of eighteen who is currently serving in any unit of the Nigerian Military. I also call on them to prove these baseless claims of theirs stated in their petition. It is very unfortunate that the members of the United Kingdom House of Lords are less informed of the challenges and oppositional threats being faced by the present administration in Nigeria. They have left the right focus of looking deeply in the root-cause of terrorism, but are swayed by the counter-effect being manifested.
This current administration has been faced with several challenges left behind by past administrations, and has had to correct years of failure of past administrations. Majority of the £2 billion bilateral aid given to Nigeria by the UK was egregiously misappropriated by members of the previous administration. If members of the UK parliament are concerned with how the funds were spent, then they should question members of the previous administration. They should look into the reports of how the funds were managed, that is if it was even penned down into report.
Many Nigerian citizens might be suffering from human rights abuses, but sanctions are not the answer. They are merely instruments of state policy. The idea of placing sanctions on Nigeria deliberately labels the government as a rogue one that must be ‘punished’. If we go down memory lane, we discover that placing sanctions against a country barely has any substantial impact. Instead, it just makes matters worse.
The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights wishes to seize this opportunity to call on the whole world to join hands with the country Nigeria in tackling terrorism rather than placing senseless sanctions against the country which already dealing with a lot of challenges.
We consider the call for sanction against Nigeria in the same despicable manner the world has greeted the invasion of US capitol congress chamber, which was an assault that was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in the system, and pitting Americans against one another, and we ask that such should not rear its ugly head in the UK or anywhere else in the world.
CALSER is calling on the members who are calling for the sanctions against Nigeria to put a stop to their actions and offer their apologies to the President of Nigeria, members of his administration and the country’s armed forces who they have so ignorantly slandered.
The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights also use this opportunity to thank the president and the Nigerian armed forces for their selfless efforts in combating insecurity and promoting peace in the country despite the many challenges they are faced with. We say kudos to a job well done.
Group Backs Call For EFCC, ICPC’s Probe Of Kogi Gov
A socio-political group in Kogi State under the auspices of Progressives Mandate Movement (PMM) has expressed support for the call by the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), for the investigation of allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption against Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.
It would be recalled that a former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, had earlier in the week on behalf of the ACN petitioned the EFCC, ICPC, Transparency International, US Ambassador to Nigeria and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria over “financial recklessness, corruption, money laundering and fraudulent application of Kogi State’s resources” by Governor Bello and his cronies.
The group, however, alleged that Governor Bello had received over of N300 billion from the Federation Account in the last five years without reasonable or tangible achievement to show for it.
In a statement issued by the PMM chairman, Comrade Musa Enejo Stephens, in Lokoja on Thursday, the group urged the EFCC to expedite action on the investigation into the alleged financial management in Kogi State government under Governor Bello administration even as he said Bello has committed financial crimes against the people of the State.
According to him, “Yahaya Bello’s government has blindfolded the people of the State with series of lies since all this while on the allocation accrued to the State from Federation Account and as well mismanaged the huge resources accrued to the State which is against the spirit of openness, fairness, justice and accountability promised the people by All Progressives Congress APC led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari government.
“Governor Bello has plunged Kogi State into debt regime which the State may not recover from, in the next 10 years and Mr. Governor failed to give tangible explanations on how funds from federation account like; State allocation, Local Government, Allocation, Paris Refund, Bailouts Funds and Internally Generated Revenue accrued to the State and other,” he added.
Stephens, therefore, charged the newly appointed EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prove himself to Nigerians by commencing and expediting action by prosecuting those involved in the crimes detailed by the ACN petition.
He threatened that if the anti-graft agencies failed in their duty to act and do justice on behalf of Kogi people, the group will have no other option than to mobilise the people from the 21 local government areas of the State to the headquarters of the commission in Abuja and stage a protest.
He said Kogi State is now the new ATM for political jobbers of all sorts, saying all manner of characters troop to the state in number to declare support for governor Bello’s delusional ambition to become president in 2023.
He pointed out that presently, the state meagre resources were now being spent on Governor Bello’s presidential ambition on media advertorial including print media, electronics, outdoor billboards across the country even though it’s illegal to do such now as it contravenes the Electoral Act.
The PMM chairman commended the Minister of FCT Abuja and Kano State governor for ordering the removal of such billboards in their domains.
Group Berates Ayeni Over Calumny Campaign Against Okunbo
A group, National Youth Alliance of Nigeria (NYAN), has berated businessman, Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, over what it called his “campaign of calumny” against the chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS), Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo.
NYAN said Ayeni, a former director and shareholder of OMS, contacted the group for a hatchet job against the person and business interests of Capt. Okunbo, especially the OMS.
National President of NYAN, Lucky Igbamodi, told journalists at a press conference that the group was hired to launch scathing campaigns against Capt. Okunbo in order to malign him through fictitious petitions and peddling of outright falsehoods.
Igbamodi said NYAN subsequently carried out its own investigation and found out that all allegations against Capt. Okunbo and OMS were untrue as they were fabricated for sinister motives by Ayeni.
“Making our stand public becomes necessary now lest the unsuspecting members of the public be misled about the real issues. Dr. Olatunde Ayeni mistook our group for agents of destruction for hire and we listened to him and carried our own investigations to ascertain the truth.
“We found out several things which point to a documented fact and established truth – that Dr. Olatunde Ayeni has since 2018 left the Board of OMS and as well sold his shares to Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo but only returns to launch a campaign of calumny against the latter just because Capt. Okunbo has a health challenge.
“Nigerians and non-governmental organisations should be wary of Dr. Olatunde Ayeni’s antics, which are all in bad faith and unbecoming of a businessman he claims to be,” Igbamodi added.
While wishing Capt. Okunbo quick recovery, the group admonished the Board of OMS to continue to support Okunbo and always stand by the truth as it has demonstrated so far.
Apologise To Abia Gov Or Face Recall, Kogi West Youths Tell Adeyemi
A group called Concerned Kogi West Youths has called on the Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, to immediately apologise to Abia State governor, Victor Ikpeazu, over his uncomplimentary comment on the latter or face recall from the Senate.
A statement issued by the group and signed Mr Michael Oluwaseun Bolorunduro on Monday said Senator Adeyemi must apologise to the Abia governor and the people of Abia State within seven days or be ready for the consequence.
The youths, however, apologised on behalf of the Kogi West people to Governor Ikpeazu for the “behaviour” of Senator Adeyemi on the floor of the Senate during a debate on the Safe School Initiative agaisnt the backdrop of incessant attacks on schools by bandits in the North last week.
“We the concerned Kogi West Youth are writing to apologise for the behaviour of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, recently on the floor of the Hallowed Chamber.
“It took us this long to react or respond to his ungentlemanly attitude because the character trait that he displayed is alien to our culture in Kogi West. We tried to know reasons for such reactions and alas, we couldn’t find any justifiable and sensible reason for such.
“We, too, were personally shocked and offended by his actions and utterances which were a direct contravention of the values of dignity and good mannerism that we teach in our locality.
“We all know that emotions can get heated, but it does not excuse the language and behavior of our representative,” the group said.
They added that they as “wise constituents” have decided “to right the wrong of the malady and public show of shame as displayed by Senator Smart Adeyemi” to apologise and as well demand apology from Adeyemi.
“It is on this note that we demand that Senator Smart Adeyemi within seven days apologise at the same Hallowed Chamber of the Senate for his uncontrollable utterances against the governor and people of Abia State or face recal,” Bolorunduro declared.
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