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“I’m Now Realising My Foolishness, FG Proscription Of IPOB Indirectly Tags Me, An Igbo Man A Terrorist – Nnia Nwodo

NniaNwodo
Ohanaeze President General, Dr Nnia Nwodo

By Chuks

Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, at the weekend said that the declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation was an attempt by the Federal Government to profile Igbo people at the international security arena.

Nwodo stated this while delivering a lecture at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Business School, Enugu, on Saturday.

He also re-affirmed Ohanaeze’s utmost belief in the call by the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum and a number of other well-meaning Nigerians for a new constitution for a politically restructured Nigeria similar to the 1963 arrangement.

Chief Nwodo said he viewed the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation as hurried, unfair, and not in conformity with the intendment of the law.

The two-time minister said whereas he was not completely in agreement with some of the methods of IPOB, like its inappropriate and divisive broadcasts, the uncontested evidence given by the Attorney General of the Federation in an interlocutory action claiming that IPOB attempted and/or actually snatched guns from law enforcement agents, if proven, were merely criminal offences.

He insisted that the said offences IPOB were accused of did not constitute enough evidence to meet international law definition of terrorism.

Nwodo noted that the United States embassy in Nigeria shared this conclusion and asserted that the United States government did not recognise IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

He said: “This same unarmed IPOB that is being stigmatised by the Nigerian government had its members murdered in Asaba, Nkpor, Aba and Port Harcourt simply for having public demonstrations without the Federal Government ordering a judicial inquiry.

“Instead, after I called for one and Amnesty International provided evidence that 150 of them were killed, the Chief of Army Staff set up an inquiry, composed of serving and retired members of the armed forces, thereby compromising the rules of natural justice which prescribes that you cannot be a judge in your own case.

“The Igbos in Nigeria feel the treatment of IPOB as unfair, discriminatory, and an overkill.
“They see the move as an attempt to encourage a profiling of Igbos in the international security arena.

“We know of other self-determination groups in Nigeria that are armed and have destroyed government and private sector installations and wells that government prefer to negotiate with rather than labelling them as terrorist organisations.

“Fulani herdsmen, otherwise called the Fulani militants, have ravaged farms in Middle Belt, South West, and South Eastern Nigeria, killing several farmers in the process. In January 2016, they killed 500 farmers and their families in Agatu in Benue State.

“This year alone, over 1000 people have been murdered by them in the Middle Belt and many more displaced from their homes.

“In Enugu State, they murdered more than 100 farmers in Ukpabi Nimbo in April 2016.

“Photographs depicting them with automatic rifles trend in the entire world media, yet not one of them is facing criminal charges, nor is ‘Operation Python Dance’ being conducted in the areas where they ravage and kill and the Federal Government describes them as criminals and not a terrorist organisation, notwithstanding their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world (see British Independent Newspaper of 12th July 2016 which indicated that Fulani herdsmen killed one thousand people in 2014).”

He said the recent deployment of soldiers to South East in ‘Operation Python Dance’ was unfortunate.

According to the Ohanaeze leader, deployment of the army was only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism, and external aggression not in preventing the killing of priests or fighting kidnapping.

He explained that in those circumstances where they could be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought, stressing that this brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concerned the South East was provocative.

On the issue of restructuring, Nwodo said: “Now, let us look at the statistical evidence that made the argument for restructuring compelling.

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BREAKING: FG Pays N375.8m To 2O Whistleblowers |The Republican News

President-Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Federal Government has paid N375.8m to 20 whistleblowers, who provided information that led to the recovery of N11.6bn.

The Director of Information, Mr Salisu Dambatta in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the payment was only for recovered assets that had been declared free of legal disputes or litigation by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

He said that in addition, taxes have been removed before final payments to beneficiaries.

“This payment, which is the first under the Whistleblower Policy, underscores the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in meeting obligations to information providers under the Whistleblower Policy.

“The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption.

“The Ministry, therefore, encourages all Nigerians with information on misconduct, violation or improper activity which can impact negatively on Nigeria to report it to the appropriate authority,” he said.

Dambatta said the Whistleblower Policy was recently amended to include the introduction of a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government.

He said the agreement had already been executed by the Minister of Justice.

He said the amendment was introduced to ensure the protection of the identity of information providers during the payment process.

However, Dambatta declined to reveal the specific recoveries for which the monies were being paid saying that “it may endanger the whistleblowers”.

The Whistleblower Unit is a multi-agency team, resident in Federal Ministry of Finance Headquarters.

It is staffed by secondees from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and Department of State Services.

Also, the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit form part of the unit.

The Unit is the first line of response to whistleblower information, where the initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies.

So far, the unit has received 2, 150 communications and 337 tips through its dedicated channels from many patriotic Nigerians, which led to the recovery of substantial assets that were illegally acquired by various individuals.

The primary purpose of the Policy is to support the fight against financial crimes and corruption, promote accountability and enhance transparency in the management of public finances.

NAN

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Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Resume Bombings For Unfulfilled Promises

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Niger Delta militants

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

A coalition of militant groups in the Niger Delta region have threatened to resume attacks on oil installations in the region over alleged unfulfilled promises by the Federal Government to the people of the oil rich region.

The militant groups, under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, said in a statement sent via email to our correspondent on Sunday that the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, was not sincere in resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta.

The statement was signed by the leader of Niger Delta Watchdog, ‘General’ John Duku; ‘General’ Ekpo Ekpo of the Niger Delta Volunteers, ‘Commander’ Henry Etete of the Niger Delta People’s Fighters and ‘Commander’ Asuquo Henshaw of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters.

Duku, who also signed as the leader of the coalition, recalled in the statement that nothing had happened since the Pan Niger Delta Elders’ Forum met with the President in November 2016.

He added that PANDEF persuaded them (militants) to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue.

The statement said, “There is no more time; the Federal Government must act now and show seriousness and commitment to the plight of Niger Delta or we will be forced to resume attacks.

“We must make sure we liberate our people from the slavery of the Nigerian state. We believe that the Federal Government will not be surprised to see another crisis in the Niger Delta and they should not blame anyone if such happens.

“The Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, is not sincere in resolving the Niger Delta crisis.”

They described the visit to the Niger Delta region of the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was the acting President then, as a camouflage and tactics of the Federal Government to achieve its normal crude oil production in the area.

The statement added, “We know very well that the visit of the Vice-President (then Acting President) to oil producing states was a big scam, camouflage, deceit and delay tactics by the Federal Government to achieve its normal daily crude oil production.

“We want to state here clearly that we are tired of all unfulfilled promises; we are tired of developing Niger Delta in the media, we are tired of the Vice-President’s unending meetings without follow-up actions.”   (Punchng.com)

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South-East Governors Have Shown Courage On Nnamdi Kanu, Says IPOB

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Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu

The Indigenous People of Biafra, on Monday, commended the South-East governors for calling for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The Federal Government is prosecuting Kanu, alongside some other Biafran activists, over alleged offences that border on treasonable felony.

The Biafran activists and other stakeholders in the South-East had accused the governors of the region of not showing concern about Kanu’s travails, saying that the governors did not show any interest in the renewed agitation for the Biafran cause.

They accused the governors of not being “committed to the interests of their people.”

However, the governors, at a meeting of the South-East Governors Forum, in Enugu on Sunday, resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to press for Kanu’s release.

The governors equally resolved to engage the Federal Government over the pro-Biafran agitation spearheaded by IPOB and the Movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

Reacting to the development, IPOB said the South-East governors had ‘summoned courage at last’.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra and its leadership worldwide commend the South-East Governors Forum for summoning the courage at last to call for the release of our leader from illegal detention in Abuja,” the group said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Emma Powerful.

IPOB said it was the first time the governors would align with the interests of the people they govern.

But the secessionists equally noted that things would have been better in the South-East if the governors had been speaking out for their people all along.

IPOB urged the governors to speak out against the violent activities of Fulani herdsmen in the region.

“This is the first time in recorded history that South-East governors have stood boldly to align themselves with the interest of the masses, which, in this case, is the call for Buhari to end the injustice against the people of Biafra by releasing Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader.

“If they had summoned the courage like Governor Fayose of Ekiti State, and former Anambra State governor, Dr. (Chukwuemeka) Ezeife, the South-East wouldn’t have been in such a moral mess it is today.

“We hope this new-found boldness will extend to them speaking up for the victims of Fulani herdsmen attacks in our rural communities,” IPOB said.    (Punchng.com)

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South East Governors To Meet FG Over Nnamdi Kanu, Projects, Other Issues

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Nnamdi Kanu and co-accused and their legal counsel

Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu

Governors of the South-East states, on Sunday evening, resolved to hold talks with the Federal Government on the continued detention of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and the ongoing pro-Biafran agitation in the zone.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the South-East Governors Forum in Enugu.

The meeting, which held at the Enugu State Government House, was attended by Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, was absent.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Umahi, who spoke on behalf of the governors, said other issues the governors intended to discuss with the Federal Government included ecological problems, uncompleted projects as well as power and security challenges in the South-East.

Umahi stated, “On the issue of IPOB, MASSOB, Kanu’s detention, ecological problems of the South-East; various water dams that have been abandoned in the South-East; our challenges of power; our challenges of security; and several other concerns of our people; the South-East governors today agreed to meet with the various and appropriate authorities of the Federal Government to address these problems.

“We are very committed to these and actions have already started on these issues.”

Besides the planned parley with the Federal Government, the governors also announced plans to hold talks with various stakeholders in the zone.

The proposed talks will centre on issues that are of interest to the people of the South-East, according to Umahi.

The governor added, “South-East governors also agreed to meet with all stakeholders in the South-East to discuss and address all issues that are of interest to our people.”

The governors, at the meeting, also established an ‘economic committee’ that will develop a road map for the economic integration of the zone.

The committee, which is to commence work immediately, is made up of two members from each of the five states.

“We approved a total of two representatives each for our Economic Committee of South-East Governors and we have mandated the committee to immediately meet and fashion out a road map towards our economic integration and this we will do in coming weeks.

“They (committee members) will present a road map for our economic indices and development in our next meeting,” Umahi said.

Umahi added that the Forum had established a functional secretariat, domiciled in the Enugu State Government House.

“Let’s announce to you that our secretariat here in Enugu is now fully functional.

“If you have a need to contact the South-East Governors Forum, you do that through our secretariat. Fortunately it is also in the Government House, Enugu,” he said.

The governor dismissed reports that fire gutted parts of the Ebonyi State’s Government House in Abakiliki.

Umahi stated, “Let me digress a little to say that there was no fire incident at the Government House of Ebonyi State. That is not correct.

“What happened at the Office of the Chief of Staff was over usage of the air conditioner and it had a little problem.”  (Punchng.com)

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FG Rejects Amnesty International Report On ‘Extreme’ Human Rights Violations

The Federal Government has formally rejected the 2015/2016 annual report of Amnesty International (AI) which accused the country’s security and military forces of “extreme” human rights violations and brutal response to security concerns, such as the Biafra agitation, Boko Haram insurgency and Shiites’ movement of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
Government sid this in a statement signed by Clement Aduku, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the weekend.
In the AI report, published in February, the global rights watchdog accused Nigeria’s military of unlawful killings, detention and inhumane treatment of pro-Biafra campaigners, civilians in the north-east and members of the IMN, including its leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, as well as a clampdown on freedom of speech.
But, the federal government, through the Foreign Affairs ministry, has questioned the credibility of the AI report and insisted both IMN and pro-Biafra activists were national security threats.
“The ministry wishes to point out that the case of El-Zakzaky, which Amnesty International pronounced on, is a high and national security issue.
“The activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and the El-Zakzaky movement in particular are reminiscent of Boko Haram which has become a menace and security concern not only to the Nigeria, but also the Lake Chad Basin region and the entire world. Activities of the El-Zakzaky movement is one that cannot be tolerated by any progressive democratic government.”
The ministry noted that government has appealed the December 2016 court ruling that El-Zakzaky be released unconditionally.
The IMN leader and his wife have been in detention, without trial, since December 2015 after a deadly clash with the Nigerian Army on December 12 of that year, which killed hundreds of his followers, for denying Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, right of way in Zaria, Kaduna State.
While no soldier is being prosecuted for killing or ordering the killing of the hundreds of Shiites, Kaduna State Government has since proscribed IMN.
On the AI report on Biafran agitation, the foreign ministry said  “the agitation for a sovereign State of Biafra is unacceptable and detrimental to the peace, unity, stability and development of the Nigerian state. The scenario captured and the report itself lacked conformity to both local and international best standards on evidence gathering,” said the ministry.
In a clampdown on Biafran agitators, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has remained in detention and is being tried for treason by the federal government.
Nonetheless, government has expressed commitment to safeguarding citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and association, and that security personnel found to have flouted rules of engagement would be appropriately dealt with.   (The Sun)

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FG To Employ Fresh 350,000 Graduates In 2017 |The Republican News

G7 Leaders Meet For Summit At Schloss Elmau

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – JUNE 08: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari attends the second day of the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the course of the two-day summit G7 leaders are scheduled to discuss global economic and security issues, as well as pressing global health-related issues, including antibiotics-resistant bacteria and Ebola. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Federal Government will employ an additional 350,000 graduates in 2017.

The graduates will be employed by the N-Power Volunteer Corps, a component of the government’s Social Investment Programmes.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Akande said President Muhammadu Buhari had requested an appropriation of N157.75bn in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.

“350,000 unemployed graduates more would be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures,” Akande said.

He explained further that under the N157.75bn also, a sum of N4.5bn had been earmarked for science, technology, engineering and mathematics programme to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.

Akande noted that the SIPs’ budget proposals for 2017 would be discussed this week at the National Assembly and urged Nigerians to expect more initiatives especially in the area of implementation as virtually all of the SIPs are now undergoing different stages of implementation.

“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he said.

He added that some of the teething problems were giving way to lessons that would enhance the implementation under the 2017 budget.

He also disclosed that about N75bn had been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the 2017 budget.

He added that N112.2bn had been allocated to the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to 1.2 million market men and women, artisans, youths and farmers.

Under the GEEP, he explained that beneficiaries would receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time five percent administrative fee.

He said over 20,000 Nigerians in 14 states had benefitted from GEEP under the 2016 budget.

He said the Conditional Cash Transfer which had started in nine states would be further expanded under the 2017 budget to reach more states.

Akande said, “The plan in 2016 budget targeted one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget, an additional N54.98bn has been allocated for the continuation of the N5,000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.

“2017 implementation of the SIPs is going to be far more impactful than what we were able to do under the 2016 budget. So, Nigerians should expect more this year. The resolve of the Buhari presidency is that more lives must be touched positively under these programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate.”  (Punchng.com)

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