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Ekweremadu: Seven Years After, Nigerian Elite Heed His Lone Voice On State Police

Ismail Omipidan

Hwas not the one who began the campaign for the establishment of a state police in Nigeria. But since 2011, Deputy President of the senate, Ike Ekweremadu has been consistent in his campaign for what he now refers to as decentralised policing system in Nigeria.

Since then, he kept the debate in the front burner. He seizes every occasion offered him to canvass strongly for the enthronement of a decentralised policing system in Nigeria, insisting that Nigeria was the only country claiming to be running a federal system, but maintaining a unitary policing system.

As recent as last month while speaking at the Parliament of the United Kingdom (UK), where he was a keynote speaker of a lecture “African Politics: The Dynamics and Lessons,” hosted by Keith Vaz, member of Parliament and National Executive Committee of the Labour Party of the UK, as well as the Enugu State Diaspora, UK and Ireland, Ekweremadu, did not fail to impress it on his audience that Africa “must enthrone modern policing that is swift, active, and reliable. This will not only secure lives and property, but also will secure the confidence of investors and our nascent democracies.”

But it was at a gathering in 2013, that he had the opportunity to for the first time lay bare his own idea of a decentralised policing system.

On the occasion, Nigerians and other foreigners, drawn largely from the academic and diplomatic communities, gathered at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, auditorium, for the annual lecture of the university.

He spoke to the topic “Policing and National Security in Nigeria: The Choices before Us.” Ironically, apart from the police orderlies and other plain clothes security operatives, the police authority was not represented at the gathering.

And just barely 24 hours after the lecture, where Ekweremadu, brought to the fore the challenges of unresolved murder cases in Nigeria, listing at least 56 of such cases at the time, the Kwara State Police Commissioner and a native of Enugu State, Mr. Felix Asadu, was murdered in Enugu State.

And unless the police is ready to employ the services of native doctors, babalawos and marabouts to unravel the identities of the killers, as suggested by one of the discussants at the lecture, instead of employing the services of the Scotland Yard Police, Asadu’s death, may no doubt join the long list of unresolved murder/assassination cases in Nigeria.

According to Ekweremadu, one of the reasons it has increasingly become difficult to resolve some of these murder/assassination cases was because most times, the policemen sent to some of these states, have little or no knowledge about the environment and the people, as against a state/community policing system, where those who make up the police team are drawn from the immediate locality, as such, they not only know the criminals in their midst, but are better placed to checkmate the activities of the criminals in their midst.

At the gathering, he made it clear that his presentation and comments are his personal views and not that of the senate or its committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, which he heads, till date.

Like an academic, he began his presentation with an overview of what role a state (country) need to play in the lives of its citizens. According to him, it was the Greek Philosopher, Aristotle, who said that “the state exists for the sake of life, and continues for the sake of the best life.”

He went further to say that even the constitution of the United States of America “succinctly captures the essence of government, when it says: ‘we the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.’ From this preamble, certain fundamental goals for the existence of government can be deciphered,” he added.

He listed some of the goals to include the facilitation of a more perfect union, establishment of justice, ensuring domestic tranquillity, provision of common defence, promotion of the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty, adding however that “without prejudice to the rest of the goals, it appears clearly that security of lives and property is not only intrinsic in all goals, but all of them are indeed dependent on it.

“The 1999 constitution of Nigeria underscores this when it declares that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’ However, whereas it is the primary responsibility of government to ensure the security of lives and property of its citizens, let me clarify that, I do not think that security is like a good which the State (Country) delivers to its citizens without the citizens’ inputs. A security system therefore entails all that the state (country) and citizens do from individual to institutional level to ensure the security of lives and property.”

Tracing the evolution of the Nigerian Police, from the 19th century to date, Ekweremadu submitted that until the fall of the First Republic, Nigeria operated a decentralised policing system.

He was however quick to add that, though it was the General Yakubu Gowon’s administration that first abolished the decentralised policing system in Nigeria, it was first “entrenched in a democratic system of government by Section 194 (1) of the 1979 constitution and sustained by the 1999 constitution.”

He went further to say that in spite of the general feelings among Nigerians that the country seemed to have enjoyed some respite in violent crimes, in the last half of 2012, than in previous years, the picture was still “very worrisome,” adding that the concern forced him to carry out a content analysis of three national newspapers: The Sun, The Nation and Daily Trust, of violent crimes in Nigeria, from July 1, to December 31, 2012.

“In the period under review, there were about 486 violent crimes, ranging from terrorism to violent robberies as reported by The Nation, Daily Trust and The Sun newspapers. Given a marginal error of between five and ten percent, the figure includes robbery, rape, kidnapping and assassinations that took place within the same period. These figures were carefully selected from the three newspapers, while effort was made to ensure that follow-up activities that did not involve any form of violence were omitted. Care was also taken to ensure that in making the selections, similar stories reported by more than one of the three newspaper was not included to avoid duplication. These activities, especially bombings and other terror activities appeared higher between October and November. In all, cases of rape and assassinations were the lowest crimes in number within the period under review. The figures show that Nigeria continues to live in the throes of violent crimes, especially, terrorism, robbery, and kidnapping,” Ekweremadu said.

He was however quick to add that “since its incursion into our national life, terrorism as championed by the Boko Haram in particular remains Nigeria’s Public Enemy No 1. It is a multi-headed monster that has exposed our security failings. This is demonstrated by the table below highlighting some terrorist acts as it affect various sections of the society.”

While listing at least 23 of such terrorist attacks, from 2009 to 2013 at the time, the deputy president of the senate said that the worrisome aspect of the trend is that “the police and other security agencies who are supposed to protect the citizens have been the target and at the receiving end of these merciless attacks. As the preceding table shows, not only have so many police stations been attacked and police personnel killed by the nefarious activities of the sect, even the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force have been brutally attacked in a brazen display of defiance.”

He said further that although the national assembly has appropriated unprecedented amount of money to the security sector, which led to some successes that were recorded in the fight against terrorism, such as the arrest of some high profile members of the sect, Nigerians, he noted appear not convinced that the federal government at the time, especially the police have lived up to its many promises of being “on top of the situation,” adding that “when the hunter becomes the hunted, then there is obviously fire on the mountain.”

To this end, he further argued that the current centralised policing system being operated in Nigeria is one of the major factors that have been blamed for the insecurity in Nigeria.

While highlighting some of the factors for and against decentralised policing system in Nigeria, with examples drawn from other foreign countries to buttress his points, Ekweremadu said “I think the strongest arguments or fear among the opponents of a decentralised police system is the likelihood of abuse by interests, notably the state governors. The problem with this paranoid disposition, however, is that it looks at the state police as the property of the elites, especially the governors rather than as an institution of state. As such, it still sees Nigeria from the prisms of the colonial era and early years of independence, thus failing to take cognisance of the transformations that have taken place in terms of awareness and laws over the years.”

He further noted that the other pertinent question to ask was whether the solely federal police have not also been grossly abused by the high and mighty. He said “I do not think Nigerians, especially Anambra people will forget in a hurry the attempted coup here in Awka in 2003. A top brass of the police physically supervised the abduction of an incumbent state governor and purported chief security officer of a federating unit from office. This, to me is the height of abuse of the police force. My answer to this would therefore be that if the governors are likely to abuse the state police, then make provisions in law that will make it impossible for them to do so. Make stringent provisions in law that can mete out sanctions where such abuses occur.”

On the argument that states in Nigeria would not be able to fund decentralised policing system, Ekweremadu again said “Whereas some states are financially constrained due to our highly entrenched culture of ‘feeding bottle federalism,’ this argument is perceived to be incongruent with the constitutional provision that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. So, a state government that allocates security votes running into hundreds of millions to a governor on a monthly basis, but claims to lack the financial capacity to fund the primary purpose of government must be a strange one.

“Instructively, our states spend heavily on funding the Nigeria police through logistical supports like patrol vans, etc. So, many states are already funding various types of state police under various guises. They include vigilantes which are very popular here in Anambra. We have the Hisbah in Kano and in many other states, just as we have various forms of state-funded security/vigilante outfits across the nation. We have also had the Bakassi Boys in most states of the south-east which were not regulated by law. Importantly, a state that is too poor to fund the protection of the lives and property of its residents cannot be compelled to own a state police force.”

What to do about the constitution?

If and when Nigeria’s government decides to buy into his dream and vision of a decentralised policing system, especially because according to him, state police has not only been justified, it has become imperative, Ekweremadu suggested laws and policies provisions that would allay the fears of the antagonists of a decentralised policing system.

Some of these laws and policies provisions include but not limited to: amending the Section 214 and 215 of the constitution that empowers the federal to exclusively control the police force, removing of police from item 45 of part 1 of the second schedule to allow states to establish state police Service under approved guidelines, giving the national assembly power to provide the framework for the establishment, structure and powers of the state police, the powers of state governors should be limited to making policing policies and should not extend to the operational use and control of the police-just like the National Judicial Council-NJC, and that the Federal Police Service should exercise a level of oversight over the activities of state police among others.

He concluded his presentation by saying “the choices before us are clear. One is to continue doing things the old way and continue to get the old result. The other is to embrace a change by facing the realities on ground and by borrowing a leaf from other vast and pluralistic federal states that have nevertheless been able to secure their territories. While the choice is ours, let us never forget that the choice we make today will shape our future.”

The discussants

Among the distinguished personalities that discussed Ekweremadu’s paper were Mr. Brian Browne, former Consular, US Embassy, Nigeria; Professor Cyprian Okonkwo, Commissioner, Nigeria Law Reforms Commission, Abuja; Prof. Nuhu Yakubu, former Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja and at the time vice chancellor, Sokoto State University, Sokoto, Professor OBC Nwoliseh, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ibadan and Mr. Simon Kolawole, former Editor, Thisday Newspapers.

Instructively, the host governor at the time, Mr. Peter Obi who was physically present at the event, also made his own contributions to the discourse, where he said among other things that once the country’s kind of federalism undergoes restructuring, and is made to conform with values and attributes of federalism, the world over, funding a decentralised policing system in Nigeria, would not be a problem.

Interestingly, only Professor Okonkwo was opposed to the establishment of a state police. But even at that he canvassed support for community policing, while making his intervention, a thing that forced Professor Nwoliseh, to conclude that were it to be a debate, he would have said that Okonkwo argued on the side of those of them canvassing support for the establishment of a state police.

Nwoliseh, also suggested that native doctors, Babalawos and Marabout should be co-opted into the country’s security intelligence, code-named Strategic Spiritual Intelligence (SSI), to help resolve the numerous unresolved murder cases in Nigeria. This is even as he called on the federal government, to restructure the National Planning Commission, and give it the mandate to create 2,000 jobs annually for the army of unemployed youths in the Nigeria, insisting that that was the only way any investment in the security sector could be meaningful, adding that provision of infrastructure like roads, must form major components of security in the country.

The new song on state police

The unwieldy nature of Nigeria’s brand of federalism has always been a subject of debate. But Ekweremadu, since becoming a senator in 2003 has left no one in doubt as to where he stands on Fiscal federalism, just as his views on decentralised policing system, which some want to refer to as state police, is unmistaken. He had apart from calling for the diversification of the country’s economy in the past, also canvassed strongly that the current 36 states system the country runs, was not viable.

 However, each time he made the call, he was usually condemned or ignored, only for those condemning him to later return to his prescription of problem solving, at a later date. For instance, virtually all those who condemned him in the past, including a former Kano State governor, for calling for a decentralised policing system are today making case for it. The Neighbourhood Watch, launched in March 2017 by the Lagos State government, is a major component of decentralised policing system, as espoused in the past by Ekweremadu at several public fora, including in his latest book, “Who Will Love My Country.”

 It was therefore not surprising when last week the federal government threw its back behind the agitation for the establishment of a state place, saying it was clearly the way to go in the face of multifaceted security challenges confronting the country.

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, gave the hint at a summit on national security organised by the senate in Abuja.

According to him the nature of the country’s security challenges are complex and known, adding that “securing Nigeria’s over 900,000sq km and its 180 million people requires far more men and material than we have at the moment. It also requires a continuous reengineering of our security architecture and strategy. This has to be a dynamic process.

“For a country of our size to meet the one policeman to 400 persons prescribed by the United Nations would require triple our current police force; far more funding of the police force and far more funding of our military and other security agencies.

“We cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go.”  (The Sun)

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2019: Atiku Will Win If He Picks Ekweremadu As VP, God Is Angry With Buhari – Prophet

The quest by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to oust President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC from power in 2019 will only be realized with the pair of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the incumbent Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu as the standard bearers for the leading opposition party at the next election.

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The Presiding Bishop, Divine Seed of God Chapel Ministries, Ibadan, Prophet Wale Olagunju, revealed this in his 51-point predictions for 2018.
Prophet Olagunji, who called on Nigerians to remain prayerful and put their trust only in God as the much-anticipated Messiah, who will rescue the nation will soon emerge, said God had rejected the incumbent President and the APC-led government.
“God Almighty warns Nigerians not to rely on the current set of leaders but on Him as the only solution to the myriad of their problems as they are not the messiah that will take the country to the Promised Land.
  “God says Nigerians should continue to pray and rely on Him as the much-anticipated Messiah that will rescue them from the taskmaster and take them to the Promised Land will soon emerge.
“As revealed to me by the living God, should Atiku pick Ekweremadu, current deputy senate president as his running mate then that is the end of Buhari-led administration.
“God revealed to me that President Buhari is still carrying disease and if Nigerians fail to pray for him, the stress of office will lead to his collapse and this might result in sudden death.
“Before year 2018 runs out, God revealed that Nigerians will demonstrate serious hatred for the Buhari government. This is going to be a confirmation that God has completely rejected President Buhari and his APC-led government.
“God revealed that Nigerians will surprise Buhari and APC with their votes in the 2019 general election. God further revealed that because of shedding of the blood of the innocent by the Buhari government, he should commence the preparation of his handing over note in earnest as he will lose the 2019 presidential election should he venture to contest it.
“God says He will raise adversaries against President Buhari and his government from all angles such that the campaign to remove him from office will be so intense. God says this will be because he (Buhari) disappointed Him by his failure to carry out His instructions.
“God says that the law of retribution will soon catch up with the APC-controlled Senate and House of Representatives as there is going to be a repeat of what happened during the tenure of Tambuwal, the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Olagunju said.
The Christian cleric also called on Nigerians to commence serious prayers for former President Olusegun Obasanjo to be able to witness the next handing over ceremony.
“Nigerians should commence serious prayer for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo now for him to witness the inauguration ceremony of the next executive president of Nigeria. God says it will take divine influence to save APC from losing out in the 2018 gubernatorial election in Osun State.
“Prominent leaders who are holding Nigeria hostage will pass away and a new generation of leaders will emerge but Kanu of IPOB (Independent People of Biafra) will not be among the said leaders. This is going to be a sign that Nigerians will not go to war, but God revealed that break up is imminent in the country.
“God Almighty says he will open the eyes of the Yoruba to discover that the North is dominating the country and this will boost their morale to take a bold step of breaking up the nation.
The prophet further said that God revealed to him that Pastor Kalejaiye has been chosen by Him as the next General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God. He called on Nigerians to pray for former Oyo State governor, Alao Akala, against diabetes and high blood pressure.
He said that the imminent breakup of the country would bring a new lease of life.
He spoke further: “God revealed to me that He has rejected the so-called bishops and pastors who have led His church in Nigeria into pathetic state. God further revealed that He has rejected them because they failed Him in holiness and are using satanic influence to deceive people with miracles. For these reasons, God said that He would raise a strong end time victorious army to fight end-time victorious battle in the 21th Century. He warned the youth to prepare to make themselves available and not to follow the ways of the expired leaders.
“God revealed to me that this is the appointed time for Atiku who is now in His mindset to rule Nigeria. God says Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will not only forgive Atiku Abubakar but will also throw his weight behind him in his bid for the Presidency. God says, this will make the defeat of Buhari possible. God says should the PDP field a wrong candidate for 2019 presidential election, they will lose gallantly.
“God says the days of Colonel Sambo Dasuki in prison are numbered. God revealed to me that large quantity of oil will be found soon in the Northern part of Nigeria. PDP will soon break up again as a result of ego.
“Nigerians should commence serious prayer now against chaos that may lead to loss of many lives. As revealed to me by God, the so much talked about restructuring will not meet the yearnings and aspirations of the Nigerian masses at the end of the day.
“It will take a miracle for the APC not to lose two of the states they are controlling in the South-west to the opposition in 2019 general election.”
Prophet Olagunju predicted that looters in the country would pay dearly for their sins as they would be visited with sickness even as he revealed that the 2019 elections would be tough and be characterized by massive rigging
 “God says Ajimobi and the Oyo APC are dreaming a dream if they think the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state is going to be an easy ride. God says they must prepare for a strong contest from Ladoja (and his group), that are prepared to flush them out of Government House.
“God revealed to me that Ayodele Fayose is on ground in Ekiti State and that it will be very tough for the APC to defeat his candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial election except if they (APC) put their total trust in God and field a more credible candidate.
“God revealed to me that all wives of the PDP that were snatched by the APC will soon go back to their original husband. Just like it happened in the pre-2015 general election era, many bigwigs from the APC will decamp en-mass to the PDP.
“Some prominent leaders who think they can do and undo with Nigeria’s destiny will die before year 2019 general election.
“The days of Arsene Wenger as the manager of the Arsenal are numbered. The days of Conte as the coach of Chelsea FC are numbered.
“God says the days of ex-military leaders ruling Nigeria as civilian president is over as Buhari will be the last ex-military leader to rule this country.
“As revealed by the living God, the same God who revealed to me in 2017 that the PDP will bounce back and that those who decamped from the party will return to their original home, the PDP is only resolving crisis but failed to address the cause of it. God who named the PDP as taskmasters warned Nigerians not to rely on the PDP as the party is not the messiah that will take the country to her Promised Land.
“God says the same spirit of tribalism, corruption and nepotism with which Buhari is governing the country will also guide the PDP when they eventually ascend governance.
“God revealed that the PDP would face more crises before the 2019 general election and after it.
“The living God says there will be much rain in the year 2018 and this will result in sufficient food, but there is going to be scarcity of Naira.
“God revealed that prominent Nigerians will drag the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, into the 2019 presidential race.
“ In 2018, God says President Buhari will try to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerian masses.
“The living God says it is only the last minute miracle of the century that can save the Olubadan of Ibadan Land from being dethroned.
“By mid-2018, the living God says APC will realize their mistakes of allowing Atiku Abubakar to leave the party.
  “On 2019 presidential election, I repeat and stand by what the Almighty God has spoken through me in my 2017 prediction that the name Atiku Abubakar will ring like a bell. He will be so popular among Nigerian politicians to the extent that many will root for him
“As revealed to me by the Ancient of Days, who knows the beginning from the end, if the election should hold now, even before 2019, Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa would defeat the incumbent Buhari hands down,” Prophet Olagunju said.
 (Daily Sun)

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Ike Ekweremadu Makes Brilliant Submission On Innoson vs GTBank Saga At Senate Plenary

IkeEkweremadu2

Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu

By Ike A. Offor

The Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu made a very brilliant case in his submission in the Senate plenary session over the case of Innoson Group boss, Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma.

He addressed issues many are afraid to speak on and laid to rest the separation of powers and strict adherence to the tenets of democracy where the constitution is paramount than power of money and connections.

He had this to say:
“If we reduce our security agencies into agencies of debt recovery, then we are doomed as a nation,”

“I would like to seek your indulgence to raise the matter of Mr. Innocent Chukwuma who we call ‘Innoson,’ by the EFCC over a matter between Mr. Chukwuma and Guarantee Trust Bank.

“At the inception of this Senate, we all took an oath to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God forbid that a day will come when we will sit back as a Senate and watch an attack on the liberty of any citizen.”

“Yesterday, I got a number of messages indicating that Mr. Innocent Chukwuma was arrested by the EFCC over a transaction between him and GTBank.

“This morning, I made an effort and I spoke with him. His story is straight forward: he said he was at his house at 5am on Tuesday when he heard gun shots and he thought they were assassins and he went into hiding.

“After about two hours, he saw some people and policemen, and he thought that help had come. So, he came out of hiding and ran to a policeman who promptly arrested him.

“He tried to find out what his offence was and they told him that when they get to the police station, they would inform him of the offence. As of today, nobody has told him what the offence is.

“Any person who is arrested and detained should be informed about the reason for their arrest. As I speak, Mr. Innoson Chukwuma has yet to be informed of what led to his arrest or detention, but if you go through the media today, the story is that he is owing GTB.

“As a lawyer, I’m at a loss (for words) on how a transaction between someone and his bank will concern the EFCC.”

“The story he told me is that he was not owing the bank anything; that he borrowed money from the bank, which he had since repaid, but the bank kept charging him money and withdrawing it from his account.

“They set up an audit and the auditor came to a conclusion that they had deducted more than N500m.

“He insisted on 22 per cent (interest on the deductions), the bank said they would pay 17 per cent; that was where they had the disagreement.”

Some, though due to the pandemic tribal sentiments in Nigeria, have already ruled this case and have found Chief Innocent Chukwuma guilty in the issue, though many have no good idea of the case at hand.

If the boss of Innoson group, had this to say to the deputy Senate President, one would take this to be a credible statement from him, though the GTBank is yet to issue any official statement to enable the public determine their position.

Many have asked why has GTBank failed to issue any official statement since the saga broke out, and why are they allowing this to tarnish their customer service image, and their reputation as a public service provider?

 

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New Constitution Ready Soon, Says Ekweremadu |The Republican News

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Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu

From Fred Itua, Abuja

DEPUTY Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has said Nigeria will soon have a revised Constitution as the ongoing amendment will soon be over.
Ekweremadu also promised that a new constitution, ready to be signed into law, would soon be presented to the President.

The lawmaker said this when the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) visited him, at the weekend, on the ongoing constitution amendment.

He said the National Assembly is still holding consultations with some critical stakeholders, to ensure smooth sail of the amendment and an outcome that will be in tune with the aspirations of Nigerians.

“For instance, we have gone to the Judiciary. We have gone to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders, asking them to express their views. We got a lot of responses. So, we are going ahead, and your visit will help to shape the final document we will present to the Senate.”

Ekweremadu, who is chairman of the Senate Commit- tee on Constitution Review, said current consultations would culminate in a joint retreat, in a few weeks, to en- able members of the Senate and House committees reach consensus on issues slated for amendment.

He said representatives of Houses of Assembly would be part of the retreat, “to arm them with firsthand knowledge of proposed amendments, ahead of transmission of the alteration bills to them for approval.”

He also explained that the current exercise drew substantially from the failed Fourth Alteration Bill and that proposed amendments would be drafted into several alteration bills, to avoid a situation where rejection of one amendment could lead to the death of the entire amendments.

Meanwhile, Ekweremadu has blamed withdrawal of government subventions for political parties on abuse.

“We had to amend the constitution, to remove that; the reason being that it was thoroughly abused by some people. They register a political party and wait for the election. The government gives them subvention, then, they put it in their pockets and make no efforts to win. To them, political parties were platforms for making cool money from the government.” Rather than wait for government’s funding, he urged political parties to agitate for the introduction of proportional representation, to widen political representation in the Legislature, which would, in turn, help smaller political parties to thrive.

Earlier in his address, IPAC National Chairman, Mohammed Nalado, said they are making efforts, with the support of international agencies, among others, to facilitate electoral reforms that would guarantee free, fair, credible and transparent electoral process in Nigeria.  (The Sun)

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Court Remands Alleged False Whistle-blower In Prison Over Raid On Ekweremadu

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                              Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

An Upper Area Court, in Gudu, Abuja, on Tuesday, remanded 50-year-old Ahmed Echodo in Keffi Prison, Nasarawa State, for allegedly giving false information which was said to have misled the police to raid the official Guest House of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in Maitama, Abuja.

The police were said to have executed a search warrant on the property on Friday, May 27 based on the alleged false information given by Echodo.

After the defendant pleaded not guilty to a First Information Report on Tuesday, the presiding Chief Upper Area Court judge, Umar Kagarko, directed that he (defendant) be remanded in prison pending the ruling on his bail application to be delivered on June 5.

A steward in Ekweremadu’s guest house, Mr. Oliver Ogenyi, was said to have been arrested during the police operation.

Ogenyi was reportedly taken to the Inspector General of Police Special Squad Office in Guzape District, Abuja, but was later released.

The First Information Report filed before the Upper Area Court accused Echodo of criminal conspiracy and giving false information to mislead police.

According to the FIR, Echodo conspired with Maiwa Adamu (now at large) to commit the alleged offences.

The FIR signed by the prosecuting police officer, David Taiwo, who is an Assistant Superintendent of Police, stated that the alleged offences were contrary to section 97(1) and 140 of the Penal Code Law.

The FIR read, “That on May 26, 2017, at about 0900hrs, you Ahmed Echodo, ‘m, aged 50 years of No. 44, Living Truth Street, Masaaka, Nasarawa State and one Maiwada Adamu (now at large) did conspire with yourselves by informing the office of IGP, STS at Guzape Area of the FCT, Abuja, that House No. 10 Games Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja occupied by Oliver Ogenyi is being maintained and used for criminal activities including keeping of arms and ammunition.

“Unfortunately, after the police carried out diligence execution of the search warrant, no incriminating items were found therein. You, by such action, misled the police and hereby committed the above offences.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the offences on Tuesday.

He also challenged the genuineness of police allegations when asked by the judge whether he understood the information preferred against him.

Echodo, who stood in the defendant’s box during the proceedings, demanded that the police be made to state whether the alleged false information he gave was in written or oral form.

Echodo said, “They (police) have not shown me how the information was passed to them by me. Was it oral or written? When they went to the house with Wada (who was said to be at large), I was not there.”

After the defendant pleaded not guilty, the prosecuting police officer, Taiwo, had asked for an adjournment for trial.

But the defence lawyer, Peters Ugwuoke, made an oral bail application, urging the court to grant bail to his client pending trial.

The lawyer cited section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 198 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, to back his application.

Ugwuoke said his client would not jump bail and would never interfere with investigation or trial, adding that the defendant was ready to provide reasonable persons to stand as sureties for him.

But the prosecution counsel opposed the bail application, arguing that there was no material before the court to warrant the exercise of the court’s discretion in favour of the defendant.

He added that the defendant ought to have deposed to an affidavit to back the bail application.

The presiding judge of the court, fixed June 5, 2017, for ruling on the bail application. (Punchng.com)

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Press Release: Police Raid Ekweremadu’s Abuja House, Find Nothing

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At about 8am on Friday, May 26, 2017, men of the Nigeria Police Force from the Inspector General of Police Special Squad raided the official guest house of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, located at No. 10 Ganges Street, Maitama, Abuja. The police, however, stated at the end of the search that nothing incriminating was found.

They met the steward, Oliver Ogenyi, and some of Ekweramdu’s staff and their children in the house. In spite of the fact that they were informed that the property is the guest house of the Deputy President of the Senate, they nevertheless proceeded to thoroughly search the house without establishing any contact with the Deputy President of the Senate or any of his senior staff. The steward was taken away by the police to the Special Anti-Robbery (SARS) Office, Garki, Abuja, where the IGP Special Squad’s office is also located. Ogenyi was later released after making a statement.

Related: Statement By Fani-Kayode On Raiding Of Ekweremadu’s Home By Nigeria Police

The Deputy President of the Senate is a law-abiding citizen and does not dispute the fact that the security agencies are empowered by law to carry out searches on premises in accordance with the law. However, the law requires that the owner of the property or his representative must be informed and should be present during the search.

Senator Ekweremadu is worried about the manner in which his guest house was raided. The questions are: Was there a search warrant? What were they looking for? Who searched the police officers before the search? Who supervised the search? Etc.
Instructively, this incident comes just a few weeks after Senator Ekweremadu, on May 3, 2017, read to the Senate in plenary a written, but anonymous tip-off by a patriotic Nigerian on a plot to plant incriminating sums of foreign currencies, arms, and ammunitions in a house linked to him under the pretext of the whistle blower policy. The aim, according to the source, was to rubbish, arrest, prosecute, and ultimately remove Senator Ekweremadu from office.

It is also apposite at this point to inform Nigerians that the Deputy President of the Senate had received at least three different forewarnings from various highly-placed sources before the written tip-off he read before the Senate, and they all pointed in the same direction: a clandestine effort to uproot the Senator from office by all means possible.

Therefore, this latest act of desperation, intimidation, and disregard for due process further substantiates all the forewarnings.
Furthermore, we have it on good authority that agencies of government are currently scavenging through all the land registries and various banks within and outside the country to find incriminating reasons to arrest, embarrass, and prosecute him.
The Deputy President of the Senate is also aware of a report revealing that some people within the government met with some top echelons of the security and anti-graft agencies at Maitama, Abuja, on May 17, 2017, to explore strategies to the arrest, prosecute, and remove him and some other Senators out of political circulation, by hook or crook to pave way for a total takeover of the National Assembly.

Related: JUST IN: Presidency Plans To Arrest Ekweremadu, PDP Ex-governors – PDP Senators

These schemers have scheduled to meet again on June 13, 2017 as they hope to conclude their evil and anti-democratic machinations during the annual recess of the National Assembly when lawmakers will not be on ground to resist them.

Nigerians and the international community will recall that Senator Ekweremadu and the Senate President were, in June 2016, arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory High Court on trumped-up charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rules (2015) even when the petition by members of the Senate Unity Forum, statements by Senators and bureaucrats interrogated by the police, and indeed the police report itself did not mention, let alone accuse or indict any of them of any wrongdoing. The Senate’s presiding officers were docked when the proof of evidence did not establish any culpability on their part.

The orchestrated political trial, calculated witch-hunt, barefaced intimidation, and clear attempt to emasculate the parliament and silence the leadership of the Senate, was eventually, but reluctantly withdrawn when external counsel briefed by the AGF, after studying the file, advised the Federal Government to do so.

It is also worth recalling that neither the police nor any of the security agencies has cared to investigate or even interview the Deputy President of the Senate on the attempt on his life on November 17, 2015, even when the dastardly act was duly reported to them.

Therefore, the Deputy President of the Senate condemns in strong terms the prevailing situation where people in positions of power, blindfolded by extreme selfish interests, are using security agencies to harass, embarrass, and intimidate political opponents.

He believes that there are so many pressing national challenges that should worry all of us than this needless and continued witch-hunting, disregard for rule of law, and brazen political highhandedness, which is inevitably overheating the polity.

By the grace of God, this too shall pass.

Uche Anichukwu
Special Adviser (Media)

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Statement By Fani-Kayode On Raiding Of Ekweremadu’s Home By Nigeria Police

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Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

I just finished speaking to the Deputy Senate President and he confirmed to me that his home was raided by security forces today.

This is shameful and shocking. Raiding the homes of our friends and leaders like Ekweremadu and harrasing their children will not deter, stop or silence those of us that are in the opposition. It will only harden our hearts and strengthen our resolve.

As each day goes by more and more people have come to accept the fact that the Buhari administration is a government of FASCISTS and BEASTS.

They are led and guided by dark and sinister forces whose sole agenda is to divide our people and destroy our country.

It is about time that Nigerians woke up and stood up to their madness and tyranny.

We must employ all lawful means to resist them and expose them for what they are. Not only are they incompetent but they are also sadistic and wicked.

Nowhere in the world do citizens sit by idly and say nothing when their rights are being violated in this way.

Related: JUST IN: Presidency Plans To Arrest Ekweremadu, PDP Ex-governors – PDP Senators

The Federal Government is trying to foster and engender an atmosphere of fear and terror and this will not work because we refuse to be intimidated.

You illegally and indefinately lock up Sambo Dasuki, El Zak Zaky, Ifeanyi Uba and countless others and you criminalise them before the world.

Worse still you refuse to bring them before the courts of law or to give their lawyers full and free access to them.

You demonise opposition members and those that criticise your government whilst you treat your own party members and government officials as if they were angels and saints even when and where they indulge in monuemental acts of depravity and corruption.

Instead of protecting the lives Nigerians from the barbaric Fulani militias and herdsmen and other genocidal maniacs you are using the security forces to wage war against the opposition and the Nigerian people.

We expected this sort of thing from the tyrant called President Buhari but we did not expect it from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

He is an erudite lawyer and a gentleman of good stock and noble blood and he really should know better.

My belief is that the Acting President may not have known about this barbaric raid and if that is the case I implore him to put a leash on his dogs and stop them from terrorising innocent Nigerians.

Their behaviour is not only shameful but it is also uttterly reprehensible and let them be rest assured that their desperate attempt to dehumanise us and bring us to our knees will fail because God is with us.

An attack on or the violation of the constitutional rights of Ekweremadu or any other opposition figure or dissenting voice in this nation is an attack on ALL of us.

This sort of thing MUST stop because this is a democracy and not a military dictatorship.

– FFK

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