Nigerian boy Omar Farouq has been sentenced to 10 years for blasphemy by a Sharia court. Now the head of the Auschwitz Memorial is offering to serve part of the sentence, slamming it as “disgraceful” for humanity.
The head of the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland has urged Nigeria’s president to pardon a 13-year-old boy who was jailed on blasphemy charges — even volunteering to serve part of the prison term himself.
Piotr Cywinski urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the case of Omar Farouq. The teenager was accused of making blasphemous statements about Allah in an argument with a friend and was sentenced last month by a Sharia court in northwestern Kano state to 10 years in prison.
Cywinski said that if the president couldn’t grant Farouq clemency, then 120 adult volunteers, “myself personally among them,” should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison in the boy’s place.
As the director of the Auschwitz Memorial at the site of the German Nazi extermination camp, “where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity,” Cywinski said in the letter, which was posted to the memorial’s Twitter account.
The director of @AuschwitzMuseum wrote the President of Nigeria and asked him to pardon 13-year old Omar Farouq sentenced for 10 years imprisonment.
He declares he is ready to share part of the sentence.
Nigeria, with its population of 206 million, is deeply divided along religious lines. The majority of Nigerian Muslims live in the north while the Christians are concentrated in the south.
Blasphemy against Islam carries a death penalty in the 12 Nigerian states that apply Sharia law, although executions are rarely carried out. Some offenders have had their limbs amputated under the religious law.
The Auschwitz Memorial commemorates the victims of Germany’s Nazi forces at the Auschwitz concentration camp. More than a million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at the site during World War II.
Shekarau, had in a statement on Thursday condemned the alleged demolition of the mosque and wondered why the Rivers state government would take such actions in a secular country like Nigeria.
The Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has carpeted the former governor of Kano state, Ibrahim Shekarau over his comments on the alleged demolition of the Rainbow Town mosque in Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In the statement personally signed by him, the former Kano State governor was much more perturbed by the declaration of Rivers State as a complete Christian state by Wike.
In his reaction, Wike noted that as a governor of Kano State, Shekarau introduced Sharia law and officially made the state a Muslim State. This action, according to Wike, was premised on the fact that over 95 per cent of Kano people are Muslims, adding that the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo did not stop him neither did Nigerians question his decision.
Speaking through his Aide on electronics media, Simeone Nwakaudu in an article, Governor Wike recalled, “In 2008, Kano State Government under the leadership of Ibrahim Shekarau demolished Christ the King Catholic Church.
“The Kano State Urban Planning Development Agency (KANUPDA) demolished the Church because the Church lacked Certificate of Occupancy. Shekarau’s Administration said the structure of the church at Na’ibawa in Kumbotso local government was removed, after serving them a notice, advising them to prove its legitimacy or removed the church.
“In November 2003, Shekarau sworn-in Hisbah, Zakkat, Sharia Commission Members to consolidate his declaration that Kano is a Muslim State. The establishments’ members were sworn-in at Sani Abacha Stadium after a bill was passed into law by the State House of Assembly for the creation of the establishments. These were agencies of Kano State that promoted one religion to the detriment of others,” the article read in part.
He went further to recall that Shekarau compelled all Christian girls in his State to wear Hijab. “Those who refused to wear hijab under the leadership of Shekarau were asked to withdraw and leave Kano State. He burnt books believed not to promote the Islamic religion”.
Wike stressed that his declaration that Rivers is a Christian State is a statement of fact, adding that well over 98 per cent of the indigenous population are Christians. He promised to continue to promote religious freedom and tolerance in the state.
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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has blasted his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, for threatening to take him to court over the reported demolition of Rainbow Town Central Mosque in Trans-Amadi area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
Wike received serious backlash during the week over reported claims he demolished a mosque. He has since denied the claim.
Ganduje in a statement released today vowed to drag Governor Wike to court over the alleged demolition of the mosque.
Reacting to Ganduje’s threat, Governor Wike in a statement released by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, said the Kano state governor should be reminded that he, Wike, is not a dollar bill Ganduje can pocket” sheepishly and recklessly”.
Ganduje was involved in a bribery scandal last year after footage of him purportedly receiving wads of dollar bills from contractors in his state surfaced online.
Read Governor Wike’s statement below.
It beats my imagination that Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is still in the habit of making irresponsible comments about Rivers State. Up till now, Ganduje is yet to realise that Governor Wike is not dollars that he can pocket recklessly and sheepishly.
I saw a statement released by Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. He said that he will sue Governor Wike over the falsehood that a Mosque was demolished in Port Harcourt. For the umpteenth time, no Mosque was demolished by Governor Wike. No Mosque was demolished by the Rivers State Government.
The story was a fabrication by one Alhaji Tobacco. The fabrication was orchestrated by Daily Trust and The Nation Newspapers for obvious mischievous political reasons. These baseless press releases confirm the ugly plot.
Several journalists and civil society groups have visited the disputed land and no traces of any Mosque were found at the location. Governor Wike personally led journalists to the disputed land and the world saw that no Mosque existed there.
On Saturday, the Rivers State Islamic Leader/Vice President General, Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Uhor stated that there was no physical structure of a Mosque at the disputed land at Rainbow Town in Port Harcourt. He said the insinuation that any structure was at that location was not true. He also admitted that a Rivers State High Court confirmed that the disputed land belongs to the Rivers State Government.
Suit Number PHC/986/2012 between Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (Claimant) and the Commissioner, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Rivers State, the Governor of Rivers State and the Attorney General of Rivers State (Defendants) was resolved by Justice G.O. Omereji on Tuesday, 27th November 2018. This matter pre-dated Governor Wike.
Justice Omereji of the Rivers State High Court held that: “The defendants have in Exhibits J, J1 and J2 inclusive of Exhibit K, which is the Certificate of Title, established that the land, the subject matter of this suit, was acquired in 1959 by the Government.
“My humble opinion is that the claimants have not established that they have a better title to the land, the subject matter of this suit and they have not established that at the material time they were in possession and that the defendants do not have a better title to the land”. The Court further ruled that the claimants had no approval to build on the disputed land.
The entire world is aware of the above facts. Nobody has circulated any photographs or videos of the said Mosque that Ganduje and other APC Chieftains are harping on. They merely want to use a non-existent Mosque story to score ugly political points.
Pray, what redress would Ganduje be seeking in court when he sues Governor Wike? Would Ganduje tell the court to relegate the Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning and enthrone its Kano State Counterpart? Would Ganduje be asking the Court to hand over jurisdiction to Kano State High Court?
Under the Land Use Act, the governor is responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to individuals’ resident in the state or to organizations for residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes. Perhaps, Ganduje would be telling the Court to deny the Rivers State Governor of such powers, while he retains same powers under the Land Use Act in Kano State.
The Press Statement attributed to Ganduje is a confirmation that this country is at its lowest point. This is the worst form of administrative ignorance.
As a Governor with a bruised ego, Ganduje thinks that this religious falsehood would afford him a backdoor entry into the national good book. Sadly, he has exposed himself as a terribly ignorant leader who basks in baseless claims.
The disputed land is already before the court, as the Registered Trustees of Trans-Amadi Mosque, Port Harcourt (Claimant) sued the Rivers State Government in 2012. Having lost at the Court of First instance, these trustees have appealed the judgment.
GANDOLLARS MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN
On December 8, 2016, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as Chairman of the Rivers State APC Election Rerun Campaign Committee, threatened violence on Rivers people at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.
Alongside several APC Governors, Ganduje called on APC thugs to unleash mayhem on Rivers electorate for the purpose of rigging the rerun elections. He claimed that the aim was to ensure that the APC took control of the House of Assembly for the purpose of impeaching Governor Wike.
The APC Federal Government deployed 57,000 security personnel, billions of naira, millions of dollars, Jet Fighters and Gunboats for the rerun elections. Rivers people stood with Governor Wike and the APC was roundly defeated. Rivers people rejected the plot to pocket Governor Wike by the APC rigging machine.
GOVERNOR WIKE IS NOT DOLLARS
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, a man who enjoys bribery and falsehood, must realise that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is not dollars that he pockets with ridiculous abandon. Governor Wike is a lover of the rule of law, due process, religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence. He cannot be intimidated by the illiterate threat of a lawsuit from a man of low moral standing.
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The Nigeria elections in 2019 that gave President Muhammadu Buhari a second term were marred by political violence, Human Rights Watch has said.
The report issued by the organisation on Monday said some cases of the violence were carried out by soldiers and police officers.
“Buhari should take concrete steps to address the widespread political violence, and to ensure accountability for human rights abuses by soldiers and police as he begins his second term,” the report said.
“The election period included persistent attacks by factions of the insurgent group Boko Haram in the northeast; increased communal violence between nomadic herdsmen and farmers spreading southward from north-central states; and a dramatic uptick in banditry, kidnapping, and killings in the northwestern states of Kaduna, Katsina, and Zamfara.
“Security forces have failed to respond effectively to threats to people’s lives and security.”
The report quoted Anietie Ewang, Nigerian researcher at Human Rights Watch, as saying that, “The lack of meaningful progress in addressing the prevalent political violence, as well as lack of accountability for rights abuses, marked Buhari’s first term in office.
“He should put these issues at the front and centre of his second term agenda and urgently take concrete steps to improve respect for human rights.”
The statement said that Human Rights Watch interviewed 32 people, including voters, journalists, election observers, activists, and Independent National Electoral Commission officials in Rivers and Kano states, and documented 11 deaths specifically related to violent interference in the election process during the February 23 federal elections and subsequent state elections.
It said the elections contributed to the general insecurity across the country, even as politically related violence were reported in many states in contrast to the relatively peaceful 2015 elections that brought Buhari into his first term in office.
Citing a report by SBM Intelligence, which monitors sociopolitical and economic developments in Nigeria, the statement said 626 people were killed during the 2019 election cycle, starting with campaigns in 2018.
“Kano state, in northwestern Nigeria, has the highest number of registered voters in the country. Rivers state, in the Niger Delta, receives the largest share of crude-oil-based national revenue, representing significant electoral value to any political party,” the report said.
“The history of elections in both states is replete with violence by state security agencies and criminal elements.”
The report noted that despite police claims of increased security measures to ensure peaceful voting, HRW found that there seemed to have been little or no police response to reports of threats and acts of violence by hired political thugs and soldiers against voters and election officials.
“Voters and election officials said that policemen either fled or stood idly by, fueling allegations of complicity, as perpetrators stole election materials, disrupted voting, and harassed voters,” said the report.
“Witnesses said that the police also shot live rounds of ammunition and used teargas to disperse people protesting voting disruptions. “Witnesses said that after a soldier was killed in the town of Abonnema, in Rivers state, on election day, soldiers shot at residents, killing an unknown number of people.”
HRW said soldiers also carried out sweeping arrests and arbitrarily detained several people. The report also cited a 37-year old man who witnessed the incident.
He said, “The soldiers were on a rampage, shooting at anyone around. As I made my way to flee, I saw people dive into the river, many with gunshot wounds. The next day I saw three dead bodies riddled with bullets floating in the water… I heard many more bodies were later recovered from that river.”
The army, HRW reported, said in a statement that on election day, unidentified people attacked soldiers, killing one, and that the soldiers killed six of the attackers in response.
“On March 15, the spokesperson for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Festus Okoye, accused soldiers of intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials in the state,” the report further noted.
“The Nigerian Army on the same day announced the creation of a committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against its personnel during the elections. The committee was given two weeks to produce its findings, but it has not published its report.”
HRW also reported the rising cases of Banditry and the recurring cycles of deadly violence between herdsmen and farmers, which it said had taken the lives of thousands. Citing a civil society report, HRW said over 3,641 people have died from deadly clashes between herdsmen and farmers since 2015 and at least 262 people have been killed by bandits since the beginning of 2019 in Zamfara State alone.
“The government deployed 1,000 military troops to the state in response, but few of those responsible for the violence have been arrested or held to account,” it said. On the activities of Boko Haram, HRW noted that in recent months, renewed fighting between Nigerian government forces and a faction of Boko Haram, known as Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), has led to secondary displacement of civilians.
“Security forces have been implicated in serious abuses, including arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention without trial, torture, extrajudicial killings, rape and sexual violence against women and girls in camps for displaced people,” the report further documented. It also cited the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which stated that more than 27,000 civilians have died and about 1.8 million people have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict in 2009.
“Authorities have also failed to address impunity for killings by security forces elsewhere in the country. The authorities have yet to publish the report of the Presidential Judicial Panel set up in August 2017 to investigate the military’s compliance with human rights obligations, allegations of war crimes, and other abuses by the military,” it said.
The report also quoted Mr Ewang as saying that Nigerian voters had entrusted Buhari with another opportunity to address the nation’s serious human rights problems, including political violence.
“He should start by reforming the security forces to ensure strict compliance with human rights standards, and prompt investigation and prosecution of those credibly implicated in abuses,” he said.
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Kano residents have commended the reconciliation of Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje with the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II by a committee initiated by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti in Abuja on Friday.
Some residents, who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday in Kano, expressed satisfaction and appreciation with the reconciliation.
According to some of them, the reconciliation is in the best interest of peace in the state and the nation.
Dr Abba Ahmed, a retired civil servant in the state, said the reconciliation provided much relief to many residents.
“I have been tensed since the issue started, especially that I live close to the Emirate where people have developed a high sentiment over the situation.”
He explained that the situation was one of the few bad things that could happen to Kano, thus commended Dangote’s committee for the action.
Malam Nura Muhammad, also a civil servant, told NAN that the reconciliation was timely as it would save the whole of Northern Nigeria a lot of trouble.
Tension is currently mounting in Kano as no fewer than70 prominent indigenes of Kano State and 22 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have charged all newly appointed emirs to resign their appointments with immediate effect. They have been told to resign in the interest of peace and tranquillity in Kano.
Igbere TV gathered that the concerned individuals and groups have sought the urgent intervention of the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar and denounce the creation of additional emirates in Kano.
Igbere TV recalls that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje had signed the Appointment and Deposition Act. 2019, which paved ways for Balkanisation of the Kano Emirate council into four.
Subsequently, four new emirs were appointed for Rano, Gaya, Bichi and Karaye, with the first-class status.
But speaking at a media briefing yesterday on behalf of The Renaissance Coalition in collaboration with the CSOs and other stakeholders, Comrade Abdulrahman Baffa Yola, asked Governor Ganduje to rather dissipate his energy towards tackling the socio-economic and development challenges in Kano.
Besides, he lamented the hasty passage of the Appointment and Deposition Act, 2019, which lasted only 48 hours and without due legislative process. “Kano State has over two million Almajiris roaming the streets, without any tangible and sustainable intervention to checkmate the ugly situation. “Kano leads in substance and drugs abuse, we have the highest number of school dropouts and congested classrooms in the country, with over 150–200 pupils in one class,” he stated.
Abdulrahman also urged Ganduje to tackle unemployment and provide jobs for the 3.5 million unemployed youths in Kano and provide education for the over two million girls who do not attend formal school in Kano. He also enjoined the governor to provide potable water for the over five million people who do not have access to clean drinking water and delist Kano from the list of states with the highest maternal mortality rate in Nigeria and not the creation of new Emirates.
Igbere TV reports that another member of the coalition, Barrister Saida Sa’ad, accused the State House of Assembly of violating legislative process and giving undue attention to what she described as an unpopular bill. (Source: igberetvnews)
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The Kano Emirate has described as misleading the false news going around on the social media and carried by some online news outlets. In its press statement few hours ago it called those media carrying such news as misleading and inacuurate.
There have been rumours of the court in Kano nullifying the newly created emirates in the old religious kingdom of Kano. Many have viewed the idea by the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as personal political witchhunt on Emir Sanusi Mohammad II for his stand against the call by the governor to help him rig the just concluded 2019 gubernatorial poll in the state.
Such allegation has been refuted by the governor and he wen further to explain that by law the Emir is answerable to the local government chairman and not to the governor.
The press statement is below:
Kano Emirate : Story of Court Nullifying New Emirs Misleading
From Abba Anwar
As inaccurate as it is misleading, a story mischievously emanated from one media organisation, and “innocently” popularise by other media organisations concerning the newly appointed Emirs of Bichi, Karaye, Rano and Gaya, that a court sitting in Ungogo nullifies their appointment, is but an aggressive misleading news item.
The Kano State High Court, sitting in Ungogo only ordered for the return to status-quo, which in our side, means all appointed Emirs maintain their positions.
From the time Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje assented to the Law establishing the Emirs up to the time he served them with Letters of Notification of Appointment, he was not served with any Court Order restraining him from doing that.
The final thing he did to the newly Emirs was presentation of Staff of Office which took place on Sunday 12th May, 2019.
After Justice Nasiru Saminu ordered for the return of the status-quo, pending further hearing, the hearing is fixed for 21st June, 2019.
Practitioners and members of the public should cross-check this with the Court that gave out this position for further clarification and informed angle of the story. Kano State High Court, sitting in Ungogo, under Justice Nasiru Saminu.
Anwar is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano State
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Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje and Emir Sanusi Mohammad II
The Kano State High Court has granted an order restraining Governor Abdullahi Ganduje from implementing the breakup of Kano Emirate.
Mr Ganduje signed a law on Wednesday which created an additional four emirates, a move that was widely seen as depletion of Emir Lamido Sanusi’s influence.
The matter immediately took a political dimension with the Peoples Democratic Party members in the House saying that the additional four emirates were not properly created, accusing the All Progressives Congress majority of disregarding extant parliamentary procedures.
Two PDP House members, including the minority leader, told PREMIUM TIMES they received a court order against the new Emirates on Friday afternoon. (Premium Times)
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Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State on Wednesday signed a bill that sought to split the Kano emirate into four into law.
With the signing into the Kano State Emirs’ Appointment and Deposition Amendment Bill 2019 into law, the state now has five emirates – Gaya, Rano, Karaye, Bichi and Kano.
The state House of Assembly passed the bill earlier on Wednesday less than 24 hours after a petition submitted to the House by one Ibrahim Salisu was read by the Speaker, Alhassan Ruum.
The governor, who signed the bill into law barely eight hours after it was passed by the lawmakers, said, “The traditional institution will now go closer to the people. We are about to make history today, and in the Holy Month of Ramadan.”
He stated that with the expansion of the emirate council, there was a need to bring forth the all-important institution to serve the people better.
According to him, all the necessary requirements needed for the immediate commencement of the new councils are in place.
He stated, “Kingmakers will be known very soon. So also all other processes and procedures will be completed for appointing respective emirs, issuing them with appointment letters up to the coronation stage.”
The proposed emirates will reduce the area of influence of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II.
Reading the report of the House joint committees before the floor of the House on Tuesday, the Majority Leader, Alhaji Baffa Danagundi, said the decision to pass the bill followed wide consultations with stakeholders.
According to Danagundi, the law, if signed by the state governor, each of the emirate council will have their own kingmakers except Bichi.
Bichi, he said, would have its kingmakers from the old Emirate Council, Gidan Dabo, in particular.
Earlier on Wednesday on another occasion, the governor promised to sign the bill into law without hesitation as soon as it was passed by the House.
He said, “We heard about a bill forwarded to the state House of Assembly, requesting them to enact a law for the creation of four more emirs in Kano. We believe those that did this did it with good intentions and they want the development of the state.”
With the creation of more emirates, Ganduje argued that all sectors of society would enjoy improvement.
He stated, “We believe the petitioners did it in good faith. And they want the development of the state. I hope the legislative arm would work on it and forward it to me for assent of which I am ready to sign into law without any waste of time.
“That is the popular wish of our people. This will also go a long way in hastening growth and the development of the state.
“It will also lead to more concentration on our health, education and other equally important sectors of the society. That is why I said there would be no waste of time in signing the bill into law.
“The efforts did not get through many years ago but now we are happy to see that the idea would come into fruition.” (Punch)
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Kano deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna (middle) being taken into custody
John Alechenu, Kano
The Police in Kano have taken the state deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna and the State Commissioner for Local Government, Alhaji Sule Garo into custody over alleged threat to public peace.
The two were arrested for alleged disruption of the collation of results of the Governorship Elections at the Nasarawa Local Government area Collation Centre.
It was gathered that the two were saved from being manhandled by supporters of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party candidate, at the Centre.
The incident which took place at about 2:00 am was said to be responsible for the delay in releasing the final tally of the Kano State governorship race which is likely to decide the winner of the elections.. (Punch)
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