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Coup Comment: Kaduna APC Chieftain Calls For Ekweremadu’s Arrest |RN

IkeEkweremadu

Deputy Senate President, dr Ike Ekweremadu

By Baba Negedu, KADUNA

 

A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC) in Kaduna State, Alhaji Salisu Tanko Wusono yesterday called for the arrest of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

Wusono the Acting publicity Secretary of Kaduna APC chapter said the call has become imperative following the comments by Ike Ekweremadu that democracy is under threat and coup is possible in Nigeria.

Wusono said just because there is what he called intraparty wrangling within some states is not enough to say a coup is possible.

Wusono then condemned the postulation of Senator Ekweremmadu and called for his immediate arrest by security agencies because his advice is sarcastic in nature and could open a door for a plethora of calls for military take-over in the country.

Wusono, however, urged Nigerians to ignore senator Ekweremmadu, saying he was not surprised by the position of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) chieftain because the party is no longer in power. (New Telegraph)

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Zimbabwe Calm As Regional Leaders Hold Talks With Mugabe, Military |RN

-AU urges restoration of constitutional order

-Opposition groups call on President to resign

Zimbabwe was calm yesterday even as it faces uncertainty amid quiet talks to resolve the political crisis and the likely end of President Robert Mugabe’s decades-long rule.

Envoys from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are trying to reach a deal on the future of Zimbabwe and Mugabe who has led the country for 37 years. SADC officials converged on Botswana for a meeting chaired by South Africa and Angola. Their recommendations will be given to heads of state and government.

Reports said SADC, ministers were already in Harare meeting with Mugabe and the army separately.

Mugabe has been in military custody, reportedly with his wife, and there was no sign of the recently fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled the country last week, Associated Press reported. The military remained in the streets of Harare.

Witnesses confirmed a sighting of Mugabe’s motorcade moving through the capital, Harare, its destination unknown. They said a helicopter was hovering at the same time the motorcade was sighted. It was not immediately clear where the motorcade was going.

African Union leader Alpha Conde, said: “The African Union expresses its serious concern regarding the situation unfolding in Zimbabwe.” He went on to insist that “constitutional order… be restored immediately” and called “on all stakeholders to show responsibility and restraint”.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for calm, non-violence and restraint after gunfire and explosions were heard near Mugabe’s compound.

Seizing on the political limbo to speak out, a range of voices yesterday urged Mugabe to step aside and for the country to transition into free and fair elections. Reports said sources suggest Mugabe may be resisting pressure to step down, insisting he remains the legitimate president.

Sticking points are said to include what role Mnangagwa will play and the security of Mugabe’s family.

ZANU-PF’s United Kingdom representative, Nick Mangwana, has suggested to the BBC that Mugabe could remain nominally in power until the party congress in December, when Mnangagwa would be formally installed as party and national leader.

Head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday: “In the interests of the people, Mr Robert Mugabe must resign… immediately”.

Tsvangirai, who has been abroad receiving treatment for cancer, also called for a “negotiated all-inclusive transitional mechanism” that would lead to “comprehensive reforms for free and fair elections to be held”.

This has been echoed by another Zimbabwean opposition leader, Tendai Biti, who told the BBC: “It is urgent that we go back to democracy… that we go back to legitimacy but we need a transitional period and I think, I hope, that dialogue can now be opened between the army and Zimbabweans.”

The People’s Democratic Party said in a statement yesterday that the transitional authority should be “made up of competent Zimbabweans whose mandate will be to put in place measures to turn around the economy” and build a better society for all.

Zimbabwean vice president who was fired in 2014, Joice Mujuru, called for “free, fair and credible elections.” She told reporters she was heartened by assurances given so far that condemn violence and encourage peace. She said she has not been contacted by the military or Mnangagwa’s people.

More than 100 civil society groups have issued a statement urging Mugabe to peacefully step aside and asked the military to quickly restore order and respect the constitution. A joint statement by churches also appealed for calm. The Zimbabwean pastor whose social media campaign led to the largest anti-government protests in a decade called on citizens to “stand up for peace.”

Evan Mawarire, who founded the #ThisFlag movement, asked: “Should we just sit and wait or shall we at least be part of this transition process?” He urged that citizens not wait for regional leaders to broker the next phase. Members of the opposition, civil society and religious groups called for calm and respect for rights.  (The Sun)

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Robert Mugabe Appears In Public For The First Time Since Military Coup |RN

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Zimbabwe General Visited Beijing Just Days Before Executing Coup |RN

By Adrian Blomfield

The general behind Zimbabwe’s coup may have sought Chinese approval days before the army launched its takeover of Robert Mugabe’s government, it emerged on Wednesday.

Mr Mugabe remained under house arrest last night, still president of Zimbabwe if in name alone, a prisoner of once slavishly loyal generals who now hold the country’s fate in their hands.

As the former British colony faced a deeply uncertain future under military tutelage, a trip to Beijing by Gen Constantine Chiwenga, the head of the armed forces, last week has reignited concerns about rising Chinese influence in Africa.

The general held high-level meetings with officials from the Defence Ministry, and visited a school to observe a Shaolin Kung Fu class.

Although the Chinese foreign ministry insisted Gen Chiwenga’s visit was a “routine visit”, analysts have suggested that Beijing may have given the rebellious army chief its tacit blessing in advance.

Mr Mnangagwa and his allies have made conscious efforts to court Beijing as both an investor and a military partner.

Zimbabwe Army General Constantino Chiwenga addresses a media conference© JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images Zimbabwe Army General Constantino Chiwenga addresses a media conference

China, which has displaced Western rivals to become Africa’s largest trading partner and is a major investor in Zimbabwe, notably declined to call for Mr Mugabe’s restoration yesterday, despite his long ties to Beijing dating back to the Cold War.

Last year, China pledged to invest $4bn in Zimbabwe for investment, loans and aid over the next three years.

Responding to the coup, the Chinese foreign ministry merely stated that Beijing was “paying close attention to developments”, prompting suggestions that China had agreed to sacrifice “Comrade” Mugabe” in the interests of an orderly succession.                       (The Telegraph)

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Zimbabwe Crisis: We Are Targeting Criminals, Not Mugabe, Says Army |RN

Constantine-Chiwenga

Commmander of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga

Army General Constantino Chiwenga Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces addressing a media conference held at the Zimbabwean Army Headquarters in Harare. Photo: AFP

Zimbabwe’s military has read out a statement after taking over the national broadcaster, ZBC, saying it has taken action to “target criminals”, BBC reports.

However, it said this was not “a military takeover of government” and President Robert Mugabe was safe.

Heavy gunfire and artillery were heard in northern suburbs of the capital, Harare, early on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe’s envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, earlier dismissed talk of a coup, saying the government was “intact”.

The statement read out by Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo came hours after soldiers overran the headquarters of ZBC. He said: “We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.”

The statement added: “We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes… that are causing social and economic suffering in the country. As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

The statement did not name those targeted but a government source quoted by Reuters said Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo was among those detained.

It is not clear who is leading the military action.

Other key points of the statement included:

  • Citizens should remain calm and limit unnecessary movement
  • The military assures the Zimbabwean judiciary that its independence is guaranteed
  • Security services should “co-operate for the good of our country” and any provocation would “be met with an appropriate response”
  • All leave for the defence forces is cancelled and they should return to barracks immediately

(Punch)

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Fear Of Coup: Army Clamps Down On Suspected Soldiers |The Republican News

Image result for nigerian army in coup
                                      Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai

OLALEYE ALUKO

The Nigerian Army may have begun an internal search for soldiers and officers suspected to be engaging in political meetings, a top military source has told SUNDAY PUNCH.

The source said that some arrests may have been made, but that the information was being kept as top secret so as not to add to public tension.

Some other sources who spoke with our correspondent on Saturday also noted that the  establishment of an army unit in Daura, Katsina State, on Friday, named Muhammadu Buhari Forward Operation Base, by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was an effort to fortify the president’s hometown and a public pledge of loyalty.

On Tuesday, Buratai, in a tense language, had warned officers and soldiers to steer clear of politics, as information had reached him that some officers were involved in political meetings for “undisclosed reasons.”

The army chief had advised officers and soldiers interested in politicking to resign from the service, as any officer caught would be severely penalised.

Three days after the alert (Friday), Buratai went to Daura, where he inaugurated the army unit, and paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Daura, Dr Faruk Umar.

The details of the meeting have yet to be known.

The army chief, at the ceremony, had said the establishment of the unit was to enhance security in parts of 1 Division, which Daura town fell under.

Also, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, said, “The establishment of the new unit was part of the implementation of the Nigerian Army approved Order of Battle 2016 (ORBAT 2016) by the Army council.

“Prior to that, the COAS was also at the Palace of his Royal Highness, Alhaji Faruk Umar, the Emir of Daura, for a courtesy call.”

The top army source said the army knew quite well the weight of its statement on politicking soldiers in the country, and had already followed up with high intelligence-driven search, adding that the public groups and civil societies could not be more rigorous than the army.

Other sources told our correspondent that some of the suspected political meetings were held under the guise of some of the recently redeployed 147 soldiers and officers, allegedly trying to familiarise with their new hosts.

When contacted on the measures the army was taking on the alert of soldiers hobnobbing with politicians, the army spokesman, Usman, said the army was a professional service, and would not hesitate to brief the public if it considered the information as necessary.

He said, “The army is a disciplined and professional service. We relate well with the Nigerian public. When there is need to disclose information, we will.”  (Punchng.com)

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Coup Alert: UK, Ohanaeze, ACF, PDP Warn Soldiers Against Coup

Nigerian-Army

Regional bodies, the Peoples Democratic Party, civil rights groups and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria among others, on Wednesday, urged military officers and other individuals toying with the idea of a coup in Nigeria to perish the thought.

Among those that condemned the alleged plot of a military intervention are the United Kingdom Government; the umbrella body for the North, the Arewa Consultative Forum; the Igbo socio-political organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and a prominent lawyer, Alhaji Yusuf Ali (SAN).

Also, two Civil-Society Organisations – Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders – condemned the alleged romance between some Nigerians and a soldiers for political reasons.

In separate interviews with The PUNCH on Wednesday, they declared that coups were no longer fashionable.

The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, however, warned Buratai not to turn himself to a whistle-blower.

They spoke against the backdrop of a warning by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who alleged, on Tuesday, that some people were approaching soldiers for political reasons, warning the soldiers, who might heed such overtures of serious consequences.

A statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, on Tuesday, stated, “This is to inform the public that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T. Y. Buratai, has received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons. On the basis of that, he has warned such persons to desist from these acts.”

Although  Buratai did not elaborate on the political reasons, there had been fears by some Nigerians that such hobnobbing is a bad omen and may lead to a military intervention.

Curiously also, the COAS warning came a week after a major shakeup in the top echelons of the Army.

Don’t turn the clock backward, says ACF

The ACF applauded the Chief of Army Staff for warning officers and men of the Nigerian Army to steer clear of politics.

The National Publicity Secretary of the group, Muhammad Ibrahim, told one of our correspondents in Kaduna that the warming was timely.

The forum’s spokesman urged Nigerians to expose those who wanted to turn the clock back.

ACF added, “Nigeria, at this time of our democratic experience, cannot afford any distractions by some unpatriotic individuals who want to use the military or other security agencies to disrupt our hard-earned democracy.

“The ACF therefore commends the Chief of Army Staff for his proactive action and appeals to Nigerians to expose those who wish to turn the hand of the clock backwards.”

Expose those approaching soldiers, Makarfi-led PDP, Ohanaeze tell Buratai

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo aligned with the position of the PDP factional group, asking Buratai to expose those that had approached soldiers for political reasons.

The group, however, warned against attempt, by anybody or group, to take advantage of President Muhammadu Buhari’s sickness “to take power through the back door.”

The Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. Chuks Ibegbu, who spoke to one of our correspondents, said the nation deserved to know the individuals concerned.

“He (Buratai) should name those people, so that Nigerians will know who they are, and their motives.

“People should not take advantage of Mr. President’s health condition to take power through the back door.

“Whoever they are, they should know that any attempt to scuttle democracy in this country will be resisted by Nigerians. Military rule is no longer welcome in this country.

“But Buratai should start by naming these people; Nigerians need to know who they are so as to stop them.”

The Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, however, urged Buratai to expose politicians who were approaching soldiers for political reasons.

The National Publicity Secretary of the committee, Dayo Adeyeye, said this in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

Adeyeye stated, “He should come out more openly and tell Nigerians what is actually happening. What exactly is the nature of the contact politicians are making with the soldiers? We would like to know the nature of the contact and who and who are making the contact.

“It is only reasonable that he exposes those involved. What are those politicians making these contacts asking for? The truth is that as a nation, we cannot go back to Egypt, because democracy is our Promised Land.”

Attempts to get official comments from the ruling All Progressives Congress were unsuccessful. Calls to the mobile telephone of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, indicated that it was switched off.

A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

Those seeking change must follow democratic process –UK

In its reaction to Buratai’s warning, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, said the United Kingdom would continue to support democracy as the only system of government in Nigeria.

Arkwright further stated that anyone, who was seeking for change, must follow the democratic process which is election.

The British High Commissioner said this in Abuja on Wednesday while fielding questions from journalists after the presentation of a Chatham House Report, titled, ‘Collective Action on Corruption in Nigeria: A Social Norms Approach to Connecting Society and Institutions’.

Arkwrtight said, “The British Government believes that democracy is absolutely critical in Nigeria. There is a democratic process here; there are elections. If you are not happy with your leaders, then you should change your leadership process through your leaders and through elections.

“That is exactly what happened in 2015 and it is what the British Government will expect to happen in Nigeria. So, our position is very clear; we stand for democracy, we stand for the democratic process and we stand for change, if that is what the people of Nigeria want.

“It has to be a choice that the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them.”

Don’t turn yourself to a whistle-blower, Afenifere tells COAS

But Afenifere condemned the comment by Buratai on an alleged romance between the military and some soldiers, saying the comment had created fear in minds of Nigeria that coup might occur at anytime.

The Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, stated that the COAS should not have made that statement but should have dealt with his men, who were found guilty of hobnobbing with politicians.

Odumakin stated, “The Chief of Army Staff should not have turned himself to a whistle-blower over the matter. He has a directorate of military intelligence, it should have found out those soldiers contacted and who are contacting them, not to be blowing whistle like the EFCC.

“It is very unfortunate that such a statement is coming out from the Chief of Army Staff. The statement has not only created fear but has also indicated that something can happen at any time.”

Buratai’s warning commendable, says Sheriff’s PDP

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, loyal to Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, Bernard Miko, commended the Army chief for reminding his officers and men of their professional ethics.

“The Chief of Army Staff is not a politician, but issuing routine administrative orders to his field commanders on professional ethics which is very commendable,” he said.

Military should deal early with politicking soldiers, say CDHR, CACOL

In their reactions, the CDHR and CACOL said the military should urgently deal with soldiers who are fraternising with some politicians and douse the tension of a military incursion.

The CDHR President, Malachy Ugwumadu, said in an interview with one of our correspondents that Nigeria could not afford the rumours of a military infraction, let alone the action itself.

He called on the Army authorities to deal internally with such perceived indiscipline.

Ugwumadu stated, “The military incursion into politics is an era we have nullified once and for all. We all knew the struggles we had before winning this democracy.

“Our country cannot stand the rumours of a military incursion, let alone the action itself.

“I commend the Chief of Army Staff for being so intelligence-driven and he should immediately fish out the soldiers behind such acts and deal decisively with them.”

CACOL chairman, Debo Adeniran, said, “Nigeria, despite the economic recession, cannot tolerate any military intervention in power. The intelligence arm of the Army should identify soldiers fraternising with rebellious politicians and court-martial them immediately.

“The military should remember that it derives its authority from civil rule, and soldiers fraternising with politics should remember that military rule is no longer fashionable. We do not want a military that is not subject to democracy.”

SAN, ex-DSS boss, former minister condemn politicians-soldiers romance

Yusuf Ali described the warning by the Chief of Army Staff as timely.

He added that more than 50 per cent of the problems bedevilling the nation were caused by military intervention in governance.

The senior advocate added, “It is no more fashionable for the Armed Forces to take over government anywhere in the world.

“We saw what happened in The Gambia and what is even happening in Cote d’Ivoire now.

“I think we should all remember that almost 50 per cent of our problems today were caused by military rule, in the first place.

“Mention any problem we have – corruption, deficit in infrastructure and even militancy and others – was caused by the intervention of the military in governance.

“I think the call by the Chief of Army Staff is quite timely and I pray that reason will prevail.

“The problem we have here is not as much as what they have in India, and the Army never took over for more than 40 years. So we should be allowed to make our mistakes and correct ourselves.”

Also, a former Minister of State for Defence, Chief Demola Seriki, advised Buratai to report his suspicions to the Department of State Services, the military intelligence units and the National Intelligence Agency.

Seriki stated, “Buratai should have reported such a suspicion to the DSS and the NIA instead of lamenting or amplifying such a matter in the media. This kind of thing is not good for national security.

“He should report the matter to military and army intelligence units. By extension, the Nigerian counter-intelligence, which is the NIA, should have been informed if he had such a suspicion rather than informing the public because this is not good for national security and prestige and honour of the military.”

Seriki, who held four different ministerial portfolios under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, said a military coup in Nigeria in 2017 was highly unlikely.

“Today, military officers are more enlightened and educated; so, they are more professional. The military that I supervised were gentlemen. So, there is no cause for alarm,” he added.

Also speaking with one of our correspondents, a former Director of the DSS, Mike Ejiofor, ruled out the possibility of a military coup d’etat.

He added that Nigerians would not accept military dictatorship again.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Wednesday, Ejiofor, who is the President, Institute of Security Studies, Abuja, said the alarm raised by Buratai might have nothing to do with a possible coup.

The ex-DSS chief said, “The warning by the Chief of Army Staff is a step in the right direction, but thinking of a possible involvement of soldiers in a coup is completely ruled out because Nigerians and the world at large no longer accept such. So, I don’t want to believe that the Chief of Army Staff had a coup in mind when he made that statement.

“The Army is being accused of taking sides in certain conflicts, failing to take necessary actions to quell crisis in some areas. So, I think he (Buratai) was talking of that because military coups are old-fashioned and no Nigerians will welcome that,  and I believe that our politicians will never encourage soldiers to overthrow anybody.

“There is no cause for alarm. In fact, I can assure you that if the military comes in or if there is any attempt to come in, Nigerians will drive them away with their bare hands.” (Punchng.com)

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