The president of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, has said that the North will go to war if, according to him, the southern region of Nigeria tries to remove president Muhammadu Buhari from government using the ongoing nationwide and international #EndSARS protest launched spontaneously by the Nigerian youths against police killings, police brutality, bad governance and other pressing issues.
According to him, the whole protest is to shortchange the north from completing their tenure in government leadership.
While speaking with journalists in Minna, Shettima claimed that the Southern region of Nigeria is trying to shortchange the north which, according to him, was what happened after the death of Yar-adua, the late Ex-Prsident of northern extraction.
He claimed the north is primed for war should Buhari be kicked out of government for bad governance that has become the reality on the country since the administration came onboard.
According to him, “Since 1999, the south has been cheating us as regards to the office of the president.
“When Obasanjo was the President, nobody disturbed him until after his complete eight years in office.
“Immediately our brother took over, they went against him until he died. Instead of using another Northerner to complete his tenure, they forced Jonathan on us.
“Now our brother Buhari is in power again, they are using everything against him forgetting that we still have 8 years after his tenure to equal that of Jonathan and Obasanjo.
“The point is that we the Northerners are not going to allow it. We will go to war if the protesters ever demand for Buhari to resign or an end of Nigeria like some of them are doing in Anambra State.”
It would be recalled that millions of Nigerians as well as those in the Diaspora have taken to the streets under the #endsars protests to condemn the incessant killings of the youths by the police. They are also demanding for good governance among several other demands.
The protests have gained international attention as well as support and solidarity, with many foreigners endorsing the protests.
Although the police have effected a swift reform of the system, the efforts have been rejected by the protesters who have said that the moves are inadequate.
Following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and immediate response to yearnings of citizens, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with stakeholders, agreeing to meet demands, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
The meeting, organized by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.
A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.
“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.
Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.
Femi Adesina Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) October 13, 2020
The presidency has rejected calls by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; Catholic Bishops, among other personalities for the restructuring of the country, noting that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would not succumb to “undue pressure.”
Senior special adviser to President Buhari on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu who said this in a statement on Sunday, described the renewed calls for restructuring by these eminent Nigerians as “unpatriotic outbursts” that are not helpful to the nation.
He warned those making the outbursts about the nation breaking up to desist from it, as according to him, the president will not succumb to threats.
“THE Presidency responds to the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.”
“This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the Covid-19 health crisis,” the statement said.
“Repeat: this administration will not take any decision against the the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of health crisis.
“The President as an elected leader under this constitution will continue to work with patriotic Nigerians, through and in line with the Parliamentary processes to finding solutions to structural and other impediments to the growth and wellbeing of the nation and its people.”
The Northern Elders Forum has advised Nigerians not to be tired of demanding for the restructuring of the country from the present government.
The Forum said the Nigerian state has failed, especially in the management of security, hence the need to revisit the way the country is structured to provide security for citizens.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, had on Saturday called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to restructure the country “as soon as possible”.
Adeboye, who spoke at a symposium alongside the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; former Governor of Cross River State and former presidential aspirant, Donald Duke; and a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, warned that it was either the country restructured as soon as possible or it broke up.
“You don’t have to be a prophet to know that one,” he added.
The Presidency, in a reaction on Sunday night, had described the calls as “recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country”.
But speaking on Tuesday morning while featuring on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, NEF spokesperson, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, insisted that the country must be restructured to address fundamental issues that ought to have been addressed since Nigeria gained independence.
He noted, “The two basic functions of the state are to secure citizens and provide for their welfare. Now, the Nigerian state is failing in both camps. So, restructuring for us means addressing those failures and identifying ideas, suggestions, and changes that can actually fit into the process of improving them.
“Policing is a fundamental issue. Here in the north where I come from, you could spend three days with bandits ravaging communities and you will not see a single policeman. Something is wrong with the way the country is structured to provide security for citizens. So, we need to revisit some of these issues.”
The NEF spokesperson stressed that the Nigerian constitution must be revised to “deal with issues that divide Nigerians rather than unite them.”
He said, “We need to look at our constitution, look at the way it provides for the Nigerian state, the federating units, allocate responsibilities in power, the works of vital institutions, or the failure of vital institutions to work and how we can improve them.
“When we make demands for the restructuring of the country, we are not necessarily saying that the government is deliberately causing the problems – they are cumulative issues, matters that should have been addressed a long time ago but they were not addressed. Nations must accept to revisit how they live.
“Nigerians have a right to ask for changes, for amendment, for improvement in the manner in which we live. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is for the government to specifically say we don’t want to hear anything about restructuring.
“Right now, no one will dispute that the federal government carries too many responsibilities most of which it doesn’t discharge, has too many resources and is not well run. It has become a focus of intense competition. The type of competition that makes the political system unstable. Everybody wants the Presidency. Everybody wants to go to Abuja. Abuja is everything. This is wrong.”
Baba-Ahmed noted that “many conferences whose recommendations have not been implemented need to be implemented.”
“We believe that Nigerians should never (be) tired about demanding that their country must be made to work. If the government is not going to do it on its own, it needs assistance. If it needs some pressure, we believe we can provide that pressure,” he concluded. (Punch)
The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, on Tuesday emphasized on the need to restructure Nigeria.
AYCF National President, Yerima Shettima warned that Nigeria was at the verge of collapse, if it’s not restructured.
Shettima issued the warning when asked to respond to the call by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye that President Muhammadu Buhari should restructure Nigeria.
However, Shettima, in a chat with DAILY POST said: “I’m not asserting much importance because Adeboye spoke but because I’m an advocate of restructuring, and we said this years ago that the centre can’t hold, the burden is too much and the centre can’t hold.
“For us to move and make meaning impact, we need to restructure this country, power must be devolved to the regions. Let there division of labour where it’s not everything the centre decides.
“If we allow the centre to continue the way we are going, one day, the centre will just collapse. It’s very clear, everybody knows that the centre can’t hold, and we need to look at it thoroughly and ensure it’s reviewed with the hope of decentralizing the central government so that things will be done right.
“This American style of government does not favour us, even there, they don’t practice this style of governance. A clear example is what happened between Trump and the governor of New York during the pandemic, so to some extent, the state governors should have their autonomy and do things their way, but in Nigeria, you dear not challenge the almighty centre, if it comes to the issue of policies.” (Daily Post)
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that there will be no going back on the new Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). CAC said the new act has come to stay in the country despite the public outcry that has greeted it.
The Commission said it was only waiting for the legislature to gazette it for immediate implementation of the law.
The CAMA bill was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, and was included in his list of achievements for the last one year.
The Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), had recently described CAMA as satanic, demanding that the President halts the implementation of “the obnoxious and ungodly law until religious institutions are exempted from it.”
The CAC Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, while speaking to Commerce Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) in Abuja yesterday wondered why the act was being opposed by religious bodies, especially the churches.
“They must henceforth subject their finances and expenditures for proper auditing, and copies sent to us at the CAC,” he said.
He explained further, “The new legal framework applies to all organizations registered with us; be it a religious organisation, NGO or CSO.
“Remember that they also have constitutions guiding them. The criteria to be a trustee of registered organisations are clearly spelt out in the laws establishing them.
“How is it that a registered member who qualifies to be a trustee in an organisation would not want government to know how the organisation is run? What are the responsibilities of the trustees?
“What are the responsibilities of the governing council or the board? How do you manage the affairs of the organisation? How do you use or expend the income and properties of the organisation? How do you appoint members of the governing board? These are the issues the new CAMA has come to address.”
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to “urgently rescind your assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, [CAMA 2020], and to send the legislation back to the National Assembly to address its fundamental flaws, including by deleting the repressive provisions of the Act, particularly sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F of the Act, and any other similar provisions.”
The organization is also urging him to “instruct the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, not to implement or enforce the CAMA 2020 until the legislation is repealed by the National Assembly, and brought in line with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”
In the letter dated 22 August, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “With these provisions, the government now has overly broad and discretionary powers to arbitrarily withdraw, cancel or revoke the certificate of any association, suspend and remove trustees, take control of finances of any association, and to merge two associations without their consent and approval of their members.”
According to SERAP, “Rather than taking concrete measures to improve the legal environment and civic space that would ensure respect for human rights and media freedom, your government has consistently pursued initiatives to restrict the enjoyment of citizens’ human rights. These rights are protected from impairment by government action.”
SERAP said: “These restrictions, coupled with repressive broadcasting codes and Nigerian security agencies’ relentless crackdown on peaceful protesters and civil society, demonstrate the government’s intention to suppress and take over independent associations.”
The letter, read in part: “SERAP is concerned that the provisions would be used by the authorities to exert extensive scrutiny over the internal affairs of associations, as a way of intimidation and harassment, which would eventually unduly obstruct the legitimate work carried out by associations.”
“We would be grateful if the requested action and measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you and your government to take these measures in the public interest.”
“Please note that SERAP has instructed its Legal Counsel Femi Falana, SAN to take all appropriate legal actions on our behalf should your government fail and/or neglect to act as requested.”
“Citizens’ decision to join with others in pursuit of a common goal is a fundamental aspect of their liberty. The right to freedom of association also plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate. This freedom is at risk if the government can compel a particular citizen, or a discrete group of citizens, to merge their associations.”
“Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association would be very limited if they are not accompanied by a guarantee of being able to share one’s beliefs of ideas in community with others, particularly through associations of individuals having the same beliefs, ideas or interests.”
“Similarly, freedom of association creates a forum for citizens in which they may freely seek, without any unlawful interference by the state, to move public opinion and achieve their goals. That “forum” cannot exist if the government is at liberty to treat one association as forming part of another or coercing one association to merge with another association.”
“By seeking to suspend and remove trustees, and appoint interim managers for associations, the government seems to want to place itself in a position to politicise the mandates of such association, and to undermine the ideas that the right to freedom of association and related rights are supposed to protect in a democratic society.”
“SERAP believes that the government granting itself the powers to suspend and remove trustees of legally registered associations and to take control of their bank accounts constitute an effective restraint on human rights.”
“Allowing the government to take control of the bank accounts of association would impact on the rights of the associations, and also seriously undermine civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as a whole.”
“These rights are in fact parts of the attributes of citizenship under a free government. “Liberty” includes the right to enjoy the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly. Our constitutional jurisprudence and international standards allow only the narrowest range for their restriction.”
“Combatting fraud, mismanagement, corruption, money-laundering and other modes of trafficking by associations is legitimate. However, it is not sufficient to simply pursue a legitimate interest, limitations need also to be prescribed by law and be necessary in a democratic society.”
“Under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights law, controls need to be fair, objective and non-discriminatory, and not be used as a pretext to silence critics. Your government has legal obligations to create an enabling environment in which associations can effectively carry out their legitimate activities.”
“These restrictions have no legal basis, as they fail to meet the requirements of legality, legitimacy, proportionality and necessity. The Human Rights Council has called on States to ensure that any regulations of associations ‘do not inhibit the independence and functional autonomy [of associations]’”
“We have also sent a Pre-Action Notice of a lawsuit pursuant to Section 17 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, to the Corporate Affairs Commission to urgently initiate, promote and support deletion of Sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 and any other repressive provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.”
“In communication No. 1274/2004, the Human Rights Committee observed that ‘the right to freedom of association relates not only to the right to form an association, but also guarantees the right of such an association freely to carry out its statutory activities. The protection afforded by article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights extends to all activities of an association.’”
“According to the Committee, ‘the existence and operation of a plurality of associations, including those which peacefully promote ideas not necessarily favourably received by the government or the majority of the population, is a cornerstone of a democratic society.’”
“Under international law, the use of the term “democratic society” places the burden on States imposing restrictions on freedom of association to demonstrate that the limitations do not harm the principles of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness.”
“The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights has also called on states not to pass legislation that would ‘give the Government control over the right of associations to manage their own activities.’”
“Associations, as organised, independent, not-for-profit bodies based on the voluntary grouping of persons who pursue activities on a wide range of issues, such as human rights, democratic reforms, and social and economic development, are an integral part of democratic institutions.”
“The right to freedom of association is to be enjoyed alone or in community with others. Without this collective dimension, the effective realisation of the right would often not be possible. SERAP believes that the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly to advance beliefs and ideas are inseparable aspects of the “liberty” assured by due process of law.”
“The right to freedom of association is interrelated with other human rights and freedoms, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, protection of property, the private life and correspondence, an effective remedy, fair trials; and right to be protected from discrimination.”
“A genuine and effective respect for freedom of association cannot be reduced to a mere duty on the part of the State not to interfere. Therefore, it is incumbent upon your government and all public authorities to respect and protect this right, and to guarantee the proper functioning of an association, even when they annoy or give offence to persons opposed to the lawful ideas or claims that they are seeking to promote.”
“Any limitations on human rights, including the right to freedom of association must be proportionate to the interest to be protected, and must be the least intrusive means to achieve the desired objective.”
“Implementing or enforcing these repressive provisions will have a significant chilling effect on legitimate activities of associations, and would seriously undermine their independence and operations.”
“SERAP considers the CAMA 2020 the most repressive legislation in Nigeria’s history, especially given the unlawful and impermissible restrictions contained in Part F of the Act. Sections 831, 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 of the Act are manifestly inconsistent with sections 36, 39 and 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999.”
“Under section 831[i][ii], the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is empowered to treat any unregistered association as part of an already registered association, and without any lawful justifications whatsoever. The government also has the power to treat two or more associations as a single association on the flimsy pretext that the associations have the same trustees.”
“Section 839 and  of the Act also grants the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission the powers to arbitrarily and unilaterally suspend and remove the trustees of any legally registered association, and to appoint an interim manager or managers to run the affairs of any such association, if the Commission reasonably believes that there is “misconduct, mismanagement, and fraud” in the association, or on the basis of undefined “public interest.”
“The government will determine and decide what constitutes “public interest” in all cases. The exercise of the powers under section 839 is subject only to the approval of the supervisory Minister, a political appointee.”
“Similarly, sections 842, 843 and 844 grants the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission overly broad powers and discretion to arbitrarily, unlawfully and unilaterally regulate the finances of any association, and to take control and take over bank accounts lawfully belonging to legally registered associations under Part F of the CAMA 2020.”
“Further, section 850[e] empowers the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission to arbitrarily and unilaterally withdraw, cancel or revoke the certificate of registration of any duly and legally registered association.”
“These repressive provisions clearly and directly threaten and violate the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, privacy, property, and other human rights guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”
“SERAP notes that legally registered associations have also deposited their constitutions and other documents with the Corporate Affairs Commission under the now repealed and replaced CAMA 2004.”
“The Commission also enjoyed wide ranging powers under CAMA 2004 to regulate these associations, as the associations are required to periodically report to the Commission. Registered associations are also regulated under other existing laws, including anti-corruption and money laundering laws, the Criminal Code and Penal CoCAMA
President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly appointed the Commissioner of Police of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Ciroma to take the former position of Ibrahim Magu as the new acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Magu has reportedly moved his personal belongings out of his official residence in Maitama.
Similarly, Magu’s Karu residence in Abuja residence was searched by security operatives on Tuesday evening.
These are connected to the ongoing investigations into allegations of corruption leveled agains him.
It is not clear if the security operatives visited his official residence in Maitama, but information gathered revealed that the suspended EFCC boss has packed his personal properties from the Maitama house
The seven-man presidential panel continues sitting today.