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Nigerian Military, Amnesty International Disagree Over Threat Allegation |RN

Army-invade-NUJ-Office-in-Aba

 

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Nigerian military and Amnesty International (AI)are at loggerheads over alleged threats and smear campaign.
AI said it has been the subject of threats and smear campaigns by the military since May 24 when it released a report, “They Betrayed Us,” which documented the prevalence of sexual violence against starving women and girls in satellite camps which are under the control of Nigerian soldiers and militia.

But, AI Director in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, has vowed that they will not be deterred from defending human rights in the country.
In a statement by its Media Manager, Isa Sanusi, given to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, AI insisted it always  share findings of its investigations with the military before publication, requesting for its inputs but, “they either completely ignore these attempts to engage, or referred us to other arms of government, in a clear attempt to evade our questions.

“The Nigerian military is increasingly resorting to threats, intimidation and smears to discredit Amnesty International’s work documenting the human rights violations it has committed. On 24 May 2018, the organization released a report, “They Betrayed Us”, which documented the prevalence of sexual violence against starving women and girls detained in satellite camps under the control of Nigerian soldiers and militia.

“The Nigerian military responded by organising smear campaigns and issuing threats to “take action against Amnesty International.

“Rather than taking action to address the issues raised in this report, like investigating countless allegations of rape and other war crimes, the Nigerian military has fallen back on its usual hostile tactics of denials and threats,” said Ojigho.
Amnesty International has also released reports on the multiple, horrific cases of abuse carried out by Boko Haram and human rights violations by the Nigeria Police Force.

Regardless, the Nigerian Armed Forces have dismissed AI’s claims.

Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, who debunked the allegation said AI seems to be running away from its shadow as the military has never and will never reduce itself to begin to issue threats to any person or group of persons; no matter the level of provocation.

In his reaction to AI’s allegation, Agim challenged the international organisation to the state where, when and how the threat was issued to them.

He told Daily Sun, yesterday, that it is a known fact that AI has always communicated to the military through the media, with its series of allegations, instead of putting them in writing.

“Did they say we wrote a letter to them or we sent somebody?

“Those people are being pursued by their wickedness, not the military because we don’t have anything to do with them at all”

“We have never had any contact with AI.

“They don’t write to us so, where is this threat allegation coming from?

“In fact, they hold their press briefings and we respond through the media; we have never had any contact with AI

“So, the threat, did they read it on the pages of newspapers because they refused to deal with us?

“They prefer to hold international press conferences and tell lies against the military and we respond through the same international press conferences.

“We don’t have anything to do with them. We don’t have any contact with them.

“I don’t even know the person who is behind AI or where the person comes from

“Ask them if they ever have spoken to us. Have we ever written to them?

“We talk to the media just as they are writing to the media, so, where is the threat coming from?

“They have never contacted us in their write-ups and we, too, don’t contact them. We are talking in the media space. If they have done something wrong, they should be afraid.” (The Sun)

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Biafra Day: Five Killed, About 500 Arrested |The Republican News

By  Steve Uzoechi, Emmanuel Masha, Uchenna Inya, Kenneth Ofoma, Emmanuel Ifeanyi and Okegwo Kenechukwu

 

At least five people were feared killed yesterday while the police arrested more than 500 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) in the South-East and South-South regions. Several others were injured in clashes with police during rallies in support of planned declaration of the Biafra Republic and hoisting of the Biafran flag.

The rallies were held in major cities of Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Rivers and Delta states. Five people were said to have been killed while four others were injured in Anambra State during the 18th anniversary of the “independence of the New Biafra” by the members of MASSOB. The Director of MASSOB Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, said in a statement that the celebration was in continuation of the desire of the group to achieve a sovereignty state of Biafra.

He said: “While we were gathered at the Onitsha-Owerri Road, by Obosi junction, a joint military task force, including the Army, Navy, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in over 45 Hilux vehicles shot five of our members dead. “About 206 members were arrested.

The arrested members included Chief Christian Ifejika, Declan Okafor, Gloria Umejesi, Rose Oforbike, Fidelis Oduenyi, and 173 others.” Mocha said that four persons – Chief Vincent Iloh, Ebuka Emmanuel, Innocent Okolie and Mrs Virginia Ubazuonu – received machete cuts on their heads from the Joint Task Force (JTF) members in their desperate attempt to disperse the crowd. When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Mohammed, said he was not aware of any arrest or killing. In Imo State, about 84 members of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led MASSOB and BIM were arrested by the police in Owerri.

According to the Owerri Zonal Leader of MASSOB/BIM, Mr Samuel Njoku, some members of the group were arrested while conducting a press briefing at the old Timber market (Ogbo Osisi) on Wetheral Road, Owerri, while others were arrested on their way to the rally from Orlu, Mgbidi, Ngor Okpala, Mbaise and Okigwe.

On the reason for their rally, Njoku explained that “since the end of the Civil War in 1970, no Igbo was courageous enough to mention Biafra until Chief Uwazuruike launched MASSOB on September 13, 1999, and on May 22, 2000, declared and hoisted the flag for the new Biafra.”

According to him, the uniqueness of May 22 anchored on its historic importance makes the day a big event for the struggle for the emancipation of Biafran people.

The state PPRO, Andrew Enwerem, said arrested members of BIM/MASSOB were separatists who were nabbed by security operatives of the command from various parts of the state. He said the arrests were based on intelligence information that MASSOB/BIM members were about to conduct themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace. As early as 7:30a.m., security men were stationed at various entry points of Owerri, to stop MASSOB members from joining the rally while others were also stationed at various local government areas.

Despite the heavy security presence, the demonstrators were able to arrive in buses from nearby council areas of the state with Biafra flags and placards bearing various inscriptions depicting commitment to the Biafran state, wearing Biafran military uniforms and chanting Biafran songs and solidarity slogans.

At least 10 members of MASSOB and BIM were arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Hundreds of Biafra supporters outside Rivers had stormed Port Harcourt to mark the event, starting a procession at Mile Market and were heading towards Eleme Junction before they were intercepted around Garrison Junction by security operatives.

The security men thereafter released tear gas into the air and arrested 10 of the protesters, mostly those wearing military and NSCDC camouflage. Those that were arrested, according to some of the Biafra supporters, were subsequently taken to the Olu-Obasanjo Police Station in Port Harcourt. Meanwhile, the state PPRO, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was not aware of the arrest. The leader of MASSOB in the state, Solomon Chukwu, lamented that the arrest was unnecessary, noting that they only embarked on a procession and did not engage in any violent behaviour.

Police, soldiers and other security agents arrested scores of members for MASSOB and BIM in Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. Security agencies in the state accosted them on Nkaliki Road as they started the peaceful march, fired tear gas at them and arrested some of them. Army, Department of State Security (DSS) and the police carried out the joint operation. Commander of the Nigerian Military Cantonment in Nkwegu, Col. S. O. Sadiq, confirmed the participation of the Army in the arrest of the Biafra agitators.

He said all the arrested persons were handed over to the police. Sadiq said that MASSOB did not notify security agencies in the state of the event in writing which he said necessitated the arrest. The state PPRO, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident but could not give the actual number of persons arrested.

“I don’t have the details of the actual number of persons arrested right now when I get the full details I will let you know,” she said. Ebonyi Central MASSOB/BIM leader, Gideon Iloke, said: “Today, we are celebrating Biafra Independence.

We are happy that the world authorities have recognised Biafra as an independent state and that is why throughout the federation, South-South and South-East are celebrating Biafra independence. We also agreed that all the states under Biafra must gather to celebrate the greatness of Biafra because we are grateful for what God has done to us.”

In Aba, Abia State, the police arrested 115 members of MASSOB. The Zonal Leader of the group, for Abia South, Mr Fredrick Onyenucheya, disclosed that the police, aside from arresting 115 members of his group, injured many others.

Onyenucheya, flanked by Chief Obi Anyaogu (leader Abia Central) and Pastor Evans Okoronkwo (Abia North MASSOB/BIM leader), claimed that they were holding peaceful rally to mark this year’s anniversary at Umuorieoma on the Osisioma axis of the Enugu-Aba- Port Harcourt Expressway when policemen in over 20 Hilux vans arrived at the location.

He said that the group members numbering over 200 gathered at Umuorieoma junction by 9a.m. and were peacefully dancing and marching towards No 175, Faulks to hoist the Biafran flag which will mark the 18th-anniversary re-restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra in the year 2000.” The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ogbizi, confirmed the arrest of 47 members of MASSOB and BIM in Aba. Ogbizi said those arrested included men and women and were being held in detention in Aba.

He said that although they were peaceful during their march, they were arrested because they wore Army camouflage uniforms and had Biafra flags and insignia in their hands. He said: “We are profiling them and when we finish they would be charged accordingly. “The legal department is there.

They will advise us before we know what else to do.” Also, police in Enugu arrested an undisclosed number of members of MASSOB and BIM for allegedly breaching public peace. The state PPRO, SP Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the arrest in a statement, advised residents to go about their lawful businesses.

Amaraizu said the state Commissioner of Police, Danmallam Mohammed, had “warned against any act or omission by any individual or group of persons under any guise capable of disrupting the existing peace in the state.” Meanwhile, the Imo State correspondent of the Punch newspaper, Emeka Ihiegbulem, was brutally assaulted by policemen for attending a press briefing by the MASSOB.

While the policemen dealt him blows, soldiers and personnel of the NSCDC also shoved him around. Ihiegbulam was in the midst of the MASSOB members, trying to clarify an issue raised when policemen, who were later followed by soldiers, stormed the area; cordoned off the rally and forced everyone including journalists to sit on the ground.

Ihiegbulam said: “I sat down on the ground with all the MASSOB members. I brought out my identity card and my recorder telling the officers that I am a journalist on an assignment and that I was not a MASSOB member.

They ignored my explanations, arrested me alongside the MASSOB members and marched us all into a lorry to the police headquarters.” Ihiegbulam’s beating started when a soldier and policemen tried to force him to hang a Biafran flag around his neck to give the impression he was arrested with the flag.

The man firmly refused while brandishing his identity card and work tools. His refusal infuriated the policemen; while one snatched his identity card, recorder and jotter from him, another slapped him from the back of his head. He was trying to see who slapped him when a heavy wooden club landed on his head. At the State Police Command Headquarters, Ihiegbulam was forced to sit on the ground. But Commander, MOPOL 18, who identified Ihiegbulam among the ‘suspects,’ ordered him out of the ground.        (New Telegraph)

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Obasanjo Believes Everything Should Go His way, Says Gen. Ikponmwen |RN

By OJIEVA EHIOSUN

Retired General Don Ikponmwen Idada is a lawyer and a former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army. In this chat with OJIEVA EHIOSUN, he talks about the security challenges in the country, among other issues. Excerpts:

 

What is your view on General Theophilus Danjuma’s recent call on Nigerians to defend themselves against ravaging Fulani herdsmen while accusing the military of connivance?
This declaration must take us round several national issues of the moment. The declaration by General Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff and a former Minister of Defence, is a very loaded statement from a person whose view can hardly be ignored.

It has raised so many issues including the question of how Nigeria has been governed over the years, especially after the military era and up to this moment. It amounts to a serious indictment of the present and past regimes in the country. It also raises the issue of the role which the Army had been playing since former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime after Nigeria moved from military to civil administration.

It raises the question of what should be the constitutional duties of the military in a democratic system with particular reference to internal security and military aid to civil authorities. It raises the serious issue of what point in a civil crisis does the military come in? It raises the question whether the military can decline once the President/Commander-In-Chief orders them to move it. It raises the question as to what exactly is the role conferred on the military by virtue of section 217(2c) and section 305(3c) both being read together?
When a senior citizen of Danjuma’s standing says the military is biased and cannot be trusted to defend Nigerians and enjoins everyone to arm themselves in self-defence, it raises the point not only that everyone has a right to defend themselves but also the issue of whether or not there are legal limits to right to self-defence.

Is it right for every citizen to acquire weapons in self-defence?
Among the issues arising from General Danjuma’s declaration includes issues like the ones I have mentioned before, that is, where does this issue of self-defence start, and where does it stop? In fact, let me say for a start that having heard the two sides of this debate -the declaration by General Danjuma, and the response from the military- I would say there are merits on each side. When a man like General Danjuma comes out to say people cannot trust the Army or the government, it points to the fact that all is not well with our country.
This is particularly so if you look at it from the point of view that this man is speaking from his personal observation of what is happening in his own native area. The conflicts between the Jukuns of Taraba and the Tivs of Benue State. So, as a Jukun man, Danjuma must feel that he has the duty to speak when the lives of his people are gravely at risk. He must feel that something is seriously wrong before he spoke in the very bitter way he did. The military, on the other hand, represented by the Minister of Defence and the Army Public Relations Officer has responded.

Do you agree with the army’s response?
What do you expect a military set up to do when faced with this type of accusation? Yes, the military is bound to defend their actions. They see what they are doing as carrying out their own legal duty to the best of their own construction and understanding.

This is not to say that it is not also left to Nigerians, particularly professional experts, to examine whether the manner of this duty is in strict conformity with the dictates of our constitution. So, I would say that the military spokesmen appear to believe that they are doing their job, and they have a right to say what they said.

Having said this, looking at the two sides of the story, I don’t think their focus is legal niceties. I will leave that issue of detailed legalities for another day. However, I believe that what General Danjuma said is a clear indictment of past leaders of over 17 years in Nigeria.

Now, let me also say this, as long as the military is involved in taking action to curb civil disturbances of the nature of law and order, there is no way that they will not incur the hostility of one side or the other.

People would respond to military interventions the way they conceive it; the way it affects their interests. Some of which might be objective; some of which may be sentimental or emotional; some of which might be outright selfish.

What does it call to mind?
It calls to mind, in my view, the need to clearly, properly and in a meticulous manner, identify when the military should come by way of aid to civil disturbances which are normal police duty. Obviously, there are strict military roles given to the armed forces by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution vide section 217, 218 and 305.

The issue of military intervention by way of aid to civil authorities to be the last resort and is generally regarded as the extraordinary measure of dealing with civil unrest. It is an extraordinary measure that needs to clearly identify the appropriate time to bring in the military, it is an obvious responsibility of the government of the day.

Sadly, notwithstanding what some of us with security background have been saying for over 20 years, not enough effort had been made by any of the past governments to actually identify when to bring in the military in line with the strict provisions of the extant constitution.

The legislature must share the blame with the executive for the lapses over the years. In a paper I presented during IBB’s regime in 1989, I had warned the Army as an institution. I warned that with our imbibing presidential, federal democracy, the role of the Army in terms of civil disturbances had changed with the new constitution of 1979.
The provision of the constitution, both 1979 and 1999, made it clear you don’t involve the military until the situation had reached a situation analogous to domestic war when the involvement is authorised by the president and authorised by the National Assembly. So, in Nigeria, we have been embarking on domestic war, without proclaiming war. That to me is not in tandem with the constitution.

Won’t the military authorities share in the blame?
If the constitution requires the Presidential proclamation, gazetting of same and approval of the National Assembly, so, why do we blame the Army, if the Commander-In-Chief, who is the President of the country, orders them to intervene? To me, the problem is the problem of governments that have failed to adhere to the spirit and letters of our constitution.
We have been embarking on the war without properly declaring war. If you embark on war after following the proper procedure envisaged by the constitution, it means that the country would invoke martial law thereby removing the need for strict compliance with its full ramifications.

War is war and people say all is fair in war. General Danjuma was an integral part of the Obasanjo regime if the past governments had painstakingly addressed the issue of when to call in the military we won’t have been where we are now.

I can tell you strictly speaking that the situation we have in our hand in Nigeria today is precarious. As a country, we have refused to address the root causes of problems. MASSOB is also raising issues, we have militancy raging and holding sway in Niger Delta. What is even more, we have the problem of Boko Haram.

But the government says it has practically defeated Boko Haram. Don’t you agree?
But it is still there as we all know. Then you have lately the Fulani herdsmen marauding all over the place, killing at random. I think what General Danjuma is saying now is not far from the question of whether the Boko Haram and cattle herdsmen are out to destroy our country or whether or not the government is supporting them? It is not only in Taraba, the problem is across the North even Delta, Kogi and Edo States. There is no day you read any newspapers or you listen to the news without hearing one havoc or the other done by Boko Haram or herdsmen or farmers in retaliation. So, it boils down to the question what is the right measure to solve our problems in Nigeria particularly security-related problems.
Afterall, it is beyond argument that the protection of lives and property is the primary responsibility of any government? So, if we do not realise that everyone has a role to play in solving security problem and that government must ensure the prevalence of security in Nigeria and that all level of government must recognise this necessity and work towards achieving it, then the future of this otherwise beautiful edifice called Nigeria would remain bleak. These are to my mind, what this elder statesman and military guru are talking about.

A former US Secretary of State was meeting with President Buhari when he was fired by President Donald Trump. How will you interpret this in our international politics?
I don’t know the reason Trump sacked his Secretary of State.

This is a US matter; it may not be because he visited Nigeria. But to talk about the perception of the International Community about Nigeria, I will tell you that they worry about how we practice our democracy.

The International community will always be concerned with our posture towards the rule of law which in broad term includes the issue of human right; right to life and right to property.

The least one can say is that they want the concept of democracy to prevail the world over. They want us to adhere to our laws; good laws. They want the safety of the people and for us to do all that is constitutionally right to ensure the well-being of the citizenry and residents in Nigeria.

Nigeria is a signatory to all of these conventions that relate to fundamental human rights. I believe that the International community wants Nigeria and all countries that lay claim to democracy to uphold the tenets of democracy. They expect our elections to be properly organised, they expect your elections to be free and fair; they expect your elections to be done in a manner that points unequivocally to proper expression of the will of the voters.

What is your opinion on the Obasanjo coalition group?
I have talked about Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in several interviews, I have said that he says one thing but does not do what he says. He is a man who believes that everything should go his own way. I do not think he knows what the Presidential System of Government is really about. I have many reasons to say so. It was under him that the legislature made up of his own party, PDP, was at loggerheads with his executive arm of government. It was under him that Odi was invaded and destroyed by and Commander-In-Chief. Same in Zaki Biam in Benue State.

It was during his era that we had huge sums of money extorted from government contractors in the name of a presidential library. He is not our Messiah, he is not what Nigerians think he is and we must not be deceived. The time has come for us to begin to look for serious, conscientious and God-fearing leaders, who are transparent. Leaders who are ready to take responsibility for their actions; leaders who are true democrats.  (New Telegraph)

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Army Wanted To Meet Kanu’s Father Before Invasion, Says Eze Ajomiwe |RN

By Correspondents

●Monarch told us he decided to rest following invasion – Eze Dick

 

The controversy surrounding the health and whereabouts of the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu Ibeku, Eze Israel Okiru Kanu, and father of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is yet to settle. The monarch has not been seen since September 14, 2017, when soldiers invaded his palace in search of his son. While the chairman of Abia State and South-East Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Eze Eberechi Dick, said that Eze Kanu is alive, the chairman of Umuahia North Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Philip Ajomiwe, insisted that the whereabouts of IPOB’s leader’s father is unknown, adding that nobody knows the state of his health too.

Since the invasion of the palace apparently in search of the leader of the IPOB last year, neither the monarch, his son nor wife had been seen nor heard from. Eze Dick who spoke to Saturday Telegraph on the telephone regarding the whereabouts of his colleague said: “We wanted to see him in person; we inquired and found that he is alive.”

However, the traditional ruler of Oriendu, Eze Ajomiwe, who said the last time he spoke with him was early on the day of the invasion, also revealed that the army had scheduled a meeting with Eze Kanu to which he had already agreed before his palace was invaded on that fateful day.

“After speaking with him the army invaded the place later that day and that was the last till today,” he said. According to the chairman of Abia and South East Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Dick, “Eze Kanu told us that the stress of the operation was too much on him that he decided to rest.” Eze Dick, however, observed that: “The local government traditional rulers council where he belongs has not told us he is missing. They have not told us anything happened to him, otherwise, we would have raised the alarm at the state and south-east zonal council of traditional rulers.”

The council chairman said that Eze Kanu spoke to the chairman of the advisory council of Umuahia North council of traditional rulers, who happens to be Eze Ajomiwe, about his health in response to the inquiry. Though he said that the Afaraukwu monarch was alive he, however, admitted that the monarch’s whereabouts are not known. He could not say where he was taking the rest.

He also reaffirmed the position of the traditional rulers over their colleague. “We don’t dabble in the problem of the son, but only about our colleague. Our traditional ruler is dear to us, whatever the son is doing with the Federal Government is not our concern. His son is a man and should be held responsible for his actions.” But Eze Ajomiwe said that the last time he spoke with Eze Kanu was the day of the invasion.

“The last time I spoke with Eze I. O Kanu was on the day of the invasion. I spoke with him earlier that day to discuss the decision of the traditional rulers who sent me to invite him to a meeting.” According to Eze Ajomiwe, he was sent by the chairman of the Abia and South East Council of Traditional Rulers as the chairman of the Umuahia North Council of traditional rulers under which Eze Kanu operates, to Eze Kanu for a meeting with the governor and the Commanding Officer of Ohafia Brigade. “When I spoke with him he said he was ready to abide by the position of the traditional rulers. Unfortunately, before the day of the meeting the army struck and since then I have neither heard from him nor spoken to him.”

He confirmed that a number of people were killed during the invasion but could not say whether the monarch, his wife and son were among the dead. He said he reported to the traditional rulers his discussion with Eze Kanu and his response on the day of their meeting but that was after the army had gone to destroy the place.

Eze Ajomiwe said that all the efforts made as Eze Kanu’s colleagues in Umuahia North Council as to his whereabouts and health had not yielded the desired result even as the army has refused to say anything. “As I am speaking to you I don’t know where he is. We have appealed to the army to tell us. If he is in their custody they should let us know, if he is dead they should release his corpse to us. It’s only in Nigeria this kind of thing can happen. I lived in the French capital for 15 years, you hardly see the army on the streets as you have in Nigeria. It’s only in Nigeria that somebody can be sent to do what is against the law. How can the army send me to Eze Kanu only to invade his palace before the day of the proposed meeting? Why did they send me if they knew they would invade the palace? A traditional ruler of my reputation and honour.”

Eze Ajomiwe said Nigeria needs prayer of deliverance just like the Esther in the Bible fasted and prayed against the destruction of Mordecai and the Jews by Herman. He said the army should be held responsible for the health and whereabouts of the traditional ruler. “Nigeria is in a dilemma; Nigeria needs prayer of deliverance,” he said.

The Umuahia North traditional rulers’ council chairman expressed disappointment with the turn of events. “Now look at what they are doing to Eyinnaya Abaribe, (who stood as one of the sureties for the IPOB leader), asking him to produce Nnamdi Kanu. What kind of country is this? They knew that Kanu would come to court and they would do to him what they wanted yet they invaded the palace and turned around to ask Abaribe to produce him, this is unthinkable.” On the efforts being made to know the condition of their colleague, Eze Ajomiwe said: “As traditional rulers, we can’t fight the army. We don’t have AK 47, but we have appealed and are still appealing to them to tell us the whereabouts of Eze Kanu.

They are in the position to know.” Eze Eddy Ibeabuchi, the traditional ruler of Okwulaga Afaraukwu and the immediate past chairman of Umuahia North Council of traditional rulers, Eze Kanu’s neighbour, corroborated Eze Ajomiwe’s position. He said efforts made so far to know the whereabouts and health status of the traditional ruler had not yielded a positive result. He disclosed that the efforts made so far by the people of Afaraukwu over the monarch’s health and whereabouts have failed but they have not given up. Also, like Eze Dick, Eze Ibeabuchi could not find any connection between the disappearance of the traditional ruler and the activities of the group which his son led.

“We are making effort, we have written an open letter and communique to Mr President, written and published by Afaraukwu concerned citizens and I know I signed that communique. And we don’t really know where our king is and we don’t know what the Federal Government is doing because we know Nnamdi Kanu is our son. I was watching him when he was carrying on with IPOB and I never saw him one day with arms. Generally, the constitution allows people to express their feelings and that was what I saw Nnamdi Kanu doing.”

“The way the Federal Government handled the matter, as far as I am concerned, was not quite good. Moreover, he was on bail, if the Federal Government wanted to do anything they would have allowed him to come to the court, probably, they had one reason or the other not to grant him bail, not to come and kill so many people in that place. They killed so many people there. I know. I went to that compound after the episode and I saw where so many people were killed and you cannot say where the corpses are today.”

Eze Ibeabuchi said: “As for the state of his health, we don’t know. I don’t know, if I know I will tell you. The question should be asked from the army that invaded that place, they should tell us the whereabouts of that man. If the man is hiding, I don’t know, I have not seen him since that time. We have written an open letter to the president which was published by so many newspapers requesting to know the whereabouts of Kanu himself and the father and mother. We don’t know their whereabouts.” He lamented that there had been “no response from any quarters till today.” “We have not given up, we are consulting. We want to approach the state governor because that’s the chief security officer here.

We are making effort to approach him, I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome though we have booked an appointment with him several times; probably he has been very busy. He has not granted us the appointment, so we are still waiting. I know if we meet him, definitely that’s one of the things we are going to confront him with, he should tell us.” Eze Ajomiwe added that he as the chairman of Umuahia North Council of traditional rulers, comprising traditional rulers from Ibeku and Ohuhu clans, he led them to the palace of Eze Kanu after the invasion to demand his release from the army either dead or alive. “The media even helped us to publish the demands contained in the communique.”  (New Telegraph)

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Military: 13 Soldiers Killed During Operation ‘Cat Race’ 183 Fulani Herdsmen Arrested

By Emmanuel Onani, Abuja 

 

Fulani-Herdsmen3

 

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said thirteen soldiers were killed during a special operation in five states code-named “Operation Ayem Akpatuma.

This was as the DHQ accused the Taraba State Government of incitement against the military.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Army had, in the wake of mindless killings in Benue, Tarana, Nasarawa and two other states, initiated an exercise, with a view to restoring security and order to the troubled areas.

Though mixed reactions had trailed the special operation, the DHQ has said that 13 soldiers lost their lives in the course of the exercise.

Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. John Agim, who made the disclosure at a briefing in Abuja, further noted that a total of 147 suspected herdsmen were arrested within the period under review.

Agim added that 13 soldiers sustained varying degrees of injuries.

“During the exercise, we lost some of ‎our dear colleagues. 13 soldiers were killed in action,‎ while 7 soldiers were wounded in action,

“We also had our equipment destroyed during the Operation. A total of 183 criminals were arrested in Exercise Ayem Akpatuma in Benue and Taraba States for various offences. In Benue State, 147 herdsmen, 6 cultists, 5 rustlers and 6 armed bandits were arrested, while 15 were
arrested in Taraba state.

“In 1 Division Area of Responsibility, a total of 13 bandits were arrested. All the arrested suspects have been handed over to the Nigeria Police for further action”, Agim said.

On recoveries made, the DAPR said: “Several arms and ammunition were recovered during Exercise Ayem Akpatuma. In Benue State, 1 AK 47 rifle, 1 FN rifle, 3 AK 47 Magazine, 9 rounds of 7.62mm special, 23 round of 7.62mm NATO, 13 Dane guns, 38 machetes, several spears/axes and assorted charms were recovered. Also, 18 motorcycle and 15 handsets were recovered in Benue State.

“In Taraba State, 4 AK 47 riffles With 3 magazines, 96 rounds of 7.62mm special, 8 rounds of 9mm, and 19 locally-made guns were recovered. Others include 5 locally made pistols, one Shotgun and 27 live cartridges.”.

On the allegation of incitement against the Taraba State Government, Agim said: ” Regrettably, during the conduct of ‎Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, some civil authorities, especially in Taraba State, did not accord the military the desired cooperation.

“For instance, the Chairman of Takum Local Government Area in Taraba State (allegedly) did not cooperate with 93 ‎Battalion, instead portrayed the military in a bad light to the locals.

“His actions before and during Exercise Ayem Akpatuma were clearly anti-military and he incited his people on many occasions to resist and confront the military.”                  (New Telegraph)

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Biafra: FG Worried As ICC Steps Up Investigations Against Nigeria |RN

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              Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Federal Government is worried that the International Criminal Court is unrelenting in pursuing eight cases against Nigeria, says the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubabakar Malami (SAN).

He said this on Thursday while playing host to the newly elected President of the ICC, Prof. Chile Osuji, at his office in Abuja.

Malami said the ICC had “escalated” eight potential cases against Nigeria from “the initial preliminary examination to a preliminary investigation”.

Six of the cases were said to be against Boko Haram and two against the military.

He said the stepping up of the investigation against Nigeria was worrisome because the government had demonstrated its willingness and ability to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone that committed any offence that fell within the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Malami said, “Presently, the ICC has escalated the eight potential cases against Nigeria – six against the Boko Haram and two against the military – from the initial preliminary examination to the preliminary investigation.

“This is worrisome, as Nigeria has demonstrated beyond doubt, and in absolute cooperation with the ICC, that it is willing and able and, as a matter of fact, it is indeed arresting, investigating and prosecuting anyone that commits an offence that falls within the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“The above being the case, Nigeria views the escalation of the eight potential cases as uncalled for in the circumstance.”

He assured the ICC president that Nigeria is “a country that believes in the operation of the rule of law, fundamental freedom and the need to fight impunity in all ramifications” the escalation of the eight potential cases “would not deter us from further expressing and demonstrating support to the ICC.”

Responding, Osuji commended Nigeria for its support to the ICC and assured that the court would continue to work against injustice and abuse of powers in its area of jurisdiction.

The ICC President described as inaccurate and erroneous the impression that Article 27 of the Rome Statute that prohibits immunity being extended to any head of state or senior government officials was targeted at African leaders.

He said the provision and the reason for that portion of the Rome Statute predated independence of African states.  (Punch)

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Self-Defence: Presidency Attacks Danjuma As Agbakoba, Others Faults FG’s Reaction

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                        Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.)

Olalekan Adetayo, Eniola Akinkuotu, Adelani Adepegba, Olaleye Aluko and Godwin Isenyo

The Presidency, on Saturday, described as shocking and scary the recent statement by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), that Nigerians should not rely on security agencies for protection but defend themselves in the face of unrestrained killings across the country.

It said unrestrained pronouncements were capable of encouraging criminals to defy legal and democratic institutions.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said these in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday.

But groups and prominent Nigerians, including Afenifere and Chief Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), faulted the Presidency on its reaction to Danjuma.

The Presidency, in the statement, urged prominent Nigerians to use their national influence wisely and shun public declarations that could threaten national security.

The Presidency wondered if any country could survive if its citizens rose against its military.

Despite Danjuma’s verdict on the armed forces, however, the presidential aide commended the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability “despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilise the country and government for their selfish reasons.”

The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to appeal to prominent Nigerians, who have national influence, to use their influence wisely and not continue to engage in public declarations that are likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten national security.

“The Presidency is very worried that criminal gangs will feel justified in defying legal, governing and democratic institutions, and authorities of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.

“Silence can be dignified, but sometimes, it can be misinterpreted and exploited. It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves.”

The statement added, “What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organised, trained and equipped military?

“We advise former leaders to take advantage of the various fora, where people with a history of national security can offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments.

“The civil war motto: ‘To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done’, rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia.”

The reaction came exactly one week after Danjuma, while speaking at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, and the 10th anniversary of the institution, told Nigerians to defend themselves against killers in the country.

While the former army chief alleged that the military was not neutral in the killings, he added that the armed forces were not ready to defend them.

He had said, “Our Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians. The Armed Forces guide their movements; they cover them. If you are depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one.

“This ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State and other rural states of Nigeria, otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play.

“I ask every one of you to be alert and defend your country; defend your territory and defend your state. Defend yourselves because you have no other place to go. God bless our country.”

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and other individuals have since supported Danjuma’s call.

FG has failed to protect Nigerians, says Agbakoba

Meanwhile, the Co-Chairman of the Nigerian Intervention Movement, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), said Danjuma should not be blamed for what he said since the government had failed to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians.

In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, the senior advocate stated, “Generally speaking, I feel that the statement by Danjuma can be interpreted based on perspective. If you are in government, you may fault him but the truth is that in spite of everything the government has tried to do, killings are still going on.

“Just the other day, herdsmen came to Lekki. So, it is still going on in spite of what might be the best efforts of the government. Taraba is a heavily-affected state and so, what do you want them to say if you can no longer depend on security agents to protect you.

“Look at the case of Dapchi where soldiers withdrew and then Boko Haram went in to abduct the girls. So, nobody can trust the army anymore. I don’t and if I was living in an insecure area, I would tell my people to arm themselves and be ready.

“Rather than say that Danjuma should not have said what he said, the government should do its best and show us that it can protect our lives and property.”

FG’s statement, insensitive –Afenifere

In its reaction, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, knocked the Federal Government over its statement.

It described the Presidency’s reaction as insensitive and offensive, noting that it showed that the government supported the activities of the killer herdsmen.

Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Genocide to investigate the killings before they would lead to a breakdown of law and order in the country.

He asked, “Is it asking Nigerians being killed to defend themselves that could lead to a breakdown of law and order? Seventy-three people were killed in one day in Benue. Many people have been killed in the last three years. Not one person has been brought to book by this government.

“This statement is so embarrassing, offensive, unfeeling. It shows clearly that the Nigerian Government is fully behind the activities of the herdsmen who are killing people and that is why we restate our demand. Since there is no justice from the Federal Government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Genocide should look into what is going on in Nigeria before there is a breakdown of law and order.”

Security experts back Danjuma

Also, some security experts have backed the call by Danjuma on Nigerians to defend themselves. The experts, in separate interviews, said self-preservation was the first law of nature and that Nigerians had the right to defend themselves when attacked by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen.

A retired Commissioner of Police, Olusola Amore, pointed out that self-defence was guaranteed by the constitution, stressing that a citizen had the rights to defend himself against aggressors, particularly if his life was under threat.

Amore said, “The issue of self-defence is guaranteed by the constitution. If you look at Force Order 237, when can a policeman use a firearm? Ordinarily, you cannot just use your firearm, but you can use a firearm when your life is in danger, and you have no other way of defending yourself or when another life is in danger and you have no other means of defending that person.”

A former State Director, Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, said Danjuma’s statement was in order, insisting that everyone had the right to defend himself or herself against violent aggression.

Ejiofor stated, “Self-preservation is the first law of nature; so, I don’t see anything wrong in his call that people should defend themselves.

“All these herdsmen; are they not armed? The police are asking ordinary people to surrender their arms, but they have not been able to recover the arms from the herdsmen.

“So they want the arms to be surrendered, so the herdsmen can annihilate the people, it is not right. I don’t see anything wrong with Danjuma’s statement that the people should defend themselves against aggression, but it must be done within the ambit of the law.”

Another security analyst, Ben Okezie, commended Danjuma for “using his voice as a megaphone so that those in power can hear what the masses have been crying about.”

He, however, noted that the former defence minister should have made his concerns known privately to the government and the military leadership, adding that his statement could destabilise national security.

Again, ACF keeps mum over Danjuma’s comment

Again, the pan-Northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum, on Saturday, failed to react to the comment by Danjuma calling on Nigerians to defend themselves against herdsmen attacks.

SUNDAY PUNCH  learnt from an impeccable source that although the National Executive Council of the ACF  met on Tuesday, the northern group remained silent on the matter.

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Alhaji Muhammad Biu, initially declined to speak on the matter. However, while still on the telephone with one of our correspondents, he promised to talk on the issue later, noting that he was attending a “meeting.”

“No comment,” but added, “okay, I will call you later. Let me think over it. I am in a meeting now,” Biu said.

Sunday PUNCH, however, gathered that during the meeting, which was held at the secretariat of the forum in Kaduna, the Danjuma matter (comment) was extensively discussed.

It was learnt that elders of the forum insisted that there should be no reaction to the issue, which they considered “sensitive” to the unity of the region.

An inside source in the ACF said, “Because of the implication to the unity of the North, our elders said there should be no reaction since the government and the military have reacted. We already have enough troubles in the region. We don’t need to overheat the polity.

“Given that not all members of the ACF that like what is going on in the country, there is nothing that we can do for now. What do we do? There was a meeting of the group on Tuesday where national issues were discussed.

“The purported passing of no-confidence vote in the President and the general security situation in the country were also discussed.   Lt. Gen. TY Danjuma’s comment was actually part of the agenda of the meeting.”    (Punch)

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