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South East Leaders Treating IPOB Issue With Kid Gloves — Yabagi Sani |The Republican News

IPOB members , Alhaji Yabagi Sani

Engr. Yabagi Sani, National Chairman of Action Democratic Party (ADP) in this interview with JOY ANIGBOGU, spoke on the role of youths in national development, recent activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other issues. Excerpts:

Recently you held a maiden national youth summit. What did you plan to achieve?

We believe that for youths to bounce back to reckoning, they need the backings and support of governments. They have to be educated, employed and empowered socially, politically and financially.

Unfortunately the leadership cadre in Nigeria is filled with aged politicians who think nation building is their exclusive preserve and as such youth should not be given a chance. Perhaps, their stand explains why though youths are said to be leaders of tomorrow, that future never comes.

The national youth summit is another testimony to the pride of place ADP has for young men and women as well as persons living with disability who by the ADP compulsory and constitutional provisions, must occupy 25 percent of Party Executive and all other elective and appointive positions from the National, State, Local Government down to the unit level.
Hence our decision to hold this Youth Summit, the first of its kind in the history of our Party, with the theme: “Building Bridges Amongst Youth Across Continents” and the reason we have invited one of the youngest members of the British Conservative Party with a rising profile from the United Kingdom, “Mr. Jaymey Mclvor” as our Guest Speaker.

How can you describe the recent activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) abroad, attack of Ekweremadu in Germany and their attempt to meet with Mr. President in Japan?

The IPOB activity can be viewed from both political and economical angles. When people start thinking that they are not part and parcel of what should belong to them, there is problem. If the unemployment level is not as high as it is I don’t think people would want to leave the country, because they have seen that nothing is happening that would give them confidence, that is why what happened in Japan took place in the first place.

I think that the political aspect of it is what the president should be able to solve but also my message to the South East is that if they want to have leadership of the country, they should exhibit discipline and maturity. Today we are talking about power shift and the South-East says power should return to them. It is a political issue that the South-East at this time should understand that what happened in Japan gave them a bad name. Would Mr. President hand over power to his enemies if he has to make that choice? The reality is that Nigeria as we have today would go beyond where we are when power at national level ceases to be an issue based on merit.

What is your view about the opinion in some quarters that Mr. President is treating Fulani herders with kid’s gloves?

Being a former head of State, I cannot see any reason why he cannot take effective measures to handle the issue of Fulani herdsmen, banditry, kidnapping and what have you. If the president cannot take care of the security and welfare of the people, what is the use of the government if it cannot tackle the issue of security and welfare of the people? Whatever it is that is standing between the president and these issues. I think that by now he should have been able to jettison those things.

Do you believe in power shift in the country?

As a political party, we are for all-inclusiveness. We believe in justice and fair play. We allow democracy to have its way because when you allow democracy to have its way then you can begin to talk about good governance. The reality we have today in terms of deciding who gets what, I think the South-East people should do better if they begin to act with maturity and sense of responsibility. What is four years in the life of a nation? If in four years’ time you are going to have the opportunity to rule the country, wait until it comes to you, then do what you like with it. When you start to act not only in the country but outside the country, giving the country a bad name, the consequences may be huge when you need the support of other regions. People would begin to ask if they share the sentiments of one Nigeria. I know that in Nigeria if care is not taken, because the impression that the South-East may likely want to consider seceding, Yoruba may take the next presidency, in spite of the fact that they have just finished. If you see that the South-East cannot be controlled with what IPOB is doing, then why do you want to give power to those who cannot control their erring members?

What if the South-East region refutes the allegation that IPOB represents it?

A question was asked as to why President failed to control the Fulani herdsmen because they believe that Buhari is a Fulani man and should be able to take care of them. Similarly people can start inferring that South-East should be able to take care of IPOB. Just as you can say that Buhari has failed because you think that he possesses other avenues he can explore aside being the president to solve this problem.

We can also say that for reasons best known to the South-East people, they are treating IPOB with kids gloves. We saw the case of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), former President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered they be shot at sight, but we saw some governors of the South-West using them, till today. It will do the South-East good to tackle the issue of IPOB, just like Buhari should call Fulani herdsmen to order.

El-Rufai has said that the North will not handover power in 2023. What is your view?

He was probably speaking for All Progressives Congress (APC) not ADP.

What do you think about the speculation in some quarters that Buhari is planning to handover to Tinubu?

It is not exclusive right of APC to present the next president. Nigerians should decide who would emerge and not APC. The APC would bring its candidate and others too would bring theirs and Nigeria would decide who the next president would be. Awakening the consciousness of the people and making sure that the electoral laws are amended to give level playing ground, ensuring that power is held accountable. Nigerians should speak out. The important thing is that the press must be alive to the need to change the scenario. It should be in the vanguard. Systems that are more entrenched than Nigeria did it. We had Obama as president of United Sates of America. We also have Trump, which is more revolutionary. It means that change is possible.

Don’t you think that it was unfair for the president to have asked the Governors of Taraba and Benue States to answer questions to the killings in Taraba, when we know that governors are not in control of the military and police?

They are the security chiefs in their States. Administratively, the commissioner of police is under the governor but functionally he is under the Inspector General of Police (IGP) which means that they are supposed to explore the administrative relationship between the commissioner of police and the governors to ensure that some of those things happening are checked. The commissioner of police and other agencies in that State sit in a security meeting every week. If the President asked the governors to account, he was right because the governors are heads of the security meetings that they hold in their States.

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Our Members Have Orders To Attack Igbo Governors Abroad, Says IPOB |The Republican News

The Indigenous People of Biafra has ordered its members in 100 countries across the world to attack the governors of Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia and Anambra states if they are seen in any of the countries.

The group also put on notice Ndigbo leaders such as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who it accused of supporting the Operation Python Dance in the South-East.

Operation Python Dance was launched by the Nigerian Army in the South-East in 2016 in the wake of protests by IPOB members who were demanding secession from the country.

The group had cited historical events such as the victory of President Donald Trump in the 2016 United States elections and Brexit as proof of international support for self-determination.

During the Operation Python Dance, the army raided Umuahia, Abia State, the home town of the leader of the secessionist group, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts have been unknown since then.

Ultimately, the Federal Government designated IPOB as a terrorist organisation on September 18, 2017, under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, IPOB spokesperson, Mr Emma Powerful, noted that South-East governors and some Ndigbo leaders had been marked as enemies to be attacked if they were seen in any of the 100 countries their members were residing.

He said the directive was given by Kanu and that in obedience to the IPOB leader’s order, its members were the ones who attacked a former Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu, in Nuremberg, Germany on Saturday.

Powerful said the lawmaker was “disgraced by the IPOB Nuremberg Family as an Operation Python Dance instigator.”

The IPOB spokesman described Ekweremadu as a “traitor,” accusing him of being among those that got the pro-Biafra group proscribed, alongside the South-East governors.

Powerful vowed that IPOB would take similar action against the South-East governors and Ndigbo leaders, if they dared to attend any public event abroad.

He said, “Today (Saturday), the Nuremberg IPOB family in Germany, in keeping with the long-standing directive from our leader to hound all instigators of the Operation Python Dance, is glad to report that Ike Ekweremadu was confronted and duly hounded out of a so-called New Yam Festival event in Germany.

“Despite repeated warnings to the organisers of this jamboree that Enugu, Ebonyi and other parts of ‘Biafraland’ is under siege by the Fulani caliphate and their collaborators within, they went ahead to invite a known traitor, co-conspirator and one of those who worked with Igbo governors to proscribe and tag IPOB a terror organisation while they never raised any voice against the murderous Fulani herdsmen.

“This should serve as a warning to Nnia Nwodo, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Willie Obiano and others that any day we find them in a public event abroad, they will be humiliated. IPOB is strategically located in over 100 countries around the world. Anywhere we find them, they will be dealt with.”

How Ekweremadu was attacked with stones, yam

In apparent obedience to the IPOB’s directive to its members, there was commotion on Saturday when Ekweremadu was attacked in Nuremberg, Germany.

The lawmaker, who has served in the Senate since 2003, was seen being pelted with stones, yam, sticks and water packs in short video clips which had gone viral on the social media.

Decked in isiagu, a pullover shirt worn by the Igbo people on special occasions, Ekweremadu was said to have been attacked at Löwensaal am Tier Garten, Nuremberg, venue for the annual New Yam Festival of the Igbo.

The New Yam Festival holds at the end of the rainy season in August and symbolises the conclusion of the harvest and the beginning of a new planting season.

The age-long festival is celebrated across Nigeria and the world wherever the Igbo people live.

While attending the event at Nuremberg, Ekweremadu was seen being attacked by a mob who tore his cloth and dragged him out of the event.

In the video clips, the angry mob was seen preventing the lawmaker from escaping, but he was later whisked away in a Mercedes-Benz car, even as the mob continued to beat him.

As the scene played out, some onlookers, dressed in traditional Igbo attire, were heard condemning the assault meted to the former deputy senate president.

One of the onlookers was heard saying, “This is wicked; why now? It’s not good.”

Despite the commotion, the event went on as planned, according to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar.

In a tweet via his handle @YusufTuggar on Saturday, the diplomat who was at the event wrote, “The Nuremberg yam festival organised by the Ndigbo Germany still took place and I was in attendance. There is no stopping Nigeria. It opened with the Nigerian and German anthems and I addressed the crowd.”

My ordeal in the hands of Biafra activists –Ex-DSP

Confirming the incident on Saturday, Ekweremadu, in a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, described it as unfortunate. He, however, said he was safe.

He said he was invited to the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by the Ndigbo Germany in Nuremberg and billed to give a keynote address alongside the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it.

The lawmaker said he was welcomed by the Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members, stormed the venue.

He said, “They began to complain about the killings in the South-East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.

“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue.

“The organisers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.

“I am disappointed with their (IPOB members’) conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for the Ndigbo and against the judicial killings in Igboland and elsewhere.”

Ekweremadu said he had defended IPOB on the floor of the Senate, with the Presidency and the media.

He said, “I had as well rallied the South-East Senate Caucus to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, taking him on bail to douse tension in the South-East.

“I nevertheless do not hold this to the heart against them, for they know not what they did.

“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hale and hearty.”

In the meantime, investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Kanu visited Nuremberg recently to protest against holding the New Yam Festival because of the killings in Igboland.

It was also gathered that the IPOB members who attacked Ekweremadu on Saturday actually targeted Nwodo.

They reportedly descended on Ekweremadu when it was obvious that their main ‘target’ was conspicuously absent.

Following the attack on Ekweremadu, the Federal Government has condemned the IPOB members’ action.

The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement on Saturday described the incident as an embarrassment to the country.

She stated that some of the culprits who perpetrated the act had been apprehended and called on the German government and law enforcement agencies to ensure they faced the consequences of their actions.

She said, “It is also shamefully pathetic that an event which was nobly put together by the Ndigbo community in Germany, whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, to amongst other things, provide a forum for the Diaspora and various stakeholders to network and facilitate a better cooperation between German and Nigerian businesses, ended up in such a disgraceful manner.”

Dabiri-Erewa appealed to Nigerians to be of good behaviour wherever they found themselves “because such incidents tarnish the image of the country.”

Also condemning the attack, the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, condemned IPOB’s action, saying it was an act of brigandage.

He said, “These people ought not to have gone to such place to display brigandage because IPOB has been banned in Nigeria.

“However, our leaders should take heed because that is an example of what will happen, granted that it was a different ball game. They might have reacted that way because they possibly perceived that Ekweremadu had not been with them in terms of support.

“Be that as it may, the action of the IPOB members was highly condemnable in faraway Germany where the image of the country should have been jealously guided.”

Also describing the attack as barbaric, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo accused Kanu of sponsoring “miscreants” to trample on Ekweremadu’s fundamental human rights.

Nwodo told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that Kanu’s action reflected his disregard for the former deputy senate president, who was instrumental in securing the release of the IPOB leader.

Nwodo said, “In every 12, there is a Judas. Senator Ekweremadu and I were supposed to be in Germany but because my visa was not out, Senator Ekweremadu went on our behalf.

“The attack on him was unruly, uncivilised, a vitiation of his fundamental human rights and a sad story of where we are. I’m shocked that any true Igbo man could do this to Senator Ekweremadu.

“Without Senator Ekweremadu, Nnamdi Kanu would not have got bail. He (Ekweremadu) was the one who networked with senators who went ahead to sign on his (Kanu) behalf.”

Nwodo called on the German government to take appropriate actions against the perpetrators.

“I condemn it in its entirety. I think it is disrespectful, discourteous; I think it is a fundamental dent on our solidarity. I think that those who did it are not worthy to be called Igbo,” he said.

A former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, also condemned the attack on Ekweremadu.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, he said the IPOB members attacked one of the “greatest heroes” in Nigeria.

“Ekweremadu is not the person they ought to attack and indeed they have to stop such attack on anybody for that matter,” Ndume said.

Assaulting us abroad not solution to agitation – S’East govs

Meanwhile, the South-East Governors Forum on Saturday said the IPOB order directing its members to attack them anywhere abroad would not solve the problem of their agitation for Biafra.

The chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emma Uzo, said that the governors had no problem with the members of the outlawed group to warrant such an order, adding that the insecurity in the South-East was a nationwide challenge which was squarely under the Federal Government’s command and control.

Condemning the attack on Ekweremadu, Umahi said, “If there is any issue IPOB holds against the governors, they should come home to settle it in Igboland instead of a foreign land.

“What happened was a security issue which was within the purview of the Federal Government. Attacking governors in a foreign land is a wild goose chase. We love them because they are our children.

“IPOB cannot achieve Biafra alone, except with the collaboration of all stakeholders including the governors. They don’t need to attack the governors to achieve Biafra.”

The governors’ forum warned the members of the proscribed body not to allow political opportunists to use them to destroy the South-East.

“They should come together and work with the governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo Presidency come 2023 instead of fighting the governors. We want them to be close to us instead of taking the struggle to the international arena,” it said.

Furthermore, Umahi’s aide described the IPOB’s threats as empty, saying the group lacked the powers to track down any South-East governor anywhere in the world.

“They have no such spread and powers to track down South-East governors for attack anywhere in the world. They are too small. I don’t want to say they sound so cowardly, but they can’t see the governors to attack,” he added.

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Ohanaeze Blasts Buhari For Underrating The Igbo, Calls For Restructuring |The Republican News

By Asogwu Clinton

Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, assaulted President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to enforce the community study established by the All Progressive Congress, APC, to restructure the nation.

The APC had set up a committee on restructuring headed by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai and they came up with the report that was accepted by the national leadership of the party.

Nwodo said the President has not been faithful to his manifesto, adding that he (Buhari) is looking for his own personal interest.

Nwodo, speaking on Arise TV, said the military carefully structured the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against Ndigbo.

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General noted that the constitution was based on extreme discrimination and jaundiced against the Igbo people.

“The military designed a constitution at the end of the war to contain the Igbo.

“We have the smallest number of local governments of all the six geopolitical zones; smallest number of representatives in the National Assembly; the smallest number of local government councils, two states in the North West of Nigeria have as much local governments as we have in the South East,” he said.

“The president was not loyal to his manifesto. His party set up a reorganization committee led by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, after winning the election, and they made this report as approved by his party’s domestic management,” he added.

“And when he faced interviewed by the press, he said that our problem was not structure but process.

“He swallowed his policy platform ; he swallowed his domestic executive committee’s choice, and he says we seek our private interest. Rather, it is the president who seeks his own private interest,” Nwodo said.

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Iwuanyanwu To Miyetti Allah: “Don’t Take Our Silence For Weakness” |The Republican News

Engr Eammanuel Iwuanyanwu, leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association

Elder statesman and former Biafran activist, Emmanuel Iwuayanwu, has broken his silence on the proposed establishment of a vigilante group in the South East, by an association of Fulani cattle breeders, also known as Miyetti Allah.

Iwuayanwu told Daily Sun, in Owerri, yesterday, that such proposal is an insult to Ndigbo and also, warned that the zone will resist any form of colonisation.

“This is an insult to Ndigbo! We advise them not to dare it; our people have been subjected to all sorts of treatment but we can not endure colonisation now because what they are asking of means taking over our land.

“If they come in, it means that they would be armed with AK-47 rifles. Every town in Igboland is very hospitable to other tribes. Everywhere we go, we have never shown any hostility, neither have we brought up the idea of any vigilante to guard our people,” Iwuayanwu said.

The elder statesman, who added that he had seen it all, during the civil war, however, warned the Fulani cattle breeders to swallow their words before it degenerates to another civil war.

Although Iwuayanwu emphasised that the zone is not afraid of the constant threats of Miyetti Allah, he warned them to desist from further actions.

“Nigeria belongs to all of us, but, some group of people in the country should stop behaving as if they own the country.

“Certain ulterrances are capable of disintigrating the country. Therefore, we should learn to live together; as brothers and sisters in one nation. We want to let them know that Igbo have youths, too, capable of defending the Igbo Heartland.
“If they regard our silence as weakness, they are making a big mistake. We appreciate the current peace between the cattle breeders and our people but, on the proposal of a vigilance group to be set up in our land, this dimension is a very dangerous dimension,” Iwuanyanwu said. (Daily Sun)

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‘Fight Criminality, Terrorism In S’West And S-East’ – Buratai Orders Soldiers |RN

by Ifeoma Okereke

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has charged Commanding Officers of Army units within the South South, South East and South West zones of the country to work towards tackling crimes and criminality within their areas of responsibilities. General Buratai spoke at the Nigerian Army First Commanding Officers workshop for 2019, urging the Commanding Officers to tackle kidnapping, smuggling, pipeline vandalism and terrorism.

He tasked them to work close with the authorities within their areas of responsibilities to be able to gather intelligence and ensure that they nip crisis rocking these areas in the bud. The Army Chief, who was represented by the Commander, Nigerian Army Signals Corps, Major General Mohammed Mohammed, urged the commanding officers to refresh their minds on how to confront criminality within the areas they are deployed to.

He said that all operations in which the Army was involved in across the country was to sharpen the knowledge of the commanding officers and make them perform optimally, adding that the workshop was put together to ensure that they share knowledge with other Commanding Officers participating in the workshop.

He said: “We have informed the commanding officers to understand that workshops like this are intended to refresh their minds, their experiences and for them to share knowledge with their colleagues from other regions.

“Like you understand, the commanding officers here are from the South South, South East and South West and there is rich knowledge of activities going on in these areas. So, bringing them together here is for them to share knowledge and to understand also the new directive and policies that will guide their conduct and understand the need to integrate with the societies where they are working.”

General Brutai tasked the officers to learn from their contemporaries on how to apply leadership skills in their various units, adding that the workshop was aimed at improving the skills of the Commanding Officers towards developing a more professional and efficient approach to the performance of their statutory roles in both peace and war times.

“I am highly delighted to be in this occasion of the first Commanding Officers workshop, which is highly necessary in line with our vision to the security challenges confronting us on daily basis, and also to find a solution to those challenges,” he said.

Earlier, the General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Major General Musa Yusuf, said the training activities were designed by the Army Headquarters to enhance and build the capacity of the Commanding Officers.

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First Edition Of Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ Sells For N1m |The Republican News

 

A first print, first edition of Things Fall Apart and the author, Chinua Achebe.

A first print, first edition copy of late Chinua Achebe’s premier novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ has been sold for one million Naira.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the private sale took place on Twitter following a call by author, Lola Shoneyin for collectors to purchase the vintage copy.

Shoneyin, who is well-known for her book ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’, tweeted that the copy was available on Sunday.

She said, “Hey book collectors! My friend is selling a first print, first edition copy of ‘Things Fall Apart’ for N1m. Reply here and she will contact you.”

Fans of Achebe’s work took to the comment section to praise the work, with some placing bids. However, she announced hours later that the book had been bought by an anonymous buyer.
She tweeted, “The book has been bought by an anonymous buyer.”

Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. ‘Things Fall Apart’, his first novel, is often considered his best. He won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.

‘Things Fall Apart’ was published in 1958; its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.

It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim.

The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo man and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian clan of Umuofia.

The work is divided into three parts, with the first describing his family, personal history, and the customs and society of the Igbo.

Other parts, chronicled the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community.

(NAN)

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Python Dance 2 Drove Away Nnamdi Kanu From South East, Says Buratai |RN

PHILIP NWOSU

 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Monday attributed the escape of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu as one of the major successes of Exercise Egwu Eke II.

The Army Chief who spoke at the flag off of the third edition of the military maneuver Exerciser Egwu Eke III in Lagos said: “One of the important achievement of the Exercise held in 2016 was the escape of Nnamdi Kanu; let him come and face the battle if he wishes.”

General Buratai said if Nnamdi Kanu dared, the python would have swallowed him, warning other criminal elements and those planning to cause trouble in Lagos and Ogun states to stay clear or “the python will swallow them.”

He explained that the objective of the military maneuver was to reinvigorate all existing operations in the country with additional manpower, equipment and resources to address the lingering security problems in the country.

His words: Nigerians should be assured that at the end of the exercise which is also conducted simultaneously by other divisions in the army; the python must have swallowed all the bandits, rustlers, terrorists, kidnappers, robbers and militants in the country. The python will also swallow thugs and other miscreants that may raise their heads to disturb the peace in the country.”

General Buratai warned criminals within Lagos and Ogun states to flee or would be crushed by troops of the Exercise Egwu Eke 111.

He said: “The exercise is a realistic training package in internal security operations, clearance operations, emergency management, rescue operations, roadblocks, cordon-and-search as well as anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism.

“It is necessary to draw the attention of well-meaning Nigerians that while reporting issues of defense and security, they must have at the back of their minds, the importance of national security. Just as mentioned earlier, defense and national security are not all comer’s affairs. No one is permitted to divulge any information that is injurious to national security.

“This is contained in the Official Secret Act 1962. “Section 1(3) of this Act states that a person who transmits any classified matter to a person to whom is not authorised on behalf of the government to transmit it; or obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorised on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence.”

“l enjoined Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that this is the only country that we have and all efforts should be focused to save it from the claws of unpatriotic elements fighting to pull the country down. Giving out official information or spreading fake news is inimical to national security.”

General Buratai said that prior to EX EGWU EKE III, the Operation AWATSE had intensified operations to crack down the activities of illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism among others, adding that the operations conducted against economic sabotage by pipeline vandals and cultists as well as other criminals had achieved commendable successes. He said several vandals had been apprehended while other criminal elements especially cultists were on the run.

General Buratai said the momentum of the Operation Awatse must be sustained, pointing out that the military must continue to display professionalism in the discharge of its constitutional roles while acting in aid to civil authority.

“Do not provide any opportunity for criminal elements to infiltrate your ranks. You must also embark on civil-military relations activities like medical outreach and others.

“Let me use this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the Nigerian Army and our mandate in aid to civil authority. Accordingly, EX EGWU EKE III has the mandate to provide adequate protection and security for the good people of Nigeria.

“I am also calling on all law-abiding citizens to provide troops adequate support and cooperation, especially timely information to enable them to accomplish their task. I assure you of adequate logistic and operational support throughout the conduct of this exercise.

“You must deal decisively with the criminals and ensure that the right of law-abiding citizens is protected. I wish you good luck as we commence EX EGWU EKE III in 81 Div AOR and Nigeria.”  (The Sun)

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Uproar In Senate As Buhari Excludes South-South, South-East From EFCC Board |RN

Olalekan Adetayo, with agency report

There was a rowdy session in the  Senate on Tuesday over the four members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The senators were divided as the lawmakers from the South-East and the South-South protested the exclusion of the two geopolitical zones by the President in his nominations.

But the senators from the North, particularly the All Progressives Congress members, argued that the Senate should proceed with the confirmation of the nominees.

The division led to a resolution to suspend the confirmation for more legislative input.

The nominees whose names were submitted to the Senate for confirmation are Ndasule Moses (North-Central), Lawan Mamman (North-East), Galadanci Imam Najip (North-West) and Adeleke Adebayo Rafiu (South-West).

The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes led by Chukwuka Utazi had presented a report on the nominees to the plenary.

The committee recommended their confirmation on the basis of their “qualification, experience and suitability” for the job.

However, Utazi said the committee noted that the nominations did not reflect the Federal Character principle as the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones were excluded.

He stated, “The committee observed that three out of the four nominees were from the North-Central, North-East and North-West geopolitical zones, with only one nominee from the southern part of the country, that is South-West.

“The committee notes that this is not in strict compliance with the Federal Character Principle as provided for in section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The committee makes this observation to guide the Executive in future nominations,” Utazi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that after the committee had presented its report,   senators Rabiu Kwankwaso (PDP Kano Central) and Barau Jibrin (APC-Kano North) supported its recommendation  that the nominees should be confirmed based on their “experience and competence.”

However, trouble began when Senator Victor Umeh (APGA-Anambra Central), rose to oppose the nominations because they would send more wrong signals about the fight against corruption.

The senator noted that “while the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, is from the North-East, the recently confirmed Secretary of the commission, Olanipkekun Olukoyede, is from the South-West and two of the nominees are from the North.”

Umeh said, “Mr President, we have continued to say this that there is a need to accommodate all parts of Nigeria in activities of government, particularly in appointing people into agencies of government.

“That has been the practice in this chamber, and on this issue of fight against corruption, the EFCC is a very important commission because the fight involves all parts of Nigeria.

“People are investigated in all parts of Nigeria and the commission cannot fight corruption to the satisfaction of all Nigerians if some parts of the country are not represented in it.”

He added, “This makes a total of four people from the North. The South-East and South-South are not accommodated in this commission.

“It is important that we include all regions in governing roles and in the fight against corruption, as it involves us all. All geopolitical zones should be included in this commission.”

He urged the Senate to be “bold enough” to step down consideration of the report and return the nomination to the Presidency.

Senator Matthew Urighide (PDP-Edo-South) supported Umeh, saying the exclusion of the South-South and the South-East would paint a bad picture.

Urighide also called on the Senate to step down consideration of the report until federal character was reflected in the nomination.

He stated, “Let us delegate people to look at the distribution of these appointments. I suggest that this matter be stood down while it is looked into.”

Eyinnaya Abaribe from Abia State also argued that the confirmation should be stepped down and nominees be returned to the President for reconsideration.

Asked by the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, to give more information on the composition of the EFCC board membership, Utazi said there were six positions, including the chairman and secretary.

He noted that the positions could go round the six geopolitical zones of the country, and give everyone a sense of justice, describing the “lopsidedness” as unfair to the excluded zones.

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe North), however, said as far as the nominations were concerned, no law was breached.

He said that they did not breach the EFCC Act which, he argued, was silent on the zones from which the members should be appointed.

Senator Ali Ndume also said the issue should not have been raised on the floor of the Senate since the chairman of the committee who is from the South-East did not raise the issue.

The chamber was thrown into pandemonium as the senators rose from their seats and yelled at each other, while the rowdiness lasted.

Efforts by Saraki to calm the angry lawmakers were unsuccessful. This prompted the lawmakers to go into a closed-door session, which lasted for 25 minutes.

It was at the session held behind closed doors that they agreed the confirmation be suspended for further legislative input.  (Punch)

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Don’t Boycott 2019 Elections, House Committee Warns South-East Residents |RN

The House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Matters has advised residents of the South-East to shun agitations by pro-Biafra activists for the boycott of 2019 general election.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dr. Chukwuemeka Ujam led a four-man team of the committee on an oversight visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Enugu State on Thursday.

Ujam, who represents Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency, spoke in reaction to calls by some pro-Biafra groups for residents to boycott the election.

He urged the people residing in the South-East to participate actively in the election as a measure of enthroning good governance through which they can demand for redress on their perceived marginalisation.

He said the activities of the pro-Biafra groups were major setbacks in the various political efforts to let South-East residents vote massively in previous elections, so that their votes could count.

Ujam called on the people to “exhibit total sense of maturity by ignoring such calls’’.
The lawmaker urged the people to relay the message of mass participation in their respective constituencies.

He said such problems which hinged on voters’ apathy would be tackled head on this time around across the zone through sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns.

Ujam, said that the visit was to ascertain INEC level of preparedness ahead of the 2019 elections, assuring that the committee would tackle all issues raised by principal staff of the commission in the state.

Earlier, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, appraised the result of the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration in the state as very encouraging.

Ononamadu noted that INEC registered over 549,326 new voters during the exercise, but harped on the cancerous problem of `voters’ apathy’ in the South-East based on Biafra sentiments as a source of worry.

He also narrated the internal problems of lack of water and inconsistent power supply as some of the major problems confronting INEC offices in the state.      (NAN)

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Anger In South East As The Military Plans For Python Dance 3 In The Region |RN

“The Operation Python Dance III should be sent to the areas where there are massive killings like in the northern part of the country…”

David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

Anger and condemnation have greeted the proposed relaunch of the third round of Operation Python Dance also known as Operation Python Dance III by the Nigeria Army in the South East region.

The first and second rounds of the military exercise, according to a report by the Amnesty International (AI) led to the killing of 250 and 150 Igbo youths respectively.

A human rights group, Campaign for Democracy (CD) has condemned the planned operation, alleging that it is another ploy to unjustifiably kill defenceless Igbo youths.

National Publicity Secretary of CD, Dede Uzor A. Uzor said in a statement that another Operation Python Dance in Igboland where there is no crisis amounted to a deliberate plot to provoke Igbo and slaughter their youths.

Also reacting, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Idemili branch, Ben Okoko, said the operations were a huge and monumental waste of public funds.

According to him, the exercises also showed the incompetence of the Nigerian military in handling the internal affairs of the country, adding that the military in Nigeria has come of age and should have a paradigm shift from “physicalism” to intelligence gathering and undercover operations.

“To announce to the whole world that you will be having Operation Python Dance or Snake Dance is
to say the least, letting the cat out of the bag as such activities would definitely bring the military in direct confrontation with the civilian populace who they are supposed to protect.

“Previous outings of this operation have resulted in huge casualties of civilians. There have been instances where military might may have been required but where they failed woefully. The resources they are trying to put on the ground for this Operation Python Dance III, if channelled to the flashpoints of the country, where the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram sects are wreaking havoc, would send a Nunc Dimittis to the sects and get them eradicated.

 

“It will amount to adding salt to injury for the military to come to the South East under the guise of Operation Python Dance III where the population is already saturated with heavy police presence at peacetime. So, it will be superfluous for the military to add their presence to the South East and also very provocative.

“Since people are still recovering from the effects of the military/IPOB skirmishes in the recent past, my candid advice is for the military to allow the sleeping dog lie and to take their might to where it is needed in the North East and Middle Belt sections of Nigeria,” Okoko submitted.

 

In his own reaction, General Overseer of Mount Zion Faith Global Liberation Ministry Inc. (a.k.a. By Fire By Fire), Nnewi, Anambra state, Bishop Abraham Chris Udeh, declared that South East zone and its people did not need anything called Operation Python Dance for any reason whatsoever.

He warned that anyone fronting such a move is making a mockery of Igbo in totality and at the same time “reminding us of the civil war massacre against us.”

He added: “Enough of that remembrance and marginalization of Ndigbo. They must be put to a stop without further delay else, the wrath of God will visit them individually and collectively.

“The Operation Python Dance III should be sent to the areas where there are massive killings like in the northern part of the country where Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents are disturbing the peace of the country and not in the South East where there are peace and quietness.”

He said the intimidation must be stopped, adding that if they insisted on relaunching the Operation Python Dance for the third time, they would see the wrath of God in action.

“Do you know that it is Ndigbo in the military that is being sent to the North to be killed by the Boko Haram insurgents. They think we don’t know all these things and that is why they still want to remind us of the harmful effects of the civil war and last year’s killing of Ndigbo. The current disagreements between Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen are the effect of last year’s killing of innocent Igbo sons and daughters.”

Also reacting, Vincent Ezekwueme, Anambra State chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) declared: “I reject in its entirety, the proposed relaunch of the third Operation Python Dance in South East zone because the zone is yet to recover from the shock and damning effects of the first and second exercises carried out in the past which were very disastrous in nature.”

 

Ezekwueme noted that instead of Python Dance, the South East zone was in dire and desperate need of infrastructural developments, particularly the resuscitation of moribund Onitsha Sea Port, Onitsha/3-3/Otuocha road, Enugu/Awka/Onitsha road, Nnewi/Uga/Akokwa/Arondizuogu/Okigwe road, Akanu Ibiam Airport, appointment of easterners into sensitive and strategic positions.

Ezekwueme noted that with these developments in place, the people of South-East would rather stage a Dance of Smile and at the same time, have a sense of belonging, instead of the dreaded Dance of Python.  (The Sun)

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