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United Kingdom Ask Nigeria To Explain Circumstances Behind Nnamdi Kanu’s Abduction |The Republican News

IPOB leader, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu

LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) – Britain has asked Nigeria to explain where and how Nnamdi Kanu, a separatist leader who holds British citizenship, was arrested after Kanu’s lawyer alleged he had been detained and mistreated in Kenya before being sent back to Nigeria.

Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group which wants part of southeastern Nigeria to secede, was on the run outside Nigeria for four years until he was brought to court in Abuja on June 29 and told he would face trial. read more

“We are seeking clarification from the Nigerian government about the circumstances of the arrest and detention of Nnamdi Kanu,” said Tariq Ahmad, a junior minister at Britain’s Foreign Office.

The Nigerian authorities have refused to say where Kanu was arrested, while Kenya’s ambassador to Nigeria has denied his country was involved. read more

Responding to a question about Kanu’s case from a lawmaker, Ahmad said Britain had requested consular access to Kanu and stood ready to provide consular assistance.

A spokesman for Nigeria’s Department of State Services, the security agency that is holding Kanu, could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday, a public holiday in Nigeria.

Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, alleged he was abducted by Kenya’s special police force and held for eight days before being turned over to Nigerian authorities. read more

Kanu faces 11 charges including treason, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms. His case is due to resume in court in Abuja next week.

IPOB wants a swathe of the southeast to split from Nigeria. The region attempted to secede in 1967 under the name Republic of Biafra, triggering a three-year civil war in which more than a million people died, mostly from starvation.

The Biafran enclave was reabsorbed into Nigeria after the war, but despite an official “no victor no vanquished” policy adopted at the time, discontent has continued to simmer in the region.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and William James in London, Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Editing by Alison Williams

(Reuters)

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No Partnership Will Solve Nigeria’s Massively Complex Security Situation, Others —UK |The Republican News

British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge

By SAINT MIENPAMO


The British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, has described Nigeria’s security situation as massively complex.

He said no partnership would resolve the multiplicity of the country’s problems, whether it is Boko Haram insurgency or a number of other issues.

Duddridge was fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday during his courtesy visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

“The situation is massively complex and no partnership is going to resolve the multiplicity of problems whether it is Boko Haram or a number of other issues,” Duddridge said.

“In the UK, you have a strong partner across the full gamut of issues. So, it’s not just about intelligence and hard security and military, it’s about societies, it’s about humanitarian support, it’s about education and development partnership.

“It is not an end game, we don’t get to a point where we would say ‘this is the end of our relationship with Nigeria’ because we got what we want, we set a higher bar, we’re long-term partners.” he said.

He also recognised the role that Nigeria played in Africa, saying both Nigeria and the UK would deepen post-COVID-19 relations and work together to tackle climate change.

He also sought the need for both countries to realize the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Earlier, Onyeama had said Nigeria was dealing with very difficult challenges, especially the unconventional nature of the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism.

“It is asymmetrical warfare, and we’re dealing with very difficult situations. We have an intelligence fusion unit with our partners -the US, UK, France,’’ he said.

He said Nigeria was struggling with unemployment and high inflation level, but that the country was gradually overcoming the situation.

He commended the British Government for all the support given to Nigeria to tackle her numerous challenges, especially in the Northeast.

Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who also received Duddridge on Tuesday, sought the support of the British Government to address Nigeria’s security challenges.

Duddridge was at the National Assembly in company of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing.

“We believe that our country, our government has to do a lot to secure the people, their lives and their property and this is the time that all our friends across the world need to support us, give us the kind of support that we need.

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JUST IN: UK To Grant Asylum To IPOB/MASSOB Members |The Republican News

Biafrans members

BY BRIDGET EDOKWE

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups, TheCable can report.

Asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian government, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

IPOB was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu and is believed to be an offshoot of MASSOB, which was founded in 1999 by Ralph Uwazuruike.

Both are campaigning for the secession of mainly the south-east but also several other ethnic nationalities from Nigeria.

In the just-released ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups’ seen by TheCable, the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision makers to consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.

According to the guidelines, the decision makers “must also consider if the [Nigerian] government’s actions are acts of prosecution, not persecution. Those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence are not normally refugees. Prosecution may, however, amount to persecution if it involves victimisation in its application by the authorities”.

An example of persecution, the UKVI said, is “if it is the vehicle or excuse for or if only certain groups are prosecuted for a particular offence and the consequences of that discrimination are sufficiently severe. Punishment which is cruel, inhuman or degrading (including punishment which is out of all proportion to the offence committed) may also amount to persecution”.

They are also to “consider each case on its facts to determine if the person is likely to be of interest to the [Nigerian] government and whether this is for the legitimate grounds of prosecution which is proportionate and non-discriminatory”.

BURDEN OF PROOF

The onus is on the applicants to demonstrate that they will be “at risk of persecution or serious harm” in Nigeria, according to the guidelines.

In particular, the decision makers are to consider each case on its facts, taking into account: profile, size, and organisation of the group/organisation to which the person belongs and its activities
whether a person in the UK would wish to continue their activism if returned to Nigeria (if not, why not)
whether the group/organisation has a presence in Nigeria as well as outside of the country and any evidence that it is being monitored by the government
person’s profile and political activities (including those online) and relevant documentary or other evidence
profile and activities of family members
past treatment.
The UK acknowledges that the Nigerian government has a responsibility to maintain law and order, “to prevent and protect the public against acts of violence”.

It said where supporters or members of MASSOB or IPOB “have incited or used violence to disrupt public order, the government may have legitimate grounds to arrest and prosecute those people”.

“However, where the government has arrested and detained persons who, for example, peacefully participate in demonstrations and has then charged them with treason or the person is subjected to periods of detention in degrading or inhuman conditions, such treatment is unlikely to be fair or proportionate, and is likely to amount to persecution,” the guidelines noted.

The UK defines ‘Biafra’ as an area “in the south-east of Nigeria that comprises the states of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra. The area is inhabited principally by Igbo (Ibo) people who are one of the country’s 3 largest ethnic groups”.

EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS APPLICATIONS

The UK, which is a signatory to several human rights and refugee conventions, believes Biafran secessionist agitations are covered by one or more of the following policies:

A person is reasonably likely to face a real risk of persecution or serious harm
The general humanitarian situation is so severe as to breach Article 15(b) of European Council Directive 2004/83/EC (the Qualification Directive)/Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iii) of the Immigration Rules
The security situation presents a real risk to a civilian’s life or person such that it would breach Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iv) of the Immigration Rules
A person is able to obtain protection from the state (or quasi state bodies)
A person is reasonably able to relocate within a country or territory
A claim is likely to justify granting asylum, humanitarian protection or other form of leave, and
If a claim is refused, it is likely or unlikely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
However, decision makers are directly to still consider all claims on an individual basis, taking into account each case’s specific facts.

TheCable has contacted the Nigerian government for comment.

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Ibori’s £4.2m Loot Should Be Returned To Delta State, Falana Counters Malami |The Republican News

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana

by Ayodele Oluwafemi

Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says the loot recovered from James Ibori, former governor of Delta, should be returned to the source, which is the state.

Falana stated this when he featured on a Channels Television programme on Wednesday.

Commenting on the position of Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, who had said the recovered loot will be channelled into federal projects, Falana said the money should go to Delta, since it was meant for the development of the state.

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom made a commitment to return £4.2 million loot recovered from Ibori to the federal government.

Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to that effect with Malami.

But speaking on Wednesday, Falana argued that since the Ibori loot in question left the coffers of Delta state, the federal government has no locus standi to decide how the recovered money is spent.

“Having acknowledged the role of the federal government, the fund has to return to the source. Factually, between 1999 and 2003, the Delta state government like other state governments in Nigeria received its statutory allocation on a monthly basis and paid same into the account of the government. From that account, some amount was alleged to have been diverted and taken to the United Kingdom,” he said.


“As the honourable attorney-general had said, the money is over £100 million. What has been released now is the first tranche of £4.2 million. Since the money left the coffers of the Delta state government, it has to be returned once this fund is recovered.

“The federal government has no locus standi with respect to how the money is spent. That is left for the people of Delta state to monitor the government of that state to ensure that the fund is not relooted.

“In fact, the memorandum of understanding referred to by the attorney-general signed in London, smacks of colonialism. Britain cannot decide on how recovered loot should be spent.

“What I expect the attorney-general or the federal government — in the circumstance — is to collaborate with the Delta state government to ensure that the banks that housed the looted wealth of Delta state or the banks involved, are made to pay collosal damages and interests for denying the people of Delta state the opportunity to use the money for development.”

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Lewis Hamilton Given Knighthood In New Year Honours List | The Republican News

Seven Times F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton

■ Rob Burrow awarded MBE for work on MND awareness

■ Anne Keothavong among those also handed honours

By Sean Ingle @seaningle

Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One world champion, has been awarded a knighthood in the new year honours list.

A stunning 12 months for Lewis Hamilton on and off the track, which included equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One titles and becoming an increasingly powerful voice for diversity in his sport, has ended with a knighthood in the new year honours list. The 35-year-old becomes the fourth F1 driver to be knighted after two fellow Britons, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, and Australia’s Sir Jack Brabham.

There had been a question mark over whether Hamilton, who also surpassed Schumacher’s record of grand prix victories in 2020, would be knighted given he lives in the tax haven of Monaco. But it was reported that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, had personally intervened to ensure Hamilton would be rewarded for his sporting achievements.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Hamilton, who in September also set up a commission to analyse the lack of diversity in motor racing, had been recognised through the “diplomatic and overseas” list rather than the domestic list to avoid controversy over his tax returns.

Hamilton was congratulated by Stefano Domenicali, the new CEO of F1, who praised him as a “true giant of our sport”.

“His influence is huge both in and out of a car,” he added. “What he has achieved is phenomenal with still more to come. All of us at Formula 1 congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition of his achievements and look forward to seeing more of his brilliance in 2021.”

The Exeter director of rugby, Rob Baxter, was awarded an OBE, meanwhile, and the team’s captain, Joe Simmonds, an MBE after the Chiefs won the Premiership title and the European Champions Cup. There were also MBEs for Jimmy Greaves, the former Tottenham and England striker, and the former Wolves midfielder Ron Flowers, who become the last surviving members of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad to be honoured.

In women’s football Gill Coultard, the first to win 100 senior England football caps, received an MBE – a gong that was also given to Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup tennis captain Anne Keothavong.

The former Leeds Rhino scrum-half Rob Burrow, who has motor neurone disease, was also granted and MBE in recognition of services to his sport and in raising MND awareness during the coronavirus pandemic. His former teammate, the Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield, ran seven marathons in seven days to raise funds for the MND Association on Burrow’s behalf, with the total now more than £2.5m.

Burrow said “2020 has taught us all to appreciate the gifts we have and it is my honour and privilege to accept this award on behalf of all the MND community”, and added: “I hope it gives people hope that we are not ignored and the drive for more research and support to end MND will not stop.”

Bob Champion, who won the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti after recovering from cancer, has been awarded a CBE for his charitable work at the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Matt Hampson, who was paralysed from the neck down during a training session with the England Under-21 rugby union team in 2005, has been given an OBE for services to charity. Matchroom chairman Barry Hearn was given the same award for services to sport after a 40-year career. (The Guardian)

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Buhari Rejects United Kingdom Report On “Genocide” Against Christians In Nigeria |The Republican News

Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected a report alleging that there is genocide against Christians in the country.

In the report, the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief, a group made up of  British parliamentarians, said Christians are being targeted because of their faith in Nigeria.

But in a statement on Friday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said Boko Haram insurgents have targeted Christians because they know it drives religious tensions in the country.

Shehu said the Buhari administration is committed to addressing these challenges and has already begun taking measures.

“The president and government of Nigeria wish to thank members of the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief for their report, launched a few days ago,” he said.

“Although it is difficult reading, the statement also acknowledges the importance of accurate, unbiased, depoliticised and truthful information when it comes to understanding the realities and addressing the challenges for those of faith in Nigeria.

“In this regard when uncritical attention is afforded to critics with dubious intentions, it only becomes harder for both the government and people of Nigeria to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve our differences, and uphold what is enshrined in our constitution and laws: that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“In concert with our American and British allies, Nigeria’s military have pushed back the terrorists and largely reduced their capacity over the last five years compared to the previous decade.

“Boko Haram have targeted Christians and Churches specifically because they know it drives forward religious and land tensions already existent in the country. Similarly, they attack mosques and Muslims in order to issue the threat: radicalise, or become targets yourselves.”

Shehu said while the government is increasing efforts “to fully defeat and finally finish Boko Haram”, it has not stopped seeking to negotiate for those held captive by the insurgents.

According to him, under the leadership of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, there are efforts to unite the country through dialogue as regards religious differences.

“The president and government have and will at all times work with those – both within and without Nigeria – with a concern for the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” he said.

“In this regard, we look forward to welcoming members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to our country to see for themselves the work that is going on to promote these fundamental rights of our citizens.”

(The Cable)

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African Union Asks United Kingdom To Leave Chagos Islands After Deadline Expired On Friday |The Republican News

Chagos Islands

By Pauline Bax

**UN deadline for U.K. to end its adminstration expired Friday

**U.K. clings to last African territory for ‘security reasons’

The African Union urged the U.K. to comply with a United Nations resolution calling for it to withdraw from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, which is considered part of Mauritius.

The U.K. is under increased international pressure to give up its last territory in Africa since the International Court of Justice ruled that the 1965 excision of the islands from Mauritius had been unlawful. The UN General Assembly affirmed the ruling in May and set a six-month deadline that expired Friday.

Almost all African nations support the resolution. AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat “requests the international community to continue its support to the Republic of Mauritius for a complete decolonisation of the Chagos Archipelago,” according to a statement on the website of the organization.

The U.K. argues it can’t give up the Chagos Archipelago for security reasons. It’s leased the biggest island to the U.S., which runs a military base there that supports operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.  (Bloomberg)

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12-year-old Nigerian Boy Of Igbo Extraction Makes New Discovery In Mathematics, Gets Recognition Award In UK |The Republican News

A 12-year-old Nigerian youngster of Igbo extraction who is based in the United Kingdom, Master Chika Ofili, has been presented with a Special recognition award for making a new discovery in Mathematics.

The little Mathematician just discovered a new formula for divisibility by 7 in Mathematics.

The little genius, Chika Ofili seen here with his parents and sister

If you ever used new general Mathematics JSS 2, you would understand how significant this is in the world of Mathematics. Even Professors in this field over the years were unable to solve this problem that a young genius like this did.

Chika Ofili poses with his mother

There was no divisibility rule for 7. It was thought not to exist.

Kudos to this young man. This is a noble feat worthy of recognition.

The .little genius during the presentation of award to him

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2019 Election: US, UK, EU Again Send Tough Warning|The Republican News

■ Defy FG’s warnings; insist on free, fair polls

Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja And Linus Oota, Lafia

 

Despitethe Federal Government’s warnings that the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union should desist from interfering in the nation’s internal issues, the three top players in the international community have maintained their earlier position, saying that their interest is to see free and fair elections conducted across the country next Saturday and on March 2.

They expressed their views in separate interviews with Saturday Sun between Wednesday and Friday. The United States said it supports only free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the Nigerian people. Responding to Saturday Sun inquiry on the forthcoming polls and its earlier statements, the United States, through its Public Affairs Section, Embassy of the United States of America, Abuja, called on every Nigerian citizen, official, political party, and members of the security forces, to support peacefully, the democratic electoral process in accordance with the Nigerian law.

Recall that the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, drew the ire of the Federal Government in their positions on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen. The trio had said the timing was wrong and would send a wrong signal as far as the forthcoming polls are concerned.

Earlier, the Governnent of the United States and the United Kindgom, issued a stern warning to would-be election offenders in the forthcoming elections, threatening visa sanctions to offenders and their relatives.

“The United States supports free, fair, transparent, credible, and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the Nigerian people. Our message has not changed.

“The United States does not support any individual candidate or political party.  We support the democratic process and the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission in managing the elections.

“We call on every Nigerian citizen, official, political party, and member of the security forces, to support peacefully, the democratic electoral process in accordance with Nigerian law,” the United States said. It further said it looked forward to the impartial and professional activities of Nigeria’s security forces during the elections. “We welcomed the signing of the Peace Accord by leaders of the aspirant political parties and look forward to seeing that accord honored by all,” the United States further said.

This position was further reinforced on Friday by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, who tasked the government and people of Nigeria to ensure a peaceful and credible general elections because “the world is interested and watching”.

Symington stated this in Lafia, after meeting with Mr Labaran Maku, the Nasarawa State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Noting that the responsibility of ensuring a peaceful, free, fair and credible polls rested with the government and all citizens, he said that Nigeria gained much credibility after the success of the 2015 general elections. “That election was credible; it lifted the country’s standing internationally. Nigeria must build on that because its citizens are desirous of a peaceful and credible election. All the candidates I have talked to, at all levels, have expressed the desire for a free, fair and credible elections, where all votes will count.”

According to him, peace is not just something you pledge but something that is planted and nurtured to growth using words and actions. “Truly, it’s up to each person to make a decision and take responsibility for doing what is right,” Symington said.

Also responding to Saturday Sun inquiry on its current position on the forthcoming polls, the UK, through its Senior Communications Officer, Press and Public Affairs, British High Commission, Abuja, TinuOluwa Adelegan, said the UK’s work regarding the elections; to support free, fair, credible and peaceful elections is focused on supporting the electoral process and the independent institutions. The UK further said it was working with civil societies to ensure that they are prepared to effectively monitor elections and call out problems when they see them. It added that in its advocacy role, the UK is speaking to all parties, including the two main parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), appealing to their leadership to live up to their obligations and to the peace accord.

The UK also said its appeal to all parties is that they ensure that the vote is conducted fairly and none of their supporters is involved in violence or vote buying, and ensuring that when it (UK) notices such issues, it calls them out. “We have over 100 observation groups covering the six geo political zones as part of our international election observation mission. They will be seeing the process for themselves first hand, and ensuring that all parties are behaving in a responsible way,” the UK further said.

On its part, the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria, said its recent comments on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was carried out in strict adherence to its code of conduct. The EU EOM denied any form of interference in the nation’s internal issues, stating that the EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis, and make recommendations about the electoral process.

In response to Saturday Sun inquiry on its current position on the forthcoming elections and the accusation of interference by the government, EU Deputy Chief Observer, Hannah Roberts said: “We are aware of the comments made, but it’s important to emphasise that the EU only deploys an election observation mission when it is invited to do so by the authorities of a country.

“The EU has been invited to observe all of the general elections in Nigeria since 1999. Thus, this is the sixth time the EU is observing elections in Nigeria, following an invitation from INEC.  EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis, and make recommendations about the electoral process. EU election observation missions are impartial, do not interfere in the electoral process, and operate according to a strict code of conduct.”

When contacted, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, did not respond to the positions maintained by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, saying the Federal Government will not want to join issues with them now.           (The Sun)

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Onnoghen: US, UK, EU Supporting Corruption – FG |The Republican News

 

Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

 

The Federal Government has said that the statements by the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, portends tolerance for corrupt acts and the downplaying of the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.

The government also said the statements signified alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections.

This is the third time the government is reacting to statements by the US, the UK and the EU, having earlier said that the presidency will not bend rules or allow interference, and that the US, UK and the EU were not properly informed over concerns raised by the suspension of Onnoghen.

In a statement by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George Ehidiamen Edokpa, the government stated that the statements were inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria notes with deep concern, statements made by representatives of foreign governments and international organizations resident in Nigeria, notably the Embassy of the United States of America, the High Commission of the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union Election Observer Mission, regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), which demonstrate serious and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Nigeria.

“The various statements, especially of those referred to above, appear prejudicial and signify alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections in Nigeria. These statements also portend tolerance for corrupt acts and downplay the anticorruption crusade of the Buhari administration, knowing fully that the suspended CJN had not denied the charges against him and that probity requires of him to step aside while the case is under scrutiny.

“It is pertinent to underscore the unfortunate fact that statements, as referred above, are inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression. Now, more than any other time, Nigerians and true friends of Nigeria should be working towards repositioning Nigeria to realize her potential and sustainably provide the leadership expected of her.

“His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari had consistently demonstrated respect for the rule of law as a presidential candidate and as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would engage in nothing to the contrary. He also remains a man of integrity who has severally pledged free and fair elections. It is therefore absurd to presume that the suspension of the CJN is geared towards rigging the forthcoming elections in favour of the ruling party.

“For the avoidance of doubt, be it known that on three occasions that Mr. President went to court as a presidential candidate and lost his case, in 2013, 2011 and 2007, the presiding judges at the Supreme Court were all northerners and Muslims: Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, Idris Lebo Kutigi and Dahiru Mustapha respectively. In fact, in one instance, the presiding judge at the Appeal Court was from Katsina State and the President’s former classmate, yet, he lost the case. The minority judgements in his favour were given by two judges, both of them southerners and Christians: Justices George Adesola Oguntade and Sylvanus Nsofor.

“Resident embassies and international organizations invited to observe the forthcoming elections must therefore be wary of being drawn into the camp of the opposition, otherwise their neutrality, which is the hallmark of election observers becomes questionable. It is indeed unfortunate that foreign missions would align with the opposition and seek to negatively interpret actions by the Federal Government, no matter their positive basis and intention. Had the Federal Government been high-handed, would the opposition have been able to express its views even to the point of pouring invectives on Mr. President? How best can the corruption in the judiciary, which has enormously undermined the rights of the common man and made justice available only to the highest bidder, be best tackled than by ensuring that known cases are fundamentally tackled? Where is the rule of law, if justice is applied selectively?” the government queried.

The government further raised pertinent questions which it said, the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon.

“Pertinent questions that the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon are: How has the action of Mr. President undermined the resolve for free and fair election? In what ways does it undermine the independence of the Judiciary, except in the minds of the opposition and its cohorts? What right has a representative of a foreign government to incense an already volatile situation on the grounds that her government has invested heavily in the elections? It is insulting for any foreign representative to claim the right to interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs, based on the premise that its government has invested heavily in the election,” the government added.

The government further said Nigeria had invested enormously over the years in election processes of many African countries and will continue to do so without interfering in their internal affairs.

The government also said interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs under any guise will therefore not be accepted.

“Representatives of foreign governments and organizations are therefore advised to tread with caution and desist from using the utterances and actions of opposition organizations and individuals as a vehicle to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs. Embassies and organizations accredited to Nigeria should desist from actions and utterances that can only create political, sectional and religious crises and divides,” the government warned.  (The Sun)

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