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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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Buhari Now Jittery After US, UK, EU Warning -Atiku |The Republican News

                                                      Atiku and Buhari

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, says President Muhammadu Buhari and the cabal running his government have become jittery following the statements of condemnation issued by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union over the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shuaibu, the former Vice-President urged Buhari to ensure that next month’s elections are free and fair or face the consequences.

He said, “Buhari’s cabal is unhappy with the statements from the US, the British and the EU because they know that these world powers have agreed to re-route their latest and most technologically sophisticated spy satellites, including the NAOL-47 satellite, to provide comprehensive coverage over Nigeria on February 16.

“The photographs these satellites will deliver cannot only show someone reading a newspaper but also which newspaper they are reading.”

Recall that the Federal Government had, in a statement through Garba Shehu, stated that, “The nation’s security forces will confront any attempt to interfere with the process by elements from outside the country.”

The PDP candidate, however, expressed concerns over the “desperation of the APC to rig the forthcoming elections;” and advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, the military and the Police not to allow themselves to be used by “those interested in turning Nigeria’s democracy on its head.”    (Punch)

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2019 Elections Will Define Nigeria’s Future – US Ambassador |The Republican News

 

United States Ambassador to Nigeria Stuart Symington has stated that the forthcoming elections will define the future of the country and urged stakeholders to promote credible and peaceful elections.

Symington, while addressing journalists after meeting with the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, declared that all institutions of government must do what is right.

He said: “All of the institutions of government must do what is right. An election is not a matter of life and death.

“It is a matter of defining the future of Nigeria. There must be free, fair and credible elections,” Symington emphasised.

He said that the idea of a free people with the ability to make free decisions remains the most important idea in the world.

He said: “I am quite confident that on election day, the sons and daughters of the powerful will not be out there causing violence”.

The US envoy urged people to have the courage to reject any call for them to be engaged in violence during the elections.

On the campaigns, he charged the electorate to always ask their political leaders to outline ways through which they would actualize their promises.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, believe in the votes of the people making a difference during the polls.   (The Sun)

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Kremlin Accuses US Of Meddling In Russia’s Affairs |The Republican News

                               Russian President Vladimir Putin

Kremlin on Monday accused the US of  “crudely” trying to recruit Russian nationals to act as its agents, adding that this showed Washington was meddling in Russian affairs.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked during a conference call to comment on a report in the New York Times which said the F.B.I. and US Justice Department had tried unsuccessfully to recruit Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska as an informer between 2014 and 2016.

“The fact is that the US in recent years is working crudely using its intelligence services, trying to recruit Russian citizens, exerting moral and other pressure on them.

“ I think these incidents in the most eloquent manner testify to the attempts to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs,” Peskov said.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Trump Warns Countries Against Doing Business With Iran |The Republican News

donaldtrump3

United States President, Donald J. Trump

S President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that sanctions reimposed on Iran were the “most biting ever” as he warned other countries from doing business with Tehran.

“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level,” he wrote in an early morning tweet.

“Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less.”

The sanctions reimposed on Tuesday — targeting access to US banknotes and key industries such as cars and carpets — were unlikely to cause immediate economic turmoil.

Iran’s markets were actually relatively buoyant, with the rial strengthening by 20 per cent since Sunday after the government relaxed foreign exchange rules and allowed unlimited, tax-free gold and currency imports.

But a second tranche coming into effect on November 5 covering Iran’s vital oil sector, could be far more damaging — even if several key customers such as China, India and Turkey have refused to significantly cut their purchases.

Trump’s contempt for the nuclear deal dates back to his time as a presidential candidate and on May 8, he made good on a pledge to pull America out of the international agreement.

The unilateral withdrawal came despite other parties to the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the EU — pleading with Trump not to abandon the pact aimed at blocking Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

(AFP)

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BREAKING: (VIDEO) Stop Killing of Christians In Nigeria, Trump Tells Buhari |RN

Donald Trump, President of the United States has told President Muhammadu Buhari that his country will not accept the killing of Christians.

Trump said this while meeting with President Buhari.

“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen,” Trump said.

Watch the video below:

 

Meanwhile, the joint press conference is ongoing.

(New Telegraph)

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