POST.NG - The former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Chidi Odinkalu, has expressed fears over the possibility of conducting the 2019 General Elections.
The former NHRC Boss, who was speaking in Abuja, at a town hall meeting and presentation of the findings of a post-2015 elections research, conducted by ActionAid Nigeria, on Wednesday, August 31, said going ahead without proper preparation, may result in crisis and deaths.
“Today, the Executive has gone into lax mode; Judiciary has become lawless; National Assembly is lacking in credibility; INEC is troubled; politicians have gone unruly. Government says it has no money to run the economy. Every element that made 2015 is currently missing.
“There is absolutely no reason why the Executive should allow the number of vacancies we have in INEC to be. By next month, INEC will have 28 vacancies among Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, and seven Commissioners. The Executive is carrying on as if this normal. It isn’t.
“Citizens are carrying on like: We will tweet it on social media. We should do more than that, because our country is at stake. The way we are carrying on, 2015 is history; 2019 may not happen, if we don’t reset. We have got to take our country very seriously. There will be no elections in 2019.
“I’m sorry to sound alarmist. But, continuing the way we are going, we will not be able to have elections in 2019. If it happens, there would be too many broken heads and dead people”, he said.
Lamenting the role of the Judiciary, Odinkalu, a Lawyer, frowned at the corruption in the profession, particularly on recent rulings on electoral cases in the country.
He added: “The Judiciary has gone rogue, and destroyed everything that was supposed to guarantee fairness in the 2015 elections.
“Judges are speaking from too many sides of their mouths. There are no underlying principles.
“Judges come out with decisions they know are manifestly bought, and the profession is saying nothing. Citizens are behaving like it is normal for 20 judges to come out with 20 different orders on the same subject matter, from different parts of the country.
“The jurisprudence on the PVC is irresponsible. When a country appropriates for a measure, and has it backed by law and voted for by the citizens, the Judiciary cannot outlaw it the way the Judiciary dealt with the Permanent Voters Card, PVC. The Judiciary reacted to the PVC in a way that effectively licensed electoral violence,” he said.
The Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, Clement Nwankwo, in his presentation, agreed with Odinkalu, expressing sadness at the existing vacancies in INEC.
He noted, that the issue should be addressed as a national emergency situation, to avoid fears expressed about crisis in 2019 elections, becoming a reality.
“It is totally unacceptable that we do not have a full complement of members of the Electoral Commission, less than two and a half years to a national election. If those who hold the reins of leadership in the country today do not act as urgently as in emergency situation, we will lose this democracy,” he said.
Some residents from the Northeast geo-political zones on Thursday in Ibadan, called for caution among Nigerians over the invasion of armed herdsmen into the Southern part of the country.
The residents spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at a workshop on “Conflict Prevention, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and Alternative Dispute Resolutions for traditional rulers and CSOs in Southwest”.
Alhaji Abba Modu, a resident from Borno, said the people noticed the influx of the armed herdsmen into the country some years ago from neighbouring war-torn countries.
Modu, an IDPs Protection Monitor volunteer – UN Development Programme-funded volunteer group, blamed the influx partly on the laxity on the part of the nation’s security agents at the borders.
“We from Borno noticed when these armed herdsmen started coming from Mali, Niger and Central African Republic; they started killing people from Yobe, Borno and penetrated southwards into the country.
‘‘Our farmers were killed but people and security forces were not vigilant; they came with arms and ammunition, which they acquired from crisis countries like Libya, Congo, Mali, Senegal, CAR.”
Modu said the armed herdsmen came into the country ‘‘with stolen cows, very aggressive and are different from the real Fulanis that we know.
“So it is the armed herdsmen that are painting the Fulanis black; they are also used by armed robbers; they give arms to armed robbers and secret cultists.”
He called for the need for early warning and early response to arrest the situation from getting out of hands.
“In the southwest, we have leaders of the Miyetti Allah Fulani herdsmen; they should register their members and their locations so that they can separate them from the criminals.
“If there is an attack, the Miyetti Allah group will know the location of the criminals. Without identifying this, the people will be confused of who is attacking them.”
“If you do not separate them, the criminal ones are very smart and agile and they have a lot of technical knowhow of fighting and penetrating peoples’ lands.”
Dr Hannatu Ibrahim, a prominent women leader, argued that criminals had infiltrated the ranks of the Fulani herdsmen who have lived peacefully with their farmers counterparts for decades.
“Do you know that some of the cattle rearers are not Nigerians? The real Fulani Cattle rearers that I know in my over 70 years of age, live in peace.
“They don’t carry guns but now, you see these cattle rearers have sophisticated guns. Where do they come from? Our borders are not being manned properly, so they came in.”
Ibrahim, a former Commissioner in old Bauchi state, called on relevant authorities to checkmate the armed herdsmen and distinguish between the foreigners from other countries and the Fulanis of Nigeria.
“Who gave these herders the guns and who licensed these herders to carry guns because nobody is allowed to carry guns without licence?
“Our security agencies should do their work. In those days, any visitor who came in was detected. Our political leaders should work with traditional leaders to solve the herdsmen/farmers crisis.
“In those days, when cattle destroyed farms, the owner is asked to pay for it and he will not repeat it; we should not compromise the unity of this country.”
Similarly, Dr Shatu Garba, a resident of Gombe, and President, Rotary Club of Greenwich, London, cautioned against politicising the crisis thereby worsening the situation instead of finding solutions.
‘‘In the past, we lived side by side with the Fulani herdsmen and there was no problem.
“Fulanis took their cattle to the bush and tried to avoid the farmlands. But with what is happening now, I don’t see most of them as Fulanis.
“I think the armed herdsmen are members of Boko Haram disguising as herdsmen because they look for anyway they could destroy any community they get to,” she said.
Hajia Aisha Aliko, from Borno, commended the people of southwest for their tolerance and peaceful co-existence with other Nigerians, and called for collaboration among all stakeholders to stop the attacks.
Another domestic carrier, First Nation Airlines, has suspended its operations, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said.
This is coming in less than 24 hours after Aero Contractors Airlines, Nigeria’s second largest commercial carrier, announced an indefinite suspension of its scheduled flight services and its staff with effect from Thursday, September 1, 2016.
The Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, explained that the decision was taken in order to ensure that the airline carried out the required maintenance of its aircraft.
Usman, however, refuted claims that some of the domestic airlines were winding down their operations regardless of the fact that they had suspended flight services.
In a statement issued by the NCAA on Thursday and signed by its DG, it said, “The First Nation Airlines on its part is in the middle of an Engine Replacement Programme for one of its aircrafts. Another aircraft is due for mandatory maintenance as allowed by the regulatory authority.
“In these circumstances, these airlines clearly cannot continue to undertake schedule operations, hence the inevitable recourse to self regulatory suspension.”
Usman insisted that the domestic carriers had not wound down their operations, but were “merely suspending their operations temporarily to enable them undertake certain operational overhaul and strengthen their overall operational outlay.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he and members of his cabinet are aware of the pains Nigerians are going through.
The President, who said ‘change’ was aimed at restoring the nation on the path of integrity and prosperity said this in Osogbo on Thursday at the inauguration of the Osogbo Government High School built by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The President urged Nigerians to be patient and persevere while promising that pains would soon give way to development.
He said his administration was working hard to avoid the mistakes of the last administration in tackling insecurity and corruption and to revamp the economy which was badly affected by the drop in the price of oil.
Buhari said, ” We promised Nigerian people positive and progressive change during our campaign. We are not and shall not be deterred from that noble undertaking.
“But as we have learnt from history, change has never been attained by any nation on a bed of roses, but rather, through patience, perseverance and steadfastness.
“We are quite aware of the pains and inconveniences that have been the lot of the citizenry in the past one year as we strive to faithfully implement our programmes in fulfilment of our change agenda.
“We are however comforted by the real change and progress we have made in fighting corruption and restoring integrity to government; providing security for lives and property; and positioning the government for effectiveness and especially deregulating the oil sector.
“We must also not forget the fiscal discipline that has now characterised government business at all levels. This indeed is how it should be and we are determined to introduce and implement actions and measures that will entrench the change mantra in our individual lives just as we are doing in curtailing excessive waste and rent seeking in governance.
“We are determined to remain on track as we strive to deliver to rescue the country from past mistakes in fulfilment of our promise of improving the conditions of our people and making Nigeria a prosperous country.”
Prof. Pat Utomi, renowned economist and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has described the excruciating level of poverty and unemployment in the country as very sad and heart breaking.
Utomi, who stated this when he paid a familiarization visit to the members of the APC Delta Central Elders and Leaders Forum at Chief Sylvester Knowhow’s residence in Effurrun-Warri, blamed past governments for the prevailing high youth unemployment in the country, noting that over reliance in oil against diversification of the economy has affected the growth of the other sectors which could have created jobs for the youth.
He stated that all parents pray that their children should be greater and more successful than them but that is not the case of Nigeria where a parent will labour to see their children through school, only to continue to feed and clothe them after graduation.
He added that, “a situation where parents worked and retired and their children can’t find job is very disheartening and unacceptable”, stressing that a state like Delta has every potential to be great but poor leaders have stunted its greatness and development over the years.
While welcoming new members of the APC who recently joined the party from the Labour Party, Utomi assured them that as one of the drafters of the APC change manifesto, “I am ready to work together with other progressives in Delta State to build our party and bring change and development to Delta state.
Utomi stressed that Project Delta is workable if the right leadership is in place. He urged party faithful to put personal interest aside in the quest to rescue the state and positioning it as a center for development in the south-south region.
Chief Sylvester Kowho responding to Utomi’s remarks said he (Utomi) is nationally and internationally acclaimed as a man of impeccable integrity, adding that with his likes in Delta APC, the change that Deltans desire will not be too long in coming.
According to him; “Your type of person with proven integrity in both public and private service is what we need in Delta State to effect the desired change.
“Though you have not said you want to lead Delta State, we are glad that we have you in APC to provide leadership in our state. We want the best hand for the state and you are most likely going to be one of the best,” he said.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday admitted that Nigeria is in its worst possible time with the Gross Domestic Product figures for the 2016 second quarter by the National Bureau of Statistics which confirmed the nation’s economy is in recession.
She said the nation has a long way to go and the government was not deceiving itself that all was rosy.
Adeosun spoke with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council meeting held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“It’s the worst possible time for us. Are we confused? Absolutely not,” the minister said.
She identified some of the ways the country could get out of recession to include diversification of the economy and investing in capital projects.
She said, “How are we going to get ourselves out of this recession. One, we must make sure that we diversify our economy. There are too many of us to keep on relying on oil.
“We can see what happened at the output data of the oil and gas sector. What’s happening in the Niger Delta has dragged down the GDP of the entire economy. We are too dependent on oil, whereas 87 percent of our GDP is non oil. So let us drive those other areas
“We have to invest in capital projects. No, we are not confused, the time are confusing but we are not confused. We are extremely focused. We know that if we can just bare and get through this difficult period, Nigeria is going to be better for it.
“If we rely on oil and the price of oil remains low and the quantity of oil remains low, we can’t grow. We have to grow our non oil economy
“I think that we have a long way to go. We’re not confused and we’re not deceiving ourselves that everything is rosy. It’s not.
“It’s a difficult time for Nigeria but I think Nigeria is in the right hands and if we can stick with our strategy. We still have some adjustments to make. I think we need to make some adjustments in monetary policy.
“It’s quite clear we do and we will do that. We’re working on that. We need to try and find a way to support the manufacturing sector better and we will do that.
“What we have is cost-put inflation and when you have cost-put inflation it is structural inflation. It is not going to respond to monetary policy tools such as increasing the rate of interest. We have to address the structural causes of the inflation
“The trend, the rate of inflation growth has slowed down and that’s a good sign.”
Amid the present economic challenges in the country, the Deeper Life Bible Church has called on Nigerians to remain steadfast and hopeful, as the nation’s varying challenges would soon be over.
The Delta State Overseer of the Church, Pastor Jude Chukwuocha, stated this on Wednesday in Warri during a press conference to announce the pastoral visit of the church’s General Overseer, Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi, to the state.
Pastor Kumuyi, who is visiting the state for the second time this year, is expected to minister at the Warri City Stadium, alongside other top clergymen in the programme slated for Monday, September 5, 2016.
Chukwuocha said, “There is hope for our generation because we say it with all confidence and assurance that Christ is the answer to all human problems. When Pastor Kumuyi comes, he is going to draw people’s attention to the Lord Jesus, who alone has the solution to the present problems of our country.”
PARIS, APRIL 2, 2016: (DGW) - MAZI NNAMDI KANU, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) will no longer accept edibles that pass through or have been scrutinized by men of the Department of State Security as plots thicken to soak his food in a deadly poison, IPOB has said in a statement issued by its spokesmen,Emma Mmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya made available to journalists.
As part of other precautionary measures to save the detainee's life, IPOB said also that Kanu would not mix with other inmates because of some moles that have been planted to inform against him.
The statement read in part, “We have advised our leader to reject every food, including those brought by close family members because the DSS that always scrutinize his food before allowing it in as might poison the food. He will also not mix with other prisoners because we are aware that Interior Ministry officials working through the Prison Service have planted their agents pretending to be prisoners, in order to spy and report on him to DSS.
Reaffirming their love and support for their leader the statement further read that, “We have eyes everywhere so we get regular reports on his health status. Nigeria knows the consequences should anything happen to our leader because in every family in Biafra lands are hardcore IPOB. Many people are willing to die for him so Buhari led All Progressives Congress Federal Government should tread carefully with the life of Mr. Kanu because hell will be let loose if anything happens to him, Nigeria will never be the same should anything untoward happens to Kanu”.
“The bail refusal is not a problem for us because IPOB wants the trial to go ahead, so we can expose and disgrace a corrupt judicial system hamstrung by the whims of a dictator in the present government of Nigeria,” the statement added.