Kwara Speaker Mourns Colleague

The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Barrister Razak Atunwa has expressed deep shock over the death of Honorable Sulieman Sinaboro, the Chairman of House on Finance and Appropriation, Kwara State House of Assembly, who passed away after brief illness.

Barr. Atunwa in a statement signed by his Media Office described the passing away of the lawmaker as a shocking and horrific tragedy that leaves a painful memory to the entire Kwara community.

“It was with great distress and sadness that I learned about the tragic event of the death of Hon. Sulieman Sinaboro. He was my friend and colleague, a very humble, committed and disciplined lawmaker who ensured the wellbeing of Kwarans comes first in his services to the state. The weight of his death cannot be quantified, because of the smart touch of professional wisdom he applies in managing the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation” he stated.

Further speaking, he said the demise of the lawmaker isn’t  a loss to Kwara Assembly alone, but a loss to the whole state. “His immense contribution to the progress of Kwara will always be remembered. In his death, the state has lost a lawmaker who was always in touch with the grassroots” he added.

Barr. Razak Atunwa sympathized with the Emir of Ilesha Baruba and the entire people of Ilesha/Gwanara constituency  . In a visitation to the families of the deceased, Atunwa conveyed his expression of deepest sympathy, support and solidarity to the families of Hon. Sulieman Sinaboro and prayed Almighty Allah grant them the strength to bear the loss.

 

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Elections: Any Further Shift From March 28 Is Unconstitutional, But… – Jega

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega yesterday declared that any further shift of the general elections from the March 28 rescheduled date is unconstitutional.”I don’t see how anyone would contemplate shifting the elections now because it is unconstitutional.Our hope and prayer is that in the next six weeks, things will improve and there would be elections”, he declared when he appeared before the Senate today. The electoral Commission had shifted the elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11 in controversial circumstances.

While asked by Senate minority leaders, George Akume to give a guarantee that the new polls dates of March 28 and April 11 remain sacrosanct, Jega said the answer to that can only be provided by ‘appropriate quarters.’

“There are things that are under the control of the Commission and there are things not under our control. What’s not under our control, it’s futile, fruitless to give guarantee on things not under our control. I think that question should be directed appropriately”, he added, stressing that the Commission had already foreclosed the possibility of using temporary voters cards (TVCs) and remains committed to using only the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

 He also explained that the PVC has a 10-year life span and “can be used for the 2019 general elections,” and also insisted that neither the Electoral Act nor the 1999 Constitution prohibits the Commission from using the card reader. “Nothing says you cannot use electronic devices during the voting process”, he stated.

The INEC chairman, who had an interactive session which spanned three hours and 35 minutes, also disclosed that over four million people who were caught in multiple registrations and electoral offences have been removed from the voters’ register. He told the Senate that although 75.9 percent of voters for the general elections have collected the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC), 800,000 to 1 million cards are yet to be produced.

He also informed lawmakers that the postponement of the election is a blessing in disguise as all PVCs could now be produced and distributed to voters. Shortly after Senate resumed for plenary, Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) moved a motion through Order 17 to allow Jega and his entourage enter the chamber.

The motion approved, after introductory remarks from Senate President David Mark, Jega informed Senators that the Commission received a letter from the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who wrote on behalf of the nation’s security chiefs and asked for the six weeks extension since they could not provide security for the polls.

On the card readers, Jega disclosed that a test pilot was done in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 13 states of the federation with some of the INEC Commissioners as coordinators.

In reaction to a question from a Senator, Jega insisted that purchase of PVCs by politicians is a criminal offence even though he reiterated that such cards are useless as they cannot be used for the elections.

The card reader, he said, has provision for verification of thumb-printing of the owner with an embedded chip with details of the voter. “If the PVC cannot be read by the card reader 99.9 percent, then, it’s a cloned card. The PVC is a simple device which operates on battery. When fully charged, it lasts for 12 hours. From our tests, the likelihood of failure of our card reader is minimal”, he stressed.

The electoral boss also said that through the test run of the card reader, the battery does not run down because when it is not in use, “it goes on safe-mode.” He, however, noted that the problem with PVCs is not that of production but that of collection as the voting public has left them uncollected for too late.

“Buying of PVCs by politicians is useless, we are producing and replacing snatched or stolen PVCs because it is useless for whoever has stolen or snatched or purchased one.

“If you allow TVCs, they will come to the polling area, wave their TVCs and insist on voting. We’ve already made progress, there’s no reason to use TVC. Only people with PVC will be able to vote”, he stated further.

Speaking on the modalities of using the card reader, Jega said each card reader, which was designed by the Commission was built in China and tested in the United States of America.

He also said that the card reader has been programmed in such a way that if any voter comes after the accreditation period, it will not work. He added: “Every card reader is configured to a particular polling unit. During elections, we configure the card reader to that particular polling unit before taking it there.

“That’s why we said we will use this period of extension to do additional tests. We do have a comfort level and we feel comfortable that these card readers can be used and they can  add value to the electoral process. It cannot be perfect, it may not read every finger and that’s why we agreed with the political parties that if it doesn’t read a finger, what do you do?

“We are buying about 182, 000 card readers. Some of them will not work. There’s what they call dead on arrival from the factory and there’s always a percentage that you have to give for that. As I speak with you, of the total number of card readers we ordered and configured, only 503 have failed which is what you can call dead on arrival. So, we have acceptable margins.”

He also disclosed that for the first time since voting started in Nigeria, this year,  national voting demographics, including the number of women, men, rural and urban voters, voters between 18 years to 30 years would now known through the card readers and made public.

He told the lawmakers that inability of electoral officers to use the card reader is a criminal offence for which there are appropriate sanctions. For the accreditation process, only a minimum of 10 seconds and 30 seconds are required per voter, he said in response to a question from Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Jega also affirmed that internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a result of the insurgency in the North east would be allowed to vote. “On the IDPs in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, there are more people living in host communities than in camps. There are designated polling stations that are placed outside the camps so as to enable people vote. If stakeholders feel there’s more security inside than outside, then, we are prepared to go with them.”

In his closing remarks at the interactive session with Jega, Mark urged the electoral commission to conduct elections that would be universally acceptable. “We hope that INEC would take the best decision on the election and conduct an election that would acceptable. Those of us who are standing for elections in this chamber would also want free, fair and credible elections.

“Nobody seated here, I can tell you that, wants to come back through the back door. As I said at the beginning, it is for us to assist you to conduct a free, fair and credible election and whatever we can do between now and the date you’ve chosen for the election, please, don’t hesitate to come back to us.”

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Fayemi’s Wife Did not Donate Drugs to Buhari’s Campaign…Fayose’s Aides Behind EJG Allegations

The attention of the Wife of the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi has been drawn to an allegation by a faceless group, operating under the unregisteredname: Ekiti Justice Group (EJG) –  that she donated drugs  worth N57.34m to the campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.

The so-called EJG claimed among other things that the purported drugs was sourced from a European Donor Agency last year August for Ekiti Free Health Mission, but was diverted for the APC campaign in January, 2015.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been necessary to dignify the spurious allegations of the group with a response coming on the heels of an earlier false claim about the Governor’s so-called donation to the Buhari campaign. However, for the sake of the general public and gullible readers who might have been deceived into believing the malicious publication, it is important to state as follows:

That the allegations are baseless and shamelessly concocted by the propaganda arm of the PDP- led government in the state to tarnish the good image of the former administration in the state.

That on no occasion did any European Donor Agency supply any drugs to the Ekiti Free Health Mission. Neither did any agency donate any drugs to Ekiti Health Mission throughout Dr Fayemi’s tenure in office;

That on no occasion did Mrs Fayemi donate drugs to the APC Campaign. Even while her husband served as the Chief Executive of the state, Mrs Fayemi was not directly involved in the Free Health Mission programme.

That Mrs Fayemi has over the past three decades been involved in gender and youth development programmes locally and globally, and has continued to identify publicly with any positive actions towards this. Hence she has no reason to deny  her contributions to a good cause such as donation of drugs to the needy in the society if she actually did.

Members of the society are therefore enjoined to disregard the allegations, which areblatant lies issued on a daily basis by the government of Mr Ayodele Fayose, through the office of his Special Assistant on (mis)Information with the intent to divert attention from the government’s ineptitude, corruption and directionlessness.

Investigations have shown that the EJG exists only at the Information Unit of the Governor’s Office and that the aides of the Governor are the officials of the faceless group using different pseudonyms.

These aides of the Governor are the same people that came up with the lies that former Governor Fayemi made a donation of N1.5b to the APC Presidential campaign. They also went ahead to circulate leaflets containing that malicious allegation to civil servants during a meeting called by Governor Fayose with the workers in Ado-Ekiti, last week. They are also the same people behind the scurrilous Al-Hikmah advert campaigns in various national dailies.

Those who unwittingly or deliberately help Mr Fayose spread this falsehood should know that appropriate legal steps are being taken against such libelous publications. Dr Fayemi is always ready to clarify any issue in relation to his time in office should such clarification be necessary.

Only a discredited government like we currently have in Ekiti State would elevate falsehood to a state policy, all in the bid to mislead the people and cover up the misdeeds of the administration.

 

Olayinka Oyebode

Chief Press Secretary to Dr Kayode Fayemi

 

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Nigerian Troops Kill Over 300 Boko Haram Insurgents, Recover Sophisticated Weapons, DHQ Claims

Nigerian forces have killed more than 300 Boko Haram fighters during an operation to recapture 11 towns and villages since the start of the week, the military said on Wednesday, as regional neighbours also pounded the militants.

“Weapons and equipment were also captured and some destroyed,” defence spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement. “However, two soldiers lost their lives while 10 others were wounded,” he added.

It was not possible to independently verify the military’s statement. Nigerian forces have in past been accused of overstating enemy casualties while greatly understating their own and those of civilians caught in the crossfire.

The statement reads:

Mopping up operation of some of the communities where terrorists have been cleared in the course of ongoing air and land operations against terrorists has indicated massive casualty inflicted on them within the last two days of the counter terrorists operations.  Over 300 terrorists were killed while a few were also captured.  Several weapons and equipment were also captured and some destroyed.

It has been confirmed that that 5 different types of armoured fighting vehicles, an anti-aircraft gun, about 50 cases of packed bombs and 8 different types of Machine Guns, 5 Rocket Propelled Grenade, 49 boxes of various types and calibres of ammunition as well as 300 motorcycles destroyed in the fighting.  A total of 6 Hilux vehicles including those mounted with anti-aircraft guns were also destroyed. However, 2 soldiers lost their lives while 10 others were wounded in the course of the operation.

The cordon and search operations is continuing along with aggressive patrols by troops who are now dominating the cleared communities such as Monguno, Gabchari, Abba Jabari, Zuntur, Gajigana, Gajiram, Damakar, Kumaliwa, Bosso Wanti, Jeram and Kabrisungul. The various phases of the highly coordinated air and land operations is also ongoing in the designated theaters being handled by contingents involved in the renewed counter terrorism campaign in and outside Nigeria.

CHRIS OLUKOLADE
Major General
Director Defence Information

 

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Buhari at Lent, Urges Reflections for Peace

Abuja, Nigeria, 18 Feb 2015: The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to use this season of penance to reflect, meditate and pray to God for peace and the rebuilding of our nation.

Buhari made this appeal in a Lenten message to Nigerian Christians, as they joined other Christians worldwide in observing the annual period of repentance, sacrifice, fasting, prayers and almsgiving for the forgiveness of sins and spiritual revival.

“My dear brothers and sisters, as we pray daily for mercy from God, let these 40 days be for us, a greater opportunity to change our ways and our hearts so that God can heal our land; which is in dire need of leaders and citizens who will show love and care for the poor and the rejected in our midst, for whom, Jesus Christ also sacrificed and died for.

“Let us abhor discriminations in our country on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender and political orientation and work for a united, peaceful and progressive Nigeria where few men and women will no longer have the pleasure and privilege to deprive the majority of our common wealth.

“As you observe this very important spiritual exercise, I will also join you in prayers to God for the strength you need to go through this season and for the forgiveness of the sins we all have committed against God and humanity.”

Signed:

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

 

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Nigerian Govt Accuses New York Times of Working for the Opposition

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye, on Tuesday faulted an editorial published by the New York Times on the postponement of the general elections in Nigeria.

“I was shocked and disappointed to read your editorial of Feb.16 titled ‘Nigeria Miserable Choices’ because it distorted and omitted important facts,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The publication had in its editorial said the main reason Nigeria’s elections were postponed was to frustrate Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress.

See: “Nigeria’s Miserable Choices”: New York Times Slams President Jonathan Over “Extra Time” to Fight Boko Haram

Mr. Adefuye explained that the decision to postpone the election was made by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and not by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The election management body has always been allowed a freehand in conduct of its activities including the time table for the elections. In arriving at the decision to postpone the elections, INEC chief, Prof. Jega, said ‘no one pressurised INEC to take the decision,” the ambassador said.

He said in arriving at the decision, the commission took into consideration the prevailing situation in the country in the build up to the Feb. 14 earlier scheduled for the commencement of the elections.

According to him, the issues involved included distribution of the permanent voter cards, card readers and security.

He said the issues were acknowledged in a research conducted by the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute and the International Republic Institute after a four-week stay in Nigeria.

“The research was sponsored by the U.S. State Department and has been published; it is surprising that The New York Times is not aware or chose to ignore this report,” he said.

Mr. Adefuye argued that Boko Haram constituted a serious threat to the country and that government had in the recent past made appreciable progress in tackling the problem.

“Boko Haram will soon be a thing of the past. It is simply not practicable to be fighting Boko Haram and be providing the security necessary for the elections. It is very clear that this editorial of yours was motivated by bias and ignorance both of which are inexcusable,” he said.

 

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We Will Not Retrench Workers; Governor Ahmed Assures Labour Congress

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has described workers as the engine room for service delivery by any government. This assertion was made at the governorship interactive session organized by the Joint Kwara Labour Congress of the NLC and the TUC yesterday where the governor enthusiastically entertained series of questions and rubbed mind with the workers of the state.

It was never a surprise as the workers prioritized matters concerning them during the course of the debate. The very first question put to the governor thus was about the retrenchment of workers in the State.

The governor in his response spoke convincingly on the significance of workers in the development of any nation. He reiterated that in recognition of their service and commitment to nation building, every government must intensify efforts to keep them happy un-interruptedly.

In his bid of justification, he explained that every single worker is symbolically a stem with numbers of branches depending on him. Retrenching him in an undue course therefore will not bring havoc to him alone, but also cause a great dismay to his dependants.

Ahmed maintained that retrenchment is a tyrannical approach inherited from the military. He seriously condemned and described it non-democratic. He however, related reasons that are capable of causing such catastrophe to poor financial capacity of the state, expatiating on how downfall has over the years struck the state allocation from, and other responsibilities of the federal government.

In his way forward analysis, the governor elaborated how his administration has been taking care of the situation by sourcing funds from its internal revenue to cater for the cumbersome responsibilities of the administration. He emphasized that areas been affected by the horrid behaviour of the federal government towards the state and other tiers are so much devastating that only a proficient government can survive, and device alternative means to it.

“In the face of all challenges, our government will never fail the people or show any ineptitude concerning every matter that affects them. Rather, we will continue to strive to meet up with their needs and ensure our targets are met as a government” Ahmed re-assures.

He finally urged the workers to re-exhibit their progressive character in the forthcoming election and never play a partisan politics, as he enjoined the entire public to make sure their votes count for the right person of their choice in a non-violence manner.

 

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Boko Haram Leader Shekau Releases New Video, Vows to Stop Nigeria Elections [Watch]

The leader of the Boko Haram insurgents group, Abubakar Shekau has released new video vowing to stop Nigeria’s elections scheduled to hold on March 28 and April 11.

In the video, Shekau who spoke in Hausa language was shown in front of a solid blue background, dressed in black and with an automatic weapon resting to his right.

He said: “This election will not be held even if we are dead. Even if we are not alive Allah will never allow you to do it.”  Presumably referring to the polls scheduled for March 28.

He also claimed to have carried out the weekend attack in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe, which the military says was repelled.

These latest threat by the sect comes hours after a suicide bomber attacked a restaurant along Damaturu road of Potiskum town, Yobe State, north east Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the security situation in the northeast of the country, which is Boko Haram’s strong hold was the reason why Nigeria’s general election initially scheduled for February 14 was postponed by six weeks, with the security services saying they needed more time to contain the insurgency in the region.


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List of Kaduna Based Islamic Clerics Who Received Cash for Supporting Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Surfaces [Look]

Abusidiqu has obtained a memo which listed a number of Islamic clerics from Kaduna state penciled down for cash inducement for supporting the re-election campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The memo, signed by one Ambassador Garzali Tanko, said to be the Director of Finance of the National Coalition for Jonathan/Sambo Presidency listed 13 of the clerics to benefit from various sums ranging from N1,000,000 to N500,000.

We however cannot confirm the authenticity of the memo.

The memo indicated that the payment is the second of such as the first phase was carried out in December.

See copy of the memo below:Kaduna clerics

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Civilian JTF Nab Ammunition Loaded Vehicles in Maiduguri as Soldiers Kill Five Members of the Group

Members of the Civilian Joint Task Force in Borno State on Monday captures some vehicles loaded with ammunition in Maiduguri.

This occurred as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari visited the town for his presidential campaign.

However, their action led to the death of five of its members who were shot by soldiers in the city for what a military source described as an affront.

The trailer load of ammunition was said to be in the convoy of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, with headquarters in Maiduguri, which came in through the Maiduguri International Airport in a private commercial trailer.maid-arms

According to report, the army claimed they chartered the private trucks to ferry military ammunition because ‘the military trucks were faulty.”

But on suspicion, vigilante youths who blocked most of the roads in the town as a security precaution against any attack during the campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), in the town accosted the convoy and asked to check the trailers.

When the soldiers refused, the youths forcefully climbed the vehicle and also made a bonfire on the road to make it difficult for the soldiers to move the trailer.

The action of the youths was said to have angered the soldiers, who, according to eyewitnesses, resorted to shooting at the youths, killing five of them in the process. Some of the other youths were injured in the process.

Despite the killing of the youths, hundreds of other civilian volunteers rounded off the vehicles. maid-arms2

A security source told our correspondent that it was wrong for the youths to accost soldiers.

The source said, “It was an affront on the military for some armed youths under any guise to accost military officials on the road.

“They even went a step further to set bonfire which could have caused a massive explosion as the trailer was filled with thousands of explosives.

“They left our men with no other choice but to shoot at them.”

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AUDIO: Interrogated Boko Haram Suspect Implicates Nigerian Govt, Security Services for Terror Attacks

We have obtained audio from a recent Nigerian army interrogation of an arrested Boko Haram suspect in the northeast. The suspect in the audio confessed to be a Christian and had some startling accounts to give including implicating Nigeria’s president and state security agents in recent terror attacks.

Below is a translation of the interview:

Interrogator- who did the Mubi Job

BH– We did but I’m not among. The bomb at kaban we did it.

Interrogator- talk to me or else?

BH– I was staying at EYN church the one on the market road close to kaban.

Interrogator- When you entered Mubi were you all Muslims or all Christians?
BH– there’s nothing to hide we were all Christians.

Interrogator- When you meet people what do you say?
BH– we say Allahu akbar.

Interrogator- what do you call Mubi?
BH– Fityanul Islam.

Interrogator- Now you said DPO knows?
BH– Yes he knows,

Interrogator- who else knows?

BH– all the top shots know. The DPO and the DCO.

Interrogator- how did you come into town?

BH– we came late in the night no one knows we came. Around 2;am. Using a car like that of Banks it cannot be detected I can go and show it to u if you want me to.

Interrogator- which way did you follow.

BH– we came in through many ways but we came in through Kaduna road.
We had someone dressed in suit at the front seat I wasn’t wearing a suit but soldiers thought we were bankers.

Interrogator- What color is the car?

BH– it’s black
Interrogator- where is the car now?

BH– I can show you its here by the Yoruba Mosque
Interrogator- when did you park the car?

BH– Today its still there.
Interrogator- now tell me what is you name?

BH– my name is Jacob

Interrogator- where are you from and what’s your tribe?

BH– am from Kaduna and am Kataf.

Interrogator- then what took you to Keffi?

BH– I went there on my own. I stay there I have a place to stay. I have been there for like 4 months now.

Interrogator- when did you leave Mubi?

BH– like a month now.

Interrogator- what took you to Mubi?

BH– we were sent? Wallahi I never wanted to go, it was never my choice.

Interrogator- who sent you?

Interrogator- you said you guys have planted a bomb in Kaduna. How may did you plant yourself?

BH– yes we did plant a bomb in Kaduna but I have planted only one.

Interrogator- did the bomb that you planted go off and are there people in house and who own the house Muslim or Christian?

BH– Christians.

Interrogator- why did you kill your fellow Christians?
BH– We are in need of money

*Audio not clear, “Yoruba’ mentioned

Interrogator- the Yoruba woman you were referring to what’s her name and where she?

BH– she’s by the Yoruba mosque. She’s a Christian she’s called Mrs Eizikel.

Interrogator-If we kill you now have we done justice to you?

BH– I brought it upon myself but am asking for forgiveness. Give me a chance to repent.

Interrogator- why did you get yourself into this?

BH– its greed.

Interrogator- how much have you been paid?

BH– not much they said when we finish we are going to be paid in full.

Interrogator- where the girls that are kidnapped?

BH– they are in Abuja with Goodluck they have been given a house.
Interrogator- are the one putting one on hijabs? Say it with your mouth

BH– yes they are the one putting on hijab and killing people.

Interrogator- how many people did you kill in Mubi?

BH– 500

Interrogator- how many did you personally kill?

BH– I killed 5

Interrogator- where did you kill them?

BH– I killed them at eclesiatic of EYN I killed believers.

Interrogator- close to kaban?

BH– yes.

Interrogator- did you shoot or cut their throats?

BH– we shot them.

Interrogator- how many guns did you come with?

BH– 12 they are with Eiziekel
Interrogator- Do you know how to shoot and who taught you?

BH– Yes I do. My people taught me how to.
Interrogator- where are the guns now tell us the truth?

BH– they are with Eiziekel in his shop.
Interrogator- how many bombs did you bring into Mubi?

BH– 20 some are in the car and some in the shop.

Interrogator- how big are the bombs?

BH– they are big like generating set.

Interrogator- we are now taking you to the police and you are saying the police knows about the whole plan.

BH– when you take me to them I will repeat myself in their presence.
Interrogator- do you think you done justice to yourself?

BH– I haven’t. My greed led me into trouble.
Interrogator- you know what I want from?

BH– please give me water and loose this rope is too tight.
Interrogator- I want you to tell us the truth?

BH– at the police station?
Interrogator- we don’t care about the police station.

BH– pls give me water I will tell you everything you want to know.
Interrogator- Tell us first and I will give you water.

BH– to tell you the truth we came with 35 guns they are kept at Eiziekels shop.

Interrogator- where’s the shop?

BH– is by the Yoruba Mosque.
Interrogator- is he familiar with the Yoruba lady their.

BH– yes she’s his wife.
Interrogator- what of the man by the Izallah mosque?

BH– Mallam Habibu.
Interrogator- the one that you said converted you to Islam? You are just lying to people.
Interrogator- how did you know Mallam Habibu’s house?

BH– I asked people for the location telling them I want to convert
Interrogator- and he told you to come here or you brought yourself here.

BH– I brought myself.
Interrogator why did you did lie to us instead of you to come straight?

BH– I made a mistake.

NR

 

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MURIC Condemns Attack On PDP Campaign Office

Several campaign offices and posters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) were allegedly vandalized and torched in Maiduguri, Borno State yesterday during the presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) takes strong exception to this act of recklessness and unprovoked aggression. We commend the security agencies for exercising restraint in the face of such lawless behavior.

It is unfortunate that, 55 years after independence, Nigeria still wallows in a barbaric political culture. The current trend of political violence is repulsive, despicable and alarming. This trend is characterized by physical attacks on members of other political parties, vandalisation, arson and even murder.

The spectacle is disturbing because of its capability to discourage the injection of new blood into the political system. Elites and youths who have good ideas about moving Nigeria forward are most likely to be pissed off politics by the ugly phenomenon. The end result is the endless recycling of Stone Age politicians who are only marketable for their nuisance value.

The fact that the orgy of violence involves mainly the two main contending parties, the ruling party, PDP and the main opposition party, APC is quite instructive. It gives stakeholders an area of concentration.

MURIC is optimistic that the trend can still be reversed if the police, elder statesmen, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders call leaders of the PDP and APC to order now. We are aware that the Nigerian Police has organized peace meetings among political parties in most states of the federation. We commend the police for initiating this move.

But just as the police alone cannot maintain security without the active support of the citizens, the police alone cannot successfully perform the task of peace-making in a political process. There is urgent need to involve people who can influence the citizenry. We therefore charge elder statesmen, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to take up the challenge immediately by calling leaders of the PDP and APC to roundtables.

This must be done urgently before the elections. Nigerians are on edge. Many people are afraid of travelling or even moving around the city for fear of being caught between two hostile political groups.

MURIC affirms that the offenders must not go scot free. Beginning with the Maiduguri thugs but not limiting action to the ugly event, those responsible for acts of violence must be made to face the wrath of the law. Political parties whose supporters are clearly and unambiguously identified as being responsible for violent attacks on other parties should be made to repair damaged properties or pay compensation.

Finally, we remind politicians and the rest of the citizens that it is high time Nigerian politicians evolved a civilized political culture which must be characterized by maturity, tolerance of opposition and the adoption of a liberal attitude towards elections instead of the current desperado politics whose only dogma is ‘do or die’.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

 

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