Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria – APC says no automatic ticket for Buhari

Punch

Fomer Head of State, Maj-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (retd.)

The All Progressives Congress has said there will be no automatic ticket for a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and other presidential aspirants in the party.

This was coming ahead the allegation that some leaders of the party had been planning to give automatic ticket to Buhari, a development that was said not to be favoured by Abubakar Atiku, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Senator Bukola Saraki’s groups within the party.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the APC would not give automatic ticket to Buhari.

“We won’t give automatic ticket to anyone, including Buhari. It is not in our constitution. All the candidates will undergo primary,” Mohammed told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Sunday.

However, a senior member of the party told journalists in Abuja on Sunday that the manoeuvres by certain APC forces to make Buhari the party’s presidential candidate in 2015 without going through a primary was not going down well with Kwankwaso, Bukola and Atiku support groups. The three politicians are also interested in the APC ticket.

It was also gathered that the attempt to foist Buhari candidature on the party without following democratic process was likely to tear the party apart.

According to this informed APC insider, who didn’t want to be named because he had no authority to speak, however, admitted that any attempt to hoodwink other members of the party in the election of a presidential candidate would destroy the foundation and the credibility of the APC.

The informed insider said they were particularly worried by feelers from the Buhari camp who were insisting that the emergence of the former military ruler as a candidate “is a settled matter.”

Buhari himself was said to have expressed open disagreement with the modified open direct primary adopted by the APC.

That position was expanded upon by the spokesman for the Buhari Organisation, Osita Okechuku, who said, “Given all the indices, the APC already has a de facto presidential candidate in the person of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“If you go through the constitution of the APC, under Article 20, it says for nomination of candidate either for party offices or presidential election, you first explore consensus.

“If an agreement is reached through consensus, it has to be affirmed. If we go through that method, though we have a lot of good quality people in the APC, I do not know of any person who the leadership of the APC would tell Buhari to step down for.”

According to the source, disregarding democratic process in the choice of party presidential flagbearer could drag the APC into deep “and possibly irreparable political damage.”

He explained that the idea of “automatic adoption” of Buhari or any other aspirant for that matter was undemocratic and would be resisted.

The APC source warned that party members should not be reduced to “slaves and sheepishly expected to sign the dotted lines when confronted with the nauseating idea of automatic ticket.”

The APC insider said those scheming for “automatic ticket” for Buhari “ were probably the PDP fifth columnists who want to drive a nail into the APC coffin.”

A spokesperson for the defunct Congress for the Progressive Forum, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, however, defended the plan to give Buhari automatic ticket.

He said of all the aspirants, only Buhari had the clout to defeat President Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 presidential election.

He also said that since the APC was likely going to anchor its camping on the fight against corruption, he added that Buhari was the only candidate that the APC could use for the purpose.

Fashakin said, “Buhari is the face against corruption in the country. He is going to serve for only four years if he wins and we know he is not a corrupt person. Nigerians and the opposition know that it is only Buhari who can fight corruption in the country. He is the only one who can face President Jonathan during the election because of his antecedents.

“He deserves to have the APC ticket without challenge. Apart from this, we don’t want to go to the presidential election with a divided house. This is why he must be given the ticket without challenge.”

Already, he said Buhari was already talking with other aspirants with the aim of convincing them to step down for him.

He said it would be wrong for people to think that the supporters of Buhari would vote for anyone that emerged apart from the former head of state as the APC candidate.

This, he said, was because majority of the voters especially in the North, might not have faith in such a candidate.

“Let me also add that none of the other candidates can match the popularity of Buhari either in the North or in the South,” Fashakin added.

 PUNCH.

Contact: editor@punchng.com

Nigeria – Pastor Joshua says “strange aircraft” linked to collapse of his building

This Day/allAfrica

Nigeria: Joshua – Strange Aircraft Hovered Over Building Before It Collapsed

Photo: SCOAN

T.B. Joshua

Following Saturday’s collapse of one of the structures located at the headquarters of the Synagogue of all Nations (SCOAN), the church yesterday said there was more to the incident than meets the eyes because a strange yet-to-be identified aircraft flew over the collapsed structure four consecutive times before it collapsed.

This is just as emergency workers succeeded in recovering the bodies of 17 dead persons, as well as rescuing about 123 others trapped under the rubbles after the building collapsed at about 12.54pm on Saturday afternoon.

SCOAN founder, Pastor TB Joshua, who made this disclosure to a select group of journalists at the church headquarters in Ikotun, Lagos, said he might have been the target of the attack since the strange helicopter allegedly trailed his movements from where his prayer room is located to the church.

To buttress his allegations, he had the media team of the church play a CCTV footage of the aircraft at the different times it flew over the structure and an hour later when the building sunk into the ground. The footage showed the aircraft flying over the building at exactly 11.30am, 11.43am, 11.45am and 11.54am.

The building however collapsed at about 12.44pm, almost one hour after the aircraft flew over the structure. The video also showed the building crumbling like a pack of badly stacked cards. According to him, although the footage did not show signs of anything dropping from the aircraft, the way the building collapsed at once was unusual.

When asked if he was the target, he said, “What would they gain from embarrassing or humiliating the members of my church? If they want to get my church, is it not to cut down the head?”

He said, “Our neighbours know what happened. The police even heard it on their radio before the building collapsed. The truth will always prevail. “My position on this is that if you don’t understand what you saw on the screen, you will take it to experts to analyze it. Nigeria is bigger than anyone. “Yesterday (Saturday), I couldn’t come out to say this is my story. The disadvantage is that these people (Boko Haram) have entered into Lagos.

“Remember the last issue of Boko Haram at the synagogue, the press went against it and even the then commissioner of police said it was false, but he later confirmed it. “In two or three weeks time, you will believe what I am saying. They will not stop here. You will begin to see signs and if we believe it, we can begin to educate our people on what to do.”

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the State Security Service (SSS) may have arrested one of the alleged masterminds of the incident. This was further explained by the presence of the director of operations of the SSS Lagos Command, who had a close-door meeting with the prophet alongside other security operatives.

Although it was yet unclear on what grounds the said suspect was arrested or where he was taken to afterwards, THISDAY was made to understand that the service is not taking the church’s allegations lightly. A senior officer who spoke on condition of anonymity told THISDAY that, “Initially, we have waved off the incident as a normal building collapse caused by weak foundation until we saw the footage.

“We have kicked off investigations and we are trying to reach out to the aviation industry to find out what aircraft flew in that area on Saturday. Until proven otherwise, we are not leaving anything to chance.”

But speaking to THISDAY, South-west spokesperson, National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA), Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, however said preliminary investigations revealed that the collapse could be from a weak foundation. “The church blamed the collapse on the said aircraft but that is not our concern. Ours is to coordinate and rescue lives in emergency situations such as this.”

“Others also claimed the Germans are only church members who volunteered to join in their search and rescue but as at yesterday evening, we had rescued 123 people alive and they were taken to different hospitals.”  allAfrica

Nigeria says one of it warplanes is missing in north-east

Reuters

(Reuters) – The Nigerian military said on Sunday one of its fighter jets that was operating in a northeast state where the armed forces are fighting Islamist Boko Haram militants had gone missing.

A search and rescue operation was underway for the Nigerian air force Alpha jet which was on a routine operational mission on Friday over Adamawa state when contact was lost with the aircraft, the Nigerian armed forces said in a statement.

The statement gave no more details and there was no other information available on whether the plane, which had left an air base at the Adamawa state capital Yola and had a crew of two, had crashed or been shot down.

Nigeria’s military, backed by war planes, has been fighting to push back recent advances by Boko Haram into the north of Adamawa state and also towards Maiduguri, the state capital of neighbouring Borno state. The army said it beat back an attack outside Maiduguri on Friday.

Boko Haram, which has killed thousands since it launched its anti-government insurgency in the northeast in 2009, has in recent weeks captured and held a string of towns and villages in the region, a departure from its usual hit-and-run tactics.

Its leader Abubakar Shekau is apparently trying to follow the example of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has declared its own caliphate. Nigeria’s government has vowed to take back the seized territory from Boko Haram.  Reuters

Nigeria – building linked to T B Joshua collapses in Lagos

BBC
A building linked to TB Joshua, one of Nigeria’s best known preachers and televangelists, has collapsed in Lagos, killing at least three people.

The two-storey structure was a guesthouse for members of Mr Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations.

Eighteen people had been taken to hospital and scores were still trapped in the rubble, rescue official Ibrahim Farinloye told AFP news agency.

Mr Joshua – also known as the Prophet – regularly preaches to vast crowds.

His services, at a mega-church in Lagos’s Ikotun district, are known for attracting thousands of people, AFP reports.

Followers in Nigeria and abroad believe he has the gifts of healing and prophecy.

The guesthouse was being extended, with three additional floors, when it collapsed.

Its occupants are thought to have included many foreign visitors.

BBC

Nigeria – investigation of the major public figures who sponsor Boko Haram

Guardian/allAfrica

Nigeria: Mumuni – ICC, Investigate Sponsors of Boko Haram Attacks

Photo: Amanda Voisard/UN

President Goodluck Jonathan.

press release

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is sending this petition to request that you use your good offices and position to urgently investigate allegations that certain high ranking public officials and politicians are among the sponsors of Boko Haram that has continued to engage in unlawful killings and destruction of civil property, and cases of extra-judicial executions in the country.

We also urge you to bring to justice anyone complicit in these international crimes prohibited under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which Nigeria is a state party.

SERAP is a Nigerian based human rights non-governmental organization, and whose mandates include the promotion of respect for internationally recognized human rights of Nigerians, through litigation, research and publications, advocacy and monitoring.

According to reports, a Perth-based international adviser to Nigeria, Dr. Stephen Davis, who for four months was involved in negotiations on behalf of the Federal Government with commanders of Boko Haram for the release of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the sect last April, has named certain high ranking public officials as sponsors of Boko Haram. Among others, Dr. Davis disclosed that a former governor of Borno State, a former chief of army staff and a former top official of the Central Bank of Nigeria have provided funds and other logistics to Boko Haram to commit crimes under international law.

We are seriously concerned that so far those who are responsible for the grave violations of international law have not been identified let alone prosecuted. Worryingly, government’s initiated probes with recommendations on those that may be behind the Boko Haram attacks have not yet been implemented.

A government committee in 2011 recommended the prosecution of some politicians for funding and providing general support to Boko Haram. This recommendation remains unimplemented as the government White Paper on it published in 2012 has been ignored.

We remain concerned that given the antecedents of successive governments to ignore reports and recommendations of national agencies and institutions in situations like this, we are convinced that intervention by the ICC will bring international pressure to bear on the government to honour its international obligations by promptly identifying and bringing to justice those sponsoring and providing support for the Boko Haram attacks.

Our request for the intervention by the ICC is further buttressed by increasing level of cases of extra-judicial execution that continue to take place in the country. In fact, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN) revealed at a public event marking the Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012 that the Police alone had killed 7,108 persons in four years.

Additionally, given the weak criminal justice system and the fact that successive governments have shown themselves either unwilling or unable to prosecute suspected perpetrators of international crimes in places like Jos (Plateau State of Nigeria), the intervention by the ICC will ensure that the truth is told about those sponsoring the Boko Haram attacks, and provide the much needed international accountability and ensure effective remedies for victims and their families.

Without accountability for these serious human rights crimes, the victims will continue to be denied access to justice, and impunity of perpetrators will remain widespread and the result will continue to be a vicious cycle of violence and abuses with serious consequences for the entire citizenry.

The denial of justice to victims of serious human rights abuses violates the Security Council (SC) Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security (October 2000), which emphasises the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for international crimes, including crimes against humanity.

Under Article 17 of the Rome Statute, the Court is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes.

Also, pursuant to the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has power to intervene in a situation under the jurisdiction of the Court if the Security Council or states parties refer a situation or if information is provided from other sources such as the information SERAP is providing in this case.

Indeed, the ICC following SERAP’s intervention has already opened investigations on the allegations of unlawful killings in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria. We urge you to expand your investigation to include those that are sponsoring the Boko Haram attacks, and other cases of extrajudicial executions across the country.

Therefore, SERAP believes that substantial grounds exist to warrant the intervention of the Prosecutor in this case, especially given the scale of the killings and destruction and the lack of transparency and accountability.

On the basis of the above, SERAP asks you to:

- Urgently investigate allegations that high ranking public officials and politicians are sponsoring and providing support for the Boko Haram attacks.

- Invite representatives of the Nigerian government to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the Court.

- Bring to justice those suspected to be complicit and therefore responsible for crimes under international law and extrajudicial executions in other parts of Nigeria.

- Urge the Nigerian government to fulfil its obligations under the Rome Statute to cooperate with the ICC; including complying with your requests to arrest and surrender suspected sponsors and perpetrators of international crimes, take testimony, and provide other support to the ICC.

While thanking you in advance of your attention, I look forward to continued dialogue on the issues raise in this petition.

- Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP) wrote this piece as petition to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands.

Nigeria – conflicting accounts of fight for Bama in Borno State

Daily Trust/allAfrica

Nigeria: Troops, Boko Haram in Fierce Battle for Bama

Photo: Premium Times

Boko Haram (file photo).

After many hours of fierce battle between troops and insurgents in Bama, there were conflicting reports that the second biggest town in Borno State may have fallen to Boko Haram yesterday.

Residents said the insurgents staged a daring attack on Bama on Sunday but they were repelled by soldiers, and reports said dozens of the insurgents were killed.

A resident told Daily Trust on phone last night that the fighters retreated and there was relief in the town. But he added that this turned out to be short-lived.

“By 4am yesterday, they returned with a big force. The soldiers engaged them and the fighting became ferocious,” he said.

“Sensing trouble, residents began to troop towards Maiduguri, 75 kilometres to the north. The scene was pathetic – women, children, old and young, all hitting the road.

“Only a few were lucky to board the few vehicles available, the rest continued to trek. As the fighting raged on, the insurgents began to have an upper hand and by early evening the soldiers began to withdraw. It also looked like orders had been given for the others to evacuate the barracks.

“They also joined the civilian train in the mass movement to Maiduguri. What we heard later was not inspiring. The Boko Haram insurgents were said to have overrun the barracks and hoisted their flag.

“They then drove into the town and began to patrol it. They told the few residents that remained behind not to panic, but added that if they wished they could leave for Maiduguri, and that in any case that is where they would head for in a short while.”

Sources said the insurgents threw bombs into the army barracks in Bama.

While some sources said troops retreated to Maiduguri, others said reinforcement was heading towards Bama.

“Thick smoke was billowing from the direction of the military barracks and it is only after normalcy returns that what happened would be ascertained,” a source said.

The Defence Headquarters in Abuja yesterday confirmed there was an attack on Bama by Boko Haram insurgents but said it was repelled by troops.

The DHQ, in a post on Twitter, assured that everything necessary was being done to contain the terrorists.

Bama is one of the most populous towns in Borno.

It was gathered that during the fighting many insurgents were killed by soldiers who were earlier mobilised to Bama for onward deployment to Gwoza, which was seized by insurgents on August 6.

Some soldiers and mobile policemen as well as civilians were also killed.

“Dozens of them were killed but those that fled remobilised and returned. As we speak (around 5pm yesterday) the fight is ongoing and I can assure you that the terrorists have met their waterloo this time around,” a security source said.

Sources said the insurgents advanced towards Bama from the direction of Gwoza town.

Another security source said the insurgents made efforts to take Bama when it became evident that troops had made positive advances in Gwoza.

“I can tell you that the fight in Bama was prompted by the ongoing confrontation in Gwoza, the so called Caliphate of the terrorists. But let me tell you that the Caliphate has fallen because hundreds of the terrorists have been killed as a result of a ground operation and aerial reconnaissance,” he said. This claim by the security operative could not be independently verified at press time.

Colonel Sani Usman, spokesman for the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, did not respond to a text message sent to him yesterday on the Bama attack.

Pre-dawn raid

Residents of Bama said the insurgents emerged from Mararaba Banki (T junction), a settlement about 10 kilometers away and started shooting sporadically. “There was serious fight when the militants who were attempting to enter the town were engaged by troops and youth vigilantes at the T junction which leads to Banki and Cameroon Republic,” Mustapha Boyi, a fleeing Bama resident said.

He said Rocket Propelled GrenadeS (RPGs) and other deadly weapons were freely used in the battle.

“Though the initial fight was at the T-Junction, there was confusion in Bama town which prompted residents to flee”, Boyi said.

Hundreds of residents of Bama, Kawuri and Konduga have so far fled to Maiduguri in search of safety.

Some of them told Daily Trust that soldiers and civilian JTF members told them to leave Bama to give space for “a real fight with the terrorists.”

Daily Trust gathered that the Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, has arrived Maiduguri with members of his family.

Modu Bukar, who lives in Maiduguri, told newsmen that his mother had also fled Bama to Kawuri due to heavy gunshots.

“I was called on phone by my mother who told me she managed to escaped to Kawuri… I am looking for a way to bring her to Maiduguri,” he said.

Bama, 60 kilometers away from Maiduguri, was attacked in May 2013 and February 2014.

The army barracks, the emir’s palace and hundreds of private and public utilities as well as the biggest market were targetted by the insurgents in the previous attacks.  allAfrica

Nigeria – Boko Haram seize Bama after army claim of repulse

BBC

Nigeria’s Boko Haram ‘seize’ Bama town in Borno

The leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar ShekauLeader Abubakar Shekau has announced a caliphate in areas Boko Haram controls

Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram has seized the key north-eastern town of Bama after fierce fighting with government forces, residents say.

Thousands of civilians have fled the town, along with soldiers, they added.

The military has not yet officially commented on the claim that it has lost control of Bama, the second biggest town in Borno state.

Last month, Boko Haram said it had established an Islamic state in areas it controls in north-eastern Nigeria.

Just when you imagine that it cannot get worse for the Nigerian military and its pride as a fighting force, it takes a further dive” Mannir Dan Ali Editor, Daily Trust

If confirmed, the capture of Bama would be an extremely significant development and would raise concerns that Boko Haram’s next target will be Maiduguri, the state capital about 70km (45 miles) away, says BBC Hausa service editor Mansur Liman in the capital, Abuja.

It would be the biggest town under Boko Haram control.

Residents told BBC Hausa that Boko Haram captured Bama after heavy fighting on Sunday and Monday.

The military had initially repelled Boko Haram’s assault, but the group returned with reinforcements to seize the town, the residents said.

The militants, who travelled in armoured trucks, first took control of the military barracks, they added.

Soldiers and residents fled on foot, many of them walking all the way to Maiduguri, residents told the BBC.

map of towns reportedly under Boko Haram control

Several security sources said Boko Haram had over-run much of Bama and there were heavy casualties on both sides, Reuters news agency reports.

About 70 militants had been killed, the Associated Press quoted security sources as saying.

On Monday, the military said on its Twitter account that the air force had been used to “repel and dislodge” Boko Haram from Bama.

An officer of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) stands beside sand bags at a road block in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on 30 April 2013Government troops are battling to defeat the well-armed insurgents

The most recent census, in 2006, showed the town had a population of about 270,000.

An overnight curfew has been imposed in Maiduguri to prevent “infiltration” by militants, it added.

Boko Haram’s five-year insurgency has intensified in recent months despite the deployment of thousands of extra troops to the worst-affected areas.

In April, the militants captured more than 200 girls from a boarding school in the town of Chibok, also in Borno state.

Countries such as China, France, the UK and US have sent military assistance to help find the girls but they have not yet been rescued. BBC