Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria – APC winners and loser Jonathan differ over handover date

Punch

APC rejects May 28 handover date

President-elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)

There are indications that the All Progressives Congress is uncomfortable with the May 28 handover date proposed by the out-going administration.

Investigation by Saturday PUNCH revealed that the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan and the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) are set to clash over a proposal by the Jonathan team to hand over the mantle of leadership to Buhari on May the 28th, instead of the 29th.

Saturday PUNCH gathered that the Buhari team was already over what they considered as an act of ill-will laced with sinister motives.

This is sequel to an announcement by the Minister of Information, Senator Patricia Akwashiki, that President Jonathan would perform the handover ceremony at a dinner on May 28.

Akwashiki made the announcement after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

She told journalists, “By May 28, the President intends to have the formal handover done at a dinner so that we can reserve May 29 for the incoming government.”

However, since the return of democracy in 1999, the traditional date for the handover of power has been May 29, which is also observed as Democracy Day.

This tradition has been the vogue for the past 16 years. It also presents an opportunity for the outgoing President to formally present the instrument of authority to his successor in the full glare of members of the public, local and international media, as well as foreign dignitaries.

A top member of the All Progressives Congress, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media said, “It is simply not acceptable, we are rejecting it, it is a trap.”

He explained that from a security point of view, it could be considered a trap.

“How can anyone explain a situation where an outgoing president and his team will conveniently excuse themselves from an event where they are supposed to play a role when the President-elect and the Vice-President- elect are supposed to be present?” he queried.

According to the party chieftain, power abhors a vacuum as such, the constitution does not envisage a situation where Nigeria will be without a sitting President even for one hour.

He said, “If Jonathan hands over on the 28th, who accounts for the hours before the morning of the 29th when the Chief Justice of the Federation is to administer the oath of office and the oath of allegiance?

“What if there is even a sinister motive to this whole saga? As the President of the nation; who will still be the Chief Security officer until he hands over, there is no excuse that is strong enough to excuse him from the event.”

When contacted, a member of the Buhari campaign team, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said while he was not privy to any meeting on the subject yet, it was only logical to ask Nigerians not to rest on their oars until total liberation was achieved.

He described the announcement by President Jonathan to hand over a day earlier than was due as a ploy to rubbish the gains made with the historic win by the opposition APC.

Fashakin said, “It (the proposed handover on the 28th) portends ill for the political destiny of this nation.

“That statement is loaded and it shows that the Nigerian people should not rest yet that there is still ominous signs which we should never take for granted. If Jonathan truly said he is handing over on the 28th it presupposes that he will be absent on the 29th.

“Number one, if he hands over on the 28th to the President-elect, does Gen. Muhammadu Buhari start to act effectively on that date? The answer is an emphatic NO.

“GMB does not start to act on that date, if you get what I mean. Handing over to GMB on that date is not only meaningless, it is stupid. It has no meaning in law, or reality. It means that for 24 hours before GMB takes over there will be a vacuum.”

He further argued that on the side of morality, Nigeria borrowed its constitution substantially from the American Constitution, and as such, it should learn a thing or two about how it operates.

He said there was never a time in recorded history where an outgoing American President, who is hale and hearty, will absent himself from the handover ceremony of his successor no matter their political differences.

Although, it is not yet clear how the Buhari team would handle “this threat,” it was learnt that the party’s legal team is being put on notice to be on the alert.

It was also gathered that the President-elect and his team have kept the issue of ministerial appointments in abeyance.

A member of the party’s National Working Committee, who pleaded for anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said, “The general is a meticulous person and we all know that the main task before us now is the transition committee. The issue of who will be minister has been kept in abeyance.”

When contacted to speak on the president-elect’s views on the handover date and appointments, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, “You will get our reaction later after due consultation.”

Attempts to speak with the Minister of Information proved abortive. She was not in the office when our correspondent visited. However, the Personal Assistant to the Minister on Media, Mr. Joseph Mutah, promised to get in touch with her and revert to our correspondent.

He had yet to do that as of the time of going to the press and when his mobile number was called, he did not pick the call.

The Information Minister had also after the FEC meeting said the President had directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to prepare their handover notes and submit them to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, on or before Monday.

According to her, it is Anyim’s responsibility to compile the notes, which will form Jonathan’s handover document to Buhari on May 28.

She had said, “You know May 29 is our Democracy Day. So, we have activities lined up all through that week, showcasing all what we have achieved and all other things we do normally on our Democracy Day except that this year is special with the inauguration of our new President that is coming up on May 29.”

The minister said the valedictory FEC meeting would hold on May 20, adding that everything that required the President’s approval must have been presented to him by May 13.

Meanwhile, two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Sebastian Hon and Joseph Nwobike, on Friday, disagreed on the appropriateness of President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to hand over on May 28 instead of May 29 when his four-year tenure will statutorily end.

The two lawyers spoke with one of our correspondents in separate telephone interviews.

Hon insisted that the best option was for the President to hand over on May 29 as past presidents had done.

But Nwobike said nothing was unconstitutional in the president’s decision as handing over is a process that would end with the inauguration of the incoming president on May 29.

Nwobike said, “Handing over is a process and not an event. So the paper work will be done on May 28 and the formalisation and the completion will occur on May 29. So there is clearly nothing unconstitutional about it.”

But Hon queried the basis for the President’s plan to hand over on May 28 as doing such on May 29 as it is usually done would not affect the nation’s democracy.

He said, “The best and the most appropriate thing to do is for President Jonathan to hand over at 12.01am of the morning of May 29, 2015.

“If he hands over before May 29, it means he is no longer the president. He should hand over by 12.01am of May 29 or do as the usual practice by 7am in the past. It will not be late if it is done by 7am on the morning of May 29.

“Remember that all former presidents took over on the morning of May 29. If he does that, nobody will query him and the transition will not be truncated.”

Copyright PUNCH.

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Contact: editor@punchng.com

Nigeria-Cameroon – 10 Cameronians killed in Boko Haram attacks

Reuters


Nigeria – special court acquits 57 soldiers sentenced to death

Daily Independent/allAfrica

16 APRIL 2015

Nigeria: Army Acquits 57 Soldiers Sentenced to Death in December

Photo: Premium Times
(file photo).

A special court martial of the Nigerian Army has reportedly discharged and acquitted 57 soldiers who were sentenced to death last December.

The soldiers were charged with losing their weapons and going on an Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) in the heat of Boko Haram insurgency in December 2014.

The soldiers were charged with conspiracy to commit mutiny after their revolt led to the death of some of their colleagues in a duel with insurgents.

They had claimed that their weapons were inferior to the enemy’s at the time.

The court martial, which sat at the Army Headquarters Garrison in Abuja, however, convicted 15 other accused soldiers, sentencing them to one year prison sentences each.

A source in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), confirmed the report.

Nigeria – a year since Chibok abductions

 

BBC

Nigeria abductions: Chibok girls remembered one year on

Nigeria abductions

Ceremonies are to be staged around the world to mark one year since more than 200 girls were abducted by Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

A procession will be held in the capital, Abuja, with 219 girls taking part to represent each missing girl.

Similar marches are planned worldwide, including in London and Washington.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International said 2,000 girls and women had been abducted since the start of last year, becoming cooks, sex slaves and fighters.

The abduction of the girls in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria on 14 April 2014 sparked global outrage, with nations such as the US and China promising to help find them. But to date, none has been traced.

The girls’ plight drew mass attention on Twitter last year under the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, with the campaign joined by high-profile figures such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and US First Lady Michelle Obama.

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Analysis: Will Ross, BBC Nigeria correspondent

It has been a whole year of agony for the relatives of the missing 219 Chibok girls. There have been a few sightings of some of the abducted students but very little official information from a government that has long promised to rescue them from the clutches of Boko Haram.

One mother told the BBC she sometimes arranges her 19-year-old daughter’s clothes in the hope that she is about to return home.

The scale of this conflict is so grim that the Chibok girls represent just a fraction of those seized by the jihadists. Amnesty International says at least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted since the beginning of last year. Many have escaped partly thanks to a recent military offensive – but not the Chibok girls.

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Campaigners have criticised the Nigerian government of outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for not doing enough to find the girls and combat the six-year Boko Haram insurgency in the north.

But Mr Jonathan told the BBC’s Newsday that politics had come before the welfare of the girls.

He said: “There’s so much about these girls that one can’t even comprehend. So much… more of politics than concern about the girls and the stories are twisted and painted different colours.”

Nigeria’s incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari, said his government would “do everything in its power to bring them home”, but added: “We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them.”

‘Sexual slavery’

A week of events has been organised by the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group in Nigeria to encourage people to remember the girls ahead of the anniversary.

Campaigners in Abuja march during a rally for the release of the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram. Photo: 17 October 2014
A year-long campaign for the release of the girls has not yet been successful
Still from video
A video released by Boko Haram last year showed 136 girls, three of whom spoke to the camera

In an open letter on Monday, Ms Yousafzai called on Nigeria’s authorities and the international community to do more to secure the release of the girls.

Esther, a mother of an abducted girl, told the BBC: “At night I sometimes wake and wonder, and pray to God to deliver the girls… Whenever I want to eat what comes to my mind is, has my daughter eaten?”

While little has been heard of the missing girls since they were taken from their boarding school, one woman told the BBC that she saw more than 50 of them alive three weeks ago in the north-eastern town of Gwoza.

map

In its report on Tuesday, Amnesty International said the Chibok girls “were only a small proportion” of those abducted.

It based its report on nearly 200 witness accounts, including 28 women and girls who escaped captivity.

One month after the Chibok attack, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video explaining that the girls had been converted to Islam and married off, fuelling concern that the militants had treated them as war booty and sex-slaves.

Mr Buhari has vowed to “crush” the insurgents. He is due to be inaugurated on 29 May after defeating Mr Jonathan in last month’s presidential elections.

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Boko Haram at a glance:

Wanted poster for Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in Maiduguri, Nigeria - May 2013
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education
  • Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic state
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria
  • Has also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
  • Abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Pledged allegiance to Islamic State

Nigeria – Buhari says he will do all to free Chibok girls

Premium Times

No guarantee I can rescue Chibok girls, but I’ll do all possible – Buhari

President-Elect,  Muhammadu Buhari

President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has pledged to do all possible to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in Borno State, by Boko Haram militants, a year ago.

The girls were seized April 14, 2014 from their dormitories as they prepared for exams.

The current federal government has failed to rescue them, and has been widely criticised for not doing enough, until recently, to tackle Boko Haram.

In a statement marking the girls’ one year in captivity, Mr. Buhari said his government will act differently.

But he warned that the new approach must begin with “honesty”, in admitting that the girls’ whereabouts are unknown, and that as much as he wishes to, he cannot promise his government can find them.

Still, he assured “every parent, family member and friend of the children that my Government will do everything in its power to bring them home”.

Read the full statement below:

 

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari: Statement on the first anniversary of the kidnap by Boko Haram of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok

“Today we remember the kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Chibok one year ago. This crime has rightly caused outrage both in Nigeria and across the world.

“Today is a time to reflect on the pain and suffering of the victims, their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers, and that of the whole Nigerian Nation, are with you today.

“I want to assure all of them, and particularly the parents, that when my new Administration takes office at the end of May, we will do everything we can to defeat Boko Haram. We will act differently from the Government we replace: we hear the anguish of our citizens and intend to respond accordingly.

“This new approach must also begin with honesty. We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them. But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my Government will do everything in its power to bring them home.

“What I can pledge, with absolute certainty, is that starting on the first day of my Administration Boko Haram will know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas.

““Boko Haram” means “Western Education is Sinful”. When they are defeated militarily, as they will be, we will ensure our citizens in the affected areas have improved educational opportunities as a direct counterbalance to Boko Haram’s twisted ideology. In particular we will educate ever more young girls ensuring they are empowered as citizens of Nigeria.

“Let us use this anniversary to remind each other that the attack on Chibok was an attack on the dreams and aspirations of our young people.

“We stand united in our pledge to resist terror in Nigeria– not just through military means but also through the power of opportunity and the hope of a better future for all”.

General Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR)

President-elect, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Daura, Katsina

Nigeria

13 April 2015.

Nigeria -Buhari says his ministers must declare assets 

Punch

My ministers must declare their assets –Buhari

Former Head of State,  Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, says those seeking political appointments in his administration will be forced to declare their assets before taking office and before leaving.

Buhari said this during an interview with Sahara TV on Sunday.

He said this would encourage accountability and reduce corruption.

He said, “All those that were governors, ministers, permanent secretaries, head of foreign staff and all those with political appointments will have to declare their assets on the assumption of their appointment and definitely with the courts. And once they leave they have to re-declare their assets.”

Buhari, who insisted that last-minute defectors would not be given appointments in his government, promised not to interfere with the judiciary in the fight against corruption but would strengthen the nation’s justice system.

He stated that his administration would not “become embroiled in investigation of every ministry, and then the government will not have time to move forward.”

The President-elect slammed the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the depletion of the Excess Crude Account.

Okonjo-Iweala had said a significant portion of the billions of dollars drained from ECA over the past two years was distributed to governors instead of being saved for a rainy day

However, Buhari said the finance minister’s excuse was not acceptable.

“I’m afraid the finance minister has no cause to complain because the governors cannot force the central government to act outside the constitution,” he said.

On the contentious issue of oil block ownership and an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth, he suggested that partisan politics in Nigeria was the cause of the uneven distribution in the oil sector.

Buhari said that he wanted to formalise the oil sector in the country.

He said that the “proliferation of oil fields to people who don’t even know what it is, is one of the messes partisan politics has brought.” Copyright PUNCH.

Nigeria – APC wins landslide victory in state elections

BBC

Nigeria’s APC win landslide over PDP in state polls

  • 3 hours ago
  •  

  • From the sectionAfrica
A man casts his vote during the governorship election in Apapa district in Lagos, 11 April 2015
This is the final stage of Nigeria’s election process

The party of Nigeria’s incoming president has won a landslide in elections for powerful state governors, ending the former ruling party’s dominance.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) won 19 of the 28 governor posts in results declared from Saturday’s elections.

It is the biggest defeat for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since military ruled ended in 1999.

It lost the presidential poll last month for the first time.

APC leader Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated on 29 May, after he defeated President Goodluck Jonathan.

The PDP’s decline has been reinforced by results from Saturday’s elections for governors and state assemblies, reports the BBC’s Bashir Saad Abdullahi from the capital, Abuja.

Map showing governor results

The party lost for the first time in key northern states like Katsina and Kaduna, the home of outgoing Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

It also lost control of Adamawa, one of three states badly hit by militant Islamist group Boko Haram’s insurgency.

However, the party managed to hold on to Rivers State, Nigeria’s oil hub.

The PDP won eight governorships, mostly in the south-east.

Taraba is the only result still outstanding, while the election in Imo state was declared inconclusive, because the number of spoilt ballot papers was larger than the margin of victory.

Elections were not held in seven states.

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Analysis: Chris Ewokor, BBC Africa, Abuja

The APC has made historic gains, relegating the once-powerful PDP to a regional party. The PDP failed to get a national spread of votes, doing well only in the south-east and the oil-rich Niger Delta. Most states in the north went to the APC, along with Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, in the south-west.

However, the APC failed to win in any of Nigeria’s five oil-producing states. This will be of huge concern to President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, as militant groups could disrupt oil production and starve the federal government of much-needed oil revenue. It is unlikely that the PDP governors in the five states would help Gen Buhari rein in the militants.

In parts of the country, the elections were marred by violence due to stiff rivalry, and the battle for power and money. Ethnic differences also fuelled the conflict in some areas, but overall the elections have been more peaceful than in previous years, raising hopes that Nigeria’s democracy is maturing.

Why Jonathan lost?

Buhari’s historic victory

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Nigeria’s 36 governors enjoy wide powers and are extremely influential. Some, especially in oil-producing areas, control bigger budgets than those of national governments in some neighbouring West African countries.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) reported 66 violent incidents at polling stations – higher than in the presidential poll.

Most of the violence took place in Rivers and other southern states, where voting at some polling stations had to be extended.

Nigerians celebrate over the declaration of Dayrius Ishaku as the winner of the governorship election in Jalingo, Taraba state, Nigeria, 13 April 2015
APC supporters are celebrating their gains in state elections

On Sunday, Inec also announced that the APC had retained power in Lagos state.

It means that when Gen Buhari takes over the presidency it will be the first time that the party of the president has controlled Lagos – the commercial capital – since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1999.

Our correspondent says the PDP will have to go through a period of introspection, and then rebuild itself under a new leader.

The party was in power for 16 years, and voters felt that it was time for change, he says.

It had been hit by the defection of governors and MPs to the APC ahead of the elections.

The PDP also faced widespread allegations of corruption during its rule, and was accused of failing to enough to end an Islamist-led insurgency in the north-east where it suffered huge defeats.