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Harming Kukah Will Consume Nigeria, Reno Omokri Warns Muslim Group

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 3:23am


Reno Omokri

A former media aide to then President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has warned the Muslim Solidarity Forum to stop intimidating the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, or be prepared for an equal threat.

The Muslim Solidarity Forum had on Tuesday asked Kukah to tender an unreserved apology to Muslims or leave Sokoto State quietly over the comments he made at Christmas, calling them ‘malicious comments’ against Islam.

Reno Omokri

The acting chairman of the forum, Professor Isa Muhammad, said, “Our intention at Muslim Solidarity Forum is not to hold brief for the President, as he has those who are paid to do that; rather our concern is the image and reputation of Muslims, which Mr Kukah finds pleasure in attacking without an iota of caution, and by referring to him [the president] as a Muslim, that automatically brings all Muslims into the issue.

“These callous statements are unbecoming of someone who parades himself as Secretary to the National Peace Committee and a member of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).

“As such, we call on Kukah to immediately stop his malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims and tender unreserved apology to the Muslim Ummah or else quickly and quietly leave the seat of the Caliphate, as he is trying to break the age-long peaceful coexistence between the predominantly Muslim population and their Christian guests.”

However, Omokri stated on his Twitter page that the country could find itself in trouble if the revered bishop was harmed following the threats allegedly made by the forum.

“Harming Bishop Kukah in any way shape or form may cause the type of trouble that may consume Nigeria. It will be wise for those threatening him to hold their peace. Millions of Nigerians stand with Kukah and are capable of matching threat for threat!” 

Harming Bishop Kukah in any way shape or form may cause the type of trouble that may consume Nigeria. It will be wise for those threatening him to hold their peace. Millions of Nigerians stand with Kukah and are capable of matching threat for threat!#FreeLeahSharibu #RenosDarts

— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) January 13, 2021

The Presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has reacted to the group’s comments, saying that all Nigerians have the right to freedom of speech and religion and can live in any part of the country.

“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to coexist is enshrined in this country’s constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensibilities of their fellow Nigerians,” Shehu said in part.

Also, Nigerians took to Twitter in reaction to Omokri’s tweets, saying Kukah must not be harmed.

“Bishop Kukah represents the voice of the downtrodden and any wise government should give heed to his advice,” Jackson Akoji, whose handle is @JacksonAkoji1, said.

Beamz (@beam22000) commented, “It will be unforgivable if anything happens to the good bishop. Let the North be sensible for once and let the bishop be.”

“If this administration is not sponsoring those that made that threats, by now, they would have been arrested,” BEST @Centobestz tweeted. “It’s good to have Abraham as a father.”

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Clause To Allow Any Nigerian Region Break Away Was Roundly Rejected Before Independence – Yakasai

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 2:40am


Northern elder statesman and founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has said that one of the outstanding issues after the Civil War was the need to restructure Nigeria and to review the 1999 constitution.

Yakasai noted that Nigeria must learn its lessons from the needless and destructive civil war by addressing the “mistrust among major sub-regional groups which remain a threat to democratic processes in the country.”

The former Chairman of the defunct Northern Elders’ Councils stated these on Thursday while speaking at “Never Again Conference” on the 51st Anniversary of the end of the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War.

Yakasai advised that the government must deliberately put in the “next development plan an integration strategy” to address the divisive and secessionist tendencies in the country.

He said, “Left to us, we would rather totally forget about our civil war but as human beings it is beyond our ability to forget an event that was a defining moment in our political history. We shall continue to refer to those moments to learn lessons and reassess our current political activities and the question of national unity.

“Recall that during the last constitutional conference before our independence, a motion was tabled for the conference to insert a clause in our constitution for any section of Nigeria to break away from the country. The motion was roundly rejected by the delegates and the indivisibility of the Nigerian nation was enshrined in our constitution. 

“Despite the level of post-civil war progress made, several burning issues remain to haunt our political landscape. These include: one, the continuous call for a review of the 1999 constitution and the need to restructure Nigeria; two; the insecurity in different parts of the country arising from militants’ invasion and terrorist activities.

“Three, the current secessionist movement for the state of Biafra under the umbrella of Indigenous People Of Biafra over 50 years after the Civil War; and the mistrust among major sub-regional groups which remain a threat to democratic processes in the country.”

Yakasai noted that Nigeria must “learn lessons from the Civil War 51 years ago, and address squarely the fractional tendencies in the country today.”

“Unity, peace, trade, justice, democracy and development must be made to work for Nigeria to keep it one and stronger. We should tackle the issue by deliberately skewing our next development plan to contain integration strategy as one of the major features,” he added.

The Nigerian Civil War, also known as Biafran War, was fought between the government of Nigeria, headed by the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd.), and the secessionist state of Biafra, led by the late Lt. Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, from July 6, 1967 to January 15, 1970.

Over one million persons reportedly lost their lives, either in battle or due to starvation.

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Boko Haram Planning To Kidnap Borno, Yobe Residents, Obtain National Identity Numbers – Military Sources

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 2:36am


Boko Haram

Boko Haram terrorists are planning to intensify abduction of travellers and residents along Borno and Yobe states’ roads in order to obtain their National Identity Numbers (NINs) and use the same for registration of SIM cards, according to multiple military sources.

SaharaReporters learnt that the Boko Haram terrorists are working with some accomplices such as commercial drivers who have been given Volkswagen Golf cars in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Monguno, and other major towns to target passengers believed to have several mobile phones and NINs.

Boko Haram

It was gathered that apart from the insurgents, some kidnappers and bandits had also commissioned the criminally minded drivers to find victims with the National Identity Management Commission cards.

SaharaReporters learnt from military sources that the Boko Haram terrorists are also planning to increase their attacks on highways and busy roads to waylay travellers and dispossess them of their identity numbers.

“The latest kidnapping technique adopted by kidnappers in Borno and Yobe states as well as plans by the Boko Haram terrorists are to dispossess unsuspecting travellers of their NINs so that they can use the numbers to register their SIM cards.

“The terrorists and criminals want to get as many NINs as possible. This is aimed at sabotaging the efforts of the government and causing registration confusion. What they have done is to give out Golf cars to some of their accomplices which are used to carry passengers and deliver the passengers directly to bushes and hideouts around our major highways.

“The reward is that if any driver delivers 10 trips of passengers to the kidnappers with NINs, the Gulf car automatically belongs to the accomplice,” one of the sources said.

“We advise residents of Borno and Yobe states not to travel late in the evening, especially if one is going to Damaturu or Monguno areas. Also, nobody should enter Golf cars that operate on pick-and-drop basis,” another source added.

On Saturday, January 2, the Boko Haram terrorists attacked travellers along the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road, abducting several persons, including a worker of the United Nations, Garba Idris.

The insurgents attacked the commuters near Matari village between Minok to Jakana Road, dispossessing them of valuables.

They ambushed the vehicles, after disguising in military uniform, and placing a roadblock there with three Hilux pickup trucks and motorcycles.

“Witnesses said while searching the passengers, Idris attempted to throw away his Identity card but one of the insurgents sighted him. He was then asked to step down from the vehicle along with two others. The terrorists also abducted scores of the passengers on that journey,” a witness had recounted.  

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Jungle Justice Continues In Oyo As Residents Kill Another Robbery Suspect

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 2:06am


Suspected Robber Killed At Oke-Itunu, Ibadan

Despite warnings by the Oyo State Police Command that residents should stop carrying out jungle justice on alleged criminals, a suspected robber was lynched by a mob in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Thursday. 

Some residents of Amisu, Babasala Street and Oke Itunu areas killed the young man suspected to be one of the armed robbers terrorising their communities.

Suspected Robber Killed At Oke-Itunu, Ibadan radionigeriaibadan

Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, CP Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu, had last week warned residents against jungle justice following the burning and killing of a man in the Oke-Ado area of the state.

The victim was later identified as a mentally deranged person and not a kidnapper. His name was given as Saheed, but said to be popularly known as Baba Ibe.

There were many other cases of lynching by mobs in the state, whose victims were later said to be innocent. 

The state police commisioner in a statement issued by the state public relations officer, Gbenga Fadeyi, said, "Not forgetting the good people of the etate, the CP wishes to also condemn the dastardly act of jungle justice, emphasising the need to preserve the fundamental rights to fair hearing of every individual. Lastly, the CP enjoined the good people of Oyo State to report any unauthorised person or persons found in possession of fire arm(s) to the nearest police facility as we birth the crime free Oyo State of our collective dreams."

However, the mob that killed the suspected robber dropped the remains of the man at Leventis bus stop, around Sango.

SaharaReporters gathered that the suspect was stripped naked and stoned to death before the arrival of men of the Nigeria Police Force.

A futile attempt to burn the suspect caught the attention of hundreds of passersby, leading to vehicular traffic along Sango-Mokola Road.

The Chairman, Landlords Association, who is also the Mogaji of Akinremi clan in the area, Chief Saka Oladejo, said two robbers came to the street but that vigilantes employed in the area were able to apprehend one of them at around 5 am while the other escaped.

Another landlord, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that the area had become a hot spot with robbers constantly attacking residents.

They appealed to the government to strengthen security in the area to forestall regular robbery attacks. 

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Suit Against Me, 49 Others Over #EndSARS Protests A Waste Of Court's Time, Resources — Aisha Yesufu

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 1:54am


Aisha Yesufu

A human rights activist and co-convener of the #BringBackOurGirls Movement, Aisha Yesufu, has said that judges in the courts of law across the country should stop giving attention to baseless accusations.

Yesufu said there are serious matters that require the time and resources of the judiciary than petty matters filed against the fundamental human rights of the citizens.

Aisha Yesufu

She said this while speaking with SaharaReporters on Thursday regarding an Abuja High Court ruling in her favour and 49 others who supported #EndSARS protests across the country last year.   

Justice Bello Kawu on Wednesday ordered a magistrates' court to immediately halt proceedings and stay action against 50 persons for supporting the #EndSARS protests, following a criminal complaint filed against them by one Barrister Kenechukwu Okeke on October 11, 2020.

Other defendants included Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi; activist, Deji Adeyanju, and music entertainers, Folarin Falana, better known as Falz; Damini Ogulu, better known as Burna Boy; and David Adeleke, better known as Davido. 

Okeke in his suit alleged that during the demonstrations, properties were vandalised so therefore, defendants who promoted the #EndSARS protests should be held accountable and brought to justice. 

“An order of this honourable court, that on the granting leave to the application to issue and serve on the defendant an application for judicial review against the proceedings/direct criminal complaint of Hon. Omolola Tolulope Akindele sitting at the Magistrate Court II, Wuse Zone 6 in the suit of Kenechukwu Okeke vs Deji Adeyanju and 49 others in suit no: CR/49/2020.

“An order of this honourable court, that on the grant of the above orders herein, serve as a stay of all proceedings on the direct criminal complaint Omotola Tolulope Akindele sitting as Chief Magistrate Court II, Wuse Zone 6 in the suit of Kenechukwu Okeke vs Deji Adeyanju and 49 others in suit no: CR/49/2020,” the ruling read in part.

In response to the judgment, Yesufu said, “Honestly, I have not really followed that case, because the case in itself is all shades of filthiness. In the first place, why are they filing a case against us? For what? For exercising our fundamental human rights to protest against people being killed? Or, because we are coming out to say we deserve the right to live in their own country? I think what really needs to happen is for our judiciary to assess itself such that it really becomes that last hope of the common man.

“Apart from that, the judiciary should not be a place where baseless accusations should thrive. It should not be a place where the resources and time of the judicial system are wasted on shallow allegations. This case against us shouldn’t have been filed in the first place. The time used in sitting for this case should have been used for more important things that would better the lives of the people.

“The judiciary itself needs a whole lot of reform. A lot of things are coming up, be it politics or other things just to waste the time of the people. Judiciary is the third arm of government and whatever they do sets a precedent. We need a lot of things that the judiciary should face in terms of the governance of this country. And it should stop itself from being allowed to be ridiculed.”

In response to her usual audacity to speak against the excessiveness and highhandedness of the government without getting intimidated, she said her conviction about what believes to be the truth has been her motivation.

“I think it boils down to value, and it is based on conviction. The youth should not do things based on what people say, whether right or wrong. Just hold on to your conviction. I will always say to people, I’m not on anybody’s side. I’m not even on my side. I’m always on the side of truth, and where the truth is, that is where I will be irrespective of whose ox is gored.

“I think we have a situation where people want to look good; they are looking for validation or popularity. When trying to look for this, you lose the essence of who you are. Hold yourself to a higher standard. I just keep saying it the way it is. And if it’s true, sooner or later, people will come and align with you. You find out that people who abuse and hate you for standing for truth will later be the ones that will support you when you don’t relent in standing for the truth.

“What people say about you, either good or bad, is not your reality. Your reality is when you are sitting down alone, what you think about yourself; that’s your reality. We must always welcome dissenting opinions. The dissenting opinions help us sometimes to appraise ourselves. If people praise me and I don’t have an issue with that, why should I have an issue with it when the same people criticise me? It’s an avenue to look at an issue from another perspective.”

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34-Year-Old Delta Man Commits Suicide Over N170,000 Medical Bill

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 1:22am


A 34-year-old man, identified simply as Kevwe, has committed suicide in the Sapele area of Delta State, over his inability to raise N170,000 needed for the treatment of an undisclosed ailment.

Kevwe reportedly committed suicide on Thursday by drinking a poisonous substance over his inability to raise the money.

The incident occurred at around 12 noon near the ever-busy Olympia Cinema, Abeke by Adeola Road, Sapele, causing commotion in the area.

The victim, said to be a commercial tricycle rider, was taken to a private clinic where he was confirmed dead. 

It was gathered that the father of two had suffered from an undisclosed ailment since 2020 and was informed by doctors to raise N170, 000 before January 27, 2021 to enable him to commence treatment.

A family source stated that the family had been treating him since he fell sick. 

"Just last month, he went to see the doctor again and they told him to bring N170,000. Now, see what he has done. How could he come to Olympia, the centre of the town, and drink Sniper (a pesticide), killing himself in the process?” the source told The Nation.  

His grieving mother lamented that the deceased had been threatening to take his own life for some time.

“He was in my house this morning. It was in my house that he took his bath and I even bought bread and a bottle of Fanta for him. He was complaining about the same problem and I told him to have hope that we would raise the cash. Now, see what he has done," she said.
 

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I Started Being Detained In 1992 For Fighting Bad Governance – Sowore

Sahara Reporters - 15 January 2021 - 1:13am


The author, Omoyele Sowore

Human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, has accused public office holders in Nigeria of turning the process of governance to a conduit pipe of corruption through which many of them have enriched themselves at the expense of Nigerians.

Sowore noted that he started being detained by security agencies in 1992 when he was 21 years old, fighting for the rights of common Nigerians and speaking against bad leaders.

Omoyele Sowore

The former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress also attributed the backwardness and underdevelopment of the country to the humongous corruption being perpetrated by government officials.

He described such leaders in positions of authority as criminal elements who are unfit to govern a country.

The activist disclosed this on Thursday during his appearance as guest at a live programme of VoiceTV Nigeria, an online television, monitored by SaharaReporters in Abuja.

Sowore said those politicians were responsible for the misfortunes bedevilling the country – an old entity which is crawling at 60 with no development to show for it.

He added that there was a need for the country to have people with revolutionary mindsets and ideas who would stop the “garbage in and garbage out” politicians who had continued to recycle themselves in the corridors of power.

He said, "What I was fighting for in those days was for this country to have democracy and democracy came.

“Most of them when we were student leaders, they were hiding under their beds. The moment the country was liberated, they came out. Some of them with stolen wealth, some of them were drug dealers, drug addicts, kidnappers and armed robbers.

“They put on new garb and became governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives who you see today; other decent positions, which are supposed to go to decent Nigerians, were allotted to these criminal elements.

“They don't want a society where anything works. But for us who are asking for a better society, we are the enemies of the state. So we are dealing with a criminal state. We are not surprised; I have been through this for over 30 years of different types of persecution.

“Governance in Nigeria has become a criminal enterprise, with the wrong people governing.”

When asked about why he was handcuffed to a magistrates' court for organising a peaceful protest, a less dignifying treatment than Kabiru Sokoto, who masterminded the bombing of Mandala Catholic Church in 2011, got, Sowore said the system in Nigeria empowers criminals in the society.

He added that Sokoto was a hero of a tyrannical regime.

“It is very important to understand the context in which oppression operates. When you have an oppressive system and a tyrannical government, it is a system that empowers criminals in the society. That is the kind of society they want; to create division and bigotry.”  

He explained that he started his activism in 1989 when he gained admission into the University of Lagos and had been going to detention since 1992 when he was 21 years old, fighting for the rights of common Nigerians. 

“When I was in the university, I was fighting against secret cults. The university chose to expel me alongside secret cult members we were fighting. When we fought back, they readmitted us with those secret cult members. Many of the secret cult members we were fighting got better jobs than we did. They graduated before me. Many of them even got their National Youth Service Corps assignment before me,” Sowore stated.

He said the only way the government could gain the trust of Nigerians was to deliver on the social contracts which form the core responsibilities of government.

“People cannot just trust the government because it is walking around with handcuffs and AK-47 rifles, television and social media propaganda. Trust comes out naturally. It comes out between the governed and the governors, but that is not the case in Nigeria,” he noted.

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