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Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

We Are Angry Nigerians Took Over Our Retail Business, They Must Go—Ghanaian Traders

5 hours 14 min ago


The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) at Kasoa in the Central region has threatened to close down shops of foreign nationals, especially Nigerians, engaged in retail business.

The group said the invasion of foreigners in retail business had made their businesses to collapse.

General Secretary of GUTA at Kasoa, Bright Agyemang, who spoke to a section of the media, expressed worry over the government's inability to enforce the laws on foreign businesses in Ghana.

In a report by Ghanaweb, he said members of the association are furious and becoming impatient towards the continuous invasion of foreigners in the retail business.

Agyemang urged the government to address the issue to avoid it from degenerating.

He said: "The foreigners have taken over our market that is why GUTA is complaining. They have taken over all across the country but as it is now, Kasoa is the strongest area for these foreigners.

"So, we are praying to the government to come to our aid.

"The law says a foreigner cannot do retail except Ghanaians but the foreigners are doing retail in our markets and so we will close their shops. We will use the law; we will enforce the law to close their shops."

For years, GUTA and some foreign nationals, especially Nigerians, have been at war over retail trade in the country. Last year, members of GUTA forcibly locked up some foreign-owned shops in Greater Accra and Kumasi in the Ashanti region.

The trade war led to a high-powered delegation flying from Nigeria to Ghana to meet parliament over the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) law that prevents foreigners from engaging in the retail business.

The National President of Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji, said, "The ECOWAS protocol gives all citizens of member states equal rights to do business, reside and establish a business in each member state."

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Nigerian Pastor Nims Obunge, 19 Others Jostle To Be London Mayor

5 hours 15 min ago


Londoners headed to the polls yesterday to elect a mayor. 

In the ranks of the hopefuls is Nims Obunge, a Nigerian pastor and politician who prefers to focus on aspiration over the history of the black experience.

https://www.theafricareport.com

His work with gang members and violent offenders has convinced him that nothing will change without a systemic approach to the root causes of crime.

A graduate of Political Science from the University of Jos, Nigeria, Obunge has worked in the UK for well over 30 years.

Obunge is one of three candidates running independently of party politics. 

He has set out a four-point strategy for safer communities, affordable transport and housing, prosperous business, and healthy, green living. 

He is a director in fintech and has worked in criminal justice on tackling violent crime, and was also a board member on the London Criminal Justice Partnership. 

In 2014, in his role as chief executive of the Peace Alliance, he worked with New Scotland Yard on its handling of the killing of Mark Duggan, which sparked riots across the country. 

'I have buried young Londoners killed on our streets,' he said in a report by MetroUk. 'I have not been a politician, but I now believe London needs new leadership.'

In an interview with AfricaReport, when asked how he hopes to justify his role as a servant of an institution that was involved in colonialism, imperialism and slavery, he said, "The history of the black experience has painfully revealed the base nature of our humanity. Slavery, colonialism and imperialism must never be forgotten as eras of cruelty and total violations of fundamental human rights.

"However, having graduated in Political Science from a Nigerian university (Jos) and worked in the UK for well over 30 years, I am convinced that the future can only be grasped when we glance and learn through the rear and side mirrors of our past, whilst maintaining a clear and focussed view on the road ahead, through the front windscreen. This is the way for each of us to navigate ourselves toward an aspirational future for today and tomorrow."

Local media say a final result in the mayoral election is not anticipated until the afternoon of Saturday, May 8, at the earliest, but a Sunday result is also expected.

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Banditry: Over 50,000 Hectares Of Farmland In Katsina Abandoned By Farmers, Masari Laments

5 hours 18 min ago


The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, says farmers abandoned over 50,000 hectares of farmland in 2020 due to bandits' attacks.

Masari stated this on Thursday in Katsina at the launch of the 2021 Maize Wet Season Farming and the first Maise Pyramid in Nigeria.

The event was organised by the Maize Association of Nigeria in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrower Programme.

The governor, however, said despite the disruptions, farmers had recorded a good harvest.

He noted that the anchor borrower programme had positively impacted the lives of small scale farmers in the state.

"I wish to express our sincere appreciation to the Federal Government for the current commitment in the fight against banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed robbery, among others.

"And for initiating the Anchor Borrower Programme, which has supported the government efforts in bringing back the lost glory of the agricultural sector.

"For maize production, from 2016 to 2019, there has been an increase in the hectares cultivated during the periods.

"In the last five years, the state has generated 1.2 million short term jobs, for one to six months, and 249, 551 long term jobs from six months and above were created," he said.

The governor pledged that the administration would continue to join hands with development partners in agriculture for increased productivity.

Mr Masari said the government would also continue to ensure that farmers have access to farm inputs.

In his remarks, the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Kabir, represented by Lawal Bagiwa, commended CBN and the maize association for the successes recorded.

The emir urged the government to step up efforts to end banditry and kidnapping to protect farmers and other citizens.

"I hope security agents will do more to enable farmers to go back to their farms and plant crops," he said in a report by the News Agency of Nigeria.

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Naira Will Crash Further In Coming Months, Here Are What Nigerians Can Do—Experts

5 hours 19 min ago


In view of the peculiar economic situation in Nigeria, experts have predicted why the Nigerian currency would crash further in the coming months.

Nigerians now save in foreign currencies to protect their wealth from naira volatility and surging inflation, a recent research paper published by the Central Bank of Nigeria on its website says.

Africa's largest economy devalued the local unit twice last year after a crash in the oil price triggered by the coronavirus pandemic hampered revenues. 

While crude contributes less than 10% to the country's gross domestic product, it accounts for nearly all foreign-exchange earnings and half of the government revenue in the continent's biggest commodity producer.

The naira had lost 66% of its value since 2009 when it exchanged at N149 to the dollar. 

Checks by SaharaReporters on Wednesday revealed that one dollar was equal to N495. Nigeria's inflation quickened to the highest level in four years in March and is now more than double the 9% limit of the central bank's target range.

The Central Bank previously issued a warning to merchants to stop offering local goods in foreign currency and also banned the practice of accessing the foreign exchange market for settling domestic transactions.

Speaking with SaharaReporters on Wednesday, experts explained why the naira would further crash while hammering on what Nigerians and the Nigerian government should do.

An economics professor, Leo Ukpong, stated that the naira would further devalue due to the security threats in the country, which he said drives away foreign investors.

With the uncertainty in the country, foreign investors are very likely to withhold their potential investment, he stressed.

He also stated that those with investments in Nigeria are likely to withdraw and establish in neighbouring countries that are considered more stable.

Ukpong laments that Nigeria's manufacturing capacity is very low compared to the size of its economy. This, he said, makes the country import more than what it's produced, thereby placing higher pressure on the naira.

He said, "The problem with our naira is probably multifaceted but we can narrow it down to a couple of things. One is the uncertainty in the entire economy; uncertainty driven by militants, bandits and whatever they call themselves.

"That is a serious political uncertainty. Thus, foreign investors are not sure of the peace and stability of the country. Normally, if you are not sure, you either withhold your potential investment into such a country or draw money from what you have invested, affecting our currency negatively.

"It will cause a depreciation pressure on the naira and because we will be demanding that currency; we will be willing to pay more naira for US Dollar, Pounds, Euro or whatever.

"That uncertainty is one part. The other part is that we are very low on manufacturing capacity. In other words, apart from raw agricultural products that we can manufacture to meet the internal demand, we are importing too many things. Things we could be manufacturing in Nigeria are being imported. If you are importing, you have to come up with more of your currency to pay for it. Our very low manufacturing capacity to produce the final goods that we need is also putting negative pressure on the naira.

"When you combine those two items, it doesn't matter what you do; your currency will depreciate. I don't see a way out of this in the short term."

Also speaking, an economist, Johnson Chukwu, told SaharaReporters that the naira has so far depreciated due to the negative balance of trade of the country in international trade.

He said, "Why naira depreciated is because we have gotten to a point in our international trade where the balance of trade is negative; balance of trade means the value of the trade you export compared to the value of the trade you import.

"We are importing more goods than the value that we are exporting, and our major exporting is crude oil, so, at some point, crude oil was low and then quota for Nigeria.

"We had a negative balance of trade. On the invisible sides, on the current account, where you compare capital inflows and capital outflows, many foreign investors have been exiting the Nigerian market.

"The economy has witnessed outflows from foreign portfolio investors, which has made our overall balance of payment negative. The currency is depreciating because our capital inflow is lesser than our capital outflow, so we have a negative balance of payment. That is a major factor."

The two experts advised Nigerians and the federal government on what to do to stabilise the naira further.

Ukpong said, "In terms of what we can do to save ourselves, I am not the only one here; most of the experts have said the same thing.

"One, we have to manufacture what we need in Nigeria, our final goods. How can we have a refinery and we are still importing fuel? We ship it down to foreign countries; they refine it and put all kinds of overheads and ship it back to us.

"Most of the local goods that we are consuming, we are not able to produce enough. Even if we can produce them, it is not enough to meet our internal demands; we have to meet our internal demands before exporting anything.

"Let's also take a look at which of the issues we can handle short term. Short term, we need to tackle the insecurity all over the country, most especially the kidnapping of poor children. Schools are all in a state of uncertainty. If the government cannot use our policing power and security agencies to quell that, let's not think of any foreign investor bringing in any business to Nigeria.

"The ones that were here will probably move to neighbouring countries where there is relative stability and manufacture there. You buy from them and bring them to your country because they don't feel secure. That is the short term.

"Long term, if we can create that relative stability in this country, then we have to invest in manufacturing. Without that, the naira will still fall because our demands for foreign goods are too high and no matter what we do. Until we start producing those goods, using our labour, our machinery, it will still put pressure on the naira."

On his part, Chukwu advised Nigerians, who can invest in foreign currency, to do so.

He stated that this is the surest way to protect one's wealth against the devaluation of the naira.

He said, "If anybody can invest in foreign currency assets, then it makes sense. That is one aspect of protecting your wealth against naira currency depreciation. That is the surest way to guide against loss of your wealth, but the other aspect is what the government should do.

"It should focus on improving our infrastructural supply to reduce the cost of doing business and reduce the cost of production in the economy as well as improve the quality of our finished products so that they can compete in terms of quality and cost with goods produced elsewhere in the world.

"That means we will begin to command the export market and once we begin to export more commodities, more items, more goods and services out of the country, our balance of trade will improve. Our balance of payment will improve, we will have stability in our reserve. We will see an appreciation in reserve, which we will be able to stabilise.

"The other aspect is what the CBN is doing; they are increasing the yield on treasury bills. Today, the yield is about 9.75%. What that means is, they want to make short term debt instruments attractive to foreign portfolio investors so that we will hopefully begin to see a return of foreign portfolio investors. This will help strengthen the foreign exchange capital flow and strengthen the reserve and moderate the currency depreciation."

The decline in the value of the naira has attracted the attention of many Nigerians. Former presidential aide Reno Omokri, in his Youtube masterclass series titled, 'Why The Value Of The Naira Will Crash' also explained what Nigerians could do to protect themselves

He said, "The value of the naira will further crash and the reason for this is that the value of money is determined by the demand for it just like the value of goods and services. The demand for the Nigerian naira is not very high right now. This might look contradictory because the Nigerian naira is the legal tender of Nigeria.

"However, let's go deeper into Economics. How many of the things you buy with the naira are made in Nigeria. Think about it. Let's look at everyday items-- the food that Nigerians eat is to a large extent imported. The rice is imported, even though General Muhammadu Buhari likes to deceive people. There is locally grown rice but it does not exist in enough quantity to feed the country. The beef that Nigerians eat is imported into Nigeria by herdsmen from Mali and Senegal.

"The oil (cooking) is largely imported. Your cars are imported into Nigeria; fuel is also imported. The computer you use at the office, the air conditioner, the furniture you use in the office are mostly imported. If you look at the clothes that people wear, including President Muhammadu Buhari, they were imported. The value of the naira is not circulating internally in Nigeria's economy. Something like 65% of the value of our naira services the economies of those countries we import from. 

"The only thing that I will tell you is, if you have naira, go and get your reserve in dollars or pounds or any foreign exchange. As long as this government is in power, the naira is going to crash. I have given you facts and details. If you are caught in this economic quagmire, don't blame anybody but yourself."

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Olukoya, Wife React To Death Of Pastor Adeboye's Son

5 hours 20 min ago


Dare Adeboye

Founder of The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, has reacted to the death of Pastor Dare Adeboye, son of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye, who died on Wednesday aged 42. 

Olukoya, in a statement jointly signed by him and his wife, Pastor Shade urged Adeboye and the RCCG family to find comfort in the teachings of the scripture that "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints". 

Dare Adeboye

"We received the news of the passing away of Pastor Dare Adeboye with great shock and disbelief. He was an embodiment of inexhaustible tenderness and of rare grace and charm." 

"A great lover of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, may the Holy Spirit console and comfort you and the family. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and prayers." 

Pastor Dare died in his sleep in Akwa Ibom, where he was based with his family.

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Two Feared Dead, Bullion Van Escorts Flee In Ondo Robbery

6 May 2021 - 3:29pm


At least two persons were feared killed while one was injured in a fresh robbery attack on a bullion van at Boluwaduro area of Ondo East Council Of Ondo State.

The robbery which started around 5:30pm on Thursday, involved robbers numbering over eight men.

The driver and the police officers escorting the bullion van were reported to have fled immediately the attack started while the robbers shot repeatedly at the bullion van.

Two police vehicles escorting the bullion van were damaged in the process and an unspecified amount of money was said to have been carted away by the robbers.

According to an eyewitness, the bullion van was coming from Ondo town before it got ambushed by two vehicles and a Lexus car along Akure-Ondo expressway.

Some motorists at the scene reportedly left their vehicles and ran into the forest following the sporadic shooting by the robbers.

However, the state commander of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleke, confirmed that three person were shot by the robbers during the robbery and that one injured person was rushed to the hospital by the corps' personnel.
 

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Fire Guts Lagos Fabric Market

6 May 2021 - 3:27pm


Illustration

The popular Cairo Market in the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State was gutted by fire on Thursday.

It was gathered that the fire, whose cause had yet to be determined as of the time of filing this report, affected the fabrics section of the market.

Illustration

The extent of the damage could not be also ascertained as at press time.

Firefighters and other emergency operators were on the ground to put out the fire. 

The Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), who confirmed the incident said the cause of the fire was unknown.

According to him, emergency responders have arrived on the scene and are battling to contain the fire. 

He said, ”Upon arrival at the scene of the incident, it was observed that some lock-up shops were on fire."

He also stated that the operation was ongoing as at press time.
 

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BREAKING: Buhari Suspends Hadiza Bala Usman As Nigerian Ports Authority Managing Director

6 May 2021 - 2:28pm


Hadiza Bala Usman

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday suspended Hadiza Bala Usman as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

No reason was given for the suspension of Usman who was reappointed for another five-year tenure recently.

Hadiza Bala Usman

She was first appointed as the Managing Director of NPA in 2016.

The minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is expected to give details about her suspension on Friday.
 

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Pastor Adeboye Preaches At Church Holy Communion Service Despite Son's Death

6 May 2021 - 1:50pm


The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye preached virtually at the church's Holy Communion service on Thursday. 

This is despite the loss of his third son, Dare, who died on Tuesday in his sleep. 

The Holy Communion Service, a programme held in preparation for the church's monthly programme, 'Holy Ghost service', which holds every first Friday of a month. 

Adeboye's sermon was titled, 'Overflowing Blessings' and he read from John 6: 5-13.

He preached in his usual fashion regardless of the tragedy that struck the family. 

As his usual practice, he called on those who have yet to give their lives to Christ to do so. 

SaharaReporters observed that Adeboye didn't make a comment about his son's death but rather focused on the message.  See Also News Pastor Adeboye Loses Son 0 Comments 21 Hours Ago

He also prayed for healing for all those who are sick all over the world; prayed for a new power to witness for God with signs following. “So that the world will know that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world,” he said.

A minister, who moderated the Holy Communion Service at the Convention Ground said the Pastor was not physically present due to some ‘circumstances beyond control’.

The minister said, “I am here not standing in for him because I am too small to stand for him. I am only here to deliver the message as a messenger. He could have been here physically as he used to but due to circumstances beyond control, he was not able to be here but to the Glory of God, he has said to us, Jesus is here and he is also there praying for us...”

Dare, who is the third child of the General Overseer would have turned 43 on June 9, 2021.

He was a life coach, visionary leader, motivator, bridge builder and a youth provincial pastor in Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

The church had, however, revealed that the death of Pastor Dare Adeboye is not related to COVID-19.

The church, in a post on its verified Twitter handle, @rccghq said Pastor Dare died on Tuesday, May 4. 

The statement signed by the church's spokesman said it was the wish of the family to be left alone at this critical time.

The tweet read, “It is with a deep and heartfelt sense of loss we announce the departure of our beloved son, brother, husband and father, Oluwadamilare Temitayo Adeboye, who went to be with the Lord on the 4th of May, 2021. 

“His life was well lived as he served the Lord without reserve, giving effortlessly and leading fearlessly.

“He was crowned by the Lord with blessings of 3 seeds and a beautiful wife.

“Though shaken, our anchor remains Jesus Christ in whom we have the assurance that we will one day meet in a place where there is no pain.

“It is the wish of the family to be left alone at this moment, and we pray the Lord to keep you as you honour this humble request.

“Oluwadamilare Temitayo Adeboye, June 9th 1978 - May 4th 2021. Remain forever in our heart. Please note that this is not a COVID-19 related death.”

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Abaribe Should Be In Prison For Standing Surety For Kanu, An Insurrectionist Who Jumped Bail —Femi Adesina

6 May 2021 - 1:26pm


Femi Adesina

Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, says Senate minority leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe, should be in prison for failing to produce the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu in court.

Adesina in a Facebook post on Thursday accused Abaribe and ‘his co-travellers’ of planning to wreak havoc on Nigeria’s sovereignty and the corporate existence of the country.

Femi Adesina

Though, the presidential aide didn’t mention the senator’s name, he claimed some ‘disgruntled, caterwauling religious and political leaders’ are working towards a vote of no confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adesina said, “There is one funny fellow at the National Assembly, who is always using foul words against the leadership of the country. The more uncouth the words from him, the happier he seems to be. He has, to a large extent, poisoned the minds of people in his region of the country against the government. Evil words inexorably germinate, and bear bitter seeds.

“It was ironic to see the fellow this week talk of massive insecurity in the land, poor state of the economy, and alleged stifling of voices of dissent. This was a character who stood surety for an insurrectionist who then jumped bail. The government has not put the man in the slammers, where he rightly belongs, and he has the temerity to talk of stifling of voices of dissent in the land. Good grief!

“He talked of utilizing all constitutional means to do the needful against the government of the day. Well, every butterfly fancies itself a bird, and the fact that the mangrove tree lives inside the river does not make it a crocodile. Talk is cheap, and dreams cost nothing. The intention of that fellow, and his co-travellers is not really about now. What they are playing is the politics of power grab in 2023, thinking they should muddy the waters before then, as much as possible. When the lobster walks on mud, it stirs it up for everybody. The welfare and well-being of the country and its peoples do not matter.

“The disgruntled, caterwauling religious and political leaders are working towards a vote of no confidence in the President. After that, what next? The DSS (Department of State Services) has indicated support for a united, indivisible Nigeria, stressing that government can only be changed through the electoral process. The military has equally done same, saying it is committed to the present Administration and democratic institutions in the land. Good.”

Abaribe had recently asked Buhari to resign over the spate of insecurity in the country.

He also stood surety for Nnamdi Kanu before the IPOB fled the country. 

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Sheikh Gumi Taunts El-Rufai Over 2014 Comments, Says Greenfield Varsity Students Will Be Released Soon

6 May 2021 - 1:19pm


Popular Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has assured that the remaining 16 of the kidnapped Greenfield varsity students will be released soon.

He said negotiations were ongoing with the bandits who seized them since they issued a threat to kill the abductees if a ransom of N100 million was not paid.

Gumi disclosed this in Kaduna shortly after receiving parents of freed students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, who paid him a ‘thank you visit’ for his roles in securing the release of their children.

He said, “The role myself and former President Olusegun Obasanjo played in the release of the 27 Afaka students is the role of mediators, because the fight is not between us and them, but between the bandits and the government.

“What we understand is that these people are trying to attack the government by attacking the government institutions and taking innocent children. Having understood that, we came to the conclusion that, this is not a hopeless situation, we can really go in and negotiate for the release of this child, which we did after so many ups and downs. But in the long run, a conclusion was reached and these children are out.

“So, we are happy that, all of them are out and none was killed. The talk with the Greenfield University students’ abductors is also going on because we are. You know they threatened to kill all of them after a particular deadline, but after talking to them, they are now lowering their bar.

“So, we are thankful they have stopped killing. And we are still negotiating with them. I hope this Afaka case will also encourage us to know that there is hope in negotiation and release of the children.”

On the reported swap of a bandit for the students, Sheikh Gumi taunted the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai over the comments he made in 2014. See Also Insecurity FLASHBACK: Government Must Do All It Takes To Rescue Abducted Citizens, Including Negotiating– El-Rufai Attacked President Jonathan In 2014 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

He said, “I cannot confirm that, but I can quote the Governor of Kaduna state when the children of Chibok were kidnapped by Boko Haram, he said it is the duty of the government to use whatever means possible to save the lives of Chibok girls.

“This is a general rule that life is more precious. Now, I am happy that 27 lives have been saved.”

SaharaReporters recalled that El-Rufai had in 2014 criticised the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan shortly after Boko Haram insurgents abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

He had said Jonathan was insensitive to the plights of the kidnapped girls, calling on the Nigerian government to pay ransom to facilitate their freedom.

The video recently sparked an outrage amidst mixed reactions, which have continued to trail the ongoing attacks and abductions of citizens in Kaduna state.

The governor had said, “If one of these girls was Jonathan’s daughter, the story would have been different.

“The only reason why these girls are still in captivity is because they are not the daughter of any important Nigerian and we know it.

“If you say we are politcising terrorism, go and rescue the girls so that I will not have the basis to politicise it.”

Asked if he was in support of negotiation, he had responded, “I am in support of every option, when you have life of a citizens at risk, you should not have any option on the table. You should reflect and listen.”

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Notorious For Clamping down On Buhari’s Critics, DSS Unprofessionally Invites Another Journalist For Questioning

6 May 2021 - 12:37pm


The Department of State Services has invited an investigative reporter at the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR), Niyi Oyedeji for questioning.

According to the newspaper, Oyedeji was invited by telephone on Thursday by one Bayo Paul, who claimed to be an official of the DSS, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command.

“Paul asked the reporter if he was a member of Transparency Integrity Group, to which he declined. Paul tried to coerce the journalist into telling him his name, but the reporter stood his ground, refusing to disclose his name on the phone.

“He called back a few minutes later, mentioned the reporter’s name, and asked him to report to the SSS (State Security Service) office in Abuja on Friday by 10 am. When asked how he got the reporter’s number, Paul said he got it from the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Editor of The ICIR, Ajibola Amzat contacted Paul minutes later to ask why the SSS, as a responsible organisation, would not invite the reporter in writing, but he replied that the organisation would sometimes call to invite persons for interrogation.

“We do call, we do call. The only thing is to verify the source of the call. I am not inviting you to anywhere apart from the office. You can as well trace the number and ask the source or owner of the number if genuinely I am a staff (member) of the State Security Service,” Paul told The ICIR Editor.

When asked the reason for the invitation, the newspaper quoted Paul as saying, “My boss did not tell me. He only gave me his number, his name, and he asked me to invite him to his office.”

Meanwhile, The ICIR has insisted on an official letter from the SSS to ensure the invitation emanates from the organisation.

There has been a clampdown on journalists by the DSS in recent times. 

In August 2019, the domestic intelligence agency with a history of repression arrested human rights activist and Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore in Lagos.

Sowore was moved to the agency's headquarters in Abuja where he was illegally detained for 144 days despite different court orders issued for his release.

The DSS accused the activist of baseless crimes like money laundering and that he was plotting to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari even though it failed to produce any evidence to substantiate its claim.

In March 2018, the DSS arrested Daily Independent Abuja Bureau Chief Tony Ezimakor. Later in the year, the secret police arrested Jones Abiri and detained him for two years for allegedly having links with ‘rebels.’

He was re-arrested in March 2019.

In August 2019, former Editor at Daily Trust Ibrahim Dan-Halilu was arrested for a Facebook post expressing support for the ‘RevolutionNow’ campaign.

In December 2019, TVC’s journalist Bukola Samuel-Wemimo was detained by the secret police at its Magodo office in Lagos.

In 2020, former Premium Times investigative reporter Samuel Ogundipe was hounded by the SSS because he reported on the rift between the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno and President Muhammadu Buhari’s late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari.

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Busybodies Outside The Gates, By Azu Ishiekwene

6 May 2021 - 11:32am


Bill and Melinda Gates had barely finished saying the “D” word when all kinds of marriage counsellors and grief-mongers besieged social media with suggestions of why they think the couple is breaking up.

The sentiments, ranging from the probable to the bizarre, with a sprinkling of fictional tales in between, have defied the couple’s request for privacy. Misery loves company. Some accounts even make you wonder if the composers might have had a bedside view of the 27-year-old marriage. 

A break-up is a messy thing. You don’t have to experience it to know. But for all those who are outside, looking in, it always seems that one or the other couple could have done this or that to save the marriage. A failing marriage is easier saved by outsiders.

In the case of the Gates, the couples’ explanation that they had to part ways because they believe they could no longer grow together as a couple in the new phase of their lives, didn’t seem to satisfy the curious army of commentators in Nigeria’s social media space. They think there’s more to it and if they can’t find it, they will invent it.

Above the din of the rampant reports of killings, banditry and kidnappings with scores of students of a private university in the North west state of Kaduna currently held at gunpoint and distraught parents emptying their life-savings to pay ransom, the Bill-Melinda break up still managed to trend.

Not even the Twitter caution by @DrOlufunmilayo that, “Bill Gates is not your problem as a Nigerian. His marriage/divorce is not a priority to you. He’s the richest man in the world (or was). He’ll be fine…”, restrained the Twittteratti from evoking images of Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie, and Kanye West and Kim, and how, once again, money is at the root of this sad story.

The Gates break-up is somehow, being framed as yet another irrefutable evidence that divinity, and not money, sustains a marriage. In other words, if the Gates’ had a little more god, the marriage might have been saved. It’s the sort of awkward, largely conservative thinking that suggests that wealth and successful marriage are incompatible. 

Those who insist on beating us over the head with this argument ignore the tens of hundreds of marriages of ordinary folks that break up daily for mainly financial reasons. It may be an uncomfortable thing to say: but open your eyes. Money is a prolonger, not an abridger of marriage. 

While infidelity, lack of commitment, and poor communication remain major factors in the collapse of many marriages, the “final straws” are often domestic violence and poor finances, not more or less of god, which quite often, can also be a weapon of blackmail.

Dozens of stories about divorce from customary courts around the country that never make it to the front-pages are not because the parties don’t have enough god in their marriages. A good number, in fact, have too much god, too little honesty, and certainly, insufficient money to make their marriage work.

A recent anecdotal research by a family lawyer, Akinboboye Adeniyi, published in a blog in February, showed a disturbingly steady rise in divorce cases in Nigeria’s two most populous cities - Lagos and Kano - with a similar trend also in Abuja, the country’s capital. 

According to the report, in 2018 in Badagry alone (one local government in Lagos), 3,000 divorce cases were recorded, while Kano State had one million registered divorcees in 2019. 

The report also said court records in Abuja showed that over 2,000 cases were filed between 2019 and 2020, with an average of 30 cases daily. Yet, these figures are largely under-reported.

I honestly don’t understand the hypocrisy that refuses to acknowledge that money answers a good deal of marital misery, because it does, whatever social media trope might say. But I get it. Hypocrisy is the unseen third party installed in many Nigerian homes by years of acculturation and pseudo-religion. We’re probably the world’s pretence capital. We just love to pretend.

If Melinda were a Nigerian wife, for example, not only her parents, but her entire community would have insisted that after 27 years, there is no new mountain left that the couple cannot climb together, even if it meant Melinda carrying her husband on her back! How can she tell her family that a marriage of over two-and-a-half decades to the world’s fourth wealthiest man has become “irretrievably broken?”

Wherever the pieces may be, Melinda would have to find them and put them together again, with or without help from Bill, if for nothing else for the sake of what people might say, and of course, for the sake of their three children. Many marriages are held together, not by love, respect and honesty, but by the fear or shame of what people would say if the couple parted ways.

And how, it would be said, can Melinda even complain of “irretrievable breakdown” in her marriage, when as it has now emerged, she may have set the stage by agreeing to a bizarre pre-nuptial arrangement that allowed her husband to maintain liaison with his former ex, Ann Winblad, which allowed the parties to spend spring every year together, playing putt-putt?

No one has blamed Ann Winblad for the collapse of the Gates’ marriage. Elsewhere, Melinda’s consent for her husband to play putt-putt with his ex, once a year, might be deemed as commendable act of honesty. In Nigeria, however, it would be judged as spousal hara-kiri, a foolish endorsement of closet polygamy. 

In a society where people put God stickers on their car bumpers with the right hand and take a bribe with the left, a good number of marriages have improvised ways of reconciling with hypocrisy. They just put on a daily show of affection for outsiders, but inside suffer in misery and loneliness. 

This is not a time to judge. It’s a time to remember Bill and Melinda for all the great work that they have done together as a couple for humanity. As one article in the New York Times said, they have been powerful forces on the world stage, their vast charitable contributions giving them access to the highest levels of government, business and the nonprofit sector.

In Africa, plagued with malaria and other infectious diseases, their contributions have been phenomenal. In 2016, the Gates Foundation which had invested $9b over 15 years in various initiatives announced a fresh $5b in the continent to support health and other anti-poverty programmes across the continent. 

Without the support of the Gates Foundation, it’s unlikely that Nigeria would have overcome the fight against polio which it did to its eternal shame only last year, or that South Africa would have, by now, recorded progress in access to anti-retroviral drugs, which significantly cut its HIV/AIDS infection rates. The less endowed countries on the continent would certainly have been worse off, without the exemplary philanthropy of Bill and Melinda.

Even in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that has left the world reeling, the Foundation has invested over $1b in research, vaccines and other forms of succour.

The world will miss the work that the pair did as a couple but we should take comfort that their collective legacy would outlive their broken marriage. And who says the end of their marriage, however sad, is the end of separate lives of devoted charity? 

I know it’s hard to back off a broken marriage involving a couple that has been in the public eye all their lives, and especially for a pair worth over $124b whose separation contract has not yet been unsealed. 

But for the sake of their good works, if nothing else, narrators may at least momentarily retire from the bedside of the pair, while they’re trying to work out the last vestiges of a relationship that blessed the world so!

 

Ishiekwene is Editor-In-Chief of LEADERSHIP

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Pregnant Woman Slumps After Governor Akeredolu’s Aide Allegedly Slapped Her ‘For Not Standing Up To Greet Him’

6 May 2021 - 11:23am


An environmental security guard, Mrs Adeola Egbebi has slumped on duty at Oja Oba market in Akure after she was allegedly slapped by the Senior Special Assistant to the Ondo state governor on special duty, Dr Doyin Odebowale.

The worker who is heavily pregnant, was reportedly assaulted by Odebowole for not standing up to greet him like her other environmental workers.

According to a local tabloid in the state, SUNSHINE TRUTH, the governor’s aide was infuriated by the woman’s action and gave her a slap.

“The woman has been working since resuming duty and it was time for the environmental security guards to leave the Erekesan market when the governor’s SSA Odebowale arrived at the place with his men and started harassing the workers but Mrs Egbebi was unable to stand up to greet him immediately which infuriated the SSA and gave the woman hot slap and she slumped,” an eyewitness said.

“The most unfortunate thing is that the SSA didn’t even care to take the woman to hospital; it was her colleagues and some good Samaritans that helped us to take to a private hospital.

“Consequently as the pregnant woman Mrs Egbebi was about to lift her chair to move to another position, to everybody’s amazement, Dr Doyin slapped the woman and immediately she fainted and the market woman rescued her with other officers to a private hospital.

“He used traditional ring to slap her.”

The incident led to a protest at the head office of the Ondo State Waste Management Board at Alagbaka as some environmental security guards shut down the gate for several hours.

Addressing the protesters, the General Manager of the Waste Management Board, Mrs Ayo Adeyemo appealed to the protesters to remain calm, saying she would visit the victim at the hospital.

Adeyemo said, “Either pregnant or not, nobody has any right to slap any worker.”

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National Broadcasting Commission Fines Channels TV, Inspiration FM N5million Each Over IPOB Interviews

6 May 2021 - 11:05am


The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined Channels TV and Inspiration FM, Lagos N5 million each for alleged infractions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

The media houses were on Thursday directed to the fines. 

Acting Director-General of the commission, Prof Armstrong Idachaba, announced this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.

According to Idachaba, NBC had served Channels TV a letter stating that the station, because of its broadcast its programme, 'Politics Today' of April 25, was liable for infractions of the Code.

He further said the station breached Sections 3.11.1(b) and 5.4.3 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

For Inspiration FM, Idachaba said it breached Sections 3.11.1(b) and 5.4.3 of the Code because of a programme of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) it aired on May 2.

The statement described the broadcasts as divisive and inflammatory. 

Section 3.11.1(b) says "the Broadcaster shall ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state". 

Section 5.4.3 says "in reporting conflict situations, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality”. 

“Immediate order of suspension of broadcast services; suspension of licence and immediate shut down and seal up of transmitter, revocation of licence, seizure and forfeiture or transmitting equipment.
The statement said, “Following the announcements of liability to the sanctions stated in 15.1.1 and 15.1.2 both stations have accepted culpability for the infractions and earlier offered unreserved apologies for the breaches.

“The NBC has reviewed the appeals and apologies from both stations, and has decided to set aside the option of suspension of licence.

“The Commission has, however, directed both stations to pay N5 million penalty each to serve as a deterrent."

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Police Officer Killed As Gunmen Attack Police Station In Ebonyi

6 May 2021 - 10:40am


File photo used to illustrate story.

A police officer has been killed by gunmen who invaded a police facility in Obiozara, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

The attack occurred early Thursday morning. 

File photo used to illustrate story.

The gunmen were said to have invaded the station around 3 am, and burnt the office of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the administrative building, Premium Times reports. 

It was learnt that the facility was put up as a temporary police station after the permanent one was burnt down during last year's EndSARS protests against police brutality. 

“I called one of the police officers who said they were attacked early this morning by 3am, one inspector was shot dead. They burnt two offices – that of the DPO and the admin office.

“They had burnt the main office during the #EndSARS, with some vehicles. They now relocated to another block around the station where this attack took place,” a source said.

At the time of this report, it could not be ascertained if the gunmen made away with any equipment belonging to the police.

Police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Odah, confirmed the attack.

She said the gunmen invaded the station in their numbers.

The latest attack comes five days after a police officer was killed in another attack on Abaomege police station in Onicha Local Government Area of the state.

The Federal High Court in Abakaliki was also attacked last week and set ablaze by hoodlums.

Two soldiers were also killed by gunmen at a police checkpoint in Afikpo last week.
 

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How Boko Haram Terrorists Moved Freely With Residents Of Yobe Community, Shared Pamphlets, Money

6 May 2021 - 9:59am


Militants belonging to the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, have released pictures of their recent attack on Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe state.

Geidam is the hometown of the acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

ISWAP in a statement sighted by SaharaReporters, displayed different models of armoured tanks and operational hilux vehicles the group allegedly captured from Nigerian soldiers during the attack.

The group also displayed different photos showing fighters and their vehicles moving freely in the town amongst civilians.

Some of the pictures showed a fighter circulating pamphlets and urging residents to support their cause to establish a Muslim caliphate or be killed.

A copy of the one-page pamphlet, earlier obtained by SaharaReporters reads in part, “Our major aim: to uplift the word of Allah, protect the religion of Islam and the wealth of the followers.

“Our target: those who do not believe in our ideology, Christians and even Muslims who do not believe in our teachings.

“Any Muslim who is not supporting the empire of Islam is our target. See Also PHOTONEWS: Boko Haram Terrorists Moving Freely Among Yobe Residents, Sharing Pamphlets, Money 12 Hours Ago

“Anyone who comes to us for forgiveness, and stop fighting us will be exempted from attacks.”

The group also claimed to have shared N20,000 to some households.

SaharaReporters had reported how the terrorists invaded Geidam, slaughtering two people including a Kawuri Primary School teacher, Mallam Baba Tazira.

Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, have killed thousands and displaced millions in North-Eastern Nigeria.

The Nigerian military has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency had been largely defeated and frequently underplays any losses.

In the past months, soldiers have been targeted by the insurgents, who wait in ambush for them.

Hundreds of soldiers and officers have been reportedly killed since January 2021.

At least 33 soldiers were recently killed when two explosive-laden vehicles rammed into a military convoy in Wulgo.

The suicide bombers were identified as Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Bana Jundullah. The group also claimed four military vehicles were destroyed.

In February, about 20 soldiers were also killed in Malari, Borno State by the insurgents.

SaharaReporters gathered that the soldiers were on patrol to clear some Boko Haram elements in the area following a credible intelligence when they were ambushed by the group.

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Buhari Enjoying Power Like A King, He'll Never Resign —President's Ex-loyalist, Buba Galadima

6 May 2021 - 9:53am


The former National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Alhaji Buba Galadima has dismissed any chances that President Buhari will resign or be impeached as some Nigerians have demanded. 
According to the estranged friend of President Buhari, such can never happen.

He said the President is enjoying power like a king and described Nigerians as vulnerable people who cannot speak up or act.

"None of the calls will result in anything because he will never resign, he is enjoying power like a king and he cannot be impeached because he is influential and Nigerians are vulnerable. They can't even speak, let alone act. So we are just in for it," he said. 

The elder statesman, who spoke in a telephone interview with SaharaReporters added that Nigerians are not courageous enough to ask for a befitting electoral reform since 2010 till date. Galadima described the system has being faulty for long.

The politician who expressed disappointment in the Buhari-led administration, said, "I'm not only disappointed, I regret everything that I have done for 14 years and look at what has happened to me. Nobody has suffered deprivation, loss, faced arrest and charged for treason like me. One is disappointed not because he is not part of the system but because what you agreed that should be done is not happening."

The chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also described Nigeria as a country of contradictions. 

He said, "We don't look at things from the nationalistic global best practice view, we look at things with primordial sentiments centered on religion, tribe and where you come from.

"My wish for the country is not to divide, but the country is already divided into pieces. Now no Hausa man can live in the East. Let's take a look at what is happening in the South-East where northerners are being attacked. 

"You hear of people being killed in their hundreds every day, and hoisting flags in some local governments. We are just in trouble and there is nobody in authority addressing the situation. It's not about who is going to do the job but who can do the job, that is important."

He lamented the security challenges in the country, saying the problem cannot be solved in one million years. 

"This insecurity problem can never be sorted out in the next 1 million years, because when you go to school, you graduate with first class and you don't have access to any opportunity. You are torn apart because you don't want sentiments or bribe to determine if you will be employed. Do you think you will fold your hands while you are dying of hunger?"

Galadima said Nigeria can survive another 100 years as one nation but as a country in pieces. 

"You know that if you want Oduduwa Republic, people from Ekiti and Lagos will revoke, or you think that the people in the Ebonyi people will agree to have a South East Biafra? So it's our own religion and contradiction that will continue to keep us perpetually as slaves." She added.

He said there is nothing like "killing fulani herdsmen", he argues that Fulani herdsmen are those rearing cattle in the buy. 

"While 80% of killing were done in the night and not in the bush, but in the town. Allegations against Fulani herdsmen are just propaganda. Most of the killings and kidnappings are not done by Fulani herdsmen but they may be Fulani or any other people.

"I have been struggling and fighting, the truth of the matter is that people are not serious. They are not fighting for their own freedom, they don't even believe in democracy, they believe that somebody will sit down in the Villa and be directing everybody. Is this a country?"

He said the situation of Nigeria was getting worse and that leaders had been too quiet. 

On the appeal by Buhari to the United States to relocate Africa Centre (AFRICOM) to Africa, the former ally of the President described the military as a failure and the call as a bad idea. 

He said, "We can bring in equipment and place them on contract to sort out our security challenges under our directives, and then get them out once they are done. Our military has failed us, they have been on this issue for over 12 years, they couldn't do anything. 

"The government is thinking straight by asking for AFRICOM to be moved here from Germany. They are not thinking of the implications on the region. Wherever such forces go, they are accused of indoctrination, raping of women, etc. But that is not even the issue, the issue is that Nigeria will be subjected to a global cold war.

"Once you bring in the Americans, the reaction and the charges will be against Nigeria and Americans will work for their interest, which will affect the support we are getting from the United Nations, even the Chinese. Those countries will be against us and Nigeria will become a theatre of cold war, a problem we cannot afford."

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Protest In Abuja As Nigerians Demand Release Of Buhari-Must-Go Protesters Detained By Kogi Government

6 May 2021 - 9:40am


Nigerians held a protest march on Thursday in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to demand the release of two Buhari-must-go protesters, Larry Emmanuel and Victor Udoka, who have been arrested and detained by the Kogi State Government since April 5.

The protesters, while condemning the continued detention of the duo, demanded that the Nigerian government should wade in and get the innocent citizens released.

They displayed protest banners, with inscriptions such as, “Yahaya Bello, Where is Emmanuel Larry?.”

One of the protesters who spoke for others, said, “We are here to protest the continuous shrinking of the civil space, the lack of respect for citizenship and the total disregard for the rule of law.

“It will interest us to know that young Nigerians were arrested for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression by pasting posters to condemn the level of maladministration in the country; the level of corruption and insecurity and the level of human right abuses and the complete anarchy that has descended into the country.

“What manner of impunity is that? The judiciary workers are on strike today and their strike is based on their demand for financial autonomy which is important to dispense justice. Aside from the impunity of the government, they are comfortable that the courts have been shut. In fact, if they had the opportunity, they would have shut down the court, a long time ago. See Also ACTIVISM #BuhariMustGo: How Anti-Buhari Protesters Chased Away Pro-Buhari Rented Crowd At Abuja House In London 0 Comments 3 Weeks Ago

“We are gathered to ask the Nigerian government to free these two comrades unconditionally.”   

SaharaReporters had last Wednesday reported that the two protesters, who were arrested, molested by thugs sponsored by the Kogi State Government and detained by the police were critically sick. 

SaharaReporters learnt that the two protesters had also been denied medical treatment.

“They are seriously ill and not getting treatment. The state government is hell- bent on keeping them, perhaps until they die in custody?” a source had stated.

About two weeks ago, global human rights' organisation, Amnesty International, had demanded the unconditional release of the two Buhari-must-go protesters, adding that the protesters' only crime was that they were “peacefully protesting against corruption and distributing posters that were perceived to be critical of the President.”

Amnesty International had said that the activists “were physically assaulted and tortured by unidentified men while peacefully protesting against corruption, and the poor human rights situation in Nigeria, and distributing posters that were perceived to be critical of the President. 

“A few days later, they were turned over to the police and were subsequently transferred to the Nigeria Correctional Centre, located in Kogi State, in North Central Nigeria, where they are currently being held. 

“The two activists are being detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to protest and expressing their views. They must be immediately and unconditionally released,” AI statement partly read on Monday.

SaharaReporters had last week reported that the Kogi State Acting Chief Judge, Justice Richard Olorunfemi, stated that the protesters had not yet been brought to court because the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria workers were on strike and all courts were closed. See Also Human Rights Power-Drunk Kogi Deputy Governor Behind Continued Detention Of Critically Ill Buhari-Must-Go Protesters 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

The Chief Judge in an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday said the protesters had not yet been arraigned because of the strike and the judiciary could not account for their whereabouts.

He directed our correspondent to “carry on your investigation” with the police.

SaharaReporters had reported on April 8, that the Kogi State Police Command continued in its deliberate harassment and intimidation of Emmanuel and Udoka by charging them for treasonable felony and public disturbance.

SaharaReporters had learnt that the duo were not brought to court because of the JUSUN strike, but were tried in a Magistrate’s office and remanded in the Kabba prison.

The power-drunk magistrate, it was further gathered, gave no adjourned date for the matter.

The police had secretly arraigned the two protesters and ensured that they were remanded at the Kabba Prison – without the knowledge of their lawyers or family members.

SaharaReporters had learnt that neither the charges on which they were arraigned nor the identity of the Magistrate where they were tried was made to the public.

The police authorities backed by the Kogi State government have continued in their desperate attempts to frustrate the two protesters.

This is sequel to the abuse and humiliation suffered by the peaceful protesters in the hands hoodlums sponsored by the government in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.  

SaharaReporters had reported that the irate mob flogged the two youths, filmed them and brutalised them before they were later handed over to the police.

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We Have Documents To Expose Sponsors Of Terrorism, Banditry In Nigeria, Group Boasts

6 May 2021 - 8:38am


File Photo

A political group, 'I Stand With Buhari', has threatened to expose alleged sponsors of terrorism and banditry Nigeria

Spokesperson for the group, Mr Ifeanyi Ezedinma, at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja gave the suspected sponsors one month to denounce the acts.

File Photo

The group described the activities of terrorists and bandits in the country as a sabotage. 

According to the group, it is in possession of some classified documents that will expose the sponsors causing problems in the country. 

“We also have a list of their names, from state governors down to political influencers, youth organisations, as well as clandestine organisations under their payroll.

“We are therefore giving them until the end of the month to disband their private militia and discontinue their sponsorship of banditry and terrorism in Nigeria.

“If they refuse by the end of the month, we will not only expose their identities to the world but will also embark on mass action against them in their respective locations,’’ he said.

The group described Nigeria as "indivisible". 

“Buhari means well for the country and is working to ensure that all agents of darkness sponsoring the current security challenge are exposed and brought to book,” the group said.
 

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