MORE than 500 suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect, among them, a doctor, are to appear in court soon. The Joint Investigation Team set up by the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, which recommended the trial, said on Wednesday, December 4, that the suspects were apprehended during security operations against terrorists in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States.
According to a statement issued by Chris Olukolade, a brigadier-general and director of Defence Information, DDI, the suspects would be tried by the federal and state high courts. Olukolade said the suspects were among about 1,400 detainees screened by the team at detention facilities in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu between July and September. The military spokesman said those recommended for immediate trial included high profile suspects, some of whom were training other terrorists in weapon handling as well as those who confessed to being trained in Mali and other countries to launch terror attacks on Nigeria.
Apart from a medical doctor, also recommended for trial, are paramilitary or service personnel who were fighting on the side of the terrorists and other individuals who offered direct logistics support to the insurgents.
“The team, however, recommended the release of 167 of the detainees from detention in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu. About 614 others whose cases were inconclusive have been recommended for a review. The report also proposed that some of the detainees be tried for other offences ranging from armed robbery, murder to drugs-related offences. If the recommendations of the team sails through, the trial of some of the suspects will be held in the states while others may be tried at the federal level by the high court,” he added.
Olukolade disclosed that the reports were submitted to Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, admiral and chief of defence staff, CDS, who commended the team for being thorough in conducting the assignment.
Beggars on Protest in Kano
HUNDREDS of physically challenged persons comprising lepers, the dumb and the blind, marched through the city of Kano, Kano State, on Wednesday, December 4, in protest against the law banning street begging. The law already passed by the state House of Assembly, is awaiting accent of the state governor. The protesters, chanting chanted Allah Akbar (Allah is great), started their protest march from the premises of Audu Bako Secretariat to the assembly, where they were received by Lawal Badamasi Gezawa, clerk of the House.
The protesters said street begging was their only means of livelihood and it would be inhuman to ban them without any empowerment programme for them. Aminu Ahmed, leader of the protesters, while presenting the letter of protest to Gezawa, said they decided to stage a peaceful protest because of the government’s inability to look into their condition. Aminu said: “we are expecting the reply of our demand from the House of Assembly, but failure to do so will force us into a new system to press home our case.” In his reply, Gezawa promised to deliver their complaint to the appropriate authority.
Picture in Bi Courtney’s Head
THE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has refuted newspaper reports that the federal high court in Lagos had ruled that Bi Courtney Aviation Services should take over the Domestic Terminal I, formerly known as the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.
Refuting the ruling Yakubu Dati, coordinating general manager, communications, Aviation parastatals, in a statement issued on Wednesday, December 4, said: “The story, which apparently emanated from a release by Bi Courtney, was false, misleading and mischievous as the learned judge, in his ruling, did not mention or even imply in any way, that GAT would be taken over by Bi Courtney. It was only a figment of Bi Courtney’s imagination.”
Dati said there were numerous cases between FAAN and Bi Courtney and that the case in question was instituted by FAAN asking that Bi Courtney be made to pay its accrued debts to the authority in line with the terms of the concession agreement. The FAAN spokesman said during the trial, Bi Courtney’s lawyer called attention to a clause in the concession agreement, which allowed the parties to exploit other means of conflict resolution and that had not been done before the case was taken to court.
“The judge, in his wisdom, agreed with Bi Courtney’s lawyer and asked the parties to go back and resolve the dispute, using the appropriate provisions in the agreement, failing which they should come back to the court. We hereby ask members of the public, especially aviation stakeholders, to discountenance that story as it is without foundation,” Dati said.
Crying Wolf Over G5 Governors
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, has raised the alarm that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was planning to declare vacant seats occupied by the five governors of the party that defected to the APC recently. According to the APC, the move would not only be illegal, it would be a smack of double standard, which might plunge the country into chaos. In a statement issued by Lai Mohammed, interim national publicity secretary of the party, the APC noted that it was a blow for the ruling party to have lost five governors at a sweep, and that any attempt by the PDP to act in desperation and declare the governors’ seats vacant would be met with an unprecedented show of people power.
“We have irrefutable evidence that the PDP is desperately shopping for a pliant judge who will be heavily induced to declare vacant the seats of the five governors who recently defected to the APC. We also have the name of the lawyers who have been retained by the PDP for this hatchet job. We are in possession of the various nefarious legal options being explored by the villainous duo of the PDP and the Presidency but we hereby serve a strong notice to the duo that any attempt by anyone through any means other than what is provided for in section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, will not only have grave consequences but will leave the polity severely bruised.”
The party thus, warned:”We wish to state unequivocally that should the PDP go ahead with this plan, there will be widespread repercussions as the APC has resolved that henceforth, every act of impunity of the PDP and the Presidency will be met with stiff resistance in the form of a vociferous telegraphing of people power, the likes of which have not been witnessed in these parts,” it said.
– Dec. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT