Setback for Baraje PDP

THE Kawu Baraje faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday, October 10, suffered a double setback in its quest to wrest control of the party from Bamanga Tukur.  The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has confirmed Tukur, as the authentic chairmen of the party. The Lagos High Court also struck out the suit filed by the Baraje PDP faction against Tukur and three others, for want of jurisdiction.

The commission, in its letter dated October 2, to Olagunsoye Oyinlola, factional national secretary of the new PDP, said it would not withdraw recognition of the Tukur-led National Working Committee, NWC, as the authentic leadership of the party because it monitored the conventions that produced it. The letter with reference number INEC/LEG/PDP/19/III/245, was signed by U.S.Usman, INEC, acting secretary.

The letter reads, “Re: Notification of changes in the leadership of the PDP and request for formal recognition. The commission acknowledges the receipt of your letters dated September 1 and 23, 2013 respectively wherein you requested the commission’s recognition of the Baraje-led faction and the newly elected NWC. You will recall that the commission monitored the national convention and special national convention of the PDP held on   March 24, 2012 and   August 31, 2013 respectively, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, after notices to the commission. An NWC was elected at the two conventions with Alhaji  Tukur as the national chairman. The commission will not withdraw recognition from the leadership of the PDP elected at elections duly monitored by the commission. Please be guided.”

While INEC refused to recognise the Baraje faction, the Lagos High Court also said that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain a suit in which the New PDP sought an order stopping Tukur from parading himself as the authentic chairman of the ruling party. Ruling on the preliminary objection by the respondents, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, the presiding judge, said that the applicants had averred in their affidavits that the course of action and the dispute leading to the action were the special conventions of the PDP in Abuja.

She added that the respondents confirmed that the PDP had its registered office in Abuja and that none of the defendants was resident in Lagos State. According to her, the doctrine of enforcement of judgment is not relevant to the suit before it. “I hold that with the defendants not resident in Lagos and the subject matter originating in Abuja, the High Court of Lagos State has no power to assume jurisdiction over this suit. I accordingly make an order striking out the suit,” she said.

Guinea-Bissau Attack on Nigerians


GUINEA-BISSAU has apologised to Nigeria over the killing of three of its citizens by a mob attack in Bissau. The apology was made shortly after Nigeria protested the attack on its embassy which occurred on Tuesday, October 8, to the Guinea-Bissau authorities. The Agence France Presse had reported that the three Nigerians were killed after the disappearance of a young boy on Tuesday morning in Bissau.

Viola Onwuliri, minister of foreign affairs, who confirmed the incident in a press interview said: “The report we have is that aggrieved citizens attacked the Nigerian embassy with clubs, stones and other dangerous objects. We have protested to the government of Guinea-Bissau. The government has apologised. We have also asked for full scale investigation so that the perpetrators will be brought to book. Their foreign minister has visited our embassy to apologise. We believe the investigation will reveal the identity of the perpetrators and their motives. We have sent a strong message and I believe they will take it very strongly…   We feel sad because this shouldn’t be happening between African countries. This is a country (Guinea-Bissau) we have been helping to find its feet. I know the government of Guinea-Bissau is saddened by the development.”

Before the apology, President Goodluck Jonathan had directed the foreign affairs ministry to order Nigerian ambassador to take up the matter with the Guinea-Bissau authority and also conduct a full scale investigation into the killings and attack on its embassy in the country. Briefing State House correspondents in Abuja, after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, October 9, Reuben Abati, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, described the attack which happened on Tuesday, October 8, as barbaric and inhuman.

According to Abati, President Jonathan and members of the FEC deliberated on the incidence extensively before the president directed the Nigerian ambassador to Guinea Bissau to investigate the case and unravel reasons behind the attack. “When the incident happened, the ambassador in Guinea Bissau waded into the matter and protested to the authorities and said that it is unacceptable. You can be rest assured that this government is committed to the protection of the lives of Nigerians wherever they are either within or in the diaspora,” Abati said.

JTF Destroys Boko Haram Bomb Factory

JTF soldiers
JTF soldiers

NIGERIAN security operatives have discovered and destroyed a Boko Haram bomb factory in Kano. During the raid on the hideout at Gubduwawa village in Gezawa Local Government Area of Kano State on Wednesday, October 9, a suspected Boko Haram member was killed. Explosives and arms were recovered in the two houses which served as the terrorists’ base. The two houses were also destroyed in the cause of the security raid.

The action, according to the troops and State Security Service, SSS, operatives, was to prevent a Sallah Day bloodbath planned by the suspected insurgents. The security operatives said they had acted on a tip-off that the Islamic sect planned to launch attack on the village where they discovered the bomb factory. The victim of the raid was said to be the son of the landlord of one of the houses, who rented the property to the suspected terrorists. The exchange of fire between the security forces and the suspected terrorists was said to have lasted for about eight hours.

At a joint press conference, Illyasu Isah Abba, a brigadier general and commander of the Joint Task Force, along with Bassey Eteng, a director of the DSS, Kano, said: “At about 2:00 a.m. on October 8, 2013, a combined team of the JTF troops and the Department of State Security Service, DSS, personnel attacked Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts at Gunduwawa village in Gezawa council of Kano State.

“The raid was conducted following a lead on intelligence reports; we made no arrests as the terrorists fled the village as the JTF troops and DSS personnel arrived. The combined team was also able to recover weapons, working tools and materials used for making improvised explosive devices, IEDs. The weapons include assault rifle, two AK 58 rifle magazines with 193 rounds of 5.5mm ammunition, one AK 47 rifle magazine with 107 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, bows, and arrows.

“The materials used for making IEDs found in the buildings raided included three primed cylinders of IEDs, one primed explosive suicide back pack, 18 empty IED cylinders, 24 detonators, small bags of fertiliser, IED timers, cortex wires and three remote control devices. Other items recovered include work tools, five Motorola hand-held radios, four communicators, six alarm clocks, two cartons of 9-volt batteries, a scale, one external hard-drive and one heavy duty charger/battery. These weapons, ammunition and other heavy dangerous materials were meant to wreak havoc on Kano during the Eid-El-Kabir festivities and other festivities before the end of the year.”

The security men said that the JTF was aware that the terrorists were trying to establish some safe havens on the outskirts of Kano metropolis in order to resume their nefarious activities, but they would keep watch on their activities with a view to nibbling them in the bud.

“The JTF appreciates the cooperation of the public in the fight against terrorism and enjoins all well-meaning citizens to come forward with relevant information towards dealing decisively with the terrorist group. We shall continue to uphold the confidentiality of our sources and follow up every information to a conclusive end,” Abbah said.

Eteng said the DSS had discovered that the terrorist group had adopted a new trick similar to that used in the Boston, United States, suicide-bombing, by carrying explosives on back-pack bags, and appealed to members of the public to be wary of such tricks.

G7 Governors Are No Rebels


GOVERNOR Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, does not see the action of the seven governors on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, opposed to the national leadership of the party as an act of rebellion. Rather, Aliyu wants them to be regarded as reformers who would want to put the party on the right track.

“What we are saying is that there is room for reform. The principle of democracy is that you cannot have it good at the top while the bottom is rotten. The fact that we have been in government for the past 14 years does not mean that we must be there perpetually. We are there because people have trust and confidence and believe that the party can help Nigerians to live peacefully but in a situation where autocracy is the order of the dayナ then some people must intervene and this is what some of us are doing,” he said.

The governor who spoke when members of the executive committee of the party in the North Central zone, led by Yusuf Ayetogu, its chairman, paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Minna on Wednesday, October 9, promised to remain committed to the course of championing reforms in the party with the aim of taking it away from the apron strings of undemocratic elements within the party.

On the 2015 presidency, Aliyu said: “Nobody can remove the president today unless God says so because he did not bring himself to power. The future is in the hands of God.” In his remarks, Ayetogu said his team was in the state to persuade the governor on the need for him to sheathe his sword and move the party towards the path of unity.

Amaechi to Testify at Human Rights Commission


THE National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, wants Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State to appear before it on Friday, October 18, over the lingering cold war between him and Joseph Mbu, commissioner of Police in the state. The NHRC, in a statement signed by Mohammed Ladan, director of public affairs and communication, on Wednesday, October 9, said the presence of the governor was necessary to avail its panel of investigators the opportunity to interact with him and obtain any evidence he may have to substantiate the claims he made in his petition to the NHRC. Hence, Ladan said the commission decided to invite Amaechi pursuant to its powers under section 6 of the NHRC Amended Act, 2010, and that because the governor’s the petition raised issues which bordered on violation of fundamental rights.

Amaechi had written a petition to the NHRC alleging deterioration of human rights situation in the state. In the petition, the governor said: “Mr. Mbu’s mode of exercising his duties without recourse to necessary constitutional and legal procedures is creating an environment rife with fear, distrust of security operatives and public institutions, strife, impunity, criminal behaviour and brigandage. Currently, the state commissioner of Police barely acknowledges official communications from the governor, not to mention other principal agents of Rivers State.

“The avenues of giving him lawful directives in my constitutional role as the chief security officer of the state have been unilaterally and unlawfully precluded by Mr. Mbu.” Amaechi, therefore, urged the commission to “leverage its independence and capabilities to urgently investigate and ascertain if the current Rivers State commissioner is still fit and proper to superintend the police formation of a sensitive state in Nigeria with a complex human rights dynamics leading down to a general electioneering.”

Just recently, the Rivers State government raised an alarm that Mbu was plotting harm against Governor Amaechi following the sudden withdrawal of the latter’s security commanders. But the police command said that the redeployment of the governor’s escort commander was a directive from Mohammed Abubakar, inspector general of police.

 — Oct. 21, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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