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Court reserves judgement on Kanu’s suit against FG, Malami, army, others.

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Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia, Friday reserved judgement on suit brought before it by the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, challenging his “rendition from Kenya, unlawful, detention and subsequent trial by the Federal Government.”

Presiding Judge, Justice Benson Anya, after listening to the submissions by Counsels to all the parties to the matter, announced that a date would be communicated later to them for judgement.

 Counsels to the various parties had adopted their preliminary objections, written applications and the supporting affidavits before the announcement by the presiding Judge.

Kanu had through his special counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, sued the Federal Government of Nigeria for his “extra-ordinary rendition from Kenya”.

He demands among other things that he be returned to Kenya where he was “abuducted”, and then to Britain where he resides; and paid N5 billion for the gross violation of his fundamental human rights.

The respondents include: the Federal Government of Nigeria: the Attorney General of the Federation; the Chief of Army Staff; Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade Ohafia; the Inspector General of Police, IGP; Commissioner of Police, Abia State; the Director General of the Department of State Security Services, DSS; and the Abia State Director of DSS.

In his submissions, Ejimakor argued that Kanu’s fundamental rights were violated by the federal government and its agencies by “abducting him from Kenya back to Nigeria without illegally without due process”.

He argued that the federal government should not benefit from “its act of illegality”, and prayed the court to declare the ongoing detention and trial of Kanu illegal and order his release.

But in his submissions, Counsel to the Federal Government, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Simon Enock, opposed Kanu’s applications and urged the Court to dismiss the suit arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter.

He argued that Kanu was before now standing trial but allegedly jumped bail and was intercepted in Kenya with the collaborative efforts of intelligence agencies and brought back to Nigeria.

But when asked to explain how Kanu was brought back to Nigeria whether or not there was a process of extradition or he was renditioned which was the issue in contention, the Counsel denied that Kanu was renditioned.

 Counsel to the IGP, and Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr. Osagie, also opposed Kanu’s applications, arguing that the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He argued that the application was a breache of court processes and urged the Court to strike out the matter.

Similarly, Counsel to the Chief of Army Staff, and the Commander Army 14 Brigade Ohafia, Mr. Amos Tori, argued that the applications by the Applicant ” cannot be substantiated against the Chief of Army Staff”.

He further contended that the Chief of Army Staff is not a jurisdical personality, adding that the the Army Council ought to have been joined in the matter for the purpose of paying compensation.

Counsel to the Department of State Services, DSS, Mrs C. Odukwe also urged the Court to dismiss the suit on lack of jurisdiction.

But in swift response, Counsel to Kanu who appeared with Patrick Agazie, insisted that Kanu’s arrest in Kenya did not follow arrest protocols, hence it amounted to “kidnapping by the state”.

He said the suit was not targeted against the Abuja High Court where Kanu is currently standing trial, but “targeted against executive lawlessness”

His words:” It’s ridiculous for the federal government to claim that Kanu was arrested in Kenya on the orders of Abuja High Court as if Kenya is the 37th state in Nigeria. They pursued my client to Kenya who was on a visit to Kenya with British passport and grabbed and renditioned him to Nigeria without due process” 

Later in an interview, Ejimakor expressed optimism that his client would get justice, arguing that the matter bothered on infringement of his fundamental rights which the Respondents could not deny.

Cousel to the Army, Mr. Tori, also said he was optimistic of a favourable outcome.

Meanwhile, the President of Igbo Youths, Igboayaka O. Igboayaka who led a delegation of Igbo youths at the court expressed sadness over the heavy presence of security agents around the court premises and the adjourning streets.

He said that the security personnel ought to have been deployed to confront bandits instead of causing unnecessary tension around the city and disrupting free flow of traffic.

Igboayaka said that Kanu was fighting against injustice and had the full backing of Igbo youths both home and abroad, and expressed confidence in the court.

Contrary to the order of the court, heavily armed combined security personnel had early in the morning, barricaded all the routes leading to the premise of the Abia State High Court located at Ikot Ekpene Road Umuahia.

Until around 3:11 pm when the court rose and normal traffic flow restored, human and vehicular movements around the area were hectic as they were being diverted to other routes by the stern-looking but non-hostile security operatives.

The situation caused scare in the capital city as motorists and commutters were made to take ulternate routes to their destinations.

 Lawyers, journalists as well as other litigants and staff of the court accessing the premises were subjected to thorough search.

Meanwhile, others prayers by the IPOB Leader include:

“A declaration that the military invasion of the Applicant’s building and premises at Isiama, Afaraukwu Ibeku, Abia State on 10th September, 2017 by the respondents or their agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the applicant’s fundamental right to life, dignity of his person, his personal liberty and fair hearing as guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of Chapter IV of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (hereafter, CFRN) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (hereafter, the Charter).

” A declaration that the arrest of the applicant in Kenya by the respondents or their agents without due process of law is arbitrary, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against arbitrary arrest, to his personal liberty and to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.

“A declaration that the torture and detention of the Applicant in Kenya by the Respondents or their agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against torture and to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter).

” A declaration that the expulsion of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria by the Respondents or their agents and their consequent detention and planned prosecution of the Applicant in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Nnamdi Kanu) is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against unlawful expulsion and detention, and to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter).

” An order of injunction restraining the respondents or their agents from taking any further step in the prosecution of the Applicant in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Nnamdi Kanu) pursuant to said unlawful expulsion of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria.

” An order mandating and compelling the respondents or their agents to forthwith release the applicant from detention and restitute or otherwise restore applicant to his liberty, same being his state of being as of 19th June, 2021; and to thereupon repatriate the applicant to his country of domicile (to wit: Britain) to await the outcome of any formal request the Respondents may file before the competent authorities in Britain for the lawful extradition of the Applicant to Nigeria to continue his prosecution in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Nnamdi Kanu).

” An order mandating and compelling the respondents to issue an official letter of apology to the applicant for the infringement of his fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter of apology in three national dailies.

” An order mandating and compelling the respondents to pay the sum of N5 billion to the applicant, being monetary damages claimed by the applicant against the respondents jointly and severally for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological and other damages suffered by the applicant as a result of the infringements of Applicant’s fundamental rights.”

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West African leaders must collaborate to overcome common challenges – Buhari

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Buhari

ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday advocated renewed collaboration among West African leaders to overcome the myriad of common challenges, including state of insecurity facing the sub-region.

This is just as the President of Ghana and Chairman of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Nana Akufo-Addo, said only two per cent of the entire population of the subregion had been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic. President Buhari made the advocacy in his welcome address at the 60th Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, held at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He noted that the sub-region had, in recent times, managed to stay afloat amid a myriad of crises, which include the negative socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, state of insecurity, which has claimed many lives and left millions displaced.

The Nigerian leader, however, charged leaders of the region to be ready to deliberately work together in the task of finding solutions to the challenges, as a region.

“Our subregion continues to face socioeconomic, political, security, and environmental realities linked to Coronavirus pandemic. Our democracy is being challenged in Mali and Guinea. Furthermore, threats are looming around environmental degradation and climate change on our farming systems. We are facing a network of criminals, including terrorism.

“All of these challenges require our collective action to work in concert with each other to pragmatically address and provide our people better prospects in life. Today’s realities remind us of the need to continue to forge stronger solidarity in order to address the new challenges, including the current third wave of the pandemic and its Omicron variant.

“I am glad that the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States and the West Africa Health Organization are continuing to work with our respective national disease control centers to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on our people and subregion,” President Buhari said.

He, however, thanked the Ghanaian President and Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo, for providing the needed leadership to member states, as they mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

In his opening remarks, President Akufo-Addostre-ssed the need for the subregion to take local production of COVID-19 vaccines more seriously, pointing out that with all the efforts so far made in the fight against the virus, only 2% of the population of the subregion had been completely vaccinated.

He said:   “As of 8th December, our region has recorded 674,556 cases of infections with some 10,000 deaths. This scourge has impacted our humanitarian, social and economic sectors, and it continues to rage with the emergence of a new variant and the risk of a new wave in our region.

“The new variant Omicron has already been found in three member states, and has led to unfortunate imposition of travel bans by some countries, which are unjustified and unacceptable. Meanwhile, the availability of vaccines continues to remain a problem. Despite our efforts, we have only 6% of our population receiving one dose, with 2% of the population fully vaccinated.

“Whilst we remain grateful for the support from friends of the community, we must continue to pursue national and regional efforts to fight COVID-19 and move rapidly into the domestic production of vaccines for the protection of our citizens and for the growth and development of our economy”.

The ECOWAS Chairman, also called for continued mobilization of troops for peace keeping in areas where peace is fragile, noted that all is being done to restore democratic governance in Mali and Guinea, where there were undemocratic change of power

Akufo-Addo restated ECOWAS’ resolve to promote good governance in West Africa, through the sustenance of democratic institutions.

“We continue to be faced with security trials in the forms of deadly terrorist and kidnapping attacks, particularly in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, causing numerous casualties amongst civilians and security forces, resulting in a significant number of displaced persons.

“Recent events in Burkina Faso are matters of the greatest concern. Increased coordination, however, on the part of coastal nations, have recently led to an improved maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Let me on behalf of the authority, condemn in the strongest terms, these attacks that continue to plague our region. Significant efforts are being made at both national and regional levels to fight terrorism and extremism.

“We must step up our efforts to deal with these tasks which will be imposed upon us and we must act in such a way that no one will doubt our resolve to protect our peoples and the peace and stability of our countries”, Akufo-Addo said.

He congratulated President Jose Neves of Cape Verde, who was attending the summit for the first time, as well as Adama Barrow of Gambia, who recently got re-elected.

In a goodwill message, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, represented by the Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Annadif Saleh, pledged more support for ECOWAS, as he sued for more cooperation among member States. 

Guterres commended Cape Verde and the Gambia, for holding peaceful Presidential elections recently.

In another goodwill message, the African Union represented by its Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Nigeria’s Bankole Adeoye, hailed ECOWAS for sustaining democracy in West Africa.

The AU pledged to continue to work closely with ECOWAS to ensure the promotion of good governance within the region.

The two-day summit was attended by Heads of State and government of all the member States, as well as Former Nigerian leader and ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, Goodluck Jonathan, and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Kassi Brou, among others.

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FG urged to re-visit matters of NDDC board

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Niger Delta Development Commission

A prominent northern leader, Alhaji Musa Saidu has again called for the urgent inauguration of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, saying the delay was generating tension in the region.

Alhaji Saidu who is the leader of Arewa in the South and former aide to Late Chief  Harold Dappa Biriye also lashed at some youths under the aegis of Niger Delta Progressives Movement, NDPM, who poured encomiums on the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio for launching a Strategic  Implementation Work Plan for his Ministry, dismissing them as political traders.

Saidu said it was unfortunate that some youths would come out at this time to shower praises on the Minister at a time the region was condemning his delay in constituting aboard for the NDDC.

“I am not sure they are Niger Delta youths. At a time the region is bitter over delay in constituting aboard for the NDDC some youths could come out to shower praises. This is wrong.  What we expect now is for all Niger Deltans and youths inclusive to be focused on agitating for a board for the commission and fixing the East-West road. “, he said.

“When these are done, achieved then you can call anyone a Messiah. But for now, these youths that came up with the statement under the name Niger Delta Progressives Movement, NDPM,  should bury their heads in shame. “, he said.

He said he had called for the sack of the Minister over the delay in inaugurating aboard for the commission and the deplorable state of the East-West road, adding that he had not changed his mind.

Alhaji Saidu said the Niger Delta is very dear to him because he had been actively involved in driving matters of development in the region, adding that he moved a motion for the north to support the creation of the NDDC at a gathering of prominent northerners at the Arewa House when he was national youth President of Arewa Youth Forum.

Continuing, he said as an aide to the late Harold Dappa Biriye, a Frontline leader of the Niger Delta, he accompanied the late sage to almost all meetings on matters of development of the region.

“And at meetings in the north  Chief Biriye will ask me to speak first on matters of the region on many occasions before he would wrap up. So you know and see my passion for the region”, he said.

Alhaji  Saidu further called for the implementation of recommendations of the Niger Delta Environmental Survey and several other recommendations on Niger Delta, stressing that sweeping them under the carpet was not a good one for any serious government.

“It is high time federal government visited recommendations on redressing challenges in the Niger Delta. There are several of them. There are the recommendations of the Niger Delta Environmental Survey and many others. They should give them attention so the area can enjoy development “, he said.

On the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator  Akpabio, he said he was calling again for his sack because of his failure to keep his promise to inaugurate aboard for the NDDC before August this year.

“We heard the  Minister when he visited stakeholders in Warri, Delta state that he was going to ensure aboard was in place before the end of July. But this has not come to be since. then. I still call for his sack. The East-West road is in shambles. The dry season is the time.to work but you see the situation. “, he said.

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Teni, Jaywon, others thrill fans as Funmi Ayinke launches album “The Journey”

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Teni

It was a superlative afternoon of kid’s glove reception, music and fun as fans and lovers of music were treated to heartwarming performances from Nigerian singers, Teniola Apata, popularly known as Teni, Iledare Oluwajuwonlo better known as Jaywon and others at Funmi Ayinke’s debut album “The Journey” on Sunday in Ikeja, Lagos.

The event witnessed the presence of some notable personalities like the former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Shina Peller, the publisher of Ovation International, Bashorun Dele Momodu, royal fathers and others who all took part in the launching of the 15-track album titled, The Journey.

The 16-track album features talented and multiple award-winning acts such as Tunde TDot of Styl Plus fame, popular comic act-cum-singer, Klint D Drunk, Magnito, and legendary singer, Chief Ebenezer Obey.

‘The Journey’ album according to the brains behind it features well-written and powerful compositions that are a strong source of motivation and inspiration to listeners, providing needed zest to those in a moment of darkness and hope for the downcast.

FunmiAyinke noted that all the 15 songs were carefully composed and written with the hope that they heal the mind, body, and soul of everyone that listens.

Speaking on the album, the multi-talented Funmi Ayinke, who also doubles as the founder of Funmi Ayinke Records and Funmi Ayinke Humanity Foundation (FHF), said the body of work was inspired by her desire to pass a strong message of hope and motivation to her listeners.

“I decided on the album after taking a deep reflection on how I can impact the larger society aside from what I do at the Funmi Ayinke Humanity Foundation (FHF). Then the inspiration to sing hit me. It was at the time that I decided to write the songs before hitting the studios to pour out my soul on the songs. The album is a mix of inspirational and soulful soft music that was well produced and mastered to delight my listeners,” she said.

On her choice of features on the album, Funmi Ayinke said, “I grew up listening to Chief Ebenezer Obey whose career has lasted multiple decades. It was a dream come through having him on a record that I intend to use to inspire a wider audience. I also featured established characters such as veteran gospel singers: Funmi Aragbaye, TDot, Magnito, and Klint D Drunk on the album.”

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