Tuesday, 21 November 2017
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Internet services have been shut down in Cameroon's English-speaking areas after clashes involving separatists.

Security forces opened fire on demonstrators who were calling for independence at rallies on Sunday, killing at least eight people

A BBC reporter in Bamenda says the city is now in lockdown with no cars or people on the streets.

The authorities blocked the internet for three months earlier in the year amid similar unrest.

Main opposition leader John Fru Ndi told the BBC he believed that at least 30 people had died in clashes.

At least 50 people were wounded and about 200 arrested, reports say.

President Paul Biya, 84, has condemned the violence and called for dialogue.

Two dozen police in body armour, helmets, and shields walk down a street away from the cameraImage copyrightAFP
Police in riot gear patrolled the streets of Buea on Sunday

The divisions in the central African state date back to the post-colonial settlement.

Cameroon was colonised by Germany, then split into British and French areas after World War One and was eventually reunified in 1961.

Since then the English-speaking minority has always complained that it has faced discrimination.

Protests over the last year were prompted by the imposition of French in schools and courts in the English-speaking North-West and South-West regions.

Map of Cameroon

Sunday's rallies were held on the 56th anniversary of reunification of the country, with activists calling for the release of prisoners arrested in earlier demonstrations.

The BBC's Randy Joe Sa'ah in Bamenda says MTN, the country's biggest mobile-phone operator, sent out text messages on Sunday evening, saying it had problems with its internet connections.

But many suspect the internet is again being deliberately blocked by the authorities embarrassed by the protests.

Our correspondent says anyone caught out on the streets in Bamenda is being arrested and security forces are reported to be breaking into homes in Bafute, 20km (12 miles) north of the city, making arrests.

A study last week found that government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa nearly $250m (£186m) since 2015, undermining economic growth and affecting the delivery of critical services.

Posted On Tuesday, 03 October 2017 12:20 Written by

At least 17 people were killed over the weekend in clashes linked to a symbolic declaration of independence by Cameroon’s anglophone minority, concurring sources said on Monday.

Amnesty International said “at least” 17 people were killed by security forces in the country’s two English-speaking regions, a figure that concurred with a toll given by official sources, who said two Nigerians were among the dead. An earlier tally compiled by AFP put the death toll at seven, who were shot dead by security forces.

AFP

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2017 23:58 Written by
Fifty-eight people are now known to have been killed in a mass shooting at an open air concert in Las Vegas while another 515 were wounded, police said Monday.

“The number of people who have died associated with this event has increased. Right now we’re using the number of 58,” Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters.

“The number of injured — we are using the number of 515.”

AFP

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2017 16:59 Written by

At least seven people were killed in Cameroon’s restive anglophone belt at the weekend as a separatist group made a symbolic declaration of independence.

The separatists chose October 1, the anniversary of the official reunification of the anglophone and francophone parts of Cameroon, to declare independence for “Ambazonia”, the name of the state they want to create.

Since November, the anglophone minority has been protesting against perceived discrimination.

The government deployed security forces at the weekend in English-speaking regions, notably Buea in the southwest and Bamenda, the main town in the northwest and a hub of anglophone agitation.

Several people were admitted to hospital in Bamenda Sunday after clashes between demonstrators and police, according to a medical source.

“At least one person was injured by live fire” in Bamenda, where the situation was “very tense”, a source close to the local authorities told AFP.

The “security forces had to resort to tear gas and sometimes to shots to disperse the protesters”, the source said by telephone.

Bamenda residents contacted by AFP reported “shooting” by the security forces without giving further details.

– ‘Real bullets’ –
One of the leaders of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), Joshua Osih, told AFP the security forces were “firing real bullets at the protesters” but stressed that he was not a supporter of the secessionist movement.

In Ndop, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Bamenda, two people were “shot dead”, according to sources, while one was killed in Kumbo on the sidelines of the protests, city mayor Donatus Njong said.

Also in Kumbo, three prison inmates were shot and killed trying to escape while security forces were mobilised for the deployments in anglophone regions, a source close to regional authorities said.

A young man was shot dead by security forces on Saturday in the southwest town of Kumba, known as a rebellious city since the start of the protests, sparking clashes between security forces and the local population.

“They fired at him during a security operation,” a nurse who requested anonymity told AFP. The incident was confirmed by a security source and several local residents contacted by phone.

Cameroon’s long-serving president, 84-year-old Paul Biya, took to social media Sunday to condemn “all acts of violence, no matter where they come from or who is responsible.”

The European Union called on all sides to be responsible and “respect the rule of law and avoid any act of violence.”

The crisis provoked by the protests, which was exacerbated at the start of 2017 when internet access was cut for three months, has intensified in recent weeks with the push to symbolically proclaim independence of the English-speaking regions.

On September 22, “between 30 and 80,000” people demonstrated across Cameroon’s anglophone regions, according to estimates by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

– ‘No longer slaves’ –
The symbolic declaration of independence was made Sunday on social media by Sisiku Ayuk, who describes himself as the “president” of Ambazonia.

“We are no longer slaves of Cameroon,” he said.

“Today we affirm the autonomy of our heritage and our territory.”

Ahead of the declaration, Cameroonian authorities announced a temporary curb on travel and public meetings across the Southwest Region, adding to a curfew in the neighbouring Northwest Region, also English-speaking.

Internet access has been disrupted since Friday, according to an AFP journalist, despite government assurances that there would be no cutting of access in the anglophone areas.

The majority of Cameroon’s 22 million people are French-speaking, while about a fifth are English speakers.

The legacy dates back to 1961, when a formerly British entity, Southern Cameroons, united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960.

The anglophone minority has long complained about disparities in the distribution of Cameroon’s oil wealth.

Since November, the anglophone minority has been protesting against perceived discrimination especially in education and the judicial system, where they say the French language and traditions are being imposed on them, even though English is one of the country’s two official languages.

Most anglophone campaigners want the country to resume a federalist system — an approach that followed the 1961 unification but was later scrapped in favour of a centralised government run from the capital Yaounde. A hardline minority is calling for secession.

Posted On Monday, 02 October 2017 12:29 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday charged the Armed Forces to remain loyal to the Nation in the face of agitations from various sections of the county.

The President, who addressed troops fighting the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East as part activities marking the Nation’s 57th Independence anniversary, said such loyalty was imperative to sustain the nation’s peace and unity.

“Even for selfish reasons, your loyalty ought to be to the centre, first.

“The security of this nation is in the hands of God and in the hands of the security.

“If you don’t stand firm, I assure you if Nigeria doesn’t exist, the first to be insecure are the security agencies because no matter how many parts Nigeria will be divided, nobody will take another General to preside over his country,” Buhari said.

On those agitating for separation, Buhari dismissed them as noise makers, adding that he knew much about the nation, having participated in the 30 months civil war which began in 1967 and ended in 1970.

“I was involved in civil war for 30 months, I know much about this country.

“Those making noise about the stability of this country were not born then. They don’t know what it means to be a nationalist,” he said.

To the troops, he said: “I thought the only honour I can present to the military and other stakeholders on this great day is to come and address you, who are in the frontline.

“I am pleased with the Nation and responsible opinions from all over the world, congratulating this administration for the progress we have made.

“I personally thank the Governor of this state, Borno, Kashim Shettima for his courage throughout the crisis – Boko Haram insurgency.”

The president gave the assurance that under his leadership resources would be made available to support the Armed Forces.

He said that unless the nation is secured nobody would be able to pursue his or her business.

“I expect in return from you to be loyal and loyalty is from the bottom upward, from private to Lance Corporal, Corporal, up to Sergeant, Generals, Service Chiefs, otherwise the centre will not hold.

“But this centre is determined to hold,” the President said.

NAN

Posted On Sunday, 01 October 2017 18:53 Written by

Goals from Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi stretched Arsenal's unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions in a 2-0 win over Brighton.

Monreal's first goal since March 2013 and Iwobi's first of the season helped Arsenal on their way and although Chris Hughton's side put in a spirited performance, with Solly March and Davy Propper coming close in the first half, Arsenal's quality showed in a dominant display.

Three points for Arsenal means they jump up to fifth in the Premier League table, while Brighton remain in 14th. 

Player ratings

Arsenal: Cech (6), Holding (6), Mustafi (6), Monreal (7), Bellerin (6), Xhaka (6), Ramsey (7), Kolasinac (6), Iwobi (7), Sanchez (8), Lacazette (7)

Subs: Walcott (5), Giroud (5), El Neny (4)

Brighton: Ryan (7), Bruno (6), Dunk (7), Duffy (8), Bong (6), Izquierdo (6), Stephens (6), Propper (6), , March (6), Gross (6), Brown (4)

Subs: Knockaert (5), Schelotto (5), Murray (6)

Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal started firmly on the front foot as Alexandre Lacazette's strike hit the post and evaded Alexis Sanchez just minutes before Mat Ryan was called into action in the 13th minute to get down and save Iwobi's first-time effort.

But Arsene Wenger's side did break the deadlock on 16 through Monreal, who placed his attempt into the bottom corner after the ball bounced around the penalty area following three blocked Arsenal shots.

Brighton responded brightly after going a goal down. March's 20-yard shot smacked the post before Lewis Dunk fired the rebound wide. Ten minutes later and Lacazette broke through following a sloppy back-pass miscontrolled by Dunk, but the France international's shot was too timid to really trouble Ryan.

Team news

Rob Holding and Alex Iwobi came into the Arsenal lineup. Laurent Koscielny misses out and Mohamed Elneny drops to the bench. Nine changes overall.

Chris Hughton made three changes. Izzy Brown cames in for the suspended Tomer Hemed up top, club-record signing Jose Izquierdo makes his first Premier League start of the season and Gaeten Bong is drafted in to the starting line-up. Anthony Knockaert and Markus Suttner drop to the bench.

The Australian goalkeeper was called into action once again shortly before half-time as he smartly used his feet to clear Aaron Ramsey's low strike following a rapid counter-attack. At the other end, Propper curled his effort just wide of Petr Cech's goal from a tight angle.

Arsenal began the second half in dominant fashion and Iwobi slotted home in the 56th minute as he latched onto a stunning backheel from Sanchez. The Chile international almost piled on the misery moments later but his shot was cleared off the line by Dunk, who then smothered Lacazette's shot with a perfectly-timed block in the 67th minute.

Brighton rallied late on with substitute Glenn Murray making an impact off the bench as his vicious header hit the side netting five minutes from time, but Arsenal held on to secure a crucial victory.

Alex Iwobi scored Arsenal's second after a slick move
Alex Iwobi scored Arsenal's second after a slick move

The Chile international put in a fine display against Brighton as he set the tempo for the majority of their attacks.

His fine backheel for Iwobi's goal highlighted the quality Arsenal's star winger has, while he was unlucky not to have a goal of his own following Dunk's excellent block off the line.

What's next?

Arsenal travel to take on high-flying Watford for an evening kick-off on October 14 after the international break. Brighton, meanwhile, face Everton on Super Sunday on October 15.

Posted On Sunday, 01 October 2017 16:03 Written by

Text of  President Muhammadu Buhari’s 57th Independence Anniversary broadcast to the nation. 

My dear Nigerians,

October 1st remains a special date for all Nigerians as this marks the day when we attained one of the most precious of human desires — freedom.

Over the years the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but October 1st is always a day for celebrations.

It is a day for thanks giving, reflection and re-dedication.

It is also a day for remembrance. We should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999 – 2015, when our country happily returned to democratic rule.

However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1m barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected.

We were left with no savings and huge infrastructure deficit.

The APC Government’s Campaign rallying cry to restore security, re-balance the economy and fight corruption was not all rhetoric.

The country must first be secured. The economy must be re-balanced so that we do not depend on oil alone. We must fight corruption which is Nigeria’s Number One Enemy. Our Administration is tackling these tasks in earnest.

In the past two years, Nigeria has recorded appreciable gains in political freedom. A political Party at the Centre losing elections of State Governor, National Assembly seat and even State Assemblies to the opposition parties is new to Nigeria. Added to these are complete freedom to associate, to hold and disseminate opinions. Such developments clearly attest to the country’s growing political development. But like all freedoms, this is open to abuse.

Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy.

As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.

I am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youths what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there, the consequences of such folly.

At all events, proper dialogue and any desired constitutional changes should take place in a rational manner, at the National and State Assemblies. These are the proper and legal fora for National debate, not some lop-sided, un-democratic body with pre-determined set of objectives.

Government is keeping up the momentum of dialogue with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to keep the peace. We intend to address genuine grievances of the communities.

Government is grateful to the responsible leadership of those communities and will pursue lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

SECURITY

On security, Nigerians must be grateful to our gallant Armed Forces for rolling back the frontiers of Boko Haram’s terrorism, defeating them and reducing them to cowardly attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.

Nigeria is grateful to its neighbours and the international community for the collective efforts to defeat this world-wide menace of terrorism.

Not even the most organized and most equipped police and security forces in the world can escape the menace of modern day terrorism, as we have seen in recent years in Europe and other parts of the world.

But we are not letting up. Our Armed Forces in an effort to enhance the operational capability of troops of OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE have established Mobile Strike Teams in the North East. These will ensure the final push to wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram.

In addition, through targeted air strikes most of the leadership and identified logistics bases and routes of the insurgents have been neutralized. The Armed Forces have established a Naval presence in the Lake Chad Basin as part of the coordinated military efforts to curtail the movements or re-emergence of the sect in the area.

Government is working round the clock to ensure release of the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other persons in Boko Haram captivity. Government will continue to support the Armed Forces and other security agencies to fight not only terrorism, but kidnapping, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers violence and to ensure peace, stability and security in our country.

ECONOMY

With respect to the economy, the Government has remained pro-active in its diversification policy. The Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, which I launched in November 2015, has been an outstanding success with:

  • N43.92 billion released through the CBN and 13 participating institutions,
  • 200,000 small holder farmers from 29 states of the federation benefitting,
  • 233,000 hectares of farmland cultivating eight commodities, namely Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, soya-beans, Poultry, Cassava and Groundnuts, in addition to fish farming.

These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions.

Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.

With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed Divine intervention.

Since December last year, this Administration has produced over 7 million 50Kg bags of fertilizer. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertilizer prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500.

Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the Federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.

Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all — time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedevilling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.

Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.

Elsewhere in the economy the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters, foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.

The country has recorded 7 consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilize, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.

Furthermore, in order to stabilize the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of:

*State Excess Crude Account loans,

  • Budget Support Facility,
  • Stabilization Fund Release to state and local government as follows:
  • N200 billion in 2015
  • N441 billion in 2016
  • N1 trillion in 2017

Altogether totalling N1.642 trillion.

This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.

In addition, the Government’s current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme is targeting groups through;

  • Home Grown School Feeding Programme,
  • N-Power Job creation to provide loans to small-scale traders and artisans,
  • Conditional Cash Transfer,
  • Family Homes Fund and
  • Social Housing Scheme.

CORRUPTION

Fellow Nigerians,

We are fully aware that fighting corruption was never going to be a straightforward task. We expected corrupt elements to use any weapon to fight back, mainly judicial obstruction and political diversion. But we are determined to eradicate corruption from our body politic.

In this fight, the Government has:

  • Empowered teams of prosecutors,
  • Assembled detailed databases,
  • Accelerated the recovery of stolen funds.

The Administration’s new institutional reforms include:

  • Enforcing Treasury Single Account,
  • Whistle-Blowers Policy,
  • Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System.

We have signed multi-lateral cooperation agreements on criminal matters with friendly countries. There are signs of increasing cooperation from the Judiciary. Recently the Chief Justice of the Federation directed Heads of all our Courts of first instance and Appeal to accelerate hearings of corruption cases and dismiss any judicial officers found to have been compromised.

Justice Salami has just been appointed to chair the Judiciary’s anti-graft committee. Government expects a lot from this Committee.

I commend the National Assembly for refocusing on its oversight committees. They should, in addition, ensure swift passage of enabling corruption laws. But fighting corruption is a bottom to top operation. I call on all Nigerians to combat corruption at every turn. By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption. The government for its part will work for accountability at all levels – Federal, State and Local Governments. CHANGE will then be real.

As we enter the second half of our term of office, we intend to accelerate progress and intensify our resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.

Thank you and a happy holiday to all of you.

God bless our country

Posted On Sunday, 01 October 2017 12:35 Written by

Harry Kane stole the show as Premier League title challengers Tottenham cruised to a 4-0 win over Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium.

Man-of-the-moment Kane buried Tottenham's first chance early on and, after Ben Davies had put them 2-0 up, he struck with a brilliant solo effort to wrap the match up before half-time. Moussa Sissoko added a late fourth.

Spurs have won their last four games in all competitions and extended their winning run on the road to seven matches, while the irrepressible Kane took his goal tally in a productive September to 13 in eight appearances for club and country.

Huddersfield, facing their toughest test since promotion via the playoffs in May, had boasted the Premier League's second best defensive record this season -- but Mauricio Pochettino's side demonstrated the gulf in class.

Tommy Smith forced Hugo Lloris into a decent save in the fifth minute with a well-struck low drive and the Terriers showed they meant business by snapping into their early tackles.

But after Rajiv van La Parra's goalbound shot had been blocked by Eric Dier, Tottenham broke forward and scored with their first chance.

Kane chased Kieran Trippier's header and was allowed a free run on goal after Huddersfield defender Chris Lowe had misjudged the flight of the ball, with the in-form striker applying the usual clinical finish in the ninth minute.

Six minutes later the Londoners doubled their advantage. Dele Alli, back after suspension, Kane and Christian Eriksen all linked seamlessly on the edge of the area and Davies buried his chance at the far post after the ball had been unintentionally diverted into his path by Lowe.

Kane then made it 3-0 with a world class goal in the 24th minute. With his back to goal and surrounded by Huddersfield defenders, the number 10 turned and evaded them all before curling a brilliant left-footed finish inside the near post -- his seventh goal in a productive week.

Kane, the Premier League's Golden Boot winner for the last two seasons, failed to score in August, but followed up his midweek Champions League hat-trick against Apoel in brilliant fashion.

Alli went close to making it 4-0 when his shot after a neat turn inside the area hit a post, before Huddersfield striker Laurent Depoitre gave the home fans some cheer, firing in a shot from the edge of the area that clipped the crossbar.

Alli was booked by referee Neil Swarbrick for diving under goalkeeper Jonas Lossl's challenge on the hour-mark as Huddersfield battled gamely on.

To their credit, David Wagner's side did not capitulate, allowing Tottenham no further scoring chances, while the introduction of Scott Malone and Philip Billing for Lowe and Aaron Mooy gave them some impetus.

Van La Parra combined well with Depoitre in the closing stages, but the former's shot was blocked before Kane left the field to a rousing reception from all stands when replaced by Son Heung-min.

Sissoko, a 75th-minute substitute for Eriksen, sidefooted home his first goal for Spurs in time added on -- via a deflection off Christopher Schindler -- following Davies' cros

Posted On Saturday, 30 September 2017 15:57 Written by

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed the arrest of two key officials of the Ekiti State Government for alleged misuse of bailout funds.

In a statement on Thursday evening, spokesman of the commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, identified the officials as the Commissioner for Finance and the Accountant General of the state.

Uwujaren said they were picked up by EFCC operatives “following their refusal to honour previous invitations for interrogation in relation to pending investigation on the misuse of bailout funds by the Gov. Ayodele Fayose administration”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the arrest came on the day that Gov. Fayose formally declared his intention to run for the President in 2019 election.

Posted On Thursday, 28 September 2017 23:41 Written by

Lawyers, acting on behalf of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, alleged, on Wednesday, that the Biafran agitators’ arrowhead was likely to have been killed by the Nigerian Army.

The legal team, led by Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, therefore, filed an originating motion, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/908/20017, before the Federal High Court in Abuja, praying for an order directing the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce Kanu in court.

Buratai is the sole respondent to the motion.

Part of the 12 grounds of the motion, stated that “rampaging soldiers”, under the Chief of Army Staff’s command, allegedly invaded Kanu’s house  in Afara-Ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State, on September 14, 2017, abducted and possibly killed the IPOB leader and his other relatives in the process.

The lawyers claimed that soldiers had a direct contact with Kanu on September 14, when they allegedly invaded the IPOB leader’s house “on a murderous raid, where life and mortar bullets were fired on unarmed and defenceless populace, leaving 28 persons dead and abducting many”.

“The invading soldiers, who had direct contact with the applicant on this fateful day (September 14, 2017), should be in a position to produce the applicant before the court.

“It is either the respondent’s rampaging soldiers abducted the applicant during this raid or must have killed him in the process,” part of the grounds of the motion read.

Apart from Ejiofor, others, whose names appeared on the court paper acting as Kanu’s lawyers, are Maxwell Okpara, Chudi Igwe, Miss Chinwe Umeche, Habila Turshak, P. M. Umegborogu and Augustine Ezeokeke.

The motion is titled ‘In the matter of an application by Nnamdi Kanu for prerogative of writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum to command the Chief of Army Staff to produce him in court’.

The motion was anchored on 12 grounds.

Following recent confrontation between soldiers and IPOB members during ‘Operation Python Dance’ by the Nigerian Army in the South-East region, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had obtained an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja proscribing the group.

The proscription order has since been published in the Federal Government gazette as ordered by the court.

But IPOB had, through its lawyers, filed a motion on September 22, 2017, asking Justice Abdu Kafarati, who issued the proscription order, to reverse it on ground of alleged defects in the Federal Government’s ex parte application for the order.

In the motion filed on behalf of Kanu on Wednesday, the IPOB leader’s lawyers recalled that Kanu was first arrested on October 14, 2015 and was later arraigned alongside others before the Federal High Court in Abuja on charges bordering on his agitation for secession of a Biafra republic from Nigeria on January 11, 2016.

 

They noted that Kanu was still enjoying the bail granted him by Justice Binta Nyako on April 25, 2017, when on August 25, the prosecution filed an application requesting the court to revoke the bail.

They also noted that hearing in the matter had been slated to hold on October 17, but before the date, soldiers, under Buratai’s command, “violently invaded the applicant’s home in Afara-Ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State, where scores of his relatives were brutally wounded and many killed.”

The lawyers stated as part of the grounds of the application, “The applicant, who was in the house during this bloody onslaught by the soldiers, has not been heard from or seen after this bloody attack on his home by the agents of the respondent since September 14, 2017.

“That the invading soldiers, in their desperate bid to ensure that the applicant was caught in the attack, climbed stairs to his bedroom upstairs to shoot him; walls of his bedroom were riddled with bullets.

“The invading soldiers, who had direct contact with the applicant on this fateful day (September 14, 2017), should be in a position to produce the applicant before the court. It is either the respondent’s rampaging soldiers abducted the applicant during this raid or must have killed him in the process.

“Section 40 of the Federal High Court Act empowers this court to order that a Writ of Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum; (A Writ directed to someone detaining another person and commanding that the detainee be brought to court) be issued on the respondent, to produce the applicant in court, particularly now his substantive criminal trial is coming up on October 17, 2017.

“The court is vested with inherent powers Under Section 6(6) (a)-(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended 2011) to entertain this application and grant reliefs sought herein.”

A supporting affidavit, deposed to by a lawyer in Ejiofor’s law firm, Mr. Mandela Umegborogu, quoted Kanu’s younger brother, Emmanuel Kanu, as saying, “That on September 12, 2017, the soldiers of Nigerian Army, numbering about 200, fully armed to the teeth, invaded the residential home of the applicant (Kanu) in Afara-Uwku-Ibeku Umuahia, in Abia State.”

The affidavit added that Kanu was in his bedroom when soldiers allegedly invaded his house on September 14.

It stated that the soldiers shot sporadically for 40 minutes during the alleged invasion.

“That on September 14, 2017, the Nigerian soldiers invaded the applicant’s home for the second time, unfortunately on a brutal but murderous raid that left 28 persons dead and over 48 arrested and taken away to an unknown destination,” the affidavit stated.

It stated that Kanu “has not been seen or heard from” after the alleged invasion that took place on September 14.

It stated further, “That the search so far conducted by the applicant’s siblings has not yielded any fruit as the applicant is still missing.

“That the palace of (their) aged father, housing the applicant’s apartment, inclusive of the applicant’s building, was shattered with mortar bullets.

“That 28 people were shot in and around the applicant’s compound out of which few dead bodies were left behind by the rampaging soldiers.”

It stated that the whereabouts of Kanu and his father had been unknown since the September 14 “onslaught” by the soldiers.

The document also stated that appeal had been made to the Army to release Kanu “or his body for befitting burial if he was killed” to no avail.

It stated, “That the applicant is billed to return to court for full hearing, scheduled to commence his criminal charge No: FHC/ABJ/383/2015 between F.R.N. VS NNAMDI KANU & 4 ORS, but his fate is still unknown as the soldiers have continued to hold him tenaciously.

“That the applicant has been preparing for his court case, as his pre-trial conference on the matter with his lawyers was concluded in August 2017, preparatory for a full-blown hearing to commence on October 17, 2017.”

IPOB declares Kanu, father, mother missing

Meanwhile, IPOB has formally declared Kanu, his parents, Eze Israel Kanu and Ugoeze Kanu, missing.

In a statement in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Wednesday by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group urged the international community to prevail on the Federal Government to produce Kanu.

The statement alleged that 28 persons were killed in Kanu’s compound after the alleged military invasion of his Afara-Ukwu home in Umuahia, Abia State.

The group said, “We, the Indigenous People of Biafra worldwide, under the command and leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to demand the urgent attention of the United Nations mission in Nigeria and especially that of the government of the United Kingdom to prevail on the present regime of President Buhari and his henchman, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce our leader or tell the world what has become of him.

“Nnamdi Kanu, who incidentally holds British citizenship, has been missing since a detachment of officers stormed his residence on Thursday, 14 September, 2017.

“Ever since this brutal assault that left 28 dead inside his compound, including two of his cousins, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, along with his parents, has not been seen.

“The video footage of the assault and the extent of destruction wreaked on his family home are in the public domain.

“The assailing soldiers also stole a lot of valuable materials from the palace of which we have corroborative evidence and incontrovertible proof that place the stolen items in the possession of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu; the newly appointed Abia State Commissioner of Police and other Nigerian security personnel.”

In another development, the Chairman, Centrium Initiative For Development And Fundamental Rights Advocacy, Dr. John Danfulani, has berated the Federal Government for declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation.

Danfulani, in statement, made available to our correspondent, said he did not believe that tagging IPOB a terrorist organisation and providing excuses for the deadly Fulani herdsmen were pillared on empirical facts or done in good faith.

He urged the Nigerian judiciary to live up to its billing of being the last hope of the common man by restoring the rights of the non-violent group to continue its agitation.

The statement read in part, “We hold this truth as self-evident that the struggle for self determination via a referendum by IPOB and any other group that so wish is a legitimate quest.

“CEDRA believes that constructive and direct engagement with IPOB remains the best way of solving this quagmire.”

Abaribe denies Senate query on Kanu’s bail bond

In a related development, the Chairman of the South-East Caucus in the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has denied being queried by the Senate for signing the bail bond for Nnamdi Kanu.

Abaribe, while raising a point of order at the plenary on Wednesday, faulted the report by a national daily (not The PUNCH) that the Senate queried him for standing as surety for Kanu.

He lamented that issues discussed at the closed-door sessions of the Senate were usually leaked to the media.

He said, “This morning, I was surprised to find ‘IPOB: Senators query Abaribe over Kanu’s bail’. We have always said it on this floor that anything the presiding officer says in the closed-door session, that is the sum total of our discussion. And I remember yesterday that three points were made as a result of our discussion, which was Nigeria’s unity and effort by this Senate to make sure we help in bringing peace to this country.

“The headline that purports to say that this is what happened in our closed-door session, which, of course, did not happen, does not, in any way, advance the cause of peace in this country.

“My constituents have been worried; they have called me and they have been asking me, and I have told them that it is not true and that I will bring it up on the floor and ask the entire Senate to please help us to ask the newspaper to produce whoever gave them this information.

“The Senate does not query any of its members; that is the first place where they failed in casting this headline, because each Senator knows what we discussed and what came out at the end of it.

“I wish to be given the opportunity to lay this newspaper and ask this Senate to please look at the attempt at driving a wedge between the South-East senators and the northern senators, because it was said here that the northern senators made a demand, which the South-East senators reluctantly agreed. Some people are bent on making sure that there is no peace but I know that God will not allow them.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

Posted On Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:55 Written by
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