By Ibrahim Sheme.
Anybody saying the Shiites could be made to become “hardened” through the ongoing strong-arm security response to their demonstration in Abuja does not appear to know them properly.
Theologically they do not harbour “hardening elements” in the mould of, say, the Boko Haram as some analysts think. For one, they fully believe in “Boko” (western education), that is why they are everywhere – in business, politics, government, media, schools, and even the security services, among others. And that is why they do everything in the open. The guys we see demonstrating in the streets are merely the “face of the Shiites”, but they are not the only ones.
From my reading of their history and activities, I do not believe they will engage in an insurgency like that of BH. I cannot think of a country where they did that, including those countries where they were/are severely persecuted – e.g. Iran under the Shah and today’s Saudi Arabia. But they believe in increasing their numbers to such a humungous level where it is possible for them to launch a revolution. Alternatively, they believe in acquiring or utilising power through participatory politics and all other legitimate human endeavours – very much unlike the BH whose core belief centres on armed resistance.
Someone in the security circle seems to know only the aspect of their non-violent, participatory bent, in my view, hence the gruesome campaign to depopulate them through the brazen killing of their unarmed members participating in civil protest. But killing them is a misplaced and misguided option. The fact that what they are doing tallies with their constitutional rights makes the killing illegal and untenable and disturbingly smacks of a Sunni plot.
Another thing those authorising the killing do not seem to know is that these gun-shootings don’t scare the Shiites into submission or dispersal because martyrdom is at the core of their theology. The only “hardening element” the killing tends to cause is that it strengthens the Shiites’ sense of martyrdom and galvanises them into more protest. In the end the government is the loser because it is attracting negative world and local attention to itself.
Already, there is a growing backlash. One, human rights organizations have been crying foul, with Amnesty International two days ago giving a damning report on the strong-arm response to the Shi’a protest. Two, more than a million votes (of the Shiites) have already been lost by the ruling APC in next year’s general elections. I daresay most Shi’a votes in the 2015 elections went to Buhari rather than to Jonathan, but this time around your guess is as good as mine! Three, some local legal luminaries and civil rights campaigners are talking about compiling evidence for filing a case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) sometime in the future. The question from me, a non-Shi’a Nigerian, is this: Pray, does Baba Buhari need all this awful negativity?
If I were an aide with the President’s listening ear, I would tell Baba this:
1. Stop the brutal killing of the young protesters.
2. Release Sheikh Elzakzaky, his wife and other Shi’a detainees immediately.
3. Rebuild and give back Elzakzaky’s Zaria house and learning centre.
4. Pay compensation to Elzakzaky for the killings and the demolitions.
5. Advise Governor El-Rufai and any other state governor to reach a rapprochement with the Shiites.
6. Prosecute in court any Shiite found breaking the law in due course.
Doing this, I believe, is in accordance with the oath of office the President took. Sadly, I am no such aide and it appears that those who have his listening ear either are afraid to tell him the truth or actually think the present like of action is the best. Or, maybe, they don’t give a hoot about any possible consequences.
Ibrahim Sheme is a bilingual Nigerian writer, journalist, filmmaker and publisher.
Sourced From: The Authority News
Banning Journalists For Life: Izunwanne Lashes At Gov Umahi
Asks him to tender unreserved apology – By Adelola Amihere
A body of veteran and serving journalists of the South-East extraction, Izunwanne, has berated the Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi, for threatening the life of Chijioke Agwu and Peter Okutu, Ebonyi State correspondents of the Sun and Vanguard newspapers respectively.
The governor had following investigative reports filed by the two reporters on separate issues, arrested them and declared them as persona non grata in the state.
Although the governor has recanted threatening the journalists, Izunwanne described the reversed stated as one made in response to negative public reactions rather than coming out of conviction.
In a statement by Sir Abuchi Anuenyiagu, Convener and Ngwoke Ngwoke, Secretary, the group said they could not “imagine how at this age and time, an elected governor would make a broadcast, threatening journalists, in the course of performing their lawful duties, with life ban and imprisonment”.
They called on Gov. Imagine “to seek the path of civility, honour and rectitude in the conduct of government business”.
Details of the statement reads:
Re: The Travails of two journalists:
IZUNWANNE REJECTS GOVERNOR DAVID UMAHI’S OVER STEPPED BEHAVIOUR.
The attention of IZUNWANNE, a group of progressive- minded journalists of South East origin, has been drawn to the recent outrageous and unwholesome action taken by the governor of Ebonyi State, Engr.(Chief) Dave Umahi, whereby he took very unacceptable extreme actions against two journalists in his state for performing their lawful and legitimate duties which by his action, unbecoming of of a governor, didn’t go down well with him.
He came down from his Olympian heights and descended heavily on the poor and vulnerable journalists, flagrantly and impudently ordering their arrest and prosecution and subsequent bannishment from the state for life, an untoward and unacceptable action. This action has evoked outrage and attracted widespread condemnation because it’s not just a brazen flagrant abuse of power but also an aberration and affront meant to muzzle and suppress free speech and the press in the state.
The governor reportedly ordered the arrest, detention and prosecution of two journalists in his state, one Chijioke Agwu and another, Peter Okutu, Ebonyi State correspondents of the Sun and Vanguard newspapers respectively.
The governor did not stop there. He went ahead to ban them for life from operating in the State.
In a very unprecedented move, the governor, reportedly stated that the people of Ebonyi were aggrieved with the press, adding that he might not be able to restrain the people when they decide to unleash mayhem on journalists who are in the bad books of his administration.
IZUNWANNE is alarmed and scandalized that such crude and inciting actions are coming from am rlected governor who swore to an oath of office to protect the lives and property of the people living in the state, according to provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As a responsible and independent body committed to the best traditions of the watch dog role of the media, and to the promotion of the common good of the Southeast geo-political zone of Nigeria, as well in exercise of the duty imposed on us by Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), IZUNWANNE has tried to establish the facts in the issues in contention, and we are convinced that the two journalists in question did not commit any offence in the particular reports as to warrant such reprehensible behaviour of the governor against them.
The reports, which the governor wrongly considered vexatious and unacceptable rather, eloquently speak for themselves as having met the professional standards in news reporting and were not write fiction but reported facts and balanced stories.
We cannot imagine how at this age and time, an elected governor would make a broadcast, threatening journalists, in the course of performing their lawful duties, with life ban and imprisonment.
Without any equivocation it was an unnecessary overreaction, especially by a person holding such responsible and exalted public office of state governor.
Though the governor and his government have in a subsequent action, that was seen as an afterthought and a volte face following the widespread condemnation of his action, tried to launder his image by attempting to deny ordering the arrest, detention, prosecution and banishing of the two journalists, claiming a distortion of his broadcast, IZUNWANNE finds it very difficult to believe the denials, given the obvious clarity of the broadcast.
We consider the denial a laughable weak defence that cannot stand, as we could not find anything in the particular reports that suggest a design to undermine the government and people of Ebonyi State as the governor alleged.
The reports passed the journalistic tests of balance and objectivity in which all sides were reflected or represented.
IZUNWANNE totally rejects as unacceptable the governor’s action and condemns it in very strong terms, as it is considered a despotic, despicable and tyrannical behaviour, typical of an incurable intemperate public office holder.
We urge him to retrace his steps, which are against social justice, democracy and rule of law.
If he had considered the reports in bad taste he should have availed himself of the lawful means or measures of seeking redress through the courts and the Nigerian Press Council, instead of resorting to self help, intimidation, crudity, cruelty, barbarism and wicked tactics that portray him as an imperial lord who is intolerant and not accountable to anybody or authority.
Governor Umahi has no doubt by his irrational action betrayed the oath of office he took. He must therefore be called to order to seek the path of civility, honour and rectitude in the conduct of government business.
And on the other hand, we call on journalists to, at all times in the course of performing their duties, operate within the ambits of the law and abide by the rules and ethics/tenets of their practice and to avoid any act of shame or compromise capable of putting them to public ridicule or odium and bringing down the image of journalism, no matter the lure because maintenance of integrity and honour matter a lot in life.
We condemn journalists that leave the path of honour and integrity and take to the dishonourable and ignoble act of mortgaging their consciences and throwing ethics to the wind thereby making themselves cheap because of pecuniary or unbridled reasons.
We appreciate the Sun and Vanguard correspondents for living up to the billing in their balanced reportage and for standing firm and resisting the attempt by the governor and his agents to intimidate and blackmail them.
Against this background, IZUNWANNE demands an unreserved apology from governor David Umahi for his reprehensible conduct and affront on the media.
*IZUNWANNE, a nonprofit making; nonreligious; nonpartisan and nonpolitical organisation, isade up of journalists of Southeast geo-political zone origin, retired or serving, living in any part of Nigeria or the world, who are desirous of and are working towards a better economic and socio-political development and progress of the Southeast geo-political zone as an entity. We promote the common cause/good of the zone, without fear or favour. We can be found in all legitimate fields of endeavour: journalism, broadcasting, public relations, law, banking, politics, religion, film making, business, etc.*
Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu,
Elder Ngwuoke Ngwuoke,
For and on behalf of IZUNWANNE.
April 25, 2020.
Sourced From: THE AUTHORITY NEWS
Rivers gets Public Health Emergency Operations Centre for control of diseases
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt.
Rivers State now have Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, in Port Harcourt, set up by the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with Nigeria Centre or Disease Control.
Speaking at the commissioning in Monday, representatives of World Health Organisation, WHO, NCDC, and Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, pledged to support the Rivers State Ministry of Health to improve its surveillance on disease and epidemics outbreak. In the state
Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated that the parastatasl would support the centre in the state to achieve its mandate optimally.
Ihekweazu stated that NCDC has within one year of its existence established 22 EOCs adding that the essence was to ensure that disease outbreak does not take any state unawares.
He said: “We will do our best to provide you the needed support. Although the state has the capacity to run this place, but we will ensure that we give you the support required of us.
‘Since 2018 we have supported 21 centres in Nigeria in setting up this facility, this is the 22 state EOC across the country. The establishment of EOC is part of measures to strengthening the state for health security, because we cannot manage health from Abuja.
“We are really focused and supporting all the states in Nigeria to strengthening their own capacity. We understand the strategic importance of Rivers State to the nation.
“The EOC will coordinate the outbreak preparedness control, functional public health laboratory that can carry out basic diagnoses for epidemics, digital surveillance system to report incidents and outbreaks and a strong work force for preparedness on outbreak and response. We will continue to support you achieve this function.
”Also, World Health Organisation assured that as a partnership organisation in the state that it would ensure that it gives the required assistance to the centre.
Speaking the representative of the body in the state, Chinenye Okafor said: “We have had our fair share of disease outbreaks like that of Ebola in 2014. We believe that we will work together as a team.
“We are partners we are here to support the state. We also pray that we always have funding to run this EOC. The NCDC has done their part, it is now left for the state to pick up the challenge and ensure that the EOC runs most effectively.”
Also, state Chairperson of NMA, Dr. Ogbelebra Adebiyi promised that doctors in the state would partner the centre in its operations.
Adebiyi said: “I want to thank NCDC for doing this. Having seen what happened during the Ebola outbreak which i was at the treatment centre as a doctor. The Ministry is aware of the partnership of the NMA.
“We are assuring Rivers State that doctors will partner the state to ensure that the EOC functions very well.”
However, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr. Agiriye Harry, disclosed that the centre also has the ability to monitor social media platforms.
Harry said: “The centre is public health emergency operation centre, it monitors epidemics and natural disasters, its Hi-tech compliance. The most touching about it is that it also monitors social media real time. It is a complete lab. It is the command centre when there are epidemics and natural disasters.
Sourced From: The Authority News
Buhari Approves New Salary Structure For Police
By Chesa Chesa.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday pledged continued attention to the welfare and operational needs of the Nigeria Police Force following his approval of enhanced Rank Salary Structure Adjustment, by which salaries, allowances and pension of policemen will be increased.
Speaking during an audience in State House, Abuja with members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission and the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force on a “Thank You” visit following his approval, Buhari said the action was with a view to restoring the lost primacy of police in the internal security framework of the country.
The President regretted that the inability of the police in their constitutional role as the frontline force in the prevention of crime, had led to military involvement in the maintenance of law and order throughout the country.
According to him: “From Taraba to Sokoto, to the South-South, people don’t feel secure until they see the military. I am pleased to make the increase in salary and allowances in the hope that it will increase the performance index of the police and strengthen Nigeria’s internal security system.”
President Buhari observed that the more efficient the police is, the more confident the government and citizens will be, noting that “the military should be reserved for higher tasks.
“The police should be able to cope well with the challenges of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and such crimes. In every town and village, there is the presence of the police. From all these places, they should be able to forward first class intelligence to you on which to act.
“There is a need to amplify the question of more men of the police, especially given the condition we are in – emergency in the North-East, pervasive insecurity and abduction for ransom and banditry in many parts of the country.”
He still congratulated the police on the success you recorded against criminals taxing people and stopping them from their farms, adding that “we are expecting more from you”.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, also assured Nigerians that the police was prepared to redouble efforts to ensure free, fair and credible elections throughout the country in 2019.
“We are ready; we have gone round the country; we have conducted several bye-elections which obviously prepared us to face the main challenge next.
“I am assuring all Nigerians that we are going to do our best in ensuring that we have a free and credible election next year. Obviously, we have the equipment but if we can get more, we will appreciate it,’’ he said.
Idris said he was excited with the whole commitment and efforts aimed at improving not only the salary but the training of the Nigeria Police, and that he therefore expected more dedication and loyalty to government and people of Nigeria from his officers and men.
Full-time Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Service Commission, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (rtd), who represented the chairman, Musiliu Smith, had informed the President that the Rank Salary Structure Adjustment would enhance police welfare and morale.
She said that the welfare of Nigeria Police needed to be enhanced because the idea of security had become critical.
According to her, policemen should be encouraged as the entire populace will like to see them perform maximally.
Sourced From: The Authority News
FG Summons Envoy Over Continuous Closure Of Over 400 Nigerian Shops In Ghana
By John Okeke.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has summoned the High Commissioner of Ghana to Nigeria, Ambassador Rashid Bawa, over the continue closure of over 400 Nigerian shops in Ghana.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama on Friday said the Ghanaian envoy was invited to give a definitive explanation on the treatment of Nigerian traders in that country.
The closure of over 400 Nigerian businesses in Ghana had sparked the protest by National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and Nigerian Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG).
Onyema said: “There had been some horror stories that we have been hearing and a case of suicide of Nigerian lady and when this broke out the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ghana came here
“And we were assured that Nigerians were not the target and that efforts were being made to calm the situation. “Again in New York assurances were made by President Nana Akufo-Addo and we were shown the text that the shops that have been closed that belong to Nigerians would be reopened.
He noted with concern that there are however conflicting reports on the reopening of Nigerian traders’ shops in Ghana.
Onyeama noted that a committee was being set up at the highest level in Nigeria to look into the matter and to look at how as the government to look at how to respond to the situation.
“And, we said as part of the understanding of what the situation is now legally and factually to give this opportunity to brief us on the current situation,” he said.
He said “the Ghanaian envoy was invited to give the opportunity to brief us on current situation” on the closure of Nigerian businesses in that country. The High Commissioner in his response said he visited the areas that experienced distress by Nigerian traders.
Bawa confirmed that about 80 to 85 per cent of shops that were locked had been re-opened and that the exercise is still ongoing. He said the Ghanaian authorities was also making efforts to ensure that Nigerian traders who were conducting businesses in Ghana were registered and had resident permits.
“I was in Accra at the invitation of the president to go have a look at what was happening on the ground. I spent two days on the ground, meeting with all stakeholders. “Some of the shops at the time I visited ten days ago have been opened. Some have not yet been opened. The opening of shops is still ongoing as we speak.
“Those that have not been opened are locked because owners were not present at their shops. GUTA wants to open the shops with owners present. “We these shops opened, I can say that about 80-85% of shops that were locked have been opened. We insisted that before shops are open, the owners should be there.”
The envoy also dismissed reports that a Nigerian in Ghana, Mrs Stella Upaleke, committed suicide because of frustration occasioned by the closure of her shop. “I was with the regional police commander where the issue happened. The police statement, written by the husband and daughter of the woman, indicated that the suicide was not as a result of the lock-up of her shop,” he said.
A former Secretary General of Nigerian Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG), Mr Jasper Emenike, confirmed that some shops had actually been re-opened. He, however, noted that some Nigerian traders refused to show up because of harassment by Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).
Emenike, therefore appealed that the Ghanaian authorities reduce the cost of registering a business and totally exempted Nigerian traders from the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) Act. He said that the charges were in contrary with the spirit and letters of ECOWAs free movement protocol.
He also appealed that the government stop the relocation of Nigerian traders from their shops. “We want to appeal that, in furtherance to the efforts being made, there is need to put a permanent end to this issue.
Sourced From: The Authority News
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