Why Atiku Was Absent At Signing Of Peace Accord – PDP

By Saminu sani
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has explained why its candidate and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, was absent at the signing of the peace accord by presidential candidates in the 2019 general elections.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement on Tuesday that the party was not represented at the event due to communication lapse between the National Peace Committee (NPC) and its national secretariat.
According to him, the PDP remains committed to a peaceful election and has already launched investigations into the circumstances that could have resulted in the communication lapse.
Ologbondiyan said, “Nevertheless, it is instructive to state that our Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and the party are fully committed to a peaceful electoral process and elections in 2019.”
“Our Presidential candidate is known worldwide as a global ambassador of peace, who will always support processes that will engender peace in our country and the world over.”
The PDP spokesperson added that the party is known for peaceful conduct in all activities, electoral processes, and all elections conducted at all levels in the country since its inception in 1998.
He stressed that the party would visit the office of the National Peace Committee, look into the peace document and fulfil all necessary obligations towards the peace accord ahead of the coming polls.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari and other presidential candidates in the coming elections signed an agreement at an event organised by NPC.
Some of the items on the accord include running an issue-based campaign, refraining from speeches that would incite violence, as well as support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free and fair process, among other issues.
However, Atiku and the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Oby Ezekwesili, were among prominent candidates absent at the signing ceremony.

HRW calls on Nigerian government to halt killing of Shias

Abdulmumin Giwa

Nigerian government has been called upon to stop impunity against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. This is contained in a report issued by the Human Rights Watch on Wednesday as the Shias commemorate the 3rd year of the Zaria massacre on the 12th of December.
The report goes as follows:

Nigerian authorities have failed to ensure justice for the killings of hundreds of members of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) since 2015, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing a video of security forces’ violent crackdowns against members of the IMN.
On December 12, 2015, the Nigeria army used disproportionate force against the group’s street procession in Zaria, Kaduna State in northwest Nigeria to clear a route for the army chief’s convoy. In an ensuing three-day violent crackdown, the army killed 347 members of the group and arrested hundreds more, including the group’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El Zakzaky, and his wife, Ibraheemat.
Representatives of the group allege that subsequent crackdowns on the group’s activities and protests in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Yobe, Plateau, Sokoto, and Abuja, the federal capital, have resulted in the death of at least 110 people.
“The repression against the IMN Shia Muslim group by government security forces risks creating grievances that could worsen Nigeria’s already precarious security situation,” said Anietie Ewang , Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The increasing spate of protests by the group is a cry for justice that authorities would do well to heed.”
The authorities should end impunity for the disproportionately violent Zaria attacks, carry out a speedy and independent investigation into subsequent crackdowns on protests, and hold anyone found responsible for using unlawful force to account.
In September 2016, a Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry recommended prosecuting soldiers involved in the Zaria killings. State prosecutors ignored that recommendation but brought charges against 177 members of the group in the killing of Corporal Dan Kaduna Yakubu, the only military casualty in the episode.
The lawyer for the defendants, Maxwell Kyon, told Human Rights Watch in June 2018 that defendants with severe gunshot wounds were denied medical care by prison authorities, resulting in the deaths of three of them in custody.
In July, after the defendants spent over two years in detention, the court discharged and acquitted 87 of them because the prosecution could not substantiate the charges. The trial of the 90 others is ongoing.
The commission also recommended that Sheikh El Zakzaky should bear responsibility for failing to call his followers to order when authorities asked him to. The government refused to obey a December 2016 Abuja High Court order for his release and payment of compensation for the destruction of his home. The Sheikh and his wife were charged before a Kaduna high court in April 2018 with aiding and abetting murder, among other offenses. The court ordered them detained by the Department of State Security, pending their trial, set for 2019.
According to a media report, the police arrested another 115 members of the group during a protest in Abuja to demand El Zakzaky’s release in April. On October 27, soldiers shot into a gathering of the movement’s members in Zuba, a major bus terminal on the highway northwest of Abuja, leaving at least six people dead . On October 29, soldiers at a military checkpoint shot at the group’s religious procession at Karu, northeast of Abuja, killing at least 21 people. On October 30, the police used teargas and live ammunition to stop the group’s procession into the Abuja city center and arrested 400 members, 120 of whom have been charged with various offenses.
In statements released on October 28 and 29, the Nigerian army admitted that soldiers shot and killed three members of the group in Zuba, saying they had blocked the road and attempted to steal military equipment the troops were escorting from Abuja to the Army Central Ammunition Depot in Kaduna. The statement also said that soldiers killed three other members of the group after protesters threw fuel bottles, large stones , and other dangerous objects that injured four soldiers at the Karu checkpoint.
The Islamic movement, in a statement, rejected the army’s claims, countering that soldiers killed 42 of their members without provocation.
A spokesman for the group, Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, who took part in the Karu procession, told Human Rights Watch that though the soldiers initially fired warning shots to disperse the procession, they soon began shooting directly at protesters as they tried to flee.
Human Rights Watch documented 21 dead bodies with gunshot injuries and interviewed witnesses in Karu after the shootings on October 29. The group’s members said they kept the bodies at home, preserving them with blocks of ice to prevent soldiers from burying them secretly to distort the death toll.
A senior medical officer at the Federal Medical Center in the town of Keffi told Human Rights Watch that four injured victims of the Karu incident had been treated there. The doctor said that one woman’s hand was amputated because of gunshot wounds, another had gunshot wounds to her right leg, and two men had been shot in the head.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights General Comment on the Right to Life states that firearms should never be used simply to disperse an assembly and prohibits intentional lethal use of force by law enforcement officials, unless it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and all other means are insufficient to achieve that objective.
Any unnecessary use of force, especially lethal force, by security forces violates Nigeria’s obligations under international law, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as national constitutional guarantees of the rights to life, and freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, and movement. The Nigerian army has yet to respond to a Human Rights Watch request for comments on the allegations.
“Any unlawful use of violent force against processions and protesters is highly likely to be counterproductive, as well as a crime,” Ewang said. “International partners providing assistance to the Nigerian military should press authorities to respect those rights and ensure that anyone responsible for unlawful violence and for killing Islamic Movement members faces justice in an open and fair trial.”

Vote Buying Has Left Nigerians In A State Of ‘Unmitigated Disaster’ – Dogara

By Saminu Sani

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, says vote buying has left Nigerians in a state of unmitigated disaster.
Dogara said this on Monday, during a public hearing organized by the National Assembly on improving electoral processes in Nigeria.
According to him, the nation’s democracy has become stagnant – a situation he believes can only change for the better if sharp practices in elections are eliminated.
He said, “Vote buying and other sundry manipulation of the electoral process in Nigeria, has left our citizens in a state of unmitigated disaster.
“As a result, we have been married off to a mob, a mob that rules us by the example of their power, not by the dictates of law.
“A mob that rules by fiat as an inalienable truth, rather than by courage. A mob that accepts the status quo rather than challenge it.
“Mobs don’t grow others, they only destroy others in order to grow themselves.
“When we follow the mob, we do so because we must, not because we are receiving any sense of significance for our own lives from them.
“Our democracy is stagnated and will sadly, remain so until we eliminate all sharp elections which have the effect of throwing up the worst of us to lead the best of us”.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, also addressed the issue.
He said the menace of vote buying needs to be eradicated first during primaries before it can be eradicated during main elections.

ASUP says strike will commence as planned

By Saminu Sani

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Tuesday said there was no going back on its planned indefinite strike beginning on Dec. 12 in all the nation’s polytechnics.
Mr Usman Dutse, the National President of the union made the declaration in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Dutse said that the strike became necessary following the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 and 2017 agreements reached with the union.

“We are commencing our strike tomorrow (Wednesday) as scheduled. Everything is set and there is no going back” he said.

“There is an invitation for a meeting on Dec. 17, but we will still commence our strike on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what will happen at the meeting or what they have decided, but until we meet with them, we cannot predict.

”I don’t know what they plan to present until we meet with them,“ he added.

Duste said that the strike would be comprehensive and total, until all issues raised were adequately addressed by the government.

He said the union had issued a notice directing all members nationwide to comply and down tools by midnight of Dec.12.

The president said the union leaders would also send a reminder to all its branches, adding that there would be no academic activities in all the polytechnics until further notice.

Dutse said that the failure of the Federal Government and the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, to comply with the agreements reached with the union necessitated the strike.

He said the union had in 2009 signed an agreement with the government and also a Memorandum of Action in 2017, adding that none of the agreements had been implemented.
Speaking on the resolution reached at the union’s 93rd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Yaba College of Technology, Lagos State on Nov. 29, Dutse said the strike was inevitable. He said the union had issued a notice directing all members nationwide to comply and down tools by midnight of Tuesday, Dec.12. He said that the union would also send a reminder to its branches on Wednesday.

He listed the 10 point demands of the union to include non-implementation of NEED ASSESSMENT reports of 2014 as agreed with the minister at the meeting of October 2017.

“They are lack of seriousness in the renegotiation in the union’s 2010 agreement; non-release of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadre; non-release of arrears of promotions and shortfalls in personnel releases as well as non-payment of allowances.
“Other agitations are non-payment of salaries in many state-owned polytechnics, non-payment of union check off dues, pension deductions and other statutory deductions from staff salaries to the appropriate bodies, continue victimisation of union officers,“ he said.

Ganduje blasts Kwankwaso as Dambazau dumps Kwankwasiyya

By Abdulmumin Giwa

Kano state Governor Dr Abdullahi Ganduje has lambasted Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso who he described as insensitive to the needs of his people.

Ganduje said Kwankwaso is deaf, dumb, blind and crippled and has no regards for the needs of the people he is representing at the Senate.

He made the statement while addressing a rally of the All Progressives Congress APC at the Kano Central Senatorial Zone Monday evening.

The former Kano Commissioner for Special Duties Bello Idris Dambazau, also a leading loyalist of Kwankwasiyya Movement has dumped the Movement led by Senetor Rabiu Kwankwaso during the same event.

He explained that he had to leave the Kwankwasiyya movement due to the autocratic and selfish behavior of its leader Sen Rabiu Kwankwaso.

Dambazau and his supporters joined the APC along with 43 others amongst who were six former commissioners and a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly who served under former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau.

He expressed appreciation with the reception given him by Governor Ganduje who he described as a humble gentleman.

Dambazau dramatically removed the red cap on his head, the symbol of the Kwankwasiyya, and replaced it with another.

Nigerian Security Forces have committed crimes against humanity -ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) says Nigerian security forces (NSF) have committed war crimes against humanity.
In a report, the ICC said it has received “a total of 169 communications” from Nigeria and its assessment has shown that security forces in Nigeria have committed war crimes varying from murder, torture, and intentionally attacking the civilian population.
“Specifically, the Office found a reasonable basis to believe that the NSF committed the war crimes of murder pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i); torture, cruel treatment pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i); outrages upon personal dignity pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(ii); and intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population,” the ICC said.
Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, in her annual report on preliminary examination activities (2018), also said the ICC found reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram also committed war crimes against humanity.
“Furthermore, the Office found a reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram committed the war crimes of murder pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i); cruel treatment pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(i) and outrages upon personal dignity pursuant to article 8(2)(c)(ii)”.
The ICC added that Boko Haram was “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population or against individual civilians pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(i); intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to education and to places of worship and similar institutions pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(iv); pillaging a town or place pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(v); rape, sexual slavery and sexual violence pursuant to article 8(2)(e)(vi)”.
The office of the prosecutor added that the ICC met with Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s minister of justice and attorney general of the federation (AGF), to further investigate eight potential cases of war crimes against humanity.
ICC says several “files pertaining to alleged violations by members of the army were submitted to the Office (of the prosecutor). These files relate to a limited extent to the two potential cases identified by the Office”.
“Of the 27 files provided to the Office, 24 either lacked information to determine their relevance for the admissibility assessment or did not appear relevant.
The ICC complained that “other information specifically requested by the Office which was assessed to be potentially relevant to the admissibility assessment has yet to be provided by the Nigerian authorities”.
The criminal court added since 2017, the Nigerian authorities appear to have “taken concrete steps toward fulfilling their primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute ICC crimes”.
“While there seems to be a tangible prospect of further proceedings against members of Boko Haram, including high-level commanders, at this stage the same cannot be said of the NSF, in particular since the Nigerian authorities tend to deny any allegation against the latter.
“While acknowledging the cooperation of the Nigerian authorities in the course of the preliminary examination, the Office will require, for the purpose of expediting its complementarity assessment, further information and evidence
demonstrating that relevant national proceedings are being or intended to be conducted without delay”.
The ICC also said it is examining the farmers-herders crisis in Nigeria.

DAPPMA suspends planned shutdown of depots

BY SAMINU SANI

The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA has suspended its earlier directive to commence shutdown of depots across the country and stop loading petroleum products effective from midnight of Sunday.

The directive was conveyed in a statement issued around 1.20am today by DAPPMA’s Executive Secretary, OLUFEMI ADEWOLE, in Lagos.

The association had issued a shut-down directive to its members following the continuing indebtedness of the Federal Government to petroleum marketers but the early morning statement today says following the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians, the union has resolved to recall its disengaged personnel for 5-days.

It advised DAPPMA depots to commence loading operations immediately and await further notification in respect of the payment