- IPOB Leader, Kanu, Not in Our Custody, DHQ Insists
Following the growing concerns about the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said the IPOB leader was not under its custody and could not be responsible for his disappearance.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche explained that the military was not holding Kanu and that it was not the responsibility of DHQ to declare him wanted.
“Nobody raided Kanu’s home; not from the information I got, I was watching it live, I was monitoring it live and speaking with them (soldiers) on the ground.
“The people that came out from there (Kanu’s house) that I saw were the Biafra Security Service and Biafra National Guard. I think I later confirmed that there was nothing to actually justify the roadblocks mounted by IPOB. I saw the militancy, nobody told me and I saw the action there. We are still investigating.”
Enenche contended that it was premature to assume that the Abuja Federal High Court would hold the military accountable for the disappearance of Kanu, stressing that there was no need to jump the gun.
On the alleged proscription of IPOB by the military, Enenche said: “The military did not proscribe IPOB. Due process was followed. The job of the military is to diagnose security issues and warn the public of consequences and that is part of our media operations.
“We did our media operations very well, otherwise, that weekend would have been the longest weekend in this country and we were also very careful choosing our words; we know the law very well.
“People had mindset and they were in a hurry to attack the military because of their mindset. Because of that, it is a pity to say that some people lost their reputation.”
On Operation Python Dance 11 in the South-east, Enenche said: “It is to enlighten them, educate them and make them aware about what the military has been doing and will continue to do.
“For your information, I was in that area and I served there 12 years ago. We have been carrying out several exercises in the same way with different code names; nothing like this came up. So, when they reflect on such things, it will encourage them.
“There were activities we carried out like medical outreaches; reaching out to the needs of people. The operation is not negative.”
Asked if the military would also launch another operation to tackle herdsmen and farmers clashes, which has led to brutal killings in many parts of the country, Enenche said there was no need for any special operation on the crisis, “given that the crisis is being handled by an ongoing operation.”
He maintained that the herdsmen and farmers conflict had already been tackled under “Operation Mesa.”
Enenche cautioned that there was the need to categorise “identified” herdsmen on one hand and “unidentified” herdsmen on another hand, and “let us not put to all of them together”.
The Director also assured Nigerians that no group would carry out the threat asking some tribes to leave their region, as the military has put everything in place to checkmate such incidents.
He assured Nigerians across the country that though, the threat had been withdrawn, there was no cause for alarm regarding October 1st declarations by tribal groups in the North and South.
Kanu is expected in court on 17th October, 2017 over alleged treason offences against the federal government.
The IPOB leader’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Nigerian Army and the federal government, asking them to produce him, “taking cognizance of the fact that his disappearance was as a result of the invasion of his residence in Umuahia, Abia State.”
Ohanaeze must champion Igbo interest, not IPOB, Ngwaukwu people insist
In a related development, the people of Ngwaukwu Ancestral Kingdom in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State have said that the separatist group should not be allowed to fight for Igbo interest.
They accused IPOB of usurping the powers of Ohanaeze Ndihbo, “which is the body authorised and in a better position to fight for the interest of Ndigbo within the Nigerian state.”
Ngwaukwu people made their position known in a statement issued after a meeting held at the palace of Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu, HRM Eze Bernard Enweremadu, during which they deliberated on ‘the matters of IPOB and security challenges in Abia state.
The traditional Prime Minister, Nze Joe Nwogu, who read the statement he signed with the palace secretary, Samuel Azumara, expressed strong fears that the activities of IPOB could spark another civil war.
They said that their nasty experiences in the civil war of 1967-70 “are too fresh to be forgotten” hence they would “not be part of any move or activities that will make another outbreak of war inevitable”.
To forestall the possibility of another war, Ngwaukwu people said that IPOB should stop pretending to be championing the interest of Ndigbo when a formidable apex organization the Ohanaeze Ndigbo is in a better position to lead the fight for equity and justice.
“The quest/agitation for Igbo interests, especially in the area of justice, equity and manifest sense of belonging is acceptable as that is within the ambit of the laws of Nigeria,” Nwogu said.
Arguing that Ohanaeze Ndigbo should take the driving seat of championing the Igbo cause, the Traditional Prime Minister said that it was the position of Ngwaukwu that Ohanaeze remained the best suited body to fight for Igbo interest.
“IPOB should not be allowed to be bastardising or contradicting the existence and efforts of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which is a better organised, experienced and intelligent body/platform to ventilate Igbo issues, interests and agitations,” he said.
Aside from rejecting IPOB, the people of Ngwaukwu also weaved a conspiracy theory around its activities, saying that the group posed serious threat to the governorship seat of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the first person from Ukwa/Ngwa section of Abia to become the state governor.
In his remarks corroborating the position of his people the Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu, Eze Bernard Enweremadu took the argument further by stating that the old Aba zone was entitled to 16 years in government house since the old Bende zone had taken 16 years.
Buhari Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.
According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others.
The statement also quoted Aregbesola as saying, “Though celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act cautiously, we cannot avoid the imperative of a low-keyed celebration at this time.”
It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.”
INEC To Introduce E-voting, Talking to Machine Manufacturers
INEC Commences Process of Introducing E-voting, Discussing With Manufacturers
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday said it has commenced plans to replace manual voting with an electronic voting system.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to demonstrate how the machines work and preparatory to the full migration.
He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.
“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.
“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”
Yakubu explained that more than 40 companies have indicated interest and would be demonstrating to the commission how the IT solutions meet its specifications.
“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
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