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THE NATION

Shiites: Pro-democracy group queries Iran over calls for release of El-Zakzakky

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By Abu Duniya

The National Democratic Front (NDF) has warned Iranian Government against sponsoring  terrorism in Nigeria and interfering in the affairs of the country as a sovereign nation.

The group was reacting to the recent call  by Iranian government for the release of leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzakky for treatment in the middle east.

Recall that NDF had earlier raised raise the alarm that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the orgy of violence and killing in Nigeria by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) have now been proven.

Addressing newsmen on Friday on the development, NDF warned Iran to steer clear Nigerian territory.

Bolaji Abdulakdir, Secretary General of the group, said the offer to relocate El-Zakzaky to the custody of Iran is meant to be a soft-landing that will allow him evade justice.

He warned security agencies to be vigilant following this offer of a poisoned chalice.

Full text of his speech below.

In the past, Iran’s response to these assertions that it was sponsoring IMN terrorists consisted mostly of remaining silent. But the pressure that has been piled on Iran has forced it to expose itself as the larger chunk of the problem by being a state sponsor of terrorism.

Iran has also become frustrated that weeks of violent protest and the assassination of law enforcement officers have not derailed the due process that is in place for the trial of IMN leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who is before a court in Kaduna on charges of murder, treason and other crimes.

This frustration has forced Iran to confirm itself as IMN’s sponsor with a letter written by its prosecutor-general, Mohammed Montazeri, asking for El-Zakzaky  to be transferred into his country’s custody. It is curious that Iran’s offer came up only after IMN members crossed the line by attacking the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and assassinated a Deputy Commissioner of Police, executed a journalist and killed scores of other Nigerians.

The offer to relocate El-Zakzaky to the custody of Iran is meant to be a soft-landing that will allow him evade justice and his followers avoid the repercussions of the terrorist crimes they have committed on the streets of Nigeria. It is curious that Iran could not reference any extant instrument between it and Nigeria that makes its proposed transfer legally acceptable to Nigeria.

We see in this request a further Iranian plot to aggravate the violent street protests knowing that it is not possible for Nigeria to hand over an accused person who is on trial when there is no existing bilateral agreement that covers such.

At the risk of sounding insensitive, we think Iran should have first made this offer several years ago when it first became apparent that El-Zakzaky might have disconnected from reality by refusing to recognize the Nigerian state. Had Iran provided him with treatment for mental health at the time he needed it perhaps there would have been no basis for them to be making the intervention they are now making. Iran can however extend this Trojan horse offer to the thousands of brainwashed and radicalized IMN members in the hope of rehabilitating them in addition to addressing the manic disposition that makes them prone to killing others.

We urge the Federal Government to summon the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria and express our country’s reservations at the misplaced request. The transfer request, beyond demonstrating the country’s crass ignorance of Nigeria’s Federal and judicial systems, also exposes the rudeness of Iran in thinking itself as a colonial power that can dictate to Nigeria under the pretext of mediating.

We therefore call  on the Nigerian authorities to severe all relationship with Iran  until that country learns to treat our country as a sovereign nation.

It is our humble opinion that security agencies should be vigilant following this offer of a poisoned chalice. Iran will weaponize this offer into propaganda and attempt to further use it to increase the violent protests it is financing for IMN members to carry out in order to terrorize  Nigerians. The situation calls for our dear country to approach the United Nations for the purpose of getting key Stakeholders to hold this Islamic Republic to account.

NDF warn the Government of the Islamic Republic Iran which is allegedly sponsoring the IMN terror in our country to respect the sovereignty of our country and stop dabbling into our internal affairs. The Iranian interference must stop   without any further waste of time.

In addition to whatever the Federal Government of Nigeria decides to do as a response to this insults from Iran, NDF is working on measures that will put that country in its place and teach it not to interfere with other countries.

Let us use this opportunity to warn IMN extremists that their time is up. They should leave Abuja and sneak back to whatever radicalization camps they came from.  We have had enough of their terror on our streets.

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THE NATION

Sowore: US senator flays FG, says Nigeria has no regards for rule of law

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Robert Menendez, a US senator

Robert Menendez, a US senator from New Jersey and member of the senate foreign relations committee, says the events surrounding the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore shows that Nigeria no longer has regards for the rule of law.

On Friday, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) rearrested Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, and Olawale Bakare, an activist, at the federal high court in Abuja less than 24 hours after they were released on the orders of the court.

There were rearrested less than 24 hours after their release after spending 124 days in detention.

Menendez, who said it seems President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of what the secret police is “doing in his name”, added that Sowore ought to be celebrated and not incarcerated.

He said the development is unacceptable from a country that practices democracy, pushing for a reassessment of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and US.

“The United States is watching and the world is watching. I fear that the blatant harassment of Mr Omoyele Sowore, an activist and journalist whose only crime appears to be exercising his right to free expression, is becoming symptomatic of increasingly closing political and civic space in Nigeria,” Menendez said.

“The Nigerian court has twice ordered his release on bail. And the state security agencies openly defied the court order each time leaving me to conclude that either Nigeria no longer respects the rule of law or President Buhari is woefully out of touch with what agents of his governments are doing in his name.

“This is unacceptable in a country that calls itself a democracy. Journalists who risk their lives to expose the truth should be celebrated, not incarcerated.

“It is unacceptable to that the husband and father of a US citizen with such blatant cruelty. Today, my office contacted our ambassador in Nigeria in an effort to obtain answers on what actions the United States is taking on the Sowore family’s behalf.

“In the next several days, I’ll continue to engage with the states department in Washington to ascertain the impart of what the arrest of Mr Sowore and other activists and journalists will have on our relationship with Nigeria. My hope is that the bilateral relationship we have with Nigeria will be reassessed in light of these events.”

Last month, the lawmaker had written a letter to Sylvanus Nsofor, Nigeria’s ambassador to US, over the crack down on journalists and activists”.

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THE NATION

Edo Assembly declares 12 seats vacant

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Edo State House of Assembly on Wednesday declared 12 seats in the assembly vacant.

The seats declared vacant are those of members-elect who have refused to present themselves for inauguration into the 7th Assembly and two others who did not meet the mandatory sitting requirement to continue as members of the House.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Francis Okiye, said even if the affected members decided to resume, they would not be able to meet the mandatory 180 sitting days as enshrined in the constitution.

The affected 12 members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae- Ovia North-East 2; Ugiagbe Dumez -Ovia North-East 1; Washington Osifo-Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror-Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi- Etsako East; and Michael Ohio-Ezomo Owan West.

Others are Sunday Aghedo-Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben-Oredo West; Crosby Eribo-Egor: Aliyu Oshiomhole-Etsako West 2; Oshomah Ahmed -Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu-Etsako West 1.

Okiye, while declaring the seats vacant, said the 12 members-elect refused to come forward to process the necessary documentation as part of the condition for their inauguration.

He said, “12 out of the 24 members-elect who completed their screening and documentation process were inaugurated on June 17, 2019 out of which two of them have refused to discharge their legislative duties.

“They have refused to represent their constituents in the House, invariably denying their constituents effective representation.

“At this point, I am declaring the seats of the 12 members-elect vacant in accordance with Section 109 Subsection 1F of the constitution.”

Okiye thereafter called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct by-elections for the affected constituencies within 90 days.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Yekini Idiaye, representing Akoko Edo State Constituency I, said the lawmakers arrived at the decision to declare the seats vacant following over 100 petitions and protests from the people of the constituencies who complained of neglect as a result of lack of representation by the members-elect.

But the spokesman of the affected lawmakers-elect, Mr Washington Osifo, said the action of the assembly was laughable.

He said, “It is a laughing matter because the matter is before the court and when a matter is before the court, such action is sub judice.

“We are challenging the illegal inauguration of the House and anything put on nothing cannot stand. So, Okiye is a man that is in search of identity, he is working with the governor in the pursuit of a blind ambition, they have hit the rock.”

He said the House also passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill and affirmed the removal of the suspended Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Alhaji Aramiyau Momoh.

Other matter considered at the sitting, according to him, was the confirmation of the members of the board of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service.

-PUNCH

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THE NATION

FRSC raises alarm over fake vehicle insurance documents

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The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps Boboye Oyeyemi, says faking of the vehicle insurance documents has become quite rampant.

According to him, the situation deserves closer examination.

He spoke in his office while receiving the Chief Executive Officer, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Mr. Babatunde Irukera. Boboye said most insurance companies took advantage travellers and drivers’ ignorance of the compensation due to them under the third party insurance scheme.

He suggested that the cost of driver’s licence, number plate, among other services be published so that the citizens would not be cheated.

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