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Lawyers, human rights activists, and other prominent Nigerians have given their different versions over whether a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, could be prosecuted for confessing that he had on many occasions participated in the rigging of elections in the country in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party. Mantu made the self-confession during a live interview on television.

Asked how Mantu’s confession should be treated by the authorities, a human rights lawyer, Mr . Femi Falana (SAN), said since rigging was a criminal offence, Mantu’s confession should be treated like any confessional statement in a criminal case, noting that crime time did not run against crime. Falana, however, expressed skepticism that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government would take any action against Mantu “because the country is being run on the basis of official impunity.”

Falana said,“It should be treated the way all confessional statements are treated. But I think he made a general statement, he hasn’t identified which election was rigged. “A former governor of Cross River State, Mr . Donald Duke, had actually given a more vivid account of how elections are manipulated in Nigeria. Furthermore, the National Human Rights Commission had also done a compilation of those who participated actively in the rigging of the 2011 elections and the government hasn’t done anything about it.

“I don’t think the Buhari regime will really follow-up on this revelation because we operate in an atmosphere of impunity. The country is run on the basis of official impunity. But clearly, there is no statute of limitation with respect to serious criminal offences, but I am so convinced that this will not be followed up.” Also speaking, a Lagos based lawyer, Mr . Wahab Shittu, called for Mantu’s prosecution based on his confession that he subverted the will of Nigerians.

Shittu said,“How is confession to criminality treated? Do you treat such confession with a kid’s glove or you apply the law? When someone has confessed that he committed a huge crime, such as subversion of the freewill of Nigerians, fraudulent manipulation of the electoral process, the person who makes such confession should be arraigned and prosecuted.”Similarly, the Executive Chairman of the Centre for Anti Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr . Debo Adeniran, said Mantu should not be allowed to go scot-free, even if the punishment would be reduced based on his self-confession.

Adeniran said, “It is like the God of the Nigerian people is actually at work and that means that those who have committed damaging crimes that have kept Nigeria perpetually low are being spiritually induced to start confessing and that is why Mantu and all his accomplices should be rounded up. He should name those who participated in the rigging machinery of the PDP when they imposed themselves on Nigerians against what the ballot said. “This case should not be allowed to lie low; the man should be made to account for his deeds. The punishment may be discounted, a kind of amnesty, but he should not be allowed to go scot free.”

Speaking in the same vein, another Lagos- based lawyer, Mr . Dele Adeogun said , “He wasn’ t specific as to which election he rigged . That needs to come into play . However, any form of electoral malpractice is a criminal offence and time does not run against crime. “The processes would be that based on his own confession , the Attorney General of the Federation should commence a process in order to enforce the law . It is just like someone coming out to say I killed somebody , it behoves the AGF to take up such a confession . It is a moral obligation on the AGF . ”

However , Lagos- based lawyers , Messrs Jiti Ogunye and Ebun – Olu Adegboruwa , said Mantu’ s confession might not be useful as it was not particularised. Ogunye said , “ His confession is a confession at large, made to the general public ; it is not a confession that is tied to a specific allegation . And very instructively , he did not volunteer that statement under caution . The confession is not tied to a specific crime that is being investigated by a law enforcement agency , which can result in possible criminal prosecution . At best , what he did can set the stage for him to be invited by a serious -minded and proactive law enforcement agency . ”Adegboruwa added that Mantu’ s confession had justified the need for the establishment of an electoral offences commission .

He said,“We have always agitated for an electoral offences commission , which will be different from the regular police , which will have the power to prosecute political thugs, riggers , bribe – givers and bribe – takers , and because most of our leaders are as guilty as Mantu is, that call has not been heeded . So , I think that Mantu’ s confession is a wake – up call for us to enact that policy of having a separate electoral offences commission. In respect of Mantu, there is little or nothing we can do, there ’ s no complainant, we don’ t know the election he claimed to have rigged . ”

But another Senior Advocate of Nigeria , Chief Emeka Ngige , said Mantu should not be punished but should be made a resource person on how to prevent future elections rigging . Ngige said , “I think he should be invited by the police to give further information and use that information to block future rigging . They should not punish him; rather they should make him a resource person that will help them to get information on how future election rigging can be prevented. ”

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CBA Foundation Lends Voice Against Police Brutality, Backs Effective Policing, Good Governance

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Chinwe Bode-Akinwande (CBA) Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Lagos, has joined well-meaning Nigerians across the world to lend its voice against the unfriendly approach of the Nigeria Police Force to civil policing and respect of human rights.

The foundation expressed its support to the widespread cry on the need for the Nigeria Police Force to be uplifted and modernized to promote its efficiency in the discharge of its primary duties of protecting the lives and properties of all residents in the country, irrespective of nationality.

A statement by the foundation’s chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr. Adesina Adegunle, on Friday, said that as the protest for #EndSARs, #EndPoliceBrutality is being looked into by the government (legislative and executive arms), as well as other stakeholders in the place of influence and authority, a common ground and lasting solution is expedient so the trust of the police by everyone is achieved.

“We stand for #EndPoliceBrutality #EndDehumanisation on all grounds. Without a doubt, the victims of police brutality at the extreme case, hence death, have left many women widows; it has left many widows losing their children as well, with many having no one to turn to. Such dehumanization has made the meaning and essence of life lost by the victims.

“Now is the time to speak up, listen, represent right, and see through the solution we seek. We need to hear the plans, see actions, and feel the effectiveness of the timelines in place.

“We need a listening government, people-centered leaders that will be bold to ask the public to track and hold those in authority accountable.

“Good leadership and representative governance are all we seek because Nigeria is ours and indeed the role security plays to the growth and development of the country cannot be overemphasized. God bless Nigeria,” he noted.

The CBA Foundation is primarily dedicated to promoting the protection of Nigerian widows and their vulnerable children, restoring immediate and lasting hope, confidence, and courage in their lives.

Established in 2015, the foundation, under its 5-point agenda, has reached out to thousands of underprivileged widows and children through skills acquisition training, health intervention, business start-ups, and provision of clothing, nutrition, and tuition fees for the children.

In breakdown, 5,600 widows have been empowered through its women empowerment and capacity building initiative; over 3,500 underprivileged widows have received health intervention; over 3,500 have also received food items.

The foundation has also reinstated 45 children in school, empowered 120 widows financially to start a business of their own, and also provided palliatives to 250 widows during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down.

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BIG STORY

Senate Minority Caucus Knocks Buhari Over Lauretta Onochie’s INEC Nomination, Calls For Withdrawal Of Nomination

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The Senate Minority Caucus said on Tuesday that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), flouted the nation’s constitution with the appointment of his media aide, Lauretta Onochie, as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The opposition senators in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja and signed by their leader, however, asked Buhari to withdraw Onochie’s nomination.

They noted that Buhari, by nominating Onochie, “has willfully gone against the constitution that he swore to uphold.”

Part of the statement read, “Item F, paragraph 14 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) forbids a card-carrying member of a political party to be a member of INEC.

“The Minority Caucus of the Senate is against this nomination and call on Mr President to withdraw it.”

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NEWS

Baba Bajaj, Runs Faster, Lasts Longer, Covers Over 5500 Kms On Tough Nigerian Road

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Bajaj

For the first time ever, Nigeria experienced its own Keke rally that kicked off on 7th August from the Stallion Auto Keke- Ijesha Showroom for Bajaj Kekes. The Stallion Bajaj Keke Rally has now completed a tough terrain of 5594 km through 27 cities and 18 states in the West, East, and North Central in less than 41 days.

 The road trip was up of a team of 5 experienced riders and the Stallion Bajaj officials and security agents. Collectively the convoy covered more than 26000 Kms without any product issues.

 Managing Director for the business, Mr. Manish Rohtagi stated that “The Keke Rally really boasts on how the New Baba Bajaj is tough, strong, reliable, and well equipped for the Nigerian roads. Having covered almost more than 5000 km the Kekes did not face any performance or maintenance challenges. It kept its brand promise of “Runs Faster, Lasts Longer” through every rider who was a part of this rally.”

 The rally was flagged off from Lagos and covered states like Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Abia, Rivers, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, to prove the durability of  Bajaj Keke. It even spread the message of urging people of Nigeria to be responsible for maintaining hygiene to curb the spread of the Corona Virus. The Stallion Bajaj Keke Rally visited celebrated cultural and historic sites in each state highlighting and sharing the Nigerian culture of host communities. The journey to these sites brought forth the stories around it to encourage connecting the youth to their rich heritage.

 The vision from this rally was not only to take up the challenge of proving how credible the product is but also to engage in the stories of these riders that will go on to make the brand what it is. The alliance of Stallion and Bajaj will continue to improve lives by going the extra mile providing rider-training facilities, scholarship programmes, mechanic empowerment programmes, ease in the financing, ease of spare part availability, and differentiated customer service through its existing footprints within the auto industry.

 Bajaj Auto Ltd. is a world leader in the intracity vehicle space. Loved in 70 countries the brand stands for integrity, dedication, resourcefulness, and determination to succeed and empower. It is a well-known brand for its durability, speed, and maneuverability and is the pioneer brand of tricycles in Nigeria loved by millions. It’s a Keke for the people engineered for a smooth journey and better livelihood.

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