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Govt Releases 7 Fresh Conditions For El-Zakzaky’s Treatment Abroad

Peter Okunoren

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The Kaduna State government has released fresh conditions that must be met before it will allow the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat travel to India for medical treatment.

This was made known in a statement issued on Wednesday evening, by Kaduna state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan.

He said though the state government will appeal the ruling of the Kaduna High Court allowing El Zakzaky to travel to India for treatment, it will not seek a stay of execution because it believes that people should have access to treatment.

Recall that El-Zakzaky was granted leave by the court to travel to India for treatment.

But the statement issued by Kaduna government highlighted some of the conditions to be met by the leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, to include: “The confirmation of his appointment with the hospital by the ministry of foreign affairs; an undertaking by the defendants to produce two prominent and reliable persons as sureties, one being a first class chief/emir of national repute and the other a prominent person within Kaduna State who shall undertake to produce the defendants whenever they are needed.”

The full press statement reads: “Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky is facing criminal trial before the Kaduna High Court on charges filed in April 2018. The Kaduna State Government is prosecuting Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky on an eight-count charge, including culpable homicide punishable with death. He and his wife are the first and second defendants in The State versus Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and Another (charge no. KDH/KAD/60c/2018), and his plea was taken on 2nd August 2018. His application for bail was refused on 4th October 2018, and he has since remained in the lawful custody of the state, and not in unlawful detention as being wrongly disseminated.

On Monday, 5th August 2019, the Kaduna High Court granted an application for medical leave filed by Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife, Mrs. Zeenah Ibrahim. The court specifically said it was granting the two defendants ‘leave to travel out of Nigeria for urgent medical treatment at Medanta Hospital, India, under the strict supervision of the Respondent and to return to Nigeria (for the continuation of trial) as soon as they are discharged from the hospital.’

The Kaduna State Government respects the right of anyone to seek treatment anywhere in the world, even for malaria or a common cold, so long as they are paying for it. But in the case of persons facing trial for serious offenses, necessary safeguards are required to ensure that such persons do not become fugitives from justice or frustrate trial by claiming asylum or the status of a political prisoner in the host country.

In compliance with the court ruling, the Kaduna State Government has filed at the Kaduna High Court terms for strict supervision of the medical leave, as follows:

1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall confirm the appointments of the defendants/applicants with the Medanta Hospital, India, and undertake all necessary diplomatic arrangements and protocols to ensure compliance with the conditions of the medical leave.

2. Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake to return to Nigeria to continue their trial as soon as they are discharged from the hospital, and shall also be responsible for the cost of their travel, treatment and living expenses while on their medical leave.

3. Each of the defendants/applicants shall produce two prominent and reliable persons as sureties, one being a first-class chief/emir of national repute and the other a prominent person within Kaduna State who shall undertake to produce the defendants whenever they are needed. The sureties must also produce evidence of landed property within Kaduna State.

4. The Federal Government of Nigeria shall obtain from the Government of India an irrevocable guarantee that it will not entertain any application by the defendants/applicants or any third party seeking asylum under any guise or conferring the status of political prisoners or any other status aside from being medical patients on the defendants/applicants and shall also restrain the defendants/applicants from any act inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

5. Each of the defendants/applicants shall undertake in writing, endorsed by their Counsel, that while on medical treatment in India, they shall do nothing to jeopardize the ongoing trial, the peace, and security of Nigeria and the laws of the Republic of India in whatever form.

6. Security agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria shall escort the defendants/applicants and remain with them throughout the duration of their treatment in India and thereafter shall return with them after their discharge from the hospital.

7. The Nigerian High Commission in India shall undertake prior vetting and grant consent before any visitor has access to the defendants/applicants while in the Republic of India.

As is readily evident from the above, many of these terms of supervision depend for their actualization on actions by the Federal Government of Nigeria which is the sovereign power vested with the constitutional responsibility for foreign affairs.

While the Kaduna State Government respects the court’s ruling on medical leave, it disagrees with the premises on which it is based. Therefore, an appeal will be lodged on the matter, but a stay of execution will not be sought as the state government believes that a person may choose to travel abroad for any medical condition at his own cost.

As stated earlier, El-Zakzaky and his wife are defendants in a criminal case. Given the pendency of this case, the proper thing is to await its conclusion. However, the Kaduna State Government notes that perceptions of this case are suffused in a veritable avalanche of deliberate falsehood, misinformation, and revisionism, powered by vested interests.

Therefore, this statement is issued to set the records straight, as follows:

1. Between 12-14 December 2015, there were clashes in Zaria between the Nigerian Army and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). The clashes began when IMN blocked a public highway and refused to lift the blockade to enable passage by the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff. The clashes resulted in the loss of lives and the destruction of property.

2. Following the clashes, IMN leader Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah Ibrahim, were arrested by the Nigerian Army and passed to the custody of the federal authorities.

3. On 29th January 2016, the Kaduna State Government constituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the matter. The 13-member commission of inquiry was chaired by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba of the Court of Appeal.

4. Among other findings, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry assigned responsibility for the Zaria clashes to Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky as leader of the IMN. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry noted that “members of the IMN owe absolute loyalty to Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. He, therefore, bears responsibility for all the acts of lawlessness committed by the organization and should, therefore, be held responsible, fully investigated and prosecuted”.

5. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry also recommended the proscription of the IMN, noting its disregard for the Constitution and the laws of the Nigerian state.

6. The Kaduna State Government accepted these findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and commenced the processes for prosecuting Mr. El-Zakzaky.

7. In October 2016, the Kaduna State Government declared the IMN an unlawful society, drawing on powers vested by Section 45 (1) of the Constitution and Section 97A of the Penal Code (Cap 110, Laws of Kaduna State, 1991).

8. While in the custody of the Federal Government, Mr. El-Zakzaky’s counsels filed a case against the Federal Government for the enforcement of his fundamental rights at the Federal High Court.

9. Neither that court nor any other court has made any order against the Kaduna State Government for the release of Mr. El-Zakzaky on bail. After the conclusion of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry process, the Kaduna State Government requested the transfer of Mr. El-Zakzaky to the state for the legal processes to begin.

10. In 2018, the Federal Government eventually acceded to the Kaduna State Government’s request for the transfer of Mr. and Mrs. El-Zakzaky from its custody to facilitate their proper arraignment before the Kaduna State High Court.

11. On 19th April 2018, the Kaduna State Government filed an eight-count charge against Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Mallama Zeenah Ibrahim, Yakubu Yahaya Katsina and Sanusi Abdulkadir Koki for the offenses of:
a. Criminal Conspiracy
b. Culpable Homicide is punishable with death
c. Unlawful Assembly
d. Wrongful restraint
e. Disturbance of public peace
f. Voluntarily causing grievous hurt
g. Inciting disturbance
h. Breach of Public Peace

12. The eight-count charge in The State versus El-Zakzaky (KDH/KAD/60c/2018) were filed under Sections 59,47, 66, 77, 73, 222 and 78 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State.

13. On 2nd August 2018, the Kaduna High Court took the pleas of the first and second defendants, Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and Mrs. Zeenah Ibrahim. Also, on that same day, the court heard the defendants’ application for bail which was refused in a ruling made on 4th October 2018.

14. The court ordered that the defendants be kept in prison custody and that the defendants be allowed access to their personal physicians alongside physicians of the State. However, at his request, Mr. Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife are being kept in SSS facilities which were deemed more comfortable than the Kaduna Prison.

15. The trial suffered initial delays because the third and fourth defendants/applicants remain at large. That was the case when the matter first came up in court on 15th May 2018. It was adjourned till 21st June 2018 because the charges had not been served on the third and fourth defendants. An accident involving the trial judge further delayed the hearing scheduled for 21st June 2018. Subsequently, the arraignment of the first and second defendants was done on 2nd August 2018.

16. The substantive charge was adjourned sine die with the agreement of all counsels representing the State and the defendants upon the assignment of the trial judge to duties at the Election Tribunal.

17. However, the Kaduna High Court heard Malam El-Zakzaky’s application for leave to seek medical attention abroad on Monday, 29th July 2019. At the hearing, counsel to the Kaduna State Government opposed the application for medical leave largely because it was based on medical reports not issued by a government medical facility. The court granted the application on Monday, 5th August 2019.

18. Counsels representing the defendants/applicants in the case have been appearing before the Kaduna High Court. It is baffling that the same counsels to the defendants, led by a senior advocate, Femi Falana, are in their public comments, giving the impression that there is no trial ongoing at the Kaduna High Court, which denied bail to Mr. El-Zakzaky and consequent to which Mr. Ibrahim El-Zakzaky remains in lawful custody.

19. It is the considered contention of the Kaduna State Government that decades of impunity emboldened the IMN to engage in various unlawful activities culminating in the tragic events of December 2015. In prosecuting the case, the state government is affirming simple canons of the rule of law, that no one is above its long arm and that all persons are equal in its eyes. Mob pressure, such as the carnage visited on the streets of Abuja to force Mr. El-Zakzaky’s release without due process, cannot be allowed to succeed.

20. Matters have been joined in court. The two defendants are represented by counsel of their choice and they have taken the pleas. It is left to the court to decide the case. The campaign of violence, disinformation and misinformation on this matter must now stop. Only a court of law can free Mr. El-Zakzaky, and the court before which he is standing trial is the High Court of Kaduna State.

21. It is ridiculous to feign respect for the rule of law while ignoring legal processes ongoing before a state High Court. Campaigns of calumny, abuse, disinformation and disrespect for law and order will not trump due process. Equality before the law obliges everyone to respect the trial process before a court, not to irresponsibly traduce it.

Signed

Samuel Aruwan
Commissioner, Internal Security and Home Affairs
Wednesday, 7th August 2019

BIG STORY

Power Sector Has Broken Down Completely, Govt Wasted N1.7 Trillion In Three Years — El-Rufai Drops Bombshell

Peter Okunoren

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The power sector has broken down completely, the government declared on Thursday after its activities were reviewed by the National Economic Council (NEC)

The government said there is no result to show for the N1.7 trillion financial support it gave to the sector in the last three years.

It added that Nigerians must now be involved in finding solutions to the ‘broken’ sector.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai made the government’s position known at the end of NEC’s January meeting at the State House in Abuja.

E-Rufai, who is the Chairman of a committee set up by NEC to harmonize the Power Sector Reform, told reporters that the government was desirous of ending the challenges hindering the sector.

He said the committee’s request to throw the process of finding a solution to the national power crisis open was approved.

According to him, beyond experts and other critical players in the sector, ordinary Nigerians, who have ideas and experience the power would be invited to bring in memoranda, as part of the plan to solve the intractable national power problem.

He said: “On the status of the ownership of the distribution companies, the committee met five times since its inauguration on the 5th of December, we’ve made significant progress in getting presentations from all the stakeholders in the electricity supply industry and we all agreed that the electricity supply industry is broken and the situation of the power sector is a national emergency that requires all hands to be on the deck, to interrogate why the sector is not working for the overall progress and benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.

“We’ve received presentations from virtually all the stakeholders. We came to NEC to ask that we co-opt the Association of the Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria and the Association of Electricity Generating Companies in Nigeria as members of the committee and NEC approved that.

“We updated NEC on what we have found so far and promised that work on this will continue and we’ll submit our report in the shortest possible time.

“But the electricity industry is quite complex and technical and even those of us that have been asked to be members of the committee are learning a lot from the various presentations, sometimes conflicting presentations from various stakeholders in the power sector.

“However, I think there is the will on the part of all the members to really go to the root of all the problems and speak to ourselves in an honest national conversation and find a way to fix this sector because this country will never make progress, will never create jobs or industrialize without a functioning electricity industry and that’s the goal that NEC has given us beyond just establishing the status of ownership of the distribution companies.

“Everyone in Nigeria is affected by electricity and we want to hear your views; what you think is wrong with the sector, what your experiences are, dealing with the distribution companies, what you think are solutions to these problems. “Sometimes, solutions are not technical, but commonsensical. So, while we have all the technical experts on the table, we also want to hear from the Nigerian public

“We hope that when we receive these memoranda, we will curate them and analyze them. We’ll summarise them and various suggestions and solutions will be published as part of our report to NEC. After that, we can go to the government of the federation for decisions.

“The objective is how do we fix the power sector. This is the question we want to ask every Nigerian and we want suggestions. We want experiences, we want everything out there and we’ll protect the confidentiality of anyone that chooses to give us confidential information, but we need everyone on deck.”

On the power sector reforms and the required steps to take, El-Rufai said: “There are other issues. The entire sector is broken, the tariff is an issue, the way the privatization was done is an issue to many.

“So, there are many issues. What we have agreed on is that there is a fundamental problem in the electronic supply industry. And that you cannot privatize an industry and then over three years since privatization, you pump in N1.7 trillion of government fund into it, that is not privatization.

“The Federal Government has supported the electricity sector with N1.7 trillion in the last three years and this is not sustainable. So, solutions must be found.

“Today, there are 80 million Nigerians that do not have access to electricity. We cannot continue like this.

“We want to listen to Nigerians and get their own views and incorporate those views in every solution that we proposed.”

On the plan to leverage on pension funds to grow the nation’s key infrastructure, including power, the governor said the system is not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that it is about the best way to develop at a leap.

“On the question on pension funds, I think there is a bit of misunderstanding about this. First of all, it is not true that this money is people’s money. The people contribute and the government also matches their contributions, so it’s part government money, is part workers contribution.

“Every month when you contribute, there is also employer’s contribution. Secondly, you have to ask yourself the question, if this money is there what is the best use for the money.

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BIG STORY

Femi Adesina To CAN: Fix Your Bias And Sympathy, You Got It Wrong On Beheaded Adamawa Pastor

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Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has called out the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), asking them not to ”mix bias and sympathy” following the recent beheading of Reverend Lawan Andimi, the Chairman of CAN in Michika Local government area of Adamawa state by Boko Haram insurgents.

Adesina in a post on his Facebook page on Friday accused the Christian leaders of painting Buhari as an ”anti-christian” stating that “security is number one on the priorities of the Buhari administration”

The statement reads:

“It was very sad and doleful to hear of the eventual beheading of Rev Lawan Andimi, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Michika Local Government, Adamawa State. He had been abducted by terrorists earlier this month.

“I felt the killing of Andimi very keenly, not for the fact that he was a clergyman, but “any man’s death diminishes me because I’m involved in mankind.” (John Donne).

No man should die the way Rev Andimi was killed. Beheaded by insurgents, who then proceeded to gleefully announce his decapitation. It should not happen. Evil and senseless. It is a classic example of man’s inhumanity to man, and those who did it have long lost their humanity if they ever had any.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has sympathized with the family and relations of the dead. I have also been in a state of melancholy over it. May God have mercy.

“I am mourning Rev Andimi, not just because he was a cleric, but because he was a human being. And my distress was increased by the statement issued on the tragic event by the central body of CAN. Too many things were mixed together, which the apex Christian body in the country should have been mindful of, lest it departs from the mind and essence of Jesus Christ, our perfect example.

“For years, since he emerged on the national scene as a military leader, and later as an aspirant for the highest political office in the country, and eventually as President, spirited attempts have been made to position Muhammadu Buhari as anti-Christian faith. It worked against the man for a long time, till the majority of Nigerians saw through the smokescreen, and made up their minds against demonization.

“That was why as much as some church leaders tried to dress Buhari in borrowed robes in 2015 and 2019, millions of Christians went ahead to vote for him. The inexorable truth is that in Nigeria, Muslims can’t wish Christians away, and vice-versa. We shall all stay here, and salvage it together.

“However, the statement by CAN on the death of Andimi gives hint that the leadership of the Christian body still harbors some of the old narratives that have been discredited, and from which majority of people have purged themselves, except the willfully irredeemable.

“Hear CAN, through its Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Evangelist Kwamkur Vondip, speaking for Rev Samson Ayokunle, President of the body: “Maintenance of security is the least responsibility of any government that knows its worth. We are once again calling on President Buhari to purge himself of the allegations of nepotism and religious favoritism by reconstituting the leadership of the security forces.”

“Let’s consider this part of the press statement. Maintenance of security is the least responsibility of any government that knows its worth. Not news. The Constitution says so. But don’t you glean a hint of bile and bias in “that knows its worth?” Oh, CAN, this is not the mind of our Master. He gives praise when due. Security is number one on the priorities of the Buhari administration. It has pumped time and humongous resources into it, and while the job is not fully done, we are not in the same position we were before the administration came. At least, to those who want to be honest. And CAN should be honest. That is what we’ve learnt from our Master.

“There were times bombs used to go off in this country like firecrackers, and deaths were in many scores. Now for months on end, you may not hear of a single bomb blast. Emirs that had fled their palaces, like those of Askira and Uba, have returned after two years. Secondary schools that were shut for two years in Maiduguri have reopened. Roads long closed due to activities of insurgents are back in use. Kidnappers are being arrested in droves in different parts of the country. Clashes between farmers and herdsmen are reducing to the barest minimum. Yet, CAN is talking about a government that knows its worth? The Buhari government does, and honest Nigerians know it, and wish it more successes. Security, in any country of the world, can only be work in progress.

“Hear again: We are once again calling on President Buhari to purge himself of the allegations of nepotism and religious favoritism…Wait a minute. If any purging is to be done, is it not by those making allegations? The allegations lasted for many years, but the truth eventually overtook them. If CAN would then still dwell on the discredited accusations, it must be the one to purge itself, as millions of Nigerians, including Christians, have already done. The insecurity in the country is not about any religion. It is pure evil, from the pit of hell.

“And then: …purge himself of the allegations…by reconstituting the leadership of the security forces. CAN, oh CAN, in a condolence statement? Are you saying under a different leadership of our security forces, the insurgency will vanish after they wave their fingers? Why mix the wheat and chaff together? In the leadership of the security forces as we have it now, is the position of Chief of Defence Staff not held by General Abayomi Olonisakin, who is also a pastor? Is he not a member of CAN? Is the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, not a Christian, and under the banner of CAN? Listening to the organization, you would think not even half a Christian is in the leadership of the security forces. This kind of sentiment breeds hatred and malice in a country, and CAN should not be involved in such, for Jesus would not do it. And we’ve been called to walk in His steps.

“If the leadership of the security forces would be changed, it is a sitting President that has the prerogative. It will not happen when CAN begins to make such demand in what should be a sober condolence press statement. Don’t mix bias and sympathy. They don’t mesh.

“And then, this completely reckless portion of the statement: “In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the Federal Government is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria, bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region.”

“Holy Moses! Did CAN say this? Shameful and ridiculous. These are the things that sow malice and animosity in the country, and a Christian body is not expected to be involved in such. You can’t sow discord and expect concord.

“In that statement, the Christian body urged the Federal Government to ensure the release of the prisoner of faith, Leah Sharibu, and hundreds of victims who are in Boko Haram and ISWAP captivity. It equally called for three days fasting and prayers by Christians in the country. Good. The role of the church is not just in making snide remarks and statements, it is in what the Good Book calls “the demonstration of the Spirit and power.” When Herod locked Peter up and was going to behead him, the early church prayed fervently, and Peter was rescued miraculously the night before. Rather than cast the government as omnipotent, it is God that has all powers. And some things are never resolved spiritually except through prayer and fasting. It is not me that said so. Jesus did. So, let the Church be fully involved in supplication for divine intervention in the country, rather than playing subtle politics and unwittingly generating hate in the land.

“CAN says kidnappings and killings are shameful to a government that boasts that it has conquered insurgency. Boasts. So that is all that matters to CAN as if it was an opposition political party? Boasts. No. This would not augur for unity and cohesion in a country. We are not asking the Christian body to be in bed with government, that would not help anybody, but the organization has been sounding too long like a political party. We daily learn to walk with Jesus. His spirit is not an unduly critical one. And He left us an example “that ye should follow in his steps.”

“Rev Andimi was not killed solely because he was a Christian. Those evil people kill anyone they lay their filthy hands on.

“May Andimi’s soul Rest In Peace. May his loved ones be comforted. And may evildoers get their recompense, and fast too. Amen.”

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BIG STORY

Facebook Shuts Down Nnamdi Kanu’s Page, IPOB Kicks

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on Thursday, said the Facebook page of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been shut down.

The group’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, in a statement, alleged that the action was taken by Facebook Nigeria who, it said viewed the page as a platform to exposing the ills in government.

It warned that Biafra had suffered greatly as a result of the denial of media space in the late 60s, saying it could not afford to allow the same to continue in the 21st century.

The statement reads in part: “We can confirm that Facebook Nigeria has shut down the page of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“This is not unconnected with the fact that our leader’s page has become a rich resource for those determined to expose the evil regime in Nigeria and enthrone a better life for the masses.

“We mince no words when we say that Facebook Nigeria is more corrupt than the corrupt government they are seeking to protect.

“Biafra suffered immeasurably as a result of the denial of media space in the late 60s a situation we are not prepared to allow in this 21st century.”

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