Fashola writes Ghana over killing of Nigerian student

Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Monday said he had e-mailed the Ghanaian Parliament, requesting it to investigate the recent killing of a Nigerian student in that country.

The governor made the statement in Ikeja, while addressing some students who had come to protest against the hike in Lagos State University fees.

The governor said the killing of the student was unfortunate, adding that the case must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Godwin Ayogu, a 300-level Nigerian student of the Gold Coast University, was recently murdered in Chana by unknown persons.

His body was dumped by the roadside, while the Ghanaian authorities were yet to begin any investigation into the matter.

Fashola said, “The killing of a Nigerian in Ghana is very unfortunate as he was a victim of very mindless violence.

“I am trying to reach the Ghanaian Parliament to see how we can intervene to assist in the investigation of Godwin Ayogu’s incident, who died at the Cape Coast University.

“I sent an email to one of the parliamentarians. I am still expecting a feed back and hope the right steps will be taken.”

Fashola condemned the recent killing of Adelabu Tunde, another Nigerian student in Malaysia, describing his death as unfortunate.

The governor urged the relevant authorities to take urgent steps to end the incessant killings of Nigerian youths abroad.

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Sanusi financing terrorism, FG, SSS tell court

The Federal Government and State Security Service have accused the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, of financing terrorism.

They made the allegation in their counter-affidavits before a Federal High Court opposing a suit instituted by Sanusi, who is seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the SSS and the police from arresting him.

Sanusi’s lawyer, Mr. Kola Awodein, who raised the allegation in open court on Monday, denied it, describing it as an afterthought which government came up with after seizing his clients passport.

He said, “The seizure of the applicant’s international passport by the third respondent, is a derogation of his freedom of movement.

“The first to third respondents give conflicting reasons as to the complaint made against the applicant: This conflict goes to show that they acted without due process of the law.

“The allegations against the applicant as to funding of terrorism, is an afterthought by the respondent, which is not backed by facts, as there is no reasonable suspicion that the applicant committed any crime.

“The law clearly defines how such duties should be performed, and so, I invite your lordship to hold that the applicant has a cause of action against the respondent.”

Government had seized Sanusi’s passport after it suspended him as CBN governor in March. Following that, he had instituted the suit to restrain the security agencies from further arresting or harassing him.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, represented by Dr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), and Mr David Abuo and Mr. Moses Idakwo, representing the police and the SSS respectively asked the court on Monday to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

The AGF, the Inspector-General of Police and the SSS are the first to third respondent respectively.

The AGF’s counsel, Ajogwu, argued that the applicant could not by his suit, seek to restrain the respondents from performing their constitutional and statutory duties.

Ajogwu said, “My Lord, this suit is speculative, hypocritical  and an attempt to shield the applicant from the machinery of the administration of justice, which the Federal Government has kick-started.

“My lord, we respectfully submit that the applicant is not entitled to a grant of perpetual injunction, restraining the respondents from performing their constitutional duties.”

Ajogwu, while moving his preliminary objection to the suit,  argued that the suit bordered on employment and such the provisions of section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the 1999 Constitution had vested jurisdiction to entertain such suit on the National Industrial Court.

“Section 254 (c) 1 (d) of the Constitution vest exclusive jurisdiction on the National Industrial Court, with respect to civil causes or matters touching on employment, labour or industrial relations.

“We respectfully urge the court to hold that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the reliefs sort by the applicant, and strike out the suit,” he said

He also quoted Justice Niki Tiki Tobi (a retired Justice of the Supreme Court) as saying, “A court cannot grant perpetual injunction on a mere prima facie case; the applicant’s suit is basically an action to shield him from the machinery of administration of justice, which has been kick-started by the respondents.”

“I therefore, urge your lordship, like the Biblical Pontius Pilate, to wash his hands off this case, as it is not the affairs of this honourable court,” he said.

Abuo and Idakwo, also associated themselves with Ajogwu’s submissions.

But Idakwo added  that it was absurd for the applicant to argue that an interaction with the SSS for less than an hour, amounted to a violation of his rights.

He maintained that the provisions of section 6 of the National Security Agencies Act, empowered the Service to impound the international passport of suspects, pending the conclusion of investigations.

He therefore urged the court to strike out the applicant’s suit.

But Awodein said it was untrue that his client was trying to prevent the security agencies from performing their duties.

He said, “It cannot be suggested that the applicant is restraining the respondents from performing their duties, but they must be restrained from doing so, without due process of the law.

“The seizure of the applicant’s international passport by the third respondent, is a derogation of his freedom of movement.

“The first to third respondents give conflicting reasons as to the complaint made against the applicant: This conflict goes to show that they acted without due process of the law.

“The allegations against the applicant as to funding of terrorism, is an after thought by the respondent, which is not backed by facts, as there is no reasonable suspicion that the applicant committed any crime.

“The law clearly defines how such duties should be performed, and so, I invite your lordship to hold that the applicant has a cause of action against the respondent.

He maintained that that the court was clearly vested with jurisdiction to hear the suit.

He insisted that the suit had nothing to do with the terms of employment of the applicant or industrial relation as submitted by Ajogwu.

He argued that the applicant in his originating summons, never sought for an order of perpetual injunction, adding that the reliefs sought were qualified.

He urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objection of the respondent, and uphold the case of the applicant.

Justice Ibrahim Buba after taking parties’ argument adjourned ruling till April 3.

The court had on February 21, granted an interim order of injunction, restraining the respondents from arresting, detaining, or harassing the applicant, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

FG challenges suit against confab

The Federal Government has asked an Abuja Federal High Court to dismiss a suit which is challenging the constitutionality of the ongoing national conference.

In the suit, a lawyer, Tunji Abayomi, asked the court to declare that President Goodluck Jonathan lacked the power to convene the conference without an empowering legislation by the National Assembly.

Listed as defendants in the suit are the President, the Attorney General of the Federation, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, the Vice Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, and the Secretary, Dr. Mrs. Valerie Azinge.

The defendants are opposing the suit.

Counsel for the defendants, Femi Falana, SAN, in a preliminary objection, asked the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff, Abayomi, has no locus standi to file the suit.

Falana equally argued that there was no cause of action in the suit, and that the President has constitutional power to convene the conference.

He also submitted that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

The presiding judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, adjourned the matter to May 8 for hearing.

In the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/ 167/204 and dated March 3, 2014, Abayomi asked the court to declare the conference as null and void.

Sambisa: DHQ confirms two soldiers killed, six missing

The Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, has confirmed the death of two soldiers with six others missing in a clash between the Special Forces and the insurgents between Friday and Saturday.

Olukolade said that most of the 20 soldiers who were reported missing in the latest battle at the Sambisa forest had returned to base and were already participating in the mission. The Defence spokesman said a very large number of the insurgents were killed in the combined operation between ground troops and fighter jets of the Nigerian Air Force.

Olukolade said that the Special Forces that went for the operation discovered a larger number of insurgents than they had anticipated which made one of the units to call for additional reinforcement to enable them to finish off the assignment. He said that it would amount to mischief for anybody to interpret the situation in the unit as mutiny as rebellion was a grave act which would not be tolerated by the military.

He said, “The assault on Sambisa witnessed massive killing of terrorists over the weekend.“Having discovered more than the expected number, despite the heavy casualty inflicted on the terrorists, troops in one of the units involved in the advance called for additional fire support to enable them to finish the mission in record time.“In demonstrating their enthusiasm, they raised a number of issues which have been addressed by the commanders to enable the unit to resume the assault on the terrorists.“Despite losing two soldiers while six are reported missing, the zeal of the troops is quite encouraging to the command.“Most of those earlier reported missing have actually rejoined the unit and are participating in the resumed advance of their assigned objective in the campaign.“It is indeed improper to mischievously misinterpret the situation in the unit as mutiny.  

The fact remains that mutiny is a very serious offence that is never condoned under any circumstance in the military. Please don’t insinuate it here. It would be unfair to the troops and their unit.”A source had said on Sunday that the Special Forces had killed over 2,000 insurgents in a combined operation with the fighter aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force at the Sambisa Forest between Friday and Saturday.

The source also hinted that the victory against the insurgents was almost marred by an operational blunder which resulted in 20 of the troops from the first unit in the three-units operation missing.

Jonathan leaves Abuja for Brussels

President Goodluck Jonathan will on Tuesday travel to Brussels as the head of Nigeria’s delegation to the Fourth European Union-Africa Summit scheduled to open in the Belgian capital on Wednesday.

The summit has ‘Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace’ as its theme.

This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

According to the statement, participants including Jonathan, the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, other Heads of State and Government of the European Union and Africa as well as leaders of the European Union and African Union Institutions will, among other matters, discuss ways of stimulating further growth and creating more jobs in Nigeria and other African countries.

The statement read, “Education and training, women and youth, legal and illegal migrant flows between both continents, investments in peace and ways to enhance EU support for African capacities to manage security on the continent are also on the agenda of the summit.

“The Brussels Summit will also provide an opportunity for participants to review EU-Africa relations based on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy which was adopted in Lisbon in 2007 and explore options for greater mutually-beneficial cooperation between Africa and Europe.

“President Jonathan whose entourage will include the Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen Aliyu Gusau (rtd.), the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga will hold bilateral talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and some other participating heads of state and government before leaving Brussels for Abuja on Wednesday night.”

Confab a failure, waste of funds -Igbo group

Members of the Igbo Leaders of Thought have declared the ongoing national conference, as presently constituted, “a failure and waste of tax payers fund.”

They said on Monday, in Enugu, that the 75 per cent majority controversy and other ground rules that slowed full commencement of the conference wouldn’t have arisen if the organisers were diligent and had consulted properly.

Members of the ILT spoke after an emergency meeting in Enugu.

Leader of the group, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, also said that non-adherence to selection of delegates based on ethnic nationalities was another challenge that may derail the conference from achieving the set objective.

The group, however, said that despite its belief that the conference may not achieve the expected objective, it still believed that something good could come out of it.

“Ethnic nationalities are the best suited to solve Nigeria’s problem. You can’t achieve anything except the ethnic nationalities come together.

“We all individually belong to an ethnic nationality. We cannot run away from that; it is a sociological reality,” said Prof. Nwabueze.

He said, “The problem is how you coalesce 389 ethnic nationalities? The day you find the answer to this question, then Nigeria’s problem will be solved.”

Nwabueze disclosed that at a meeting of ethnic nationalities conference recently organised, only 58 ethnic nations attended. He therefore said, “They spent millions organising it, meaning that mobilisation requires government intervention and funding.”

Speaking on the crisis that trailed the voting pattern of 75 per cent majority, Nwabueze further said that the controversy was needles and avoidable ab-initio.

He said, “The problem of 75 percent shouldn’t have been there. The 75 percent is impossible to achieve. Muslims already, not the North as a whole, are over 190 (about 34 percent). They have equally created Northern Delegates Forum. And the other day, the Sultan led a delegation to the president where they complained. I would have said let them try and achieve a consensus, but where it fails, they should go for absolute majority, not necessarily on percentage.”

He explained that even the 70 per cent said to have been agreed on by leaders of the delegation, will still be difficult to achieve.

According to him, absolute majority, which means majority of 492 delegates and not simple majority, which is majority of delegates present at a particular sitting, would have taken care of the problem.

The group, however resolved to remain a permanent advisory body to provide advice to Nigerian government and Ndigbo on national issues from time to time.

Nwabueze said that the group came into being after the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan during his independence anniversary broadcast last year to convoke a national conference.

More so, he dispelled insinuations that the group was being bankrolled by governors in the South-East zone.

Nwabueze said members of the group, including himself and a member of World Igbo Congress, Dr. Obi Thomson, bore the cost of printing the books and other documents which were distributed free of charge to Ndigbo, both at home and in Diaspora.

He said, “This meeting is a crucial one for us. All the time we have not settled the objective of Igbo Leaders of Thought, but today we have defined it. The objective is how to achieve a new, better and united Nigeria. The first step in the pursuit of the objective is the production of the position of Igbo Nation for the National Conference for a renegotiated constitution, and we have accomplished the first step.

“The production has cost us millions of naira. The money was provided by myself and Obi Thomson of World Igbo Congress. No governor is funding the Igbo Leaders of Thought as being erroneously speculated. As at today no governor has given us one kobo.

“The second part is about the national conference as constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan. The question now is whether the conference as presently constituted will lead us the realisation of the objectives, which is a new, better and united Nigeria? Though it appears a waste of time but I think something good might still come out from the exercise.”

He added, “We have also agreed in the meeting that Igbo Leaders of Thought should be kept alive. We will continue monitoring proceedings at the conference and see where we can make contributions.”

Helicopters supply arms, food to B’Haram -Borno, Yobe elders

Political elders from Borno and Yobe states have alleged that helicopters drop arms and ammunition, food and medicine to areas well known to be strongholds of the members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the North-East.

They said it was unbelievable that the authorities would claim ignorance of this development, wondering how about 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles could move in a convoy freely with a subsisting curfew without being detected.

The elders, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, also asked the government to provide answer raised by the insurgents’ attack on the Maiduguri Air Force Base, where the terrorists demobilised and burnt planes and other military installations despite the existing state of emergency and curfew in the town.

Speaking under the aegis of Borno, Yobe People’s Forum, the elders also asked those in authorities to tell Nigerians those who authorised the withdrawal of security personnel from the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, few hours before the attack that claimed the lives of 59 innocent children.

A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Al-amin Dagash (retd.), read the text of the statement on behalf of the members of the Forum at the press conference.

He was flanked by a former Minister of Finance, Mallam Adamu Ciroma; a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe;  elderstatesman, Shetima Mustapha, and some  political and opinion leaders from the two states.

The former Chief of Air Staff wondered why security reports from the communities on impending attacks were ignored or not promptly responded to by security personnel and the government.

Dagash said, “Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strongholds of the surgents?

“How were the insurgents able to attack the Maiduguri Air-Force Base and demobilise as well as burn planes and other military installations despite existing state of emergency and curfew in the town? How could 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles move in a convey freely with subsisting curfew and still go undected?

“How did a little band of rag-tag misguided youths metamorphose into a well kitted, well armed killing machine moving freely in convoy of vehicles and supported by holicopters.

“How did the Shilka Tank, a multipurpose self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery weapon positioned to secure Giwa Barracks fail to function resulting in heavy loss of lives of both civilian and military as widely reported in the media? Are we dealing with fifth columnists in this crisis?”