Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: June 2017
Sunday, 04 June 2017 14:45

World Leaders Condemn London Attack

World leaders have condemned Saturday’s London terror attack which left seven people dead and more than 30 injured.

President Emmanuel Macron said France, which had four citizens injured in the attack, was more than ever at Britain’s side.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull said his “prayers and resolute solidarity” were with the British people.

One Australian was in hospital and another was affected by the attack, Mr Turnbull said.

The person in hospital is believed to be 31-year-old Candice Hedge. ABC quoted a friend as saying she was stabbed in the neck but was not in danger.

At least one New Zealander was injured. Oliver Dowling was recovering from multiple stab wounds, his sister said on Facebook.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday evening: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”

Mr Trump also called for his travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries to be upheld by US courts, where it is being challenged.

‘United In Horror’

Mr Macron was one of the first world leaders to react to the events.

“In the face of this new tragedy, France is more than ever at Britain’s side. My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.”

Four French citizens were injured in the attack, one seriously, French officials said.

Security measures were being “reinforced” so that French citizens in London would be able to vote in the first round of the country’s parliamentary elections this Sunday, the French news agency AFP reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement (in German): “Today we are united across borders in horror and mourning, but also in determination.

“For Germany, I reiterate that in the fight against all forms of terrorism, we are resolutely at Britain’s side.”

Spain’s foreign ministry said it shared “the pain of the relatives of the victims deceased in these cowardly attacks”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was following the latest incidents “with horror”. He said: “Thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Please stay safe.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin “sends his deepest condolences to Britons and condemns the terrorist act that happened several hours ago in London”, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, quoted by Russian media.

Later in a telegram to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Putin said joint efforts to fight terrorism “should be a mutual response”, according to a Kremlin statement.

Commonwealth leaders also rallied round the UK.

“Awful news from London tonight. We’re monitoring the situation,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter.

“New Zealand’s thoughts are with the victims of today’s attack,” said Prime Minister Bill English. “Too many lives are being taken by terrorists set on inflicting pain and suffering on innocent people.

-BBC

 
 
Published in Headliners

Prime minister Theresa May says there is ‘far too much tolerance of extremism’ in UK and suggests increased prison terms for terror offences

Theresa May has warned that there has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in the UK and promised to step up the fight against Islamist terrorism following the London Bridge attack, saying “enough is enough”.

The prime minister struck a sombre and serious tone as she spoke outside No 10 on Sunday morning after chairing a meeting of the Cobra committee following the attack in the centre of the capital in which seven people were killed.

She said internet companies must not allow extremism a place to exist, but that there was also a need to tackle “safe spaces in the real world”, which would require “difficult” conversations.

May also suggested the idea of increased prison terms for terrorism offences, even relatively minor ones.

Islamist militancy was the thread that linked the otherwise unconnected attacks in London Bridge, Westminster and Manchester, she said.

“It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth,” she said. “Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone.”

Attackers drove van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing people in Borough Market

She continued: “It is time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”

May said the recent spate of attacks showed the UK was “experiencing a new trend in the threat we face”.

She said: “As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.”

May said action was needed in the UK as well as overseas. She said: “While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said his party would resume campaigning on Sunday evening, and to delay any longer would obstruct democracy.

He told Sky News: “We won’t be campaigning nationally during today, but we’ll be resuming later on. I think it’s important to give a message that democracy must prevail. If we allow these attacks to disrupt our democratic process then we will all lose.”

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The election must go ahead as planned. It is right that we suspend our national campaigning for a short while out of respect for those affected by these tragic events, but local campaigning can and must continue.”

Rudd said it was presumed the three attackers, all of whom were shot dead by police, were “radical Islamist terrorists”, and authorities needed “to find out more about where this radicalisation came from”.

The home secretary said there did not seem to be any link to the Manchester attack on 22 May. But she said she could not comment on whether any of the attackers were previously known to authorities.

“The operation is ongoing so we are finding out more about who these three are,” she said.

 -Theguardian
Published in News & Stories

Twelve people have been arrested after the London terror attack which left seven people dead and 48 injured.

The arrests in Barking, east London, followed a raid by police at a flat owned by one of the three attackers.

A white van hit pedestrians on London Bridge at about 22:00 BST on Saturday, then three men got out and stabbed people in nearby Borough Market. They were shot dead by police minutes later.

Condemning the attack, Theresa May said it was “time to say enough is enough”.

Controlled explosions were also carried out at the flat in Barking on Sunday morning.

It is the third terror attack in the UK in three months, following the car and knife attack in Westminster in March, which left five people dead, and the Manchester bombing less than two weeks ago, in which 22 people were killed.

Most political parties have suspended national general election campaigning, but the prime minister said full campaigning would resume on Monday and the general election would go ahead as planned on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses to the attack described seeing a van travelling at high speed along London Bridge, hitting pedestrians, before crashing close to the Barrowboy and Banker pub.

Three men then got out wearing fake bomb vests and began attacking people in the nearby market – an area known for its bars and restaurants, which were busy on a warm summer evening.

Four police officers who tried to stop the attack were among those injured, two of them seriously.

One of them was an off-duty officer and amateur rugby player who tackled one of the terrorists, suffering stab wounds.

Another, a British Transport Police officer who joined the force less than two years ago, took on the attackers armed with only his baton.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick praised their “extraordinary bravery”.

The three suspects were eventually shot dead within eight minutes of the first 999 call being received, BBC reports.

 
 
Published in News & Stories

The uncertainty over the 2018 population census due to budgetary constraints would be removed if the National Population Commission (NPC) would aggregate all available bio-metric data bases into a one family reliable picture of the nation’s population rather than embarking on an all-out headcount that would end up being politicised.

Besides, the delay in kick-starting the preliminary activities for an effective census warrants postponing the event to a later date when the needed funds would be available to carry out a hitch-free enumeration.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has already suggested that the census be postponed till after the 2019 general elections to prevent politicians from hijacking it for their own selfish interests.

There is no need embarking on another wild goose chase, for the umpteenth time, in the guise of conducting a census that would be discredited and it is better, this time around, to do a thorough job and resolve the dilemma of not having a valid population figure for the country.

According to reports, the NPC is in the dark owing to an unclear financial situation. Consequently, there is lull in pre-census activities, which ought to have begun in earnest long before now.

For instance, a core pre-census activity, which is the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), which the NPC ought to have concluded by now has only been carried out in 74 (10 per cent), out of the 774 local government areas in the country.

The NPC had proposed the sum of N272 billion for the entire census exercise including post-census activities. Out of this amount, N33 billion meant for pre-census activities has not yet been made available.

Indications are that the NPC is waiting for funds to mobilise workers to complete EAD in the remaining 700 local government councils. That, indeed, is a huge responsibility. The importance of data for national development planning cannot be over-emphasised.

Worldwide, censuses are organised to obtain data, which is critical for national development planning. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Nigeria where population figures are manipulated for political reasons since it is the basis for revenue sharing.

Given Nigeria’s peculiarly awkward historic situation, the onus is on the NPC to adopt scientific methods of population enumeration. If the country must develop, common sense requires that data must be collated properly. Without data, there can be no planning and no development.

This newspaper had advised that the NPC should pull all vital statistics together and have them aggregated. The NPC should work on the quantum of bio-metric database that have been gathered by banks, licensing offices, immigration, customs, JAMB, WAEC, and many others.

School enrolments, birth and death registrations, voter’s cards, ID cards, BVN and the various vital statistics should be aggregated and used to extrapolate the country’s population. Otherwise, full-blown census is not working and it is likely to be a waste of money.

Aggregating the data and extrapolating it won’t present any problem using advanced computer software. The NPC could actually solve the age-long population conundrum if it really wants rather than chasing shadow in census.

It is unfortunate that the British colonial masters distorted the population in favour of a section of the country and that mischief has remained the benchmark for assigning dubious population figures to those areas even when in reality, the numbers are lacking from school enrolment records.

This anomaly can be corrected by using active vital registration programme, which, like the American social security number system, assigns number to every new-born and automatically deletes deaths. Countries that have active vital registration programme have no problem in updating their population figures.

It is shameful that Nigeria cannot get a reliable census and the country does not know how many citizens there are. Practically, everything is based on speculation.

Above all, Nigeria should stop using population as basis for sharing national resources. With federalism, all sections of the country would be free to do an accurate head-count, plan and, if they choose, create as many local government councils as they wish.

So far, there has been no sincerity of purpose on the issue of population census. And that must change.

Published in Parliament

Did you listen to the Acting President on Democracy Day?
I did. He was speaking English.

How do you mean by ‘he was speaking English?’ Were you expecting him to speak Urhobo or what? Don’t you understand English or was there nobody around you to help out if understanding him was the problem?
You are getting me wrong. The man spoke more to himself and less to Nigerians who are tired of listening to these ceaseless sermons on peace and unity of the country. Even in speaking English, there is a way it is spoken for everybody to understand. The Acting President spoke eloquently but completely outside the current street language that people wanted to hear. In the end, he was admired more than he was understood by his listeners.

Stop speaking in tongues. What exactly are you driving at?
Nigerians had expected the Acting President in the absence of the Executive President to discuss justice not peace. Discussing peace before justice is like putting the cart before the horse.

Stop this nonsense talk joo! What makes one acting and the other executive? Doesn’t the Acting President have full powers of execution?
Let’s not derail the discussion. I am sorry if I made you angry. I am only trying to say that the Acting President missed a vital point in his celebrated Democracy Day speech.

And what could that point be?
As you can see, this man you people call Acting President with full executive powers to do and undo, somehow did not have the power to speak the new language of tremendous appeal called restructuring. Instead, he created a pulpit and started preaching peace as if peace is no longer a by-product of justice or something that can be earned and sustained without a premium.

Now, who, between you and Osinbajo, is talking grammar? See, learn to give credit to whom it is due. The man is doing pretty well. He was in Calabar only on Thursday in continuation of his noble efforts to reconcile the aggrieved people of the oil-rich region of Niger Delta with the rest of the country. What else do you require of him? You are the only one showing this kind of bad belle. The man is loved by everybody. Didn’t you see how children were crowding him and struggling to touch him in Calabar?

That actually is another talking point.
What are you saying again? What is there to talk about the Acting President showing love to little children? He did the same thing on Children’s Day, May 27.
Yes, yes, yes! In fact, on the matter of showing love to children, I must give it to the APC government. It is doing very well in that regard. The school feeding programme of the government at both the federal and state levels for which big money has been spent says it all. But if hugging of innocent children is additional demonstration of child-care by the APC government, I just want to advise the Acting President to exercise some discretion when he gets to Maiduguri or any other location in the Northeast. The children there, I am told, are not too innocent. Or does it sit well with you or anybody for that matter for the Acting President to hug a suicide bomber just to prove a point about government’s commitment to the Nigerian child?

That is not his portion in Jesus name!
Amen O! But na wao! People are wicked sha!

What is it again?
I read somewhere about how the Acting President has been behaving like his oga.

How does his oga behave?
Are you a stranger in Jerusalem? Shebi it is from my mouth that you want to hear that the oba is dead? Ok; I will tell you. Some people including Femi Fani-Kayode and Chief Mike Ozekhome have been saying that President Buhari belongs to some people in Daura and Saudi Arabia contrary to his declaration on inauguration day that he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody.

And so?
Some letter writers have listed Osinbajo as belonging somewhere and to somebody as if he is a piece of furniture. In fact, they say he belongs exclusively to the Redeem Christian Church of God and some folks from Ogun State and that he cannot go outside these two locations in driving his official duties the same way they say Buhari has not gone outside Daura and Hausa/Fulani in making major appointments.

And you believe them?
I am trying hard not to believe them but they are trying even harder to convince me with facts and figures. I am struggling not to be convinced though. I know by God’s grace, I will not be convinced.

You can choose to believe anything, all I do know is that the Acting President is doing very well in the absence of the President and everybody except you and those article writers is saying so.

Take am easy na! We are not quarreling; only robbing minds. By the way, do you know if the budget as passed by the National Assembly has been signed by the Acting President?
There are processes for some of these things. You don’t expect the man to sign the budget just like that simply because the National Assembly has said it is good to go. He is taking his time to go through the document again to ensure that the legislature has not tampered significantly with the budget as to make its smooth implementation by the executive difficult or even possible. This is called checks and balances in a democracy.

I am so relieved to hear you say this! It is not what they have been saying after all!

What have they been saying?
Why are you always behind the news? You mean you did not hear that the power to sign budget was not among the powers transmitted to the Acting President when

President Buhari was leaving  for London to resume his medical vacation?
Now that you people know the specific powers that were transmitted, could you enumerate them for record purposes?
That will be difficult to do because even the Acting President himself does not appear to know all the powers contained in the transmission. For him, it is more like a trial and error thing. And so, if he tries something and it goes well, he knows automatically that the power to do that thing is part of the powers transmitted to him. If it is otherwise, he knows also that there is a limitation and he will re-adjust accordingly. Anyway, as he gets on with his ‘acting mandate,’ the scope of his powers will be manifesting alongside too.

You are simply impossible. See how you are talking as if Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution contains all of these definitions. All of you people who are going about creating scenarios shall be roundly disappointed by the time the Acting President dissolves the Federal Executive Council and names new ministers.

I really would love to be disappointed. Let me confess this. My sincere prayer is for the President to recover and return to his job. But if that is not happening, the Acting President should be encouraged to manifest beyond rhetoric.

Just wait and see!
I am waiting to see. After all, it is not yet 50 days since the President resumed his medical vacation; it is only 28 days today!
Na you sabi!

Published in Parliament

After 18 years of democracy, we do not need to search very far to know how well the journey has fared. The glaring evidence of how troubled it has been is the very fact that we are still discussing the idea of a coup, no matter how embryonic and remote it may have been. That some people still nurse nostalgia for the salvation procurable via coups suggests that this democracy is not offering what it was programmed to deliver. There is sufficient amount of desperation that triggers a search for alternatives. Unfortunately, the one ready alternative people tucked somewhere in their psyche, is the military, with capacity to obliterate the present nonsense and begin afresh. Very tempting.

But many have rushed out to condemn the thought of a coup because of very ugly past experiences. The military has so debased itself that its original messianic capacity has been squandered. At the point it was forced to exit from civil governance, the military had transformed into a rampaging occupation force, abusing rights of citizens and stealing their money.

That was why in the twilight years of Gen. Sani Abacha, a global outrage was triggered to compel the military to return power to the people. As it was, it became the privilege of Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar to see that happen in 1998/99. It was a staggered process to quickly exit those horrifying days. Perhaps, that was when appropriate quality controls were not put in place to ensure a deepening of the systems. Remember that prior to 1999, the last time there were serious political formations was between 1979 and 1983. That was when our heroes past, professionals in party politics, men who participated in the struggle to attain independence and were the dramatis personae of the first republic, returned for a last effort at consolidating party supremacy. Unfortunately, all their experiences put together could not rescue the second republic.

 

After that, it was a long process of trial and error, with soldiers tampering with core values of party systems. First, it was General Ibrahim Babangida, who toyed with the idea of decreeing parties into existence. His two political parties, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Party (NRC) were programmed to fail, because IBB never wanted to transfer democratic powers to politicians. He was too enamoured of awesome state powers to let go. He dribbled Gen Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and exhausted the man. Yar’Adua was later to be picked by Abacha, and liquidated. IBB then picked MKO Abiola and had him thoroughly dishevelled. He too was handed to Abacha for final winding up.

In between the two Generals, the party system was humdrum and lacked direction. Whereas there was an assemblage of eggheads to nurture a transition system, what took place was a calculated freeze to create suspense and kill reality. It was Kafkaesque at its best, because IBB was a master in power and mind game. So, many serious minded politicians stayed away. The ones who operated were jobbers and military apologists who didn’t have anywhere else to go. They were the leproused hands that were to crown Abacha with lifelong powers, like those of late Kamuzu Banda. But fate played tricks on them.

Come 1998, therefore, there were not too many good people around. Abdulsalami was left with little choice but to groom some people. Meanwhile, there were no good political parties to fall back on. A new template was rolled out and the requirements not very lenient. But that was not the issue. It was an emergency transition. So, political associations formed and three parties emerged.

Power was handed to former military head of state, Gen Obasanjo, after his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came first in that first election. After that, the military left the scene, supposedly. From there, the so-called democratic leadership was tasked with responsibility to grow the new system, deepen party structures and allow constitutional checks and balances to dictate the running of the process.

Eighteen years after, we have seen all sorts. First, budgets do not work. Whereas military budgets are read on January 1, every year, civilian budgets are tossed back and forth between the executive and legislature for many months. In between those months, the economy is left miserable. While that exchange of budgetary debates was designed by owners of the presidential system of government to carry everybody along for purposes of accountability and transparency, what we have in Nigeria does not inspire any confidence. There is still no transparency of any sort. Even the All Progressives Congress (APC) that promised transparency went to town in 2016 with the most padded budget in the history of this dispensation. As we speak, in June 2017, budget 2017 is yet to be signed into law. These frustrating trammels of democracy help to nourish nostalgic feelings about military rule.

While military regimes are trim and less expensive, the presidential system is full of baggage. It is costly and less efficient. The three arms of government share the budget, with the executive having lion share. More than 70 percent of that of the executive is used to service government. The remaining that is supposed to drive infrastructure is too little to make Nigerians feel there is a government in place. As little as it is, that sum, most times does not leave government coffers. It idles away because the distance between the Central Bank, Finance Ministry and Budget Office is made deliberately cumbersome, so that nothing happens.

The Judiciary that is supposed to instill fear and restraint in the other arms is starved of funds and made impotent. To enjoy better life like their counterparts in the other arms, judicial officers are ensnared in filthy sums dangled at election tribunals. They become complacent and cheap, without bite. Democracy is threatened, when election matters are deliberately programmed for the courts, where politicians may influence outcomes with huge sums. The playing field is skewed to make the Judiciary appear lower than other arms and subservient. But that was not how the original owners of the system planned it. But here, the executives are too powerful. The system kills democracy, just as it did during military rule.

The legislature, powerful and lacking in patriotic acts, is the most troublesome. Many who were elected into Houses of Assembly in states and federal in 1999 had no idea what they were going for. They were never groomed, but once they saw the resources available there, they became entrenched, cult like. Whereas the parliament of a nation can turn its fortunes around, the Nigerian legislature has specialised in grooming a political class united by resources. You cannot rely on them to transform the economy, which is why they are now proposing another petroleum tax to fleece Nigerians. Instead of reducing from their allowances to make sums available to build roads, they are going for the easy way out. They want to transfer the burden to hapless Nigerians.

There is no synergy among the three arms of this democratic system to frog-jump Nigeria into serious action. There is no vision and there is no patriotism. If you are fair enough, if you look up north, south, west and east, there is despair. That is why some are afraid that soldiers are warming up to sack this system.

I still think we can salvage this system. But people have to open their minds and stop being ethnic champions. The lean resources available can no longer service a presidential system that is consumption driven. We are very close to that time, when men of good will should show Nigeria some mercy. It is time to begin with simple forms of restructuring, beginning with a more manageable and result oriented parliament. The one we have now is too large and wasteful.

If we must run a federal system, since some are afraid of returning to regions, states must be encouraged to earn their own resources and pay taxes to Abuja. Let there be substantial decentralisation of responsibilities and obligations. Let democratic institutions be freed from federal stranglehold.

If those who have capacity to effect changes refuse, the very monster we are all running away from will be waiting ahead for us, willy-nilly.

Published in Parliament

Controversial senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, has continued his verbal onslaught on Governor Yahaya Bello, for allegedly sponsoring a large number of his constituents to demand his recall.

In a post on his Instagram page, the outspoken lawmaker said the Kogi governor suffers the “most chronic form of madness”, adding that it is the prelude to his final destruction.

He wrote: “Well, like the good NAPOLEON said: never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

“It is normal for mad people to conceive impossibility.

“Let them dance the dance of madness and schizophrenics. Recall who???

“When the gods want to destroy a man, they make him mad in the first instance. Yahaya bello is suffering from most chronic from of madness already and that is the prelude to his final destruction.”

Governor Bello had earlier said there is no rift between him and Dino Melaye.

Two days ago, Melaye described his State Governor, Yahaya Bello as an “olodo governor” over his inability to pay civil servants in the state.

Published in Politics

Suspected militants drove a van into pedestrians at high speed on London Bridge on Saturday night before stabbing revelers on nearby streets, killing at least six people and wounding close to 50.

Armed police rushed to the scene and shot dead the three male attackers in the Borough Market area near the bridge, as authorities urged Londoners on Twitter to “run, hide, tell” if they were caught up in the violence.

The attacks came just five days ahead of a national parliamentary election on Thursday. The ruling Conservative Party suspended national campaigning on Sunday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

“Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism,” May said in a statement as events unfolded.

The killings also occurred less than two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.

An armed police stands on Borough High Street as police are dealing with an incident on London Bridge in London, Saturday, June 3, 2017.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

“Sadly, six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot by police,” Mark Rowley, Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, said. The three attackers had been wearing what looked like explosive vests that were later found to have been hoaxes.

The BBC showed a photograph of two possible attackers shot by police, one of whom had canisters strapped to his body. Hours after the attack the area remained sealed off and patrolled by armed police and counter-terrorism officers.

The London Ambulance Service said 48 people had been taken to five hospitals across the city and a number of others had been treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Streets around London Bridge and Borough Market, an area that is a major transport hub and is packed with bars and restaurants, was busy with people on a night out.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke of a “cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night.”

“STAB WOUND”

Witnesses described a white van careering into pedestrians on the bridge.

“It looked like he was aiming for groups of people. I froze because I didn’t know what to do,” Mark Roberts, 53, a management consultant, told Reuters. He saw at least six people on the ground after the van veered on and off the pavement.

“It was horrendous,” he said.

A taxi driver told the BBC that three men got out of the van with long knives and “went randomly along Borough High Street stabbing people.”

Witnesses described people running into a bar to seek shelter.

“People started running and screaming, and the van crashes into the railing behind. We went towards Borough Market and everyone went inside (the bar). Everyone in the bar started pushing people from the exits,” one witness, who gave his name as Brian, 32, told Reuters.

Another witness, who declined to be named, his white top covered in blood, described a scene of panic in the bar.

“They hit the emergency alarm. There was a line of people going down to the emergency exit. And then people started screaming coming back up,” the 31-year-old said.

“Around the corner there was a guy with a stab wound on his neck … There was a doctor in the pub and she helped him. They put pressure on the stab wound.”

BBC radio said witnesses saw people throwing tables and chairs at the attackers to protect themselves.

The BBC showed dozens of people being escorted to safety through a police cordon with their hands on their heads.

Islamic State, losing territory in Syria and Iraq to an advance backed by a U.S-led coalition, sent out a call on instant messaging service Telegram early on Saturday urging its followers to launch attacks with trucks, knives and guns against “Crusaders” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Similar attacks, in Berlin, Nice, Brussels and Paris, have been carried out by Islamist militants over the past two years.

May was due to chair a meeting of the Cobra security committee later on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to offer U.S. help to Britain. The White House said he had been briefed on the incidents by his national security team.

French president Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter that “France is standing more than ever side by side with the UK.”

The incident bore similarities to a March attack on Westminster Bridge, west of London Bridge, in which a man killed five people after driving into a crowd of pedestrians before stabbing a police officer in the grounds of parliament.

Several witnesses also reported hearing gunshots around London Bridge.

“We were in an Uber (taxi) going towards London Bridge and suddenly we saw people running. The Uber stopped, we asked people what was going on – people said there was shooting,” said Yoann Belmere, 40, a French banker living in London.

“Now the area is completely closed with police cars going one way and ambulances going the other,” he told Reuters.

The Manchester bombing on May 22 was the deadliest attack in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London’s transport network.

 
 
Published in Business and Economy

•Says President is recovering fast

First Lady Aisha Buhari sent some cheery news home yesterday from London about her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari: he will return soon.

And he’s recovering fast from his ailment.

But she wants Nigerians to keep praying for him.

Hajiya Aisha is currently in London to be with the President.

She gave the update on the President’s health in a message to the 23rd Annual Ramadan Lecture of Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria (ADS) held in Abuja.

The First Lady, who left for London about five days ago, was represented at the lecture by her Senior Special Assistant on Administration, Dr. Hajo Sani.

“My husband is recovering very fast. And very soon, he will return to the country to resume his official duties,” she said.

“I thank Nigerians for their prayers for my husband. Please, do not relent in your prayers.”

The message sparked shouts of Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!! Allahu Akbar!!!(God is great) by the Muslim faithful.

She added:”The President will be back very soon.”

She said she was “hopeful of observing this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival at the ADS Mosque in Maitama as she had been doing even before getting into office.”

The president returned to the United Kingdom early last month for a fresh round of treatment.

The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in announcing his departure on his Twitter handle on May 7 had said: “PMB travels tonight for medical follow-up. Length of stay to be determined by London doctors. Govt to function normally under VP.

– Femi Adesina (@FemAdesina) May 7, 2017

In his sermon at yesterday’s lecture, the Chairman of ADS Northern States Council of Missioners, Sheik Muhydeen Ajani Bello asked a state governor and others wishing  Buhari dead to desist from such thought.

He said: “There is a governor going about wishing Buhari dead. Let us ask him: If Buhari dies, is he going to replace him?

“We need not wish our leaders dead. If we keep talking like this, it is not good. By the grace of God, the President will return very soon.”

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative Lasun Yusuf who also spoke at the event, singled out two of the achievements of the President.

He said: “The coming of President Buhari into power has succeeded in bringing sanity to our governance. If that is the only thing he has achieved, he has done well.

“When you mention Buhari, no matter how intelligent or crooked you are, you will shiver.

“Secondly, the President has also shown that government can be run in an open and transparent manner.”

He said Nigeria can get out of the economic woods through “long term investment with back up innovations.”

In his address, the National Vice President of ADS, Alhaji Ibrahim Adebayo Yusuf urged Muslims in leadership positions to protect public trust despite the economic recession.

He said:  “Public trust has two meanings-a general meaning and specific meaning-but we must jealously protect it.

“The general meaning has to do with all commands and prohibitions of Islam while specific meaning is everything that every individual is obliged to take care of, uphold, and fulfil, including protecting the rights of others.

“Let me as an individual say that, Allah in Quran 23:08 has admonished all believers to faithfully observe trust and covenants. Upholding trust in Islam is a virtue whether public or private.

“It is public knowledge that among the best virtues of our noble Prophet Muhammed are honesty integrity and upholding trust and covenants in his public and private life. So, as Muslims, we  have a good example to follow.”

Published in Business and Economy

Prof Ango Abdullahi, a former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, is the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum (NEF). In this interview, Abdullahi speaks on the two years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the agitation by some Igbo elements for the Biafra state, among other issues of national importance.

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is two years. What is your take?
My take is the Nigerian take. You are the people who move around to speak to Nigerians to find out if things have changed in the way that Nigerians had hoped before they cast their last vote for the current leadership in the country. But, to me, personally, life has not changed for me and my family; maybe I was out looking out for anything other than the hope for peace and tranquility to prevail in the country. So, on that score, I will say that, perhaps, the country is a little bit more peaceful now in the sense that the insurgency has been reduced, even if not completely removed.

On the other hand, I receive visitors, young people who come in asking to be assisted to secure jobs and so on and so forth. They know that something is not totally correct with the economy; two major indicators, our naira has been decimated, to me, to nothing because, at my age having seen one Naira exchanged for one dollar and forty cents and to now put together 300+ Naira officially for me to get one dollar something is basically not right there. And until, I have always made this very clear, we can do something about this foreign exchange rate- and for-a country that produces nothing, it has to buy everything, we are going to have a hard drive, if we are able to drive at all, to recover. It is going to be near impossible to recover with this exchange rate, it is a major problem.

But the Minister of Finance spoke a few days ago, saying Nigeria is recovering. She should tell us how we are recovering. Check your pocket if we are recovering, check your soup pot if we are recovering, check everything in terms of cost; how are we recovering?

If the government must change gear, what must the government do now?
It is going to be difficult for this government or any government for that matter because these decisions as they affect the economy require an approach which is not orthodox.

Take for example, Donald Trump, who only recently assumed office as the President of the United States of America, said ‘America first, America second, America third, employ America by America’ and so on and so forth. This is what every country now has to do. This is a policy to protect America, annunciation by the leader of the capitalist world, protecting the American economy and the American people and this is the kind of courage that African leaders require to get up and say ‘my country first, my country second, my country third’. This is what happened to quite a number of countries: The Chinese did the same, they disappeared for some time and now they have resurfaced as one of the leaders of the world because they protected themselves, they protected their country.

In Africa today, there are only two or three countries that are going in that direction: Rwanda, Zimbabwe and the same thing perhaps to some extent Uganda. But the rest of the countries (in Africa) are just appendages of colonial mentality and Nigeria is one of them. Nigeria is an appendage of colonial mentality and that is why we have not moved, 60years; Nigeria cannot produce 4,000megawatts of electricity that is not big enough for a village in Europe, for about 200million people. Something is wrong basically.

Is the problem with the people in power?
The problem is with all of us. One major conference that is required is a conference on attitudinal change by Nigerians, particularly those of us the elite.

Who should organize that?
Nigerians who worry about Nigeria. I attended four constitutional conferences in the last 20years but where are we? Our paper work, well-written and so on, but nothing on ground. And when you look at it very carefully, it is we the elite and that is why I keep talking about the elite being responsible for what is happening to Nigeria and they have to do something about it.

2019 is about two years away, but some people are already talking about it. What shape should it take?
The shape that Nigerians want it to take because if Nigerians are complaining that things are not going well for Nigeria and, by implication, things are not going well for Nigerians, 2019 means an opportunity for them to ‘shine their eyes well’ well and look for leadership because the problem, in my view in this country, had always been poor and inept leadership, particularly after our fathers politicians of the First Republic) have gone. Each time I speak, I give very high credit to our founding fathers, they did extremely well with very little. In their hands, the country had no means of getting huge resources except from our agricultural products, yet these people did what they did; infrastructure, tell me what infrastructure has been added seriously on top of what they have done? The railway, the ports, the airports and so on, just tell me; in spite of the billions of naira that is coming or that is supposed to be coming into the Nigerian coffers, what has happened?

At what point did President Muhammadu Buhari get it wrong?
I gave a number of interviews on the man; good man, no doubt, but he got it wrong because he got the wrong team, that is it. Not one single person to run the country, you need competent hands everywhere to get it going.

Did he consult with people like you before he made his appointments?
No, no. But if there had been sufficient guidance through consultations, a lot of the initial mistakes about the take-off could not have been avoided It is better to say that the team he has chosen to deal with the socio-economic challenges of this country was not quite well chosen and I think what happened was that the choice of the team was driven more by political patronage than really looking at the competence of people that will come and help the President and the government to run a more efficient system of administration.

How should the Federal Government respond to the renewed Biafra agitation?
Well, we should be mindful of the fact that the renewed agitation cannot be detached from the politics of Nigeria. It is not new and not different from normal politicking that has been taking place in Nigeria since independence.

Politics? Why lump the agitation with politics?
Biafra agitation arose from the Nigerian political process. It came from a power struggle in the First Republic, which culminated in the assassination of the First Republic leaders and the subsequent emergence of Ojukwu. Incidentally, it was Ojukwu, who suspected that the Igbo were being attacked whereas it was the Igbo who attacked Nigeria.

Attacked Nigeria? Is this revisionism or what? They were the ones being attacked in the North and they had to flee…
(Cuts in) It should be noted that Ojukwu, assisted by Igbo intellectuals, thought they should pocket the rest of Nigeria. Thus, the so-called Biafra agitation is rooted in the 1966 coup and I want to say that if people are still asking for Biafra almost 50 years after the civil war, then it is necessary for us to sit down and ask ourselves how we want the nation to be. That’s exactly what the Igbos are asking for – let’s sit down and discuss but it seems that is not falling on good ears? In dealing with the renewed Biafran agitation, the Federal Government should adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution relating to the rule of law. Accordingly, the Federal Government should be firm in dealing with any individual or group trying to create problems for the rest of Nigeria under any guise.

Published in Politics
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