BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Shiite Muslim leader Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife detained for murder since 2015 in Nigeria have on Wednesday been discharged, lawyers said.
The prominent cleric has been at loggerheads with the secular authorities for years because of his calls for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in Nigeria, where Shiites make up a small minority.
Zakzaky, his wife Zeenah Ibrahim, and 200 of their followers were arrested in a violent crackdown in the northern city of Zaria.
A court in 2016 ordered the couple be released but the authorities ignored the demand and filed charges against the cleric including the murder of a soldier.
"None of the 15 prosecution witnesses proved they committed the offence," lawyer Sadau Garba told AFP after Wednesday's hearing, adding that the couple had been acquitted and "regained their freedom today."
Lead prosecutor Dari Bayero confirmed that the pair had been freed but said the state was planning to appeal.
"The court ruled that none of the witnesses we presented in court gave convincing proof that the duo was guilty," Bayero said.
"This doesn't mean they can't be re-arraigned... we are certainly going to file charges against the duo at appeal."
"This judgment has not only vindicated them and all members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution by the Nigerian government."
BBNaija Shine Ya Eye stars Boma and Maria have shared their first kiss in the House.
The kiss between the seeming love interests has been recorded as the first in Shine Ya Eyes edition.
Although not a romantic one, the lip-lock happened while the Housemates were testing their acting skills during the task preparation.
Boma was seated on a chair when Maria went to kiss him playfully.
Boma, a professional actor, who has featured in a Hollywood production, was the first housemate to step into the BBNaija Shine Ya Eye edition on Saturday, July 24, 2021.
Justice Gideon Kurada of Kaduna High Court has discharged and acquited leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shi’ites, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat.
The IMN leader and his wife stood trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, among other criminal charges since December 2015, following a clash between his followers and convoy of the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai in Zaria.
The court had fixed July 28 for ruling in the no-case submission filed by Zakzaky.
Justice Gideon Kurada had fixed the date after the prosecution and counsel to the defendants addressed the court on the no-case submission prayer
Briefing journalists after the secret trial, counsel to Zakzaky, Marshal Abubakar, said the court upheld their no-case submission and agreed the case lacks merit.
Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, formerly called The Latter Rain Assembly Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has dared an unidentified official of the Federal Government to come after him based on his recent public pronouncements.
Speaking on Sunday during a sermon in his church, Bakare said: “I dare you to come after me since that is the usual style now. You might have done it to others; you are about to learn a lesson if you touch me.”
He added: “If you know what I have done in secret, bring it to the open. I dare you to come after me if you can. I worked with you; I worked for you; I supported you to get there (where you are). When I talk now, I now have a smelly mouth.
“I’m not interested in meeting you any longer; no more visits. Now, it is war, because Nigeria must be set free.”
He also berated the Federal Government for clamping down on leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho.
Rather than work towards justice, he accused the Federal Government of using intimidation and brutality.
Bakare, who was running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011, recalled how he backed the unnamed top official to his current position.
Addressing the official, Bakare added: “Have you forgotten that you vowed never to contest again. I said ‘not so’. I showed you how you can win the next election and you agreed to run and you won. I was not considering myself but concerned about how Nigeria can become great.
“Winning an election is a different thing; doing the right thing is another. No one must behave as if Nigeria is a personal property. Nigeria must be set free and any obstruction along the way must be removed; it must get out of the way.”
He told Nigerians to be prepared for baton of change, recalling how he pronounced the late Gen Sani Abacha’s days numbered during his reign of terror.
“I don’t support any act of violence, taking up arms against the country and killing people. Those are in the realm of criminality and anybody doing that must be brought to book,” Bakare stated to a rousing round of prayers and declarations.
By Saxone Akhaine, Abdulganiyu Alabi (Kaduna) Ahmadu Baba Idris (Birnin Kebbi)/ GUARDIAN.NG
Muslim group urges FG to address insecurity
Twenty-eight students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna regained freedom from kidnappers on Saturday night, as negotiation by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other stakeholders for the release of the remaining 87 continued with the armed bandits.
A woman and her children that were kidnapped from Kachia were also freed by the bandits the same night.
The 28 students were brought to the Bethel school premises to reunite with their parents. The students had been with bandits for 20 days.
Kaduna CAN Chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said yesterday: “Twenty-eight of the Bethel Baptist School Students were released to us on Saturday night. Before now, six of them were released, making 34 of them that have been released. We have 87 of them that are still with the bandits. We are trusting God that something will be done and we will have a way out of the problem.”
Hayab, who was silent on the issue of ransom said: “We will not deny or confirm that ransom was paid. This is because their parents were involved. Let me explain to you why we don’t want to go into that. We still have 87 with them there. If we start talking about it, it will jeopardise our negotiation.”
BUT the President of Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji, said the convention did not pay ransom to secure the release of the student, as Baptists don’t believe in ransom payment to evil-doers.
The Convention is the umbrella body for Baptist congregations in the country.
Akanji said this after handing over the released children to their parents who thronged the school premises to pick their children.
“What we said when we came originally was that we, as a church, do not believe in ransom payment and we will not pay any ransom because it is not right to pay people who have done what is wrong in order for release the children,” he said when asked whether ransom was paid to secure the students’ release.
“The kidnappers did not just release the 28 students; they also released one woman and her children that were kidnapped from Kachia. We asked our driver to take her in a bus to Kachia, her village; so that we can attend to the students.”
THE Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has called on the Federal Government to urgently find lasting solution to the issue of kidnapping and related vices in the country.
In a statement in Birnin Kebbi yesterday by the National President of MSSN, Shehu Abubakar, stressed the need for federal and state governments to intensify efforts towards ensuring that life and property were protected.
“The ultimate responsibility of every government is to maintain peace in the society. The rate of crime is alarming,” he added.
BBNaija season 6 housemate WhiteMoney has disclosed he is not a Casanova.
The bearded contestant made this revelation during his first diary with Biggie.
According to a 29-year-old man, he does not know how to seduce women but women come to him.
“I don’t know how to approach a woman,” WhiteMoney said.
Continuing he said, “They come to me because I have few of the things they like.”
Twenty-six-year-old fashion entrepreneur Peace has emerged the first Head of the BBNaija Shine Ya Eye edition House.
Peace emerged after all the Housemates gathered at the arena for the ‘Head of House’ game on the first official day of the game.
As requested by Biggie, Peace chose Yousef to be her deputy.
It was a game of dice rolling and boxes with instructions to determine the first HoH in the BBNaija Lockdown edition.
All the 22 housemates took turns in throwing the dice and participated in the game at the kick-off.
Peace eventually won the game.
With this development, Peace heads the House into the first week’s task and activities.
Earlier in their first official day in the BBNaija house, Biggie reminded the 22 Housemates that they’re in competition with the launch of the first Head of House challenge in the season.
Biggie gave unrestricted visits from housemates to the Head of House lounge but no sleeping over.
As usual, the Head of House (HoH) title comes with some extra privileges. Peace gets to sit on the throne-like HoH chair, gets information directly from Big Brother and reads out the day’s task to the other housemates.
In the previous editions, Heads of House would get a tastefully designed room to themselves.
This privilege was one of the reasons the HoH challenge is usually hotly contested for.
The 2021 edition of the BBNaija reality TV show officially kicked off on Saturday, July 24 at exactly 7:30pm.
The host of the show, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu announced the theme of the 2021 edition of the show is Shine Ya Eye.
Already, two housemates have been ushered into the revamped BBNaija house after the first part of the double launch show kicked off.
Boma made history as the first Housemate to step into the revamped BBNaija House.
Saga was ushered in as the second Housemate while Yousef followed as the third Housemate.
Before the Housemates were ushered in, Ebuka took viewers on a journey of the revamped House, which had an expansive Head of the House room, an executive lounge, games room as well as other areas.
The sixth season of Africa’s biggest reality Television show, Big Brother Naija, premiered on Saturday night.
The unveiling/opening ceremony of the show kicked-off around 7:30pm, starting behind schedule due to technical issues.
Unlike the previous seasons, the sixth season will feature a special double launch show tonight and tomorrow respectively.
According to the host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, this year’s season is tagged “Shine Ya Eye”.
Big Brother would be introducing a lot of twists and surprises to the show this year.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on Saturday, has provided a brief update on the status of the club’s contract negotiations with Paul Pogba.
Ongoings on the red half of Manchester have of course taken centre stage in the media of late.
This comes as Solskjaer and co. go about building a squad capable of mounting a sustained challenge for the Premier League title over the season to come.
Thus far, the most high-profile arrival at Old Trafford has come in the form of Jadon Sancho, after the Red Devils finally struck a deal with Borussia Dortmund worth a feeÂ believed to be in the region of 73 million pounds.
The board at the Theatre of Dreams, though, look far from ready to rest on their laurels.
As such, it goes without saying that things are looking up at Old Trafford ahead of the 2021/22 campaign getting underway.
Continuous speculation surrounding the future of key midfielder Paul Pogba has therefore come as something of a surprise.
Recent weeks have seen media reports push the narrative that the World Cup winner is leaning away from putting pen to paper on a new United contract, despite the club finally beginning to build a squad around him which looks capable of challenging for major honours.
The current favourites to land Pogba, meanwhile, come in the form of big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.
Despite having already added the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi to the club’s ranks this summer, it has been suggested that the French giants remain keen to lure Pogba back to his home country.
On Saturday, however, one particular section of the PSG faithful have made crystal clear their feelings regarding the possibility of the United star joining the club.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Saturday berated Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for counting the Niger Delta out of Biafra.
The outlawed group dismissed Clark as a general without foot soldiers and therefore lacked authority to speak for the people of the zone.
The Ijaw leader had declared earlier in the week that the Niger Delta could not be part of Biafra, saying: “How can Delta be part of Biafra? In what way? Is Biafra older than or bigger than Delta?”
He added: “How can Rivers State or Akwa Ibom become part of Biafra? They are dreaming thinking about the eastern region of those days. They are very unrealistic boys. To me, IPOB is not pursuing the right thing.”
But responding yesterday, IPOB spokesman Emma Powerful said Clark’s statement was appalling.
He wondered whether Clark knew “that those who own Biafra are those he referred to as South-South or Niger Delta as the case may be.
He said: “How suddenly Edwin Clark has forgotten that it was an Izon man who brought the name ‘Biafra’ to the table for approval which Ojukwu and his Eastern Consultative Assembly approved without hesitation or debate?
“Edwin Clark should know that IPOB, led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, did not force any clan to join Biafra. But if his community, clan and tribe refuses to join Biafra through referendum at the right time, they should not blame anybody for their fate in Nigeria.
“By the time Biafra will exit Nigeria through a referendum, any clan in the so-called Niger Delta that refuses to be liberated from the Nigerian bondage should get ready to serve the Fulani as slaves forever.
“We, however, know that Edwin Clark is not speaking for millions of Niger Delta youths, men and women earnestly yearning for their liberation from the Nigerian bondage.
“He is only speaking for his Fulani slave masters, but very soon he will discover that he is a general without foot soldiers.”
Clark had queried: “How can Delta be part of Biafra? In what way? Is Biafra older than or bigger than Delta?”
“How can Rivers State or Akwa Ibom become part of Biafra? They are dreaming thinking about the eastern region of those days. They are very unrealistic boys. To me, IPOB is not pursuing the right thing.
“When this war was fought, I told the IPOB leader he was not born at the time. I’ve never met him, but I have challenged him and he has also challenged me that I was the slave of the north – that was how he branded me.
“I told him he has a good fight, that the people of the East are being neglected. They have only five states, whereas other regions have six. One, in fact, has seven. Based on what? Nobody knows.
“For every appointment that is being made in this country, the Igbo are shortchanged. If they are distributing universities per state, they will have five. South-south and Southwest will have six, Northwest will have seven, but the Igbo formed the third leg of this country when it was created.
“So, they have a good complaint, but not the way they are going about it.”
Meanwhile, the treason trial of Nnamdi Kanu is resuming on Monday July 26, his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said yesterday.
Ejiofor in a tweet said: “We have just received confirmation from the Federal High Court Abuja that the hearing on Our Client’s case above referred will still go on as earlier scheduled on Monday next week being the 26th Day of July 2021.
“Remember Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the entire Legal team in your prayers. Thank you all and remain blessed.@EjioforBar”
Kanu is currently being tried by Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society.
However, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said the charges will be amended.
“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions,” Malami told reporters in Abuja.
Kanu, he added, instigated “violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, paramilitary, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authority.”
The IPOB leader was recently rearrested in Kenya and sent back home after jumping bail in the country.