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SERAP to Archbishop of Canterbury: Tell Buhari to obey court orders, release Sowore, Bakare

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Portal Welby, urging him to use his good offices and leadership and his “friendship with President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on him to obey court orders most recently involving activists Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare who remain in arbitrary detention despite a court order for their release.”

SERAP expressed

“serious concerns about the disturbing trends by state governments and federal government to use the court as a tool to suppress citizens’ human rights.”

In the letter dated 11 November 2019 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “We believe you can use your leadership position and influence to persuade President Buhari to promote the rule of law in words and in action by obeying all court orders including the order for the releasing of Mr Sowore and Mr Bakare from arbitrary detention.”

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SERAP also said,

“As the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, we believe you can reaffirm your belief in justice, rule of law and the basic human rights of all people by speaking out with a strong voice against the repeated disobedience of court orders and the implicitly lack of respect by the government for the integrity and authority of the Nigerian judiciary.”

The letter read in part:

“Taking a stance on the issues of the rule of law and respect for court orders in Nigeria will also contribute to ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law by the 36 state governments in Nigeria, as these governments seem to be taking their cue from the federal authorities regarding disobedience of court orders.”

“Journalist and activist Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare are facing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari, simply for exercising their human rights. Mr Sowore, was arrested on August 3 by Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) for planning a protest.”

“Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted Sowore and Bakare bail but the security agents have continued to refuse to release them despite being served with the court orders. This refusal implicitly violates the defendants’ constitutional rights to presumption of innocence.”

“We therefore respectfully call on you to speak out on the repeated disobedience of court orders by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and urge him to obey all court orders including the orders for the release of Mr Sowore and Mr Bakare from arbitrary detention.”

Specifically, SERAP asked Most Revd Justin Portal Welby to:

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• Clearly and publicly condemn lack of respect for the rule of law and court orders in Nigeria

• Call for the release of Mr Sowore and Mr Bakare from detention as ordered by the court

• Call for greater legal protections for human rights activists and journalists in Nigeria who are simply exercising their right to freedom of expression and working to hold their leaders to account.

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Calm down and you’ll see Buhari’s achievements, Adesina tells Nigerians

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Femi Adesina

In a new article shared on Friday titled, ‘Why We Need to Calm Down’ Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, says Nigerians will only see the achievements of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) if they “calm down.”

The President’s spokesman made several references to a viral video showing a little boy Oreofeoluwa Babalola, pleading with his mum not to beat him but rather calm down.

He said like the little boy pleaded in the video, Nigerians need to calm down and stop being so grouchy and angry about the problems plaguing the nation.

Adesina wrote:

“But if the truth the told, that message from the boy is for the entire country. We need to calm down. We are too uptight, nervy, edgy. We grumble, murmur too much, call the government a lot of names, try to demonise those serving the nation, when it could be ‘our last chance; last chance in the world’ to really fix things.

“If you listen to some people; angry youths, religious leaders, political analysts, newspaper columnists, news reviewers, so-called activists, then nothing positive is happening in the country. It is all about insurgency, banditry, killings, joblessness, corruption, lack and deprivation. True? False!”

The President’s aide said the things many complain about are not peculiar to Nigeria.

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He said Nigerians would only see good things if they calmed down.

Adesina wrote:

“Those things are there, as they are also in many countries of the world. But they are not the only things happening in Nigeria. Only that we would not see the positive things except we calmed down. We would never enjoy the rainfall, if we expect rainstorm to carry away our rooftop at any moment. Calm down. I’m just telling you to be ‘calming’ down.”

He said Nigerians love to murmur, curse and cavil.

The President’s spokesman said Nigerians rail against God, against man, against government, even against themselves and also indulge in hate speech, concoct and spread fake news.

“And it blinds our eyes. It blocks the light from our eyes, and we cannot see. We never see good even when it surrounds us. We focus only on negative narratives,” Adesina stated.

He said last Sunday, a retired Group Captain, Sadeeq Garba (Retd), said the killings in the country were sad and regrettable, but things were not as completely negative as some people and interest groups would want to make them seem.

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Quoting what he called reliable statistics from the Centre for Research in the United States, the retired officer gave these figures of the evil development from 2011, in number of total killings as thus: 2011 (1096 deaths), 2012 (3761), 2013 (7167), 2014-(15,600) 2016 (4618), 2017 (5763), 2018 (6565), 2019 (8350) and 2020 was 6195 deaths as of June.

Adesina said the figures showed that killings under the current government were less than the previous one.

“But why do some people want to make it appear as if we hadn’t passed through worse times in this country? Forget about who was in power as President. It is not about individuals now, it is about the descent of a country into the Hobbesian state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish and short,” he said.

“Killings dropped from 15,600 in 2014 to 4,618 in 2016 but not one positive word simply because their eyes are blinded by negative thoughts and sentiments. And they now need to calm down. Rather than upbraid, our security agencies should be challenged and encouraged to rediscover what they did in 2016,” Adesina added.

He said if Nigerians called down, they would we see massive infrastructural developments like roads, rail, airports and bridges.

“We will see the things that pertain to the peace of our country if we would just calm down. As the young boy said, “this is my last chance; last chance in the world,” Adesina said.

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Happenings in Edo threat to constitutional order – Atiku

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Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says the unfolding political developments in Edo are a threat to constitutional order.

Abubakar, in his verified tweeter handle on Thursday, urged the forces behind the developments to reign in their proxies, and abide by the rule of law to allow the people elect who they wanted to govern them.

“Nigeria has been on the edge due to the brinkmanship of those charged with the constitutional leadership.

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“We must, as a nation, not escalate the already tense atmosphere in our polity.

“What is happening in Edo is a threat to constitutional order nationwide.

“I strongly urge belligerent forces to reign in their proxies, and abide by the rule of law.

“As I have previously said, without the rule of law, there will be no rule at all.

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The current goings-on portend grave danger, not only to law and order in that state, but to the coming Edo elections.

“The people of Edo should be allowed to choose who they wish to govern them, and that choice is to be made on Sept. 19.

“Pending then, everything legally possible must be done to preserve the status quo,” Atiku said
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Gov Ikpeazu calls for Federal Secretariat in Abia

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Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government to establish a Federal Secretariat in the state to promote sustainable development.
Ikpeazu made the appeal while receiving Mr. Henry Ogbulogu, the Commissioner, representing Abia in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) in Umuahia.
He said that the initiative would facilitate effective implementation of the Federal Character principles in the state, and as well promote sustainable development.
Ikpeazu said: “The mere absence of a Federal Secretariat shows that Abia can hardly boast of any federal presence.
“Also, there is nothing to show that Abia is an oil-producing state because companies that drill oil here have their secretariats in Rivers. Their staff live and pay taxes in Rivers.
“Similarly, a good proportion of the gas supplied to the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) comes from Abia, and we started making our contributions to the nation’s economy over 60 years ago.
“I urge you to join us in the clarion call to the Federal Government, that Abia is ripe for a Federal Secretariat,” Ikpeazu said.
The governor directed the state Ministries and parastatal Agencies to provide the commission with the information required to enable it to do its job.
Ikpeazu noted that the state government was poised to give its support to the commission for it to achieve success in its programs in Abia.
Earlier, Ogbulogu said that the commission has the mandate to monitor the state’s compliance with the guidelines for “employment provision associated with economic activities”.
He expressed the commission’s readiness to collaborate with the state government to achieve effective implementation of federal character principles in Abia.
“I appeal to the state government to compel all ministries and parastatal agencies in Abia to avail the commission with a nominal role to enable the commission to do its monthly reports,” Ogbulogu said
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