Falana Demands “Unconditional” Release Of El-Zakzaky From DSS

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has petitioned the State Security Service demanding the “unconditional release” of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the detained leader of the Shi-ite sect, and his wife, Zeenat.

Mr. El-Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December last year, after a violent clash between members of his sect and the Nigerian army.

In a letter to the Director-General of the SSS, Mr. Falana demanded their release from “illegal detention” within 24 hours.

“Even though our clients have not been told that they breached any law, they have been denied access to their lawyers, personal physicians, and family members for over three months,” Mr. Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, said in the letter dated April 5.

“Our clients were only permitted to meet with us last Friday after several requests made by us had been turned down without any legal basis.”

On December 12, last year, armed soldiers clashed with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria at Zaria, Kaduna.

The next day, the soldiers returned to unleash more violence on the sect members.

More than 300 members were believed to to have been killed in the attack, which the army initially described as an attempt to assassinate Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff.

The military later released an edited video showing angry youth, armed with sticks and cutlasses, arguing with some army officers over the right of way for Mr. Buratai’s convoy.

Human Rights Watch described the killing as a “terrible carnage” and “unjustifiable.”

In the aftermath of the incident, the Kaduna State government set up a Judicial C‎ommission of Enquiry, but members of the sect boycotted the sittings in protest of their leader’s continued detention.

Mr. Falana said the “murderers and vandals” were later joined by officials of the Kaduna State government who demolished the sect’s buildings with bulldozers.

“Although our clients were not at the scene of the attack, the rampaging troops invaded their residence at Wali Street, Zaria, on December 14,” Mr. Falana said.

“The troops set the building ablaze and killed three of our clients’ children in their presence and thereby subjected them to untold mental agony.

“Thereafter, the armed soldiers shot our clients several times. As a result of the brutal attack, Sheikh Zakzaky lost his left eye while doctors are currently battling to save the right one.

“To compound the physical pain and mental anguish that our clients were subjected to in the circumstance, the Nigeria Police Force and State Security Service have held them incommunicado for the past three and half months.”

Mr. Falana said a similar incident in 2014 resulted in a detachment of the Nigerian Army killing three of Mr. El-Zakzaky’s children.

“The report of the fact-finding Commission of Enquiry set up by the government has not seen the light of day,” he said.

Kaduna Version Of O’Meals Creates 72,000 Jobs

A total of 72, 000 jobs have been created under the Kaduna State Government’s School Feeding Programme introduced in January, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Shehu Adamu, has said.

Adamu told newsmen on Monday in Kaduna that the programme would not only enhance the nutritional needs of pupils, but also empower the people and enhance their livelihood.

According to him, 18, 000 food vendors were employed across the state, who in turn hired about three additional hands each, amounting to 72, 000 jobs created under the scheme.

The commissioner said the school feeding programme has increased economic activities in the state, with over N311 million injected into the economy every week as payment to the vendors.

“What people see is the food being served to the pupils, but the programme goes beyond just feeding the child.

“Yes the child will stay healthy because the meal will increase his nutrition and enhance his immunity for healthy living.

“It improves parents saving margin as it takes away their burden of providing a meal to the child, improve enrolment and retention,“ he said.

He assured that the administration had put in measures to sustain the feeding programme for the remaining years of its tenure.

The commissioner advised critics of the programme to focus on its positive values, rather than sentiment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai inaugurated the one-meal per day feeding programme in January for 1.8 million pupils in over 4,000 primary schools in the state.

NAN

“I Don’t Slap People”, El-rufai Responds To Rumours Of Altercation With His Deputy

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on Tuesday night said that he never slapped his deputy, Barnabas Bala, whom he described as a friend of 40 years.

El-Rufai made the clarification in Kaduna while reacting to an alleged fight between him and his deputy.

The friendship of the governor and Bala dated back to their undergraduate days at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where the former graduated with a first-class degree in Quantity Survey while the latter bagged a first-class degree in Architecture.

El-Rufai said he had known his deputy since 1976 at the university and that there was no grouse between them.

The governor and his deputy were said to be at loggerheads over the plan by the governor to sack top civil servants in the state.

However, el-Rufai, in an interactive session with some journalists in Kaduna, simply laughed over the allegations, saying that the rumour mongers were not intelligent enough.

He said, “I have known Bala since 1976. I never had an argument with him; I respect his opinions and each time I travelled out of the country, I made him the acting governor. He signs documents on my behalf.

“We chair executive council meetings together. We operate like partners, and now people want to create enmity between us. I am of age, I can’t descend so low. This rumour is completely false; it is created to cause division. We never discussed the retrenchment of workers in the state as claimed by the rumour mongers.

“I have never slapped anyone in my life. I have never argued with Bala. I don’t slap people, I fight people with my mouth.”

Army Offers N1m For Intel On Abducted Officer

Following the abduction of Colonel Samaila Inusa by unknown gunmen, the Nigeria Army on Monday promised a cash reward of N1m for anyone with useful information that could lead to his rescue.

The spokesman of the First Division of the Nigerian Army, Col Usman Abdul, disclosed the cash donation while speaking with newsmen on Monday.

Abdul on behalf of the army pledged adequate protection to anyone with useful information, adding that such tip-off would be treated with utmost confidentiality.

We recall that Col Inusa was on Saturday night abducted by unknown gunmen along Kaduna Refinery Road, in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State.

The Army which had earlier promised a N500,000 cash reward for anyone with useful information raised the reward to N1m on Monday.

Labour Protest 11 Months Salary Arrears In Kaduna

Organised labour, yesterday, crippled government activities Kaduna State as civil servants at the state and local government levels abandoned their duty posts to attend a rally organized by labour to protest perceived anti-workers policies of Governor Nasir El-Rufai-led All Progressives Congress, APC, government.

This came as labour threatened a nationwide industrial action should the governor fail to rescind his alleged anti-workers’ policies in the next seven days.

Vanguard reports that aggrieved workers, who thronged the secretariat of the Kaduna State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, from all parts of the state, with several placards bearing various inscriptions, chanted anti-El-Rufai’s songs and called the governor unprintable names, regretting voting for him.

Though armed policemen waited in trucks outside the secretariat, men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, frisked anyone going through the gates for weapons, the rally was peaceful.

Addressing the angry workers under the scorching sun, factional President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba said both leaders of NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, had met and resolved that the governor must among others, within the next seven days pay the workers their 11 months’ salary arrears, or a nationwide industrial action would be declared.

Other decisions by NLC and TUC included that “All workers of Kaduna State should fill the verification form and indicate whether to join labour or opt out. But, you should make a copy of that form and keep it with your union officials for the records. We believe that the governor wants to rig the process and announce that most workers had indicated that they don’t want to join any trade union. With that, he can abrogate unionism here and deal with you badly. So, keep a copy with your union officials. In the next seven days, if El-Rufai does not pay workers their sixth to ninth months’ salary arrears, pay compensation to the victims of his verification exercises, the following will happen – We are going to mobilise all workers in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and other trade unions outside the public service to stop work for a day in solidarity with Kaduna State workers.

“If the governor refuses to heed to these demands, we are going to move to Kaduna – All workers from 36 states of the Nigeria and from their LGAs. We are going to occupy Kaduna with our colleagues, market man and women, artisans and artistes, Bank Workers, Construction workers, drivers’ unions and everyone that is sympathetic to organise labour.”

Eagles Struggling In Kaduna Heat – Siasia

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has admitted the hot weather in Kaduna is affecting some of his players, but praised the commitment of the team ahead of Friday’s AFCON showdown against Egypt.

Siasia took his first training at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna Tuesday evening for the double-header AFCON qualifiers with the first leg slated for Kaduna on Friday, before the return leg is played on Tuesday in Alexandria.

“You could still figure out that some of them were fighting to survive the not-too-friendly weather despite being cooler than the Abuja weather,” Siasia said.

“But I am happy with the commitment level of the players. You could see that they really want to fight for their fatherland and they tried to put in all they have in the training.”

Kick-off of the match has now been moved by an hour to 5pm local time.

The coach also confirmed that Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi, who suffered from food poisoning in camp in Abuja, has recovered fully and will be involved in today’s training in Kaduna.
“Alex had a light training with the team’s physiotherapist and he moved well on the pitch. He is okay and would be involved in today’s only training session,” Siasia disclosed.

Kaduna, Kebbi, Dangote To Acquire Peugeot Automobile Nigeria

Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has partnered the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Kaduna and Kebbi State Governments to acquire a majority stake in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited.

This disclosure was made by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, at the launch of the BoI Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES).

“We have submitted bids for the car maker … with Aliko Dangote on board together with BoI, Kebbi and Kaduna States… We are confident our bid will sail through,” reported Reuters on Thursday.

Peugeot is a joint venture between ASD Motors and the French automaker, with a long history in Nigeria, the anticipated hub of automotive assembling on the Africa continent.

El-Rufai said Kaduna and Kebbi, along with BoI and Dangote, had submitted bids for the stake which the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is looking to sell.

Peugeot Nigeria assembly plant located in Kaduna State has Peugeot Citroen PEUP.PA as its technical partner “with a capacity to assemble 240 cars a day”.

Though conceived in 1969, Peugeot found its roots in Nigeria only two years later, after winning a bid during the Yakubu Gowon-led government.

In November 2006, PAN was privatised in line with government’s agenda to build a stronger, more competitive and diversified economy.

ASD Motors emerged as the successful core investor and took over the management of the company in January 2007, with a 54.78 per cent stake, making Sani Dauda CEO of both ASD Motors and Peugeot Nigeria.

The expectation was that the privatisation of PAN would create a quantum leap in performance, but that has not happened, the company confirmed.

“Following the accumulation of huge non-performing loans (NPL) indebtedness to banks, in October 2012, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) acquired the debts of the company and converted a portion to equity to help restructure the firm,” Peugeot had said.

The planned acquisition is expected to revamp the presence of the company in Africa’s largest economy.

But as news of the bid for Peugeot Nigeria broke yesterday, a new report by Nielsen, a US-based global and information measurement company, showed that Africa’s largest economy was no longer the top investment destination on the continent. In its place, Cote d’Ivoire has risen to the top of the rankings.

According to Nielsen, Cote d’Ivoire has been buoyed by a fast growing economy and a lengthy period of political stability highlighted by successful elections last year to become the prime destination for investments in Africa.

However, that status could now be affected following a recent attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM).

Having been ranked as the top investment destination at the start of 2015, Nigeria has now fallen to fourth on the rankings in Africa.

The ominous slide fits the narrative of Nigeria’s slowing economic growth amid a global slump in commodity prices, the report said. Oil in particular, Nigeria’s main export and revenue source, has been badly hit.

According to the research firm, Nigeria’s slide was “driven primarily by deteriorating macro-economic indicators”. It also added that “consumer indicators and overall confidence levels” have also dipped.

A recent capital importation report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also confirmed the Nielsen report.

Last year, Nigeria’s recorded total inflow of capital into the economy stood at $9.6 billion —a 53 per cent drop from the previous year and the lowest recorded total since 2011.

While incidental economic factors have largely contributed to Nigeria’s floundering economy, the country’s government has also come in for criticism for not managing the crisis effectively.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the economy has been questioned with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) instituting strict monetary controls in response to commodity prices and a currency slide.

These controls, which inevitably strained citizens and hardly had the desired effect, have been described as unorthodox.

As Buhari closes in on his first year in office, many Nigerians will be hoping that in his second year, the focus will be on triggering an economic rebound in Africa’s biggest economy following slowed growth.

Unlike Osun Omeals, Kaduna Pupils Desert Schools After Eating Free Meals

The Kaduna State Government has deplore the habit of primary school pupils in the state who desert the classrooms immediately after being served free meals.

The state’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Shehu Adamu, told newsmen in Kaduna that the pupils desert their schools under the guise of going to drink water.

The Commissioner stressed that the programme was introduced to encourage school enrollment, attendance and retention, adding that the government was disturbed by the situation.

While expressing concern over the desertion of schools by the pupils after taking the free meals, Adamu appealed to parents to ensure that children remain in school after taking their meals, so as not to jeopardise the programme.

Adamu said that parents must also ensure that no child returned home until closing hours, “otherwise the aim would be defeated.”

“Therefore, parents have a responsibility of ensuring that the children do not only come to school on time, but remain in school till closing hours.

“The main goal of the school feeding programme is to attract out-of-school children to school and keep them in class for them to acquire education and better their lives.

“We will not allow a situation where children will just come to school and leave the moment they finished eating their meals; if it is about water, we have already asked parents to provide water for their children.”

On the delay in paying vendors supplying food under the programme, he said they had been directed to open account with Heritage Bank through which they would be getting their payments.

The Commissioner said the bank officials would screen and capture all the vendors in their respective local government areas.

Revoke Your Religion Restriction Bill Or Die, Apostle Sulieman Curses Elrufai

President of Omega Fire Ministries, OFM, Apostle Johnson Suleiman has cursed the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir Elrufai over a proposed bill which seeks to restrict religious freedom in the state.

In a widely circulated video on the social media, the fiery prophet who predicted the death of recently deceased Minister, Barrister James Ocholi, who died along the Kadna-Abuja expressway, instructed Mallam Nasir Elrufai to withdraw the proposed bill before the Kaduna State House of Assembly or face imminent death.

The bill is directing that pastors and churches must be licenced to preach.

The bill titled: “A bill for a law to substitute the Kaduna State religious preaching law, 1984.

“It is also aimed at banning the usage of loudspeaker for religious purposes, other than inside a Mosques or Church and the surrounding areas outside the stipulated prayer times (8:00pm).”

Government wanted the Assembly to enact the law that will stop the playing or circulating of, “all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers other than inside one’s house, porch, Church, Mosques and other designated place of worship.”

Watch Video of Prophet Sulieman cursing governor Elrufai below:

The bill seeks to ban sales or playing of any cassette containing “religious recordings in which abusive language is used against any person or religious organisation or religious leaders (past or present).”

The bill, if passed into law, will prohibit sales of religious books, usage of abusive and derogatory terms in describing any religion. The bill proposes that any person found guilty of preaching without a valid licence and other offences under the law “shall be liable to two years in prison or pay a fine of N200, 000.”

The Apostle, commenting on the bill, said it is not applicable in Nigeria, hence, will not be enacted.

He said, “They will appoint their own who will make it hard for the church but easy for the mosque. When it comes to the mosque, they give them a very good area but when it comes to the church, they gives bad areas. We are not trouble makers. Don’t trouble us.

“I want to warn the Governor of Kaduna state. I have read on papers many times how he abused Jesus. I have read many things and Christians came after him, he said they are joking, nothing can happen.

“We have become men of God before you became Governor.

“I am talking to the Kaduna Governor. Listen, I am not against sanitizing the state but if you say people should get license for preaching, it is not applicable in Nigeria.

“Even a herbalist does not get license for practicing herbalism. Why not tell witches that they need licence to fly?

“When you say license for preaching, you are standing against the Constitution that says freedom of worship. I have no problem, we can test powers now. There are certain laws that cannot happen in this country, not when Nigeria is under God.”

He asked the Governor to stay off his plan, “unless you want your cabinet to reduce; people may just sleep without waking up,” he added.

“If need be over this matter, heaven will intervene.

“I am saying this to the Executive Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, revoke this law or die!”

Pastor Threatens El-rufai Over Religious Bill

President of Omega Fire Ministries, OFM, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, has rained curses on Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, over a bill aimed at substituting the Kaduna State religious preaching law if passed into law. The bill is directing that pastors and churches must be licenced to preach.

The Senior Pastor of OFM, in a video being circulated on the social media, warned the governor to “revoke your law or die!”

Recently, Governor El-Rufai reportedly sent a bill to the State House of Assembly to regulate religious preaching across the state.

The bill titled: “A bill for a law to substitute the Kaduna State religious preaching law, 1984.

“It is also aimed at banning the usage of loudspeaker for religious purposes, other than inside a Mosques or Church and the surrounding areas outside the stipulated prayer times (8:00pm).”

Government wanted the Assembly to enact the law that will stop the playing or circulating of, “all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers other than inside one’s house, porch, Church, Mosques and other designated place of worship.”

The bill seeks to ban sales or playing of any cassette containing “religious recordings in which abusive language is used against any person or religious organisation or religious leaders (past or present).”

The bill, if passed into law, will prohibit sales of religious books, usage of abusive and derogatory terms in describing any religion. The bill proposes that any person found guilty of preaching without a valid licence and other offences under the law “shall be liable to two years in prison or pay a fine of N200, 000.”

The Apostle, commenting on the bill, said it is not applicable in Nigeria, hence, will not be enacted.

He said, “They will appoint their own who will make it hard for the church but easy for the mosque. When it comes to the mosque, they give them a very good area but when it comes to the church, they gives bad areas. We are not trouble makers. Don’t trouble us.

“I want to warn the Governor of Kaduna state. I have read on papers many times how he abused Jesus. I have read many things and Christians came after him, he said they are joking, nothing can happen.

“We have become men of God before you became Governor.

“I am talking to the Kaduna Governor. Listen, I am not against sanitizing the state but if you say people should get license for preaching, it is not applicable in Nigeria.

“Even a herbalist does not get license for practicing herbalism. Why not tell witches that they need licence to fly?

“When you say license for preaching, you are standing against the Constitution that says freedom of worship. I have no problem, we can test powers now. There are certain laws that cannot happen in this country, not when Nigeria is under God.”

He asked the Governor to stay off his plan, “unless you want your cabinet to reduce; people may just sleep without waking up,” he added.

“If need be over this matter, heaven will intervene.

“I am saying this to the Executive Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, revoke this law or die!”

An Appeal To Reconsider The Planned Demolition Of Gbagyi Villa By Kaduna State Government

By Sunny Eze

Shelter is an important component of human existence, comfort and survival. From time immemorial, the essence of life is completely lost without a desirable roof over peoples’ heads. That was why, Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, in his world acclaimed Hierarchy of Needs strategically placed SHELTER, food, water, sleep, warmth and sex,  second to none in the importance of human needs in its first stage model. Today, Nigeria cannot be said to have met the housing needs of her citizens. The former Managing Director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Gimba Ya’u Kumo had disclosed that over 68 million Nigerians are either homeless or improperly housed.  The ministry of housing had also revealed that Nigeria needs a minimum of 56 trillion to bridge the yawning gap of more than 17 million housing deficit for citizens. Consequently, the need for the people of Kaduna state to have good roof over their heads prompted the administration of late Patrick Yakowa to approve the development of Gbagyi Villa: a new community behind the Sabon Tasha Campus of Kaduna Polytechnic.

At the time of Yakowa’s administration, contentious issues of the real owners of the land arose between the Indigenous People of Gbagyi and Kaduna Polytechnic. The latter claimed the entire land belongs to them. The prompt intervention of the late governor Yakowa and the court brought relative peace to the new settlement leading the Polytechnic to fence its own parcel of land. With the issues permanently laid to rest, many were encouraged to return to site. Recently, rumours begun making the rounds that the government of Mallam El-Rufai will demolish the Villa. It was said that in every rumour, there is an element of truth. True to that assertion, Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA) had a few days ago given the inhabitants of Gbagyi Villa twenty-one (21) days’ demolition notice to vacate their abodes or risk demolition of their houses at a cost they will ironically bear.

The Demolition Notice reads: the board has noticed with dismay that you have illegally embarked on developing a structure at the above mentioned plot without obtaining planning permission from the agency. This action of yours is a contravention of section 26 and 27 of KASUPDA law. In view of the above, you are hereby given Twenty-One (21) days with effect from the above date, within which to remove all structures so erected. Failure to comply with the above directives, the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency would have no option than to demolish the illegal structure at your expense, in accordance with section (48)(2) of the aforementioned laws, please.

Government may wish to know that very many residents have got their building planning permission before embarking on construction. One thing left in the opinion of this piece is for KASUPDA to cross-check their files to determine those who have crossed the hurdle and give a time line for others who are yet to comply to quickly tow the path of honour.  Since the news broke out, life has not been the same in Gbagyi Villa. Some residents have died of hypertension while many are presently bed- ridden in hospitals. The current harsh realities of life are already telling on all of us and the news of demolishing ones house is akin to pushing one to early grave. Gbagyi Villa is a residential area hosting various strata of the society ranging from indigenes to non-indigenes, businessmen, retired and serving public servants alike.  Some people took bank loans with huge interest rates and collateral to build these houses. Others did with their retirement benefits and hard earned life savings. And for the reality of demolition of one’s house to stare one in the face is worrisome. It was Elephant which says that it lacks the courage to pull down houses because; it takes toll on peoples’ energy, money and time to construct one. If ordinary animal could understand the underlining trouble one passes through to build, and attach value to it, human beings too should.

This piece is a passionate appeal to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State; Mallam Nasir El- Rufai’s to prevail on KASUPDA to reconsider the planned demolition of Gbagyi Villa in the interest of peace and harmony. It is well understood that government want to restore the beauty of Kaduna and bring sanity in the way land businesses are done. However, the decision to destroy a whole community for failure to get building plan permission amounts to killing an ordinary fly with a sledge hammer. The solution to this problem does not lie within the law barring its fangs but in the consideration of untold hardship the exercise will expose thousands of families to. The letter which was signed by the General Manager, KASUPDA, Tpl. Saratu M. Haruna, explicitly stated that residents do not have plan permission. Suffice it to say that what is expected of all is to do the needful and everything possible to get one. In fact demolishing these houses for only contravening the law of not obtaining building plan permission cannot be said to be commensurate with the threat and grave consequences of pulling down these houses. The government is graciously appealed to, to tamper justice with mercy.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs affirms that we must satisfy each need in turn starting with the first which deals with the most obvious need for survival itself.  It is only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with higher order needs of influence and personal development. If things that satisfy our lower needs are swept away, we are no longer concerned about the maintenance of our higher needs. The government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is called to note that actualisation of goals of government are tied to that of the lower needs of the governed which should work in pari-passu for even development.  Residents of Gbagyi Villa are law abiding people who would not want to interfere with the laws of the state for no one can fight the government and ignorantly doing so amounts to shooting ones foot. The people are ready and willing to cooperate with government in resolving all the grey areas. Being punitive in this case will not serve the people and the government they elected any good. Sai Mallam!

Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Communications Specialist wrote via [email protected]