Tag Archives: leaders

Nigeria: Sultan of Sokoto trash Islamic leaders over misconduct.

The Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, expressed anger over the attitude of some Muslim clerics for misleading their followers over the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the country.

The sultan, who is also the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria, was particularly sad that some Muslim clerics were going against measures put in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 across the land.

He condemned the attitudes of the clerics, warning that the coronavirus was real and that adequate precautionary measures must be adhered to.

The leader of Izalatu Islamic sect in Plateau State, Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir, had in a preaching told his followers that there was nothing like the deadly coronavirus ravaging the world.

Jingir had said it was a western conspiracy to stop Muslims from performing their religious rites, noting that the virus was a lie.

The sect leader had stated this during a sermon on an Izala TV, monitored in Kaduna penultimate Tuesday.

Apart from that, two Islamic clerics were caught while conducting the Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in the Kaduna North Local Government of the state.

This was despite the curfew imposed on the state by the Kaduna State Government to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

The Sultan chastised the Muslim clerics, urging them to desist from misleading the Muslim community on the deadly virus.

The Sultan described the attitude of some of the Islamic clerics as unfortunate and myopic.

He noted that it was sheer ignorance for any Islamic cleric to claim there was nothing like coronavirus currently ravaging the entire world.

The Sultan, who spoke through the JNI Secretary General, Dr Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, in a statement, also warned that the Muslim ummah (community) must never allow a repeat of what happened in Italy in Nigeria.

The statement read in part, “Jama’atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, JNI, is once again saddened with the recent unfortunate developments of misleading the Muslim Ummah (Community) by some sections of ‘Ulama (preachers) over the coronavirus prevalence.

“We must as an Ummah avoid a repeat of the current trend in Italy, which was partly due to non-adherence to expert advice over the pandemic. Allah, the most wise says “…So ask those who know if you know not” Q16:43. Therefore, we should all bear in mind that knowledge is an amanah (trust) and must be safeguarded and delivered as such, thus the need for this statement.

“One may not be wrong to conclude that the action of some of the ‘Ulama clearly depicts sheer whims and caprices of their myopic worldview, stark ignorance of reality based on genuine knowledge and medical scholarship.

“It is, however, regrettable that as the negative actions of such preachers incite innocent Muslims, who are unaware of the serious health implications of adhering to such empty dispositions that invariably endanger humanity. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the issue of plague and/or pandemic is not new throughout human history, either at various times or places, the Muslim world inclusive.

“It is thus sheer monumental ignorance to falsely claim that the pandemic of the coronavirus does not exist and that it is a lie and a shadow of a ghost. Such lamentable utterances leave much to be desired by any scholar that is worth being called a scholar. Moreover, the matter is a documented fact whose medical precedents have been set in curbing its tide in human history.

“Therefore, the current position of government is not a new standpoint to curtail the spread of the infection. Rather, new methods of mitigating it and nipping it in the bud emerged in this contemporary world we live in, as a result of scholarly findings.”


Operation Amotekun, helpful to s’west, s’east, others – Tanko

Elder Statesman, Tanko Yakasai, has said that the Southwest security network, code-named, ‘Operation Amotekun’, is a private army in the making. The founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum, in this interview with VINCENT KALU, urged the Yoruba to drop the security outfit and embrace the federal government’s initiative on national security. He warned that the idea is capable of encouraging the secession agenda of some elements in the Southwest, Southeast and South- South geo-political areas of the country. He equally warned Amotekun operatives and those promoting them not to dare the nation’s security forces

Fifty years after the civil war, are you satisfied with the level of unity that has been achieved so far?

No, exactly, no. I believe we have made progress, but we are not there yet.

Then, how do we get there?

If the government is not performing; not this government alone, but all the governments, it becomes a serious problem. The money that is supposed to be used for development is siphoned, so very little is left for actual development. So, people are not seeing anything different. Secondly, people are not engaged, as they are suffering from unemployment. We neglected power sector that would help us industrialise thereby creating job opportunities. We are not even doing agriculture that can easily mobilise millions of Nigerians through employment and job creation simultaneously.

If everybody is busy, we would not be debating about trivial issues, and nobody will be thinking of activities that would be secession in nature, but you have them now, particularly, if you look at the IPOB, which is an attempt to revive secession in the Southeast, I know they cannot succeed, but we shouldn’t have that at all in our country.

There are some indications even in the Southwest and in the South-South, although promoters of those ideas are not the movers and shakers; they can’t win local government elections either as councillor or as chairman, talk less of as a member of state Assembly or National Assembly, or as governor or president.

However, anybody can start trouble, it doesn’t require a very important person or the man with a majority support to start trouble, that is why I said there are still manifestations of disunity in the country.

Like you said, there are still manifestations of disunity, some people also argue that the events that led to the civil war are still building up, how do we avert this?

The events are building up. In my observation, in this country, people see danger but they are afraid to speak out for one reason or the other, and they would not speak out until it is too late for anybody to intervene; I don’t see people rising up to their responsibility in this matter.

The media is not helping matters; a nonentity would be turned to a very important person by the media, when in actual sense, he is a paper tiger. Media overblows trivial issues, which gives the wrong impression in the country.

Everybody is in fear about this trend of disunity of this country, but those talking about it are the insignificant people in the society. Like I said, anybody can start trouble and nobody can know how to quell it; but the media has to be alive to its responsibility of promoting national unity in averting disaster in the country.

Still talking about the events that led to the civil war, some people insist that a section of the country as the rider and the others the horse. What do you say to this?

I know what you are talking about, it is unfortunate, and I’m having some concerns about that. People are talking about the ways the present government goes about making appointments in the country, and many people expressed concern.

I’m a Northerner, full-blooded Northerner – my parents; my grandparents were from the North. There are so many thousands and millions of Northerners who are also committed to national unity. There is an Hausa proverb, I don’t know its equivalent in English – one piece of beans can spoil entire pot of beans, I just translate literally; if the government or the presidency has vacancies for ten people and for whatever reason he filled nine with Hausa – Fulani Muslim Northerners and gave one to the entire Southern Nigeria, including Christian Northerners, there is no doubt that people would not be seeing things going the wrong way, I’m seeing it also.

But you should also see the other positive side. For instance, you have Nigerians, who are Northerners going about their business in the South, some trading, some working as night watchmen, some even going begging, yet they are free, nobody is disturbing them; nobody is killing them, and also you find a lot of Southerners going about their business across the entire country. Take the instance of the magnitude of the Igbo man that goes about his business all over without let or hindrance over the country. These are the important aspects that people tend to ignore. Life is about survival, if people are free to go all over the country in search of means of livelihood unmolested, it is very good side and we have had it before. We had people going from the south to the north and from north to the south, but not to the magnitude they are doing it now. It should be noted and taken into consideration.

What is you position on the Southwest security network, Amotekun?

There are security challenges all over the country; it is not a matter that concerns the Southwest alone. It is in the Southeast, South-South, North Central, Northwest and Northeast, all over, killings, kidnappings, armed robberies, etc. These are not limited to a particular area, they are all over the place, nobody would doubt or dispute this.

The way the Southwest is approaching the issue is wrong; many times a wrong approach can kill a very good project. The wrong approach was to give it ethnic dimension.

Southwest has something positive and something negative. Something positive in the sense that they have no problem in understanding because all of them are one people; they speak the same language, they are either Muslim or Christian, they know how to relate with one another without discrimination. This is not the case with all the other geo-political zones. No geo-political zone is like that, yes, I know, people would say southeast, yes, obviously, they are Igbo, they are almost the same like Southeast.

This Amotekun is a private army in the making. A country like Nigeria that has experienced secessionist movement, and an attempt at secession, there is no doubt that so many lives of people of Nigeria from both sides were lost in that process, then Nigerians will be jittery; any patriotic Nigerian will begin to open his eyes wider seeing this kind of thing happening.

Since the problem is nationwide, a nationwide approach should make everybody happy.

The president has set up a committee with the Inspector General of Police to look into the problem of insecurity in the country holistically and give a recommendation that would enable the federal government on its own or maybe either in collaboration with state or local government to deal with the issue based on the recommendation that it considers appropriate.

I will prefer that approach, but I don’t accept the approach by the Southwest for simple reason that if you allow the Southwest to set up a semi-military outfit, particularly a security outfit that allow its personnel to carry guns, it doesn’t matter whether you call it Dane guns; gun is gun and nobody can assure that these Dane guns will not one day turn into proper or sophisticated guns, and you are not sure that if you give somebody a Dane gun, he will not one day go somewhere and drop it and pick a proper gun.

To that extent, I think the approach from the Southwest was wrong; it didn’t take into consideration the sensitivity of the government and people of Nigeria.

So, you are in support of the position by the federal government?

I’m in support of the initiative by the federal government. Southwest, Southeast, South-South, Northwest, Northeast and North Central should await the outcome of that exercise and get themselves keyed into it so that there will be synergy in tackling the problem of insecurity in Nigeria. It is a very big issue that can be addressed through synergy.

That Amotekun can be ordinary word in Yoruba, but it can have so many meanings; why can’t they adopt a term that can be understood by everybody?

It seems only the core Northerners are opposed to Amotekun because the Southeast, the South-South and the Middle Belt are in support of it. Why?

I’m too old in this game to be bamboozled. Somebody cannot go and call a meeting of two or three persons from each zone and say, Southeast, South- South and Middle Belt said this or that. In any case, why would the meeting not include Northeast, Northwest?

Why adopting Gideon Orkar’s solution to Nigerian problem? Those people who are talking, I know them, for the past five years they have been calling meetings. This Middle Belt is non-constitutional, non-legal and can never be defined administratively, legally or constitutionally. It is slogan by politicians to win votes; it has no basis.

What do they mean by Middle Belt, they mean North Central, which is made up of six states. Out of these six states, only two are predominantly Christians, even one is 70/30 per cent of Christian/Muslim, the other is 90 per cent Christians and 10 per cent Muslims.

You cannot define a state or an area or administrative unit in a country along that line. In a multi cultural society like Nigeria, you cannot define administrative division in terms of ethnicity or religion.

The South-South has jumped into the fray of 2023 presidency. The leaders within the week said, it is the turn of the region to produce the president. What is your take on this?

Jonathan was elected president and he ran for four years. Under normal circumstances, I would have no quarrel with their aspiration; I would have liked also to see them have the presidency for eight years as the Yoruba did, so that the issue of rotation and zoning will be entrenched into our system; the Yoruba have done two terms, so that they can come and complete their two terms, and then it will go to the north and when it returns, the Southeast would have theirs.

I said it in 2015, that if the country elects Buhari, it would take about 20 years for Igbo in Southeast to produce the president, I said it, but nobody took it seriously. South-South is now talking, they should have said that they have started and have done one term and so should be allowed to complete it.

Now, they are talking about it, before then, Southeast has been talking about it. Whichever is the case, I would accept it.

Two things: Somebody can dash you money – Naira, kobo. Nobody will be a millionaire without working for it; nobody will give you power, you need to look for power, work for it; it cannot be gotten just on a platter of gold.

So, the Southeast should also begin to warm into the Nigerian nation to begin to look for people they can win to support their aspiration, so also is South-South. There is only one way of doing it by mobilising support from other parts of the country. As a matter of principle, I don’t quarrel with any of them.

The Southwest seems irrevocably committed to Amotekun, where will this lead?

Will that be a declaration of the intent to fight the authorities? You know that there is abject poverty in this country. People are looking for where to get money. Anybody can gather people to demonstrate on his behalf in Nigeria, so I’m not carried away about the demonstration in support of Amotekun. People can go to disturb peace if they want; people can distribute money to unemployed youths to begin to make trouble all over the country.

Even the political parties don’t have membership today, people who joined them and paid money to be registered as members, so people you see in the streets demonstrating for whatever reason, somebody must have mobilised them. It is not something people do out of their volition. Don’t be surprised if you see people demonstrating for Amotekun, but they should not dare the security forces.


Operation Amotekun: Yoruba leaders blast Tinubu for not speaking up

Pa Ayo Adebanjo says Tinubu will never become the president of Nigeria, adding that Buhari is only deceiving him.

Yoruba elders have come for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for keeping mum over Operation Amotekun, a security outfit established by his region’s governors.

On Saturday, January 18, 2020, Afenifere chieftains Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Senator Femi Okurounmu, lambasted Tinubu, who is seen as a political leader in the South-West for refusing to comment on the security initiative.

The South-West Security Network code-named Operation Amotekun was launched by the region’s governors on Thursday, January 9,2020, and almost immediately after the launch, the Federal Government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami declared it illegal.

Leaders of interest groups in the north have also condemned the establishment of Operation Amotekun as regional security outfit for the South-western part of the country.

While the Federal Government has expressed its opposition for the initiative, Yoruba elders have voiced their support for Amotekun, but Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state is yet to say anything on the issue.

Reacting to Tinubu’s silence on the security outfit, 91-year-old Adebanjo in an interview with Punch tackled the politician for forming an alliance with the North.

“It was the likes of Tinubu that told us that the South-West would enjoy many privileges but what has the South-West benefitted from the alliance? He shouldn’t have forged an alliance with them in the first place, he said.

Adebanjo further said, Tinubu will never become the president of the country. He added that the APC leader has been keeping mum over Amotekun because he is being deceived with a presidential ticket.

“He asked the Yoruba people to vote for him (Buhari) and that things would be better. Now that they are being slaughtered and they don’t want us to have our security, you are keeping quiet all because you are being deceived that you will become the President which you will never be.

“I have continued to tell him that they are just deceiving him and he is deceiving himself. Which promise has Buhari made and fulfilled? In 2015, he said he would be a born again democrat but does he even obey court orders?”

The Afenifere Chieftain also said that the Federal Government had not right to discount Operation Amotekun when it had failed to provide adequate security for the region.

He recalled that since Pa Fasoranti’s daughter, Mrs Olufunke Olakunrin was murdered on Friday, May 12, 2019, there has been no single arrest.

“I have always told you that the Yoruba people know who their real leaders are. The problems that the Yoruba people are facing today were caused by men like Tinubu. If they had not gone to forge an alliance with Buhari, we wouldn’t be in this problem.

“I told them then that Buhari was only after power. If not, how is it that they neither want to protect us nor allow us to protect ourselves? Why is the North allowed to have security agencies while we are not allowed to protect ourselves against armed persons?

“The police refuse to do anything because of the President’s body language. How could they have killed the daughter of our leader (Pa Reuben Fasoranti) and there has been no single arrest?

Also reacting to Tinubu’s silence on Amotekun, former senator, Femi Okurounmu said the politician has been exposed for who he is.

He said, “Tinubu doesn’t need to be prompted before speaking. We have all been speaking on the matter. Their silence is ominous. This thing was launched by the governors, not Afenifere. And such initiatives should be supported by all Yoruba people.

“Yoruba people are not idiots, we are not fools. If he doesn’t talk now, then we will know how to describe him. Nobody needs to tell us what he is. Nobody needs to call him anything. Even the illiterate man knows what he is.

“If the ordinary man on the street is in support of Amotekun, if all Yoruba people say this is what they want and he is refusing to talk, then his silence has exposed him for what he is. His silence speaks loudly.”

Also, in an interview with Punch, the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide said Tinubu being a leader in the ruling party is expected to speak up on an issue affecting his people and region.

Olajide said, “The Federal Government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, is challenging the legality of our entrenched constitutional right to protect our lives and property. I expect our political leader (Tinubu) to be in the forefront of rebuking whoever authored the statement. We see him as a leader and we expect him to say something.”

Meanwhile, Tinubu’s Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman has said that the APC Chieftain would speak at the appropriate time.

He said, “You know he is a deeply reflective person and a deep thinker. I know that at the appropriate time he would speak on the matter. What time is appropriate is his prerogative in my view. And I think we must all grant him that indulgence.”


WEF @ 50: Celebrities, Leaders, Economists, Others Arrive Davos

World leaders, Chief Executives, Economists, and Celebrities would on Tuesday converged in the Swiss mountain town of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting.

This year, as the WEF marks its 50th anniversary, participants would address the prospects for trade and global economic growth.

As well as the future of multilateralism and the geopolitical order which is faced by challenges.

The main themes for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 include how to reduce the long-term debt burden and keep the economy working at a pace that allows for greater inclusion, and how to create a global consensus on deployment of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and avoid a “technology war.”

Meanwhile, climate campaigner Greta Thunberg — who will be attending the Forum would demand that business and political leaders halt investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, end fossil fuel subsidies and divest from fossil fuels.

Thunberg at a rally on Friday warned those in power: “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

Some economists said the theme for this year’s meeting “stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world” — reflects the number of chief executives who have pledged to start paying as much attention to employees, customers and the environment as to their shareholders.

Nigeria would be represented by some Ministers and top government functionaries.

WEF establishes in 1971 is a non-profit international organization that seeks to promote Public-Private Cooperation


Leaders Gather In Germany To Seek Elusive Libya Peace

World leaders gather in Berlin on Sunday to make a fresh push for peace in Libya, in a desperate bid to stop the conflict-wracked nation from turning into a “second Syria”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will be joined by the presidents of Russia, Turkey and France and other world leaders for talks from around 2:00 pm (1300 GMT) held under the auspices of the United Nations.

The summit’s main goal is to get foreign powers wielding influence in the region to stop interfering in the war — be it through weapons, troops or financing.

Leaders of both warring factions — strongman Khalifa Haftar and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj — are also expected at what is the first such gathering since 2018.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Istanbul for Berlin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the summit could be “an important step on the way to cementing the ceasefire and a political solution” in Libya.

But pro-Haftar forces upped the ante ahead of the talks by blocking oil exports at Libya’s key ports, crippling the country’s main income source in protest at Turkey’s decision to send troops to shore up Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

The move underlined the devastating impact of foreign influence in the crisis.

“Libya needs all foreign interference to stop,” the United Nations’ special envoy Ghassan Salame said.

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar (2ndR) is surrounded by security personnel as he gets out of his car upon his arrival at his hotel in Berlin on January 18, 2020, on the eve of a peace conference on Libya to be held at the Chancellery.

The UN hopes all sides will sign up to a plan to refrain from interference, and commit to a truce that leads to a lasting end to hostilities, according to a draft of a final communique seen.

That document also urges all parties to re-commit to a much-violated UN arms embargo and raises the prospect of intra-Libyan political talks in Geneva at the end of the month.

If all goes to plan, the Berlin participants will hold an evening press conference.

But the summit has already ruffled feathers, with several countries in the region fuming at being left out, including Greece, Morocco, and Tunisia.

‘Second Syria’
Libya has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Most recently, Sarraj’s troops in Tripoli have been under attack since April from Haftar’s forces.

Clashes killed more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters and displaced tens of thousands, until a fragile ceasefire backed by both Ankara and Moscow was put in place on January 12.

At follow-up talks in Moscow, Sarraj agreed to a permanent truce but Hafter walked away without signing the deal.

Although Sarraj’s government is recognised by the UN, powerful players have broken away to stand behind Haftar — turning a domestic conflict into what is essentially a proxy war in which international powers jostle to secure their own interests.

Alarm grew internationally after Erdogan ordered troops to Libya early January to bolster Sarraj.

Underlining the stakes involved, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “we have to make sure Libya doesn’t become a second Syria.”

Sarraj meanwhile issued a call for international “protection troops” if Haftar were to keep up his offensive.

“Such a protection force must operate under the auspices of the United Nations. Experts will have to advise who should participate, such as the EU or the African Union or the Arab League”, he told Die Welt newspaper on Sunday.

He also criticised the EU, saying it had not been proactive enough on Libya.

“Unfortunately the role of the EU so far has been very modest… even though some EU countries have a special relationship with Libya, we are neighbours and have many interests in common,” he said.

Lip service?
Erdogan has repeatedly urged Europe to stand united behind Sarraj’s government, warning that Tripoli’s fall could allow jihadist groups like the Islamic State or Al-Qaeda to regroup.

He has also warned that further unrest could prompt a new wave of migrants to head for Europe.

For Turkey, a fall of Sarraj’s GNA could jeopardise a maritime boundary agreement the parties signed. It gives Ankara extensive rights over the eastern Mediterranean where the recent discovery of undersea gas reserves has triggered a scramble by littoral states.

But Haftar is backed by Turkey’s fiercest regional rivals — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Erdogan has also accused Russia of sending in mercenaries to help Haftar, as Moscow seeks to extend its influence in the region.

The International Crisis Group’s Libya expert Claudia Gazzini said the Berlin conference “could be a modest step forward” on the path to peace.

“Yet the risk remains that some participants will merely pay lip service to the diplomatic initiative, even as they continue to fuel a war from which they benefit.”


Igbo nation’s spiritual leaders reveal why ihedioha was sacked

Spiritual leader of the Igbo nation, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, has attributed the Supreme Court judgement against immediate past governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha to his vindictive disposition, N.Rs learnt.

He said he foresaw the gods reacting against him for demolishing structures and edifices dedicated to gods of the land before the Supreme Court judgement.

Ihedioha of the People Democratic Party was on Tuesday sacked by the Supreme Court, which declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress(APC) winner of the 2019 governroship election.

Reacting to the judgement on Wednesday, Ezeonwuka, a Board of Trustees member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said he earlier raised the alarm over his (Ihedioha’s) apparent vindictive actions against his predecessor.

He said: “Ihedioha came and concentrated on demolition of structures and edifices put in place by former Governor Rochas Okorocha and the gods reacted.

“I warned that the demolition exercise will bring bad omen to the Ihedioha administration and I raised the alarm that he has to retrace his steps and focus on his own agenda.

“I said this the day I condemned the demolition of a mosque at Trans Amadi in Port Harcourt by Governor Nyesom Wike.

“I condemned the demolition along with what Ihedioha was doing in Imo State because as a spiritual leader, I know they have incurred the wrath of the gods.

“You cannot demolish a structure or edifice dedicated to a deity or to a legacy of man loved by the gods of the land and expect the spirit of the gods to keep quiet. They will fight back, and they have fought back.”

Immediate past Governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha

Ezeonwuka said he would continue to advise Ndigbo on laws and rules of the gods, culture and tradition of the fore fathers to prevent them from incurring the wrath of gods.

“As a spiritual leader of the Igbo nation, I’m under the obligation of using spiritai means to address the challenges facing Ndigbo and I won’t relent in doing just that to the best of my ability,” he added.