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COVID-19: Osinbajo, Soyinka clash on lockdown in Nigeria. [Must Read]

… Osinbajo says criticism of presidential order pointless

… ICPC warns corrupt persons to steer clear of funds

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disagreed with Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and others who have questioned the legality of the presidential order restricting movement in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States.

Lawyers like Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Femi Falana also faulted the lockdown , following the announcement on Sunday. Osinbajo, however, maintained that the move by President Muhammadu Buhari is important and backed by extant laws.

“I am not so sure some of the people who have commented on the issue have come across the Quarantine Act. There is a Quarantine Act of 1926. It’s been published in all of the Laws of Nigeria, every edition of the Laws of Nigeria, it is there.”

Referring specifically to the part of the legislation that empowers the president to order restrictions to movement in any part the country, Osinbajo said: “What the Act does is that it allows the president to designate any local area, any part of the country, as a place that may be infected or under the threat of a communicable disease. He can then make regulations of any kind.

“For instance, he can say people should not go out; no public gatherings etc. So, it is a regulation that gives the president powers, and these powers come from the National Assembly because, of course, it is an Act of the National Assembly.”

The vice president made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while responding to questions at the Google Hangout programme organised by HACK COVID-19 Call Centre, a private sector initiative supporting Nigeria’s battle against the pandemic.

The worst development I can conceive is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of the Corona pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis. This is a time for Unity of Purpose, not nitpicking dissensions. So, before this becomes a habit, a question: does President Buhari have the powers to close down state borders? We want clear answers. We are not in a war emergency – Soyinka

“The president has extensive powers under the Quarantine Act of 1926. Also, governors have extensive powers under the same Quarantine Act,” Osinbajo said.

He urged individuals and groups to peruse the legislation, to understand the provisions therein, noting: “It is barely a one-page legislation, so it is not particularly difficult to find the relevant provisions, and it is not particularly difficult to read, very straightforward. So, the president has all the powers.”

He further said confronting the pandemic was an effort requiring the cooperation of all Nigerians.“We must see this as a joint effort. Everyone is involved in this. It really is an all-Nigeria effort and I am happy that everyone is responding,” he said.

Asked how the administration was supporting the most vulnerable during the restriction to movement, Osinbajo said Buhari had established the Economic Sustainability Committee, “which he has asked me to chair.”

He said the committee would take care of the economic challenges and fallouts of the pandemic in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States. He also said the committee would develop further palliatives, and a sustainability plan to reposition the economy and grow the non-oil sector.

He added: “Part of the work of the Economic Sustainability Committee is to look at some of the concerns that affect the poor, especially in the context of what has already been done and the data that we already have on informal workers and informal traders, and how to implement some strategy that will be able to alleviate the sufferings of the poor (and the informal workforce) at this time, and integrate some of the data that we have in other respects.”

In his reaction on Monday to the lockdown order by Buhari, Soyinka described it as illegal and unconstitutional.Soyinka, in a statement, said the president did not have the powers to unilaterally lock down a state, as there was no war or emergency.

In the statement titled “Between COVID and Constitutional Encroachment,” Soyinka said “constitutional lawyers and our elected representatives should kindly step into this and educate us, mere lay minds.

I am not so sure some of the people who have commented on the issue have come across the Quarantine Act. There is a Quarantine Act of 1926. It’s been published in all of the Laws of Nigeria, every edition of the Laws of Nigeria, it is there. It is a regulation that gives the president powers, and these powers come from the National Assembly because, of course, it is an Act of the National Assembly – Osinbajo

“The worst development I can conceive is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of the Corona pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis.

“This is a time for Unity of Purpose, not nitpicking dissensions. So, before this becomes a habit, a question: does President Buhari have the powers to close down state borders? We want clear answers. We are not in a war emergency.

“Appropriately focused on measures for the saving lives, and committed to making sacrifices for the preservation of our communities, we should nonetheless remain alert to any encroachment on constitutionally demarcated powers. We need to exercise collective vigilance, and not compromise the future by submitting to interventions that are not backed by law and constitution.”

According to Soyinka, “a president who had been conspicuously AWOL, the Rip van Winkle of Nigerian history, is now alleged to have woken up after a prolonged siesta, and begun to issue orders.

“Who actually instigates these orders anyway? From where do they really emerge? What happens when the orders conflict with state measures, the product of a systematic containment strategy – `including even trial-and-error and hiccups – undertaken without let or leave of the Centre. So far, the anti-COVID-19 measures have proceeded along the rails of decentralised thinking, multilateral collaboration and technical exchanges between states.

“The Centre is obviously part of the entire process, and one expects this to be the norm, even without the epidemic’s frontal assault on the Presidency itself. Indeed, the Centre is expected to drive the overall effort, but in collaboration, with extraordinary budgeting and refurbishing of facilities.”

Soyinka advised: “The universal imperative and urgency of this affliction should not become an opportunistic launch pad for a sneak re-centralisation, no matter how seemingly insignificant its appearance. I urge governors and legislators to be especially watchful. No epidemic is ever cured with constitutional piracy. It only lays down new political viruses for the future.”

The FCT administration, meanwhile, has begun enforcing the restriction to movement. Many streets were deserted. Personnel from the military, police, Civil Defence Corps and Federal Road Safety Commission were seen manning strategic positions around the city centre.

“We will not allow any individual or groups, as a result of their inability to honour this medical advice, to jeopardise the health of many,” warned FCT Minister Mohammed Musa Bello.

But many residents in Kaduna, Kaduna State yesterday defied the 24-hour restriction to movement put in place by Governor Nasir El-Rufai.At the Kawo Market for instance, buyers and sellers moved about freely, while security operatives posted to enforce looked on.

“The curfew has brought hunger and tiredness. We are doing nothing at home. I have come out to sell to the people. People are hungry and as a trader, I don’t have money to feed my family until I sell my goods,” said one Hassan, a tomato trader.
Reacting to the development, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) issued a statement signed by Publicity Secretary Abraham Alberah Catoh, which said: “Realising that hunger is another dangerous disease, the party makes a passionate but strong appeal to the government to effect an intermittent but controlled relaxation of the curfew currently in force, to allow people to either stock or re-stock household needs like foodstuffs, drugs etc.”

Also, to contain the pandemic, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday announced that the 360 members of the chamber had donated two months’ salaries.

“Our contribution will support provisions for the welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers, and other interventions to provide for the wellbeing of all Nigerians through these trying times.

“Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to see to it that all members’ salaries are transferred to the National Relief Fund for this month and the next,” the Speaker said.

This came as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) warned that unscrupulous persons might take advantage of the fight against COVID-19.

“Responding to this or any other emergency or implementation of government policy should not increase integrity deficit or risky behaviour,” spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in Abuja yesterday.

“The noble desire of government to ameliorate the pain of citizens in these difficult times should not be converted to another rue de la corruption. COVID-19 should not be used as excuse for corruption in any sector of the economy.

“This very attitude of greed and impunity is what has consistently undermined positive outcomes from otherwise well thought-out national response programmes and laid-out plans that covered everything except keeping corruption in implementation at bay,” she added.


Wole Soyinka slam Ganduje over Sanusi’s dethronement.

Playwright and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has taken a swipe at Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State over the dethronement of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano.

Soyinka stated that Ganduje’s action is an ”innate travesty of justice, at a par with the repudiated colonial order and synonymous with authoritarianism of the crudest temper.”

Recounting how a governor in Ogun State almost removed a monarch before a friend pleaded with him to give it a second thought, the nobel laureate stated that the Kano State Governor does not have good friends.

Soyinka wrote in his statement;

“I was a participant, albeit on the sidelines, when a similar scenario began to unfold in my own state, Ogun some years ago. The then governor, on account of an imagined slight by one of the monarchs in his domain, was actually poised?—?not virtually but physically?—?poised to sign the dethronement and banishment order on that traditional ruler.

“His office was invaded by some of the panicked chiefs and stalwarts of Ogun state who rushed to ward off the impending order. One of them stopped at my home after the pacification session to narrate what had transpired, and how some of them had actually gone on their knees to plead with that governor to stay action. I was furious. I knew every detail of that affair, had listened to a recording of the speech that was supposed to have given this mighty offence. It was pure piffle!

“‘Why did you people plead with him? Don’t you realise you were making him feel a god? You should have let him carry on, then we would see what a cataclysm he had launched on the state!’

“The man, an independent businessman of absolute integrity, and one of that governor’s intimate circle, smiled and said, ‘No, we couldn’t do that. We are his friends. We were pleading with him to save him from himself.’

“What a pity Ganduje lacked friends who could have saved him from himself! Insofar as one can acknowledge certain valued elements in traditional institutions, the man he thinks he has humiliated has demonstrated that he is one of the greatest reformers even of the feudal order.

“That is beyond question, a position publicly manifested in both act and pronouncements. By contrast, Ganduje’s conduct, apart from the innate travesty of justice in this recent move, is on a par with the repudiated colonial order, one that out-feudalized feudalism itself, and is synonymous with authoritarianism of the crudest temper.

“The record shows, in this particular instance, that it is one that embodies modernised cronyism and alienated pomp and power – never mind the cosmetic gestures such as almajiri reformation. It has proved one of the worst examples of a system that enables even the least deserving to exercise arbitrary, unmerited authority that beggars even the despotism of the most feudalistic traditional arrangements.”

Soyinka who described Sanusi as one of the greatest reformers, recounted how he sanitized the banking sector when he was governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He also disclosed that as an Islamic scholar, Sanusi was also one of the early warning voices against religious extremism.

Recalling a conversation with the dethroned monarch during a recent visit, the playwright added;

“Sanusi had sounded much aware of the impending fall of the axe of vengefulness and power primitivism. I can testify that he remained totally unfazed.

“I do have the feeling that the palace gates of the Kano emirate are not yet definitively slammed against this Islamic scholar, royal scion and seasoned economist. It is just a feeling. Closed and bared, or merely shut however, the doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi.”


Prosecuting Sowore, waste of time – Wole Soyinka tells Buhari

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has described the prosecution of Omoyele Sowore as a waste of time and the nation’s resources.

Soyinka, who spoke during an interview session with Plus TV Africa, also slammed Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, saying he had committed a lot of blunders in his administration.

Speaking on the ongoing prosecution of Sowore by the government for calling for a peaceful protest, he lamented that the government was wasting the nation’s resources to prosecute the case.

He also condemned the bail conditions Sowore was admitted to, which includes his confinement to Abuja even though Sowore had no place of residence in that city.

He said, “I don’t understand why this young man is being barricaded in one city that is not his own with very stringent bail conditions and the whole exercise, this is punitive and petulant.

“The case is time-wasting and person-wasting and also wasting the time of lawyers who could be attending to far more serious cases.

“Definitely, time-wasting and wasting of public expenses and attention on serious issues.”

Soyinka, who was at the court to witness the trial last week, berated the prosecuting team for displaying lack of readiness to get done with the matter.

Wole Soyinka | Omoyele Sowore

He added, “The prosecution was obviously not prepared to move on after this long adjournment and to see the fireworks they have in their stock but we didn’t, I can’t understand this nonsense.”

Soyinka described Buhari as one, who wakes up late to happenings in the country.


Operation Amotekun: Musa shade Tinubu, others

Former governor of Old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, has slammed Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, over the comment he made on his statement about the Western Nigeria Security Network code-named, Operation Amotekun.

He also took on the O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC) leader and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams and described Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as belonging to a government that is showing lack of aptitude to govern Nigeria.

Operation Amotekun was Introduced by the six South West governors to curb kidnapping, banditry and ritual killings that has thrown the region into panic.

Musa had said in an interview with one of The Sun newspaper titles that Operation Amotekun was a ploy by the Yoruba preparatory to the declaration of Oduduwa Republic.

But Soyinka, Adams and Tinubu took exception to the statement. While Tinubu said Amotekun was not a threat to national unity and that “those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion,” Soyinka noted that “raising the spectre of secessionist is a facile approach to the dangerous, self-evident lapses in governance which Balarabe himself acknowledges in his response to the Amotekun principle made flesh.

Adams, on his part, queried the former governor when he became the spokesman of the North, adding that it was on record that Musa is the only former governor in Nigeria who operated a one-man show, has no aide, and has no followers-hip just as he remarked that the Northern oligarchy as represented by Musa were afraid that the existence of Amotekun might jeopardise their conquest agenda.

However, Musa in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun yesterday rose in stout response to the attack on his person?

He said: “The statement of Soyinka and that of Tinubu do not amount to criticism. In fact, we agreed in some areas and we differed in others. The statement of Tinubu, for instance, is just calling attention to the insecurity as seen by Amotekun because Tinubu listed a number of steps that Amotekun should have taken and have not taken. Tinubu has not said anything different from what we have said in a different way.”

When reminded of Tinubu’s statement that Amotekun is not a threat to national unity contrary to his averment, Musa said: “But what do you expect Tinubu to do because Tinubu is part and parcel of this government which is responsible for this incompetence that makes Amotekun look necessary to others. So, what do you expect him to do. How can he say Amotekun is not a threat to national unity when he is part and parcel of the government and part and parcel of the South West elite that are responsible. So you can’t expect the same attitude with mine because he is directly involved.

“I am not surprised about his response but I am saying that people like him and us should work together because we think principally about national unity and I have no doubt about Tinubu’s commitment about national unity even though I have doubt about the commitment of people like Soyinka. I can even identify specific attempts that Tinubu took to bring about national unity since his intervention in real politics at NADECO.

“For Soyinka, all his announcements since he came into the scene particularly during his encounter with the late Bala Usman who was doubting whether he earned his professorship and he was reacting. When regional issues arise, Soyinka has never taken his bias towards, for instance, Yorubaland, Yoruba states and everything Yoruba and not Nigeria. I mean that has been clear.

“The best thing is that let all of us who differ on this Amotekun come together and do what appears to have been done by others. For instance, Tinubu is suggesting something that will make Amotekun a national aspiration. Now, the North Central governments are also thinking of doing the same thing.”

Asked if he was aware that the Arewa youths were in support of Amotekun, he retorted: ”I mean the thing is this: you can say the same thing about the governors of the North Central states but they are not saying they have accepted Amotekun per se. They are saying the regional security formation is essential but in conjunction with the relevant bodies. For instance, they talked about it in consultation with the Attorney General and coming together. They never talked about any tribe or whatever unlike Amotekun that is talking about Yoruba all the time.

When reminded of Adams conquest agenda allegation, Musa quipped: “Forget about Adams. We know his position right from the beginning. As far as he is concerned, it is Yoruba and Yoruba all the time. I don’t even want to comment about what Adams. He is talking about the North fixing a national problem. Why should he be talking about the North?

“He is talking about conquest agenda by the North. You see this nonsense. This is something that lacks intelligence and it shows the attitude of people with intellectual and social indiscipline and articulation. What does Adams know? When did he arrive into the scene to know all these? He arrived when the rot has already started and he started using the rot.”


Amotekun has come to stay! – Ooni of Ife, Soyinka, Akeredolu, Makinde alleged

…Fury grows over Fed Govt’s hammer
…Sagay, Adams, YCE, NANS fault Malami

Angry reactions on Wednesday greeted the Federal Government’s declaration of Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) Operation Amotekun as illegal.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said the power over security exclusively belonged to the Federal Government. He said no part of the federation could “singly or jointly” take security measure.

Malami warned that the law would take its course on any group or association linked with Operation Amotekun.

But on Wednesday, Chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum, Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said his colleagues in the region were prepared to pursue Operation Amotekun to a successful end.

Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states jointly inaugurated the security outfit on January 9 to secure the zone from criminality.

Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) gave the assurance that the Southwest region was committed to checking banditry, kidnapping, farmers and herders clashes, among other forms of criminal activities.

Akeredolu who said “Amotekun is not a para-military outfit,” noted that the introduction of the security outfit is merely to complement the efforts of other security agencies.

Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka chided the Federal Government for its action.

Insisting that the establishment of the security outfit is legal, he urged the Southwest governors to defy the Federal Government.

“Whether they like or not, Amotekun has come to stay, because it is a creation of the people and you cannot deny a people their fundamental right to protect themselves, since government has failed to provide such protection,” Prof Soyinka said while addressing reporters in Lagos.

Soyinka said the current security concerns gave birth to Amotekun. He decried numerous killings of people in the villages across the southwest.

”I refuse to believe that any serious government will condemn the right of a people trying to protect themselves. And now some people who have been sleeping all this time and watching citizens killed, farmers sent away from their land are waking up and telling us this initiative is illegal and unconstitutional. They should go back to sleep.

“This country is sitting on a keg of gun powder implanted by inequality in administration of justice. If President Muhammadu Buhari takes a wrong action on this matter, he will wake up to find that he is the force that tore the country apart. He should stop making excuses,” he said

Soyinka urged the proponents of Amotekun to defy the attorney-general and go ahead with their operation. He challenged the AGF to go to court if he has any objection.

Soyinka added: “I have always believed passionately in self-policing. If it were possible to eliminate any kind of formal policing, I am for it. My preference is always, as much as possible, for community policing.”

He explained further, “This is to show how effective a determined community force can be. Policing the road is not the same thing as going into the forest to confront kidnappers, herdsmen and terrorists, but the policy remains identical.”

Mr. Solomon Asemota, who was a policeman, but now a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), raised concern that Nigeria is operating both the Common Law and the Sharia Law.

He said: “The attorney-general is Sharia compliant. I wrote a 19-page letter to him, which I also made available to the vice president, highlighting some of these things. But he never acknowledged it. I was hoping members of the National Assembly would ask the question when he appeared before them, but they confirmed his appointment.

”There is a conflict in Nigeria between those who believe in democracy and those who decide to use the tenets of their religion to achieve their aim.

”Nigeria is one country with two systems. But I am of the view that the Western states are in order. Either party in this dispute can go do court. Can anyone say the banks do not have a right to hire security guards or that you can’t hire a night watchman to protect your home.”

Asemota added: “Amotekun should not be the only solution. There has to be social action. That is What I am telling the governors that they should move from Amotekun to Arosikun (meaning they should provide food for the people). We must think of ways to feed our people. Hunger is real. Poverty is real and reaching a critical mass. We should start thinking of both Amotekun and Arosikun. “

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyemi Ogunwunsi said the introduction of Amotekun is not to take over the duties of the police or military.

He said the security organisation was established to clamp down on the nefarious activities of insurgents and other security threats in the region.

He said: “The Southwest governors decided to come together to set up Amotekun on complementary basis to support the already established security systems, such as the police and the armed forces, because of existing security realities. The governors, particularly the APC governors, are very close to the Federal Government and are in support of the progress of Nigeria, and the good work of this administration.

“There are some secluded places inside local communities that the armed forces cannot get to. Most breakthroughs in Boko Haram insurgents’ attacks followed results of the tips from the local vigilantes, traditional rulers and district heads.

“They would usually give hints of strange people and movements in their localities. They are the ones furnishing the military with information on where to go during such operations. And this have helped the military to do their job.

“Likewise, Amotekun is established on complementary basis, to give localised intelligent information. And that is the meaning of Amotekun in Yoruba. Like the animal masters its terrain, they have mastered the security intelligence of their terrain.”

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, who spoke to reporters in Abeokuta after a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said: I don’t think the AGF will just wake up and make his own laws.

”He may interpret and advise the President on legal issues but, I haven’t seen anything that gave that power to the AGF to make that declaration.

“You don’t run government on the social media. I am only reading about the Federal Government’s action on Amotekun on the social media like every other person, but If I see a letter or I get a call from the AGF telling me all those things, then it will be a different type of reaction from me.

”If you listen to my speech that day (of the inauguration of Amotekun), I did say that the outfit is complementary to the efforts of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.

”In Oyo State, the government is placed on four major pillars. They are education, health, security and then expansion of our economy through agribusiness.

”So, security is a major pillar for us and we believe that we cannot have any development in an atmosphere that is not secured.”

The Osun State government ruled out confrontation in resolving issues and the tension being generated by the declaration of the security outfit as illegal by the Federal Government.

Commissioner of Information and Civic Orientation Mrs. Funke Egbemode, said Governor Adegboyega Oyetola would join his Southwest colleagues to find a solution to the matter.

She said: “Our governor is measured and determined to protect the people of the state according to the oath which he swore to. He is aware that the state socio-economic prosperity is anchored on security and he is poised not to shirk his responsibility on this. The economic and investment summit the state government recently held is an indication of the governor’s determination and commitment to improve the fortune of the state and to ensure the state is safe, secured and open to investments.”

She said the personnel of Amotekun had been trained to be civil and keep an eye on the activities of people in their assigned territories, which she said they are familiar with.

She added that the operatives in the Amotekun would work with the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in their localities by alerting them promptly on irregular activities they might notice.


Breaking – CSOs Give FG 14-Day Ultimatum To Release Sowore.

…Wole Soyinka Centre suspends award to Osinbajo

…It’ll be insensitive, inappropriate to attend

A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of Omoyele Sowore within 14 days or face mass action.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition, yesterday, Yemi Ademolekun, convener of Enough is Enough (EIE), said shrinking of the media and civic space call for concern. She said there was a need to rise up against any action of the government that will stifle free speech.

While listing five demands, she asked the president to obey all pending court orders and direct the release of all those illegally arrested.

The five demands include: “President Muhammadu Buhari should show accountability as commander-in-chief and address the nation on his commitment to the rule of law and human rights,” the EIE convener said.

“The release of all illegally detained persons by Department of State Service (DSS).
“That the government obey all pending court orders. An investigation of the officer who violated protocols and circumstances leading circumstances leading to the second arrest of Omoyele Sowore.”

She said if the demands were not met within the time given, they would occupy all offices of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) nationwide.

“If these five demands are not honoured within 14 days, we call on patriots across Nigerians to join us as we occupy National Human Rights Commission offices across the country as it is legally mandated to protect Nigerians and also report to presidency,” Ademolekun said.

In a related development, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) said it has suspended the integrity award slated for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to protest Sowore’s rearrest in court.

The centre said in a statement that honouring Osinbajo with the award in the light of recent protests against Sowore’s travails and the “repression“ of free speech will be inappropriate.

The WSCIJ had announced it would present an “Integrity Specialty of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Anti-corruption Defender Award of 2019” to the vice president at its annual award ceremony in Lagos.

It said the recognition is for Osinbajo’s “invaluable work of overhauling the Lagos State Judiciary, facilitating far-reaching reforms in the administration of justice in the state, his work of promoting integrity in the civil society and business in Nigeria and his consistency as a strong voice for promoting integrity in the country.”

“But the vice president has been called out over the current administration’s clamp down on free speech and Sowore’s trial.”
In the statement signed by Motunrayo Alaka, its executive director, WSCIJ said the award ceremony will go on as scheduled, but was silent on whether the award will be presented to the vice-president on a new date.

However, Osinbajo has said he was “extremely grateful for the recognition and award.

A statement by Laolu Akande quoted Osinbajo as saying: “The award, I note, is for our Justice reform efforts in Lagos State. I had accepted the award with pride on behalf of the excellent Justice Sector team we had.

“However, two reasons explain my absence. First is that I am currently in Abu Dhabi for an international meeting under the auspices of the government of the UAE where I am the keynote speaker.

“Second, in view of the developments on Friday in the Sowore case, I think it would be insensitive and inappropriate to attend the ceremony.

“Please accept my heartfelt apologies and extend the same to the other members of the organising team. God bless you.”
Sowore was rearrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) last Friday — less than 24 hours after he was released on bail. He spent 125 days in custody before he was briefly released last Thursday.

The pro-democracy activist is accused of insulting the president, treasonable felony and money laundering.


Here is why I did not appear in Wole soyinka’s award ceremony – Osinbajo said.

…because he was busy with other assignments

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has revealed why he did not attend the Anti-corruption Defender Award of 2019.

In a letter released by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Osinbajo gave two reasons why he didn’t attend the event which was held in Abuja on Monday.

According to the Vice President, he was absent first because he was a keynote speaker at an international meeting in Abu Dhabi, where he was invited by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

“First is that I am currently in Abu Dhabi for an international meeting under the auspices of the government of the UAE where I am the keynote speaker,” he said.

He further stated that the second reason for his absence is owing to the drama which played out on Friday when operatives of the DSS attempted to arrest Mr. Omoyele Sowore in a High Court in Abuja.

“Second, in view of the developments on Friday in the Sowore case, I think it would be insensitive and inappropriate to attend the ceremony.”

The Vice President appealed to members of the organizing team to accept his heartfelt apologies for not making it to the event.

Professor Osinbajo said he was extremely grateful for the recognition and award of the ‘Integrity Specialty of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Anti-corruption Defender Award of 2019’ to him.

The Vice President noted that he had accepted the award with pride on behalf of the excellent Justice Sector team.


DSS invasion into court to re arrest sowore confirms Nigeria moving into dictatorship – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party has said that the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by the Department of State Services on Friday, further confirms that Nigeria, under the President Muhammadu Buhari regime, was finally sliding into a frightening dictatorship.

The party said that the invasion of the court is a vindication of its earlier stand that the nation was no longer governed by democratic principles of rule of law and dictates of the constitution.

PDP, in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “Today, the world watched with shock as operatives of the Presidency-controlled DSS in a most horrific manner, swooped on the court, held the judiciary to ransom, disrupted proceedings, scared away the judge, chased away lawyers and journalists, attacked and rearrested persons standing trial within the precincts of the court in a manner that can only be obtainable in Idi Amin’s Uganda.

“The invasion is in a forceful suspension of our constitutional order and a further battering of the judiciary, which points to an emerging lawlessness that can only find space in a military regime.

“Without prejudice to the charge against Mr Omoyele Sowore, the PDP holds that in a normal democracy, it is the duty of the court to determine the fate of an accused, according to the laws and not a resort to brute force by the government to silence persons with dissenting voices.”

The PDP said that the violation witnessed in the Abuja court on Friday, was a direct invitation to anarchy and a huge threat to the unity, peace, stability and corporate existence of the nation and the safety of citizens.

The party added, “Indeed, this is not the Nigeria our citizens yearn for and it is imperative to restate that Nigeria, under the Buhari Presidency, is fast sliding into a dark country where laws are suspended, the judiciary is assaulted and citizens are stripped of their fundamental rights.

“The international community must have more than a passing glance at the situation in Nigeria as any crisis in our country, God forbid, given our population is capable of having a negative effect across the African continent and other parts of the world.”


Breaking – PMB arrives under knocks.

…as DSS invade federal high court at Abuja

…Re arrest sowore

…PDP, SERAP, Soyinka, Atiku, Others frowns at action

The DSS initials standing for Department of State Services, could have stood for anything but state services yesterday as the organization came in for serious knocks from well-meaning Nigerians for ignoring the pronouncement by Justice Ijeoma of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordering the immediate release from detention, of Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Convener of RevolutionNow, after meeting the bail conditions. Individuals and organization who tongue-lashed the security service for being disrespectful of the judiciary include the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, PDP and SERAP. In a statement personally signed and issued by him hours after DSS operatives stormed the Federal High Court precinct in at least three pickup trucks stormed in a Gestapo style and re-arrested Omoyele, he asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the agency to order. He issued the statement Mr Omoyele Sowore, after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu lambasted the agency for still holding on to him after he had met the bail condition. But shortly after she gave the judgement, DSS operatives invaded the hallowed the court and rearrested Sowore, amid scuffles and resistance put up by both lawyers and sympathizers.

Condemning the invasion Soyinka asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the agency to order. The Nobel laureate likened the incident to what he called, “Lessons from the African Wild Dog.” According to him, disobedience leads to disobedience and the disobedience of the properly constituted orders would only lead to the disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society by the people. He advised the government to uphold and respect judicial institutions in order to prevent the present situation from degenerating into chaos. He also advised him to teach those he described as the “wild dogs of disobedience” some basic court manners.

In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said the invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) yesterday is an indication that the country is sliding into dictatorship.

The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the invasion is a vindication of its earlier stand that the country is no longer governed by democratic principles of rule or law and dictates of the constitution.

The opposition party called on well meaning Nigerians and the international community to call the Presidency to order before its actions derail our nation and trigger a breakdown of law and order in the land.

Also, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Edo State, Osagie Obayuwana, yesterday, called on the National Assembly to repeal the law setting up the Department of State Security (DSS) saying it has outlived its usefulness. He made the appeal while speaking on the topic: “Judge’s rule- what it entails and to what extent does it apply” to mark the 2019 World Human Rights Week organised by the Edo Civil Society Organizations (EDOCSO) in Benin City.

According to him, it goes beyond the reshuffling of the leadership of the DSS. “The entire composition of DSS from the top to the bottom, having shown itself to be unworthy, [should] be disbanded.

“There is a precedence for this. We once had an outfit called the NSO. The SSS or DSS as they now call themselves, have completely outlived its usefulness. It is beyond redemption. It has to be dissolved immediately.

“We call on the Nigerian people and the Nigerian Bar Association to insist on this; and the National Assembly to side with the Nigeria people, to repeal the law that established the DSS, sack all its personnel and by legislation, lay the foundation for a new security system agency focused on the protection of the wellbeing of all Nigerians as opposed to the imagined interest of few office holders in Nigeria.”


Wole Soyinka – Sowore isn’t Miyetti Allah

…fg’s treating the judicials with disdain

Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka has condemned the continous detention of #RevolutioNow convener Omoyele Sowore, even after perfecting his bail conditions.

Soyinka who wondered if Sowore is Miyetti Allah in his open letter, also lashed out at Nigerian agencies that actually think to inhibit social revolution by fastening on the alarmist association of the word ‘revolution’.

In the open letter titled ‘Between thuggery and state disobedience’, the nobel laureate accused the Buhari-led administration of treating the judiciary with disdain. He also alleged that the degree of cynicism in the conduct of State Security agencies in the present administration has attained a level of consistency that is surpassed by only one other previous government.

Read the open letter below;


I have no hesitation in admitting that I have a personal, formative interest in the health of the Nigerian judiciary, deeper perhaps than the average Nigerian. At a critical junction in the life of this writer, a judge resolved to give primacy to the call of conscience, affirm his professional integrity and defend the supremacy of law in defiance of state interference.

He refused to bow to external pressure in adjudicating a case whose conclusion, had this accused been found guilty as charged, would have been life imprisonment. That individual, the late Justice Kayode Eso, has narrated the event in his autobiography – The Mystery Gunman with his noted wit and judicial poise.

The Deputy Premier of the then Western region of Nigeria had summoned the judge to his residence, lectured him on his duty to protect the interests of the government against the accused. Justice Kayode listened politely, re-affirmed his commitment to the rule of law, and took his leave.

It would be most surprising if my own brush with the law has not crossed my mind since the predicament of Omoyele Sowole, journalist and former presidential candidate began.

The Nigerian judiciary was not thereby, nor is today a model of perfection.

Nonetheless, exemplars such as Justice Esho have succeeded in creating, in some of us, an exceptional respect for the Bench, instilled a conviction that the law, despite its lapses, demands respect, autonomy, and obedience.

Much of the judiciary across the continent remains constantly under siege – Nigeria is no exception. Needless to say, it often strikes me that the “learned brotherhood” could do more to protect, and assert itself. Apart from the obvious and numerous scandals of moral deficit that require constant internal purgation, there are instances where it does fail to protect itself even from putative and/or illegal power.

Take the assassination of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Bola Ige on his way to a UN appointment. The presiding judge on that case cried out against unseemly interference from “ least expected quarters”.

He kept a diary of coded names and times, two pages of which came into my possession. His cries petered out in the void. Justice Abass, feeling vulnerable and isolated, bowed out of the case. The judiciary lamely acquiesced, certainly with a huge sigh of relief in some sectors. A robust opportunity lost to burnish the image of the law. I was left aghast.

From tragedy to slapstick tragi-comedy – let us pull up an eye-witness account from the Nigerian PM News of Thursday, September 2014:

Temperamental Ekiti state Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, slapped a court judge today for being rude to him and then ordered his thugs to beat him further.

The action of Fayose and his thugs triggered some pandemonium in the court, with judicial workers and others running into safety. The sitting of the Ekiti State Governorship Election petition Tribunal could also not hold.

Immediately, thugs numbering about 20 pounced on Justice Adeyeye, beat him up and tore his clothes, while his co-workers scampered and shouted for help.

Following the development, judicial workers hurriedly shut down the court premises thereby preventing any court proceeding for hours before the police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the hoodlums.

For a week, two weeks, then forever, `I waited to see what would be the response of the judiciary. There came none. Naively, I thought, surely, this institution will rise and defend its very existence through some form of action, even if merely symbolic. Not a squeak. Not even after that governor left office and thereby lost his immunity. What to me appeared to be the collapse, not just of a pillar, but of the edifice of human culture, appeared to be no more than a blip on the judicial template.

There are of course more effective ways of degrading a judiciary than merely brutalizing a judge, and leaving his judicial robes in tatters. One of the most effective, increasingly optimized in Nigeria, is simply by not only ignoring, but treating its orders with disdain, encouraging its agencies to trot out cynical excuses for disobedience while laughing all the way to the citadel of power.

In that regard, there does appear to be an undeclared contest among succeeding governments, intensified since the return of the nation to a civilian government in 1999 for placement in the Guinness Book of Records as the most notorious Scofflaw in the field of democratic pretensions. Or could it be an anticipation of a proposal I made at the Athens Democracy Forum some months ago, calling for an annual award – such as an Order of Demerit – for such an achiever?

Perhaps we have finally attained maximum saturation, and there is no need for any further record keeping. It is extremely difficult to imagine a further lowering of the bar of disdain for the law than we have witnessed under the present regime. The degree of cynicism in the conduct of State Security agencies has attained a level of consistency that is surpassed by only one other previous government – but it is a close call. Not only does the security agency refuse to obey a court order to release a suspect after fulfilling his bail conditions, but that agency also manufactures one childish pretext after another, including a claim that no one has shown up to receive the detainee.

“His sureties have yet to show up to collect him”, declared the DSS, prime candidate for a special featuring in my “Interventions” series, periodically dedicated to the theme of The Republic of Liars. Are we speaking here of a full-grown adult, a journalist and former presidential aspirant, or an overnight bag awaiting the rightful claimant in a LOST AND FOUND department?

The nation continues to undergo the chagrin of having the rug pulled from under her feet while waiting on the long queue for judicial redress against the strong-arm culture of state, as well as unlisted power interests.

For instance, Lagos state, the former capital, and still the acknowledged commercial capital of the nation, once found herself denied statutory allocation for several years, despite repeated court declarations that such withholding by the central government was unconstitutional and should be remedied forthwith.

That president took sadistic pleasure in simply playing deaf. It took his successor to end the abuse and restore the full entitlements of that state, disobedience that went beyond mere churlishness but affected the development and welfare of the indigenes of that state. And so on, and on, waiting in vain for that day when the Rule of Law becomes commonplace, and its benefice is not doled out by the drop to famished mendicants.

So, finally, what do thuggery and court disobedience have in common?Everything! They are both Scofflaw manifestations. Unilateral declarations of Supra-Law delusions.

One is simply a more structured, more hypocritical version of the other. One knows itself for what it is, while the other tries to camouflage its abnormality under a higher purpose, the more elastic the better . Such is that often specious alibi labeled “national security”.

Is Sowore Myetti Allah? As for those agencies that actually think to inhibit social revolution by fastening on the alarmist association of the word ‘revolution’, half the citizens of this nation should be in permanent detention. From pulpit to the minaret, from clinic to fish market, from student club to motor park, the wish for a drastic transformation of this nation is staple discourse.

Perhaps we should begin with its application to that institution whose decisions affect both society and individuals with such finality, for good or ill – the judiciary.


Nigerian Nobel laureate professor and singer, Whole soyinka open up on having cancer..

Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka has opened up on being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014.

In an interview with BBC, Soyinka said he’s been using an advanced technology ‘proton therapy’ to treat it.

He however admitted that he is uncomfortable with the treatment though its been quite an easy ride.

He said “It hadn’t yet gotten to the stage where it was non-reversible and so (the doctor) gave us a number of guidelines. I say us because he wanted to make sure that my wife made sure that I followed it. He sensed that I wasn’t going to be a very good patient. So he spoke to her most of the time rather than me,” he said.

”There is no disease in the world any human being needs to be ashamed.
I don’t see why people need to go to Canada, Europe to receive treatment which is affordable in this nation, it is a shame.

”The options I compared to other treatment I know about and I have seen in operation. Mine for me was an easy ride, uncomfortable in many ways but it is painless.”