Thursday, 4 May 2017

Boko Haram leader Shekau 'injured in air strike'

                                                                      Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau. 

Kano - Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau has been injured and one of his deputies killed in an air strike in northeast Nigeria, civilian and security sources told AFP on Wednesday.
Two Nigerian Air Force jets bombarded fighters who had gathered for prayers in Balla village, some 40km from Damboa, on the edge of the Sambisa Forest, last Friday.
"Shekau was wounded in the bombings and is believed to be receiving treatment near the Nigerian border with Cameroon around Kolofata," said one source with contacts within Boko Haram.
"His deputy, Abba Mustapha, alias Malam Abba, was killed in the attack along with another key lieutenant, Abubakar Gashua, alias Abu Aisha," he added.
Babakura Kolo, a member of the civilian militia in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, gave a similar account, saying "Shekau was injured and a number of commanders were killed.
"Among them is his deputy called Malam Abba. They suffered heavy casualties because the bombings targeted a large gathering of his followers attending Friday prayers."
There was no immediate comment from the Nigerian military when contacted by AFP. The authorities have previously claimed to have killed Shekau on at least three occasions.
In an emailed statement on Tuesday night, the air force said it had bombed "a gathering of Boko Haram terrorists" last Friday "in a village 3.42 km northeast of Mangosum".
The "air interdiction mission" in the remote region involved three jets.
"Battle damage assessment conducted after the strike showed that several leaders of the Boko Haram terrorist organisation and their followers were killed during the attacks," it added.
A senior military officer in Maiduguri confirmed the air force bombed Boko Haram positions "in the Damboa area on Friday where they hit the targets with precision".
"We got intel (intelligence) that the terrorists were gathering at the location and we acted on the report," he added, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak about the operation.
He said he was unable to comment on Shekau but the source with contacts in Boko Haram said Mustapha was preaching when the first jet bombed the mosque at about 13:00.
Moments later a second jet targeted worshippers as they fled.
"Shekau was just leaving a house nearby for the mosque when the first jet struck. He was injured in the second strike," said the source, describing the casualties as "huge".
"They spent the rest of Friday and the whole of Saturday burying the dead," he said, without specifying numbers.
Shekau had been bed-ridden for days with malaria before the attack, he added.
Local people in the Konduga area said Boko Haram fighters went on the rampage following the air strike.
"They came by the river hurling insults at us, accusing us of providing information about their locations and movements to the military," said fisherman Ibrahim Bawa.
"They said we were responsible for the attack on their mosque which killed many of their people. They were very angry," added another fisherman, Usman Sallau.
The jihadists rounded up six fishermen and slit their throats. Others escaped by swimming across the river, he said.
Boko Haram has killed over 20 000 people since it took up arms against the Nigerian government in 2009 to establish a hardline Islamist state.
The insurgency has decimated northeast Borno state with the violence displacing 2.6 million from their homes and causing a hunger crisis.
After years of suffering humiliating losses to Boko Haram, the Nigerian military has reclaimed swathes of territory back from the jihadists.
Yet despite claims that Boko Haram is a spent force, the Islamists still launch attacks.

Lamido Granted Bail Based On Self Recognition

A Magistrate Court sitting in Dutse has granted a former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, bail on own recognizance after ruling that the offence for which he was arraigned is bailable.
The prosecution had argued against Mr. Lamido being granted bail saying he could jeopardise peace in the state, while Lamido’s counsel argued that the former governor remained innocent until proven guilty.
The court had on Tuesday remanded Mr Lamido in prison custody pending the court’s decision today on his application for bail.
He was arraigned before the court on a four-count charge bordering on inciting comments.
Mr Lamido was arrested by the police in Kano on Sunday for allegedly inciting his supporters to violence during the forthcoming council poll in Jigawa state on July 1.
Mr Lamido who was Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister between 1999 and 2003, was put on trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission alongside his sons, for allegedly embezzling state funds while he was governor.

Supreme Court Begins Hearing On PDP Leadership Crisis

The legal battle over the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has continued in the nation’s hightest court.
The Supreme Court will today hear the objection filed by the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, against the appeal filed before the court by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction.
The Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party had on March 16 filed an appeal before the Supreme Court against the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on February 27, which declared Sheriff as the legitimate National Chairman of the party.
But Sheriff filed an objection to the appeal on March 21, asking the apex court to strike out the appeal by the Makarfi faction.
Sheriff argued in his application that Makarfi does not have legal standing to appeal against the judgement of the Court of Appeal on behalf of the PDP.
The Supreme Court had on March 23 fixed today, May 4, for the continuation of hearing on the leadership tussle, which has lingered for many months.
The PDP leadership tussle started in May 2016 after the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the party not to hold its planned national convention.
Mr. Sheriff had approached the court to stop the convention.
Since then, efforts to resolve the leadership crisis in the opposition party outside the court have been unsuccessful.

PDP Leadership Crisis: Supreme Court Adjourns Case Until May 25

The legal battle over the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party is set to continue for a while longer as the Supreme Court has adjourned its hearing on the matter until May 25.
The nation’s highest court had on Thursday resumed hearing on the application filed before it by the National Chairman of the Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, against the appeal filed by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party.
The Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party had on March 16 approached the Supreme Court, asking it to overturn the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on February 27, which declared Sheriff as the legitimate National Chairman of the party.
But Sheriff filed his application five days later, arguing that Makarfi had no legal grounds for his appeal.
At Thursday’s hearing, Sheriff’s counsel asked the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal because it was not properly filed.
He argued that this was because the PDP as led by Sheriff did not give anyone the permission to file a suit on its behalf and as such the suit filed by Makarfi is null and void.
The Supreme Court judges, however, asked him if as a party to the suit at the appellate court Makarfi did not have any right to file an appeal, especially as he was aggrieved with the judgment of the appeal court and the judgment was not granted as an exparte order.
In response, Sheriff’s counsel said that even though Makarfi could file an appeal, he wasn’t eligible to do so in the name of the PDP since there was no authorisation by the legally recognised leadership of the party.
According to him, by the judgment of the Appeal Court which recognised the Sheriff-led executive council as the authentic leadership of the party, it is only Sheriff that can decide if the party wants to challenge the judgment or not.
On his part, counsel to Makarfi urged the court to disregard the argument, because the issues raised by Sheriff’s counsel were already in the substantive suit before the court and since issue have been joined there was no need to listen to anybody who was not a part of the suit.
After listening to both parties the court adjourned to hear the objections as an interlocutory appeal on May 25, 2017.

There’ll be no double registration for 2019 elections – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that anyone who attempts to register twice in the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise will be caught.
According to the commission, the technology it is using for the exercise is capable of checking and flagging all attempts at double registration.
The Director of Information Technology Development, INEC, Chidi Nwafor, said this on Thursday in an exclusive interview with Channels Television.
He explained that attempts at double registration would be spotted an eliminated via a process called de-duplication, which would be run at both state and national levels.
“What it does is that when you do two registrations, it matches them and strikes one of your registration off,” he said, adding that it did not matter whether an individual registered in two different states.
Nwafor also warned those who might be planning to register twice that attempting to do so is a criminal offence.
He said, “Whichever way you do it, before 2019 when we run the system you will be caught and you will not be allowed to vote. Also, people should know that it is a criminal offence and people have been in trouble because of that.”
Nwafor explained that the continuous voter registration exercise started by INEC on Thursday would not only allow those who have turned 18 since the last general elections to register, it would also give people who could not vote due to one issue or the other with their registration to resolve the problem.
He said, “This is what we call housekeeping, making sure that we start this process of doing the registration and solving the issues of the cards, making sure everybody has their cards before the 2019 elections.”
With new registrations ongoing, Nwafor said that about seven million voter cards have yet to be collected from the commission, while between 52 and 53 million people had collected cards and could vote in elections.

‘Doctors Have Advised Buhari To Take Things Very Easy’ – Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has attributed President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the third consecutive weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting to his doctors’ advice.
He announced this to State House correspondents on Wednesday, May 3 at the conclusion of the meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“I think about a few days before now we did come out to say he has been asked to take some rest by his doctors and he chose today to rest instead of attending the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting,” the information minister said.
“He was at the office yesterday as you all reported. And if the doctor says, ‘oh, you take a rest,’ I think you recover faster when you rest and you ought to rest rather than forcing yourself to work when you are not fit to work.
“All he is doing is following the doctor’s advice,” he said.
He said, “The President told the nation he has never been this sick and he is going to take it easy. He said it from day one when he came back from the UK.
“So whatever is happening today is not any strange development, it is exactly what he said – that he has been advised to take it easy by his doctors and that he will soon also go back for further treatment.
“I don’t think it’s anything different from what he has said. He has been quite transparent and upfront in matters concerning his health.”