The Islamic Movement in Nigeria on Tuesday said its designation as a terrorist group by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had the backing of Saudi Arabia.
The group through its Spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Kaduna, said the Buhari administration designated the IMN, also known as Shi’ites, as a terrorist organisation to eliminate its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The Shi’ites also alleged that Buhari wanted them to go underground to enable the Federal Government to embark on a massive destruction and killing of innocent Nigerians and security agents.
Why adducing reason for the President’s action, Musa said, “He wants to kill our leader. He wants to force us to go underground so that he could finish up the country by embarking on massive destruction and killing of innocent Nigerians and security personnel in our name. “It was among the conditions he was given by the foreign foes of Nigeria, especially the Wahhabi/Salafi regime of Saudi Arabia. “No degree of persecution by these sponsors of Book Haram and herdsmen can force us to go underground. “The public and the international community should know that the Buhari regime is dominated by Boko Haram and herdsmen ideologues who are pathological enemies of Shi’ites Islam and Muslims. “All the terrorist groups in the world who claim to be Sunni Muslims are not real Sunnis. They are Salafists (ex-communicators) who share the same ideology with the president and majority members of cabinet. This is because most of the victims of Boko Haram and their foreign brethren in Syria, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, Libya etc are mainstream Sunnis, Shia and Christians.”
But the Embassy of Saudi Arabia could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. It had yet to respond to an email on the allegations levelled against it by the Shi’ite movement as of the time of filing this report.
However, the Presidency reacted to the allegation in Abuja on Tuesday, saying that anybody was entitled to their opinion. Responding to an enquiry by The PUNCH, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, simply stated, “Anybody can say anything. Anybody can say whatever they like. That is all that I have to say.”
Guardian Newspaper: Senate erred on takeover of Edo assembly, say lawyers, others
Some legal experts yesterday faulted the move by the Senate to take over the Edo State House of Assembly within a week. The Red Chamber’s action will, however, depend on whether Governor Godwin Obaseki complies with another resolution mandating him to issue a fresh proclamation for the ‘proper’ inauguration of the house.
Adopting a report presented by its ad hoc committee, which investigated the development in the state assembly, the Senate claimed that the process leading to the June 17, 2019 inauguration was improper and a breach of global parliamentary practices.
It also mandated the governor to properly inform all the 24 members of the assembly through adverts in print and electronic media. “In the event that a new proclamation is not issued as stated above within a period of one week, the National Assembly is at liberty to invoke Section 11(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” the Senate declared.
But according to renowned constitutional lawyer James Ezike, the lawmakers have no right to interfere in the matter unless there is a complete breakdown of law and order necessitating the president to declare an emergency in the state.
To him, the order indicates Nigeria is yet to embrace true democracy, staggering instead under a military dictatorship where anything happens. “If I were the governor, I will continue governing and go to court until everything goes down. I don’t see it as a matter of emergency; it is a matter of the majority of the house. Remember what happened between Saraki and Buhari. If they had the required number, as stipulated by the rule, that is the end of it. But if they did not, then they should do it again,” he said.
The National President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Malachy Ugwummadu, also expressed doubts if the Senate has any such supervisory powers over the governor or the assembly.
To the prominent rights lawyer, if there is such an order on the governor, then the Senate has acted ultra vires their powers under Section 11(4)&(5) of the 1999 Constitution. “This particular section of the constitution, which vests powers in the National Assembly as a whole to take over the affairs of a state House of Assembly, can only be activated in instances when the assembly of a state is unable to meet or sit. “Clearly, they cannot order the governor to re-proclaim the house, just as they can’t exercise the powers of the state House of Assembly to remove the governor. In the event, the unilateral action of the Senate beside the House of Representatives is illegal and unconstitutional in my view.”
Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, who represented Lagos East (1999-2003), said: “The Senate has no constitutional power to intervene in the affairs of an existing legislative arm of a state that is constituted constitutionally except there is a crisis. And in the situation on the ground, there is nothing like that in the Edo Assembly. “The governor should head for the court because it is not possible under the present 1999 Constitution for him to issue another proclamation unless the court quashes the first one. Even where the Senate has oversight functions on the state assembly, it has no such constitutional right over a governor.”
On his part, Mr. Sentonji Koshoedo, who represented Badagry Federal Constituency (2003-2007), called for the matter to be referred to the judiciary for an appropriate interpretation. Koshoedo’s view aligned with that of Mr. Wale Oshun, a former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, who said: “It is indeed a constitutional matter, which only a lawyer can interpret.”
Some lawmakers had also urged caution, but Senate President Ahmed Lawan stood his ground, throwing out a constitutional point of order by Emmanuel Okerjev (PDP, Benue State) which had sought to advise the chamber against the resolution. Okerjev cited Section 105 of the Constitution, saying it never mandated the governor to sponsor newspaper advertorials to publicise his proclamation.
Sun Newspaper: Buhari works on ministers’ portfolios
Following the completion of the screening and clearing of 43 ministerial nominees forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate, work has now commenced to assign portfolio to them.
Buhari, last week, forwarded the names of 43 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation as ministers.
The senators had grilled the nominees based on their professions, working experiences/previous positions held, among others, without knowledge of what portfolios each of them will be assigned.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement commended the Senate for its swift and efficient process of screening and confirmation of the ministers.
Shehu, who did not disclosed the exact date the cabinet will be inaugurated, said, “specific portfolios shall be assigned with the inauguration of the cabinet.”
He said: “The Presidency praises the diligence of the Senate in confirming the ministerial nominees, whilst also ensuring a swift and efficient process. “The people of Nigeria want results, and with this list of ministers, we are confident they shall be delivered.”
Shehu expresses confidence that this crop of ministers will deliver on the “next level” promises of the All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration.
According to him, “this is a fine, capable and committed group of individuals. Working together, they shall help achieve what we all want and labour toward: a secure, prosperous, corruption-free nation in which nobody is left behind, and talents can flourish. “The executive approaches this 9th National Assembly with a renewed spirit of openness and enthusiasm. Where once we sometimes found impasse, we welcome collaboration; where once suspicion took hold, together, we shall demonstrate mutual trust. “Scrutiny should never mean deadlock but proper governance. “And with a new swathe of national legislators and ministers, we are confident the executive and the legislature can – in partnership – unleash the change Nigerians deserve.”
Meanwhile, there are indications President Buhari may likely reassign those in the first cabinet who were renominated to their former positions. Sources say that former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, is likely to be reappointed to the same ministry, just as ex-minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. Also, Mallam Adamu Adamu may return to the Ministry of Education; Hajia Sirika to Ministry of Aviation, just also as Abubakar Malami looks good for the Ministry of Justice.
It was learnt that the post of Minister of Nigeria Delta may be between former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva and Senator Godswill Akpabio.
For the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Mr. Sunday Dare and Mr. Festus Keyamo are in contention, while Osagie Enahire and Hajia Zainab Ahmed may return to Ministries of Health and Finance respectively.
Sources revealed that a member of the House of Representatives and nominee from Imo State, Emeka Nwajuba, is being considered as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
With the increase in the number of ministers from 37, it was gathered that President Buhari would increase the ministries. Towards the end, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing may likely be split into two (Ministry of Power and Ministry of Works & Housing) or three, with former minister heading ministry of Works or Ministry of Works & Housing, depending on how many ministries would evolve.