Nigeria

Clampdown on #RevolutionNow protesters, Edo crisis top political events last week

In a massive crackdown on #RevolutionNow protesters across Nigeria on Wednesday, security operatives arrested some protesters. Among them were Agba Jalingo and Olawale Bakare, who had in the past years been held against court orders. The SSS later released some of the detained protesters.

But presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, justified the clampdown, calling the protest “mere child’s play… and an irritation” and describing the protesters as a “sprinkle of people trying to be funny.”

Prior to the protests, another presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had said the plan was “ill-advised.”

Some Nigerians charged back at Mr Adesina, saying he was insensitive to the yearnings of Nigerians. “There is life after 2023,” a commentator wrote on Twitter.

On the heel of the controversy around the sovereignty clause in the Chinese Railway loan to Nigeria, transportation minister, Rotimi Ameachi, said the clause was only an assurance to allow China sue in case Nigeria defaults in repayment, not to cede the nation’s sovereignty to the Asian creditor.

Also, to douse the tension over the suspicions around quest for Chinese loans, the Debt Management Office (DMO) also said Chinese loans constitute “only 3.9 per cent of Nigeria’s public debt stock.”

Meanwhile, social rights group, SERAP, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to publish the details of loans taken by the country since he assumed office in 2015.

In a matter of days, after the Edo State deputy speaker was impeached for declaring support to Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the APC governorship candidate who later received public backing of President Muhammadu Buhari, 17 lawmakers believed to be loyal to Mr Ize-Iyamu’s political godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, controversially impeached the speaker, Francis Okiye. Victor Edoror was sworn in as the new speaker.

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, accused Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, of fuelling the crisis in the state assembly. He likened the governor to a dictator who has no regard for the rule of law.

In his reaction, a former vice-president and PDP presidential candidate in 2019, Atiku Abubakar, said “the political development in Edo is a threat to constitutional order.” The U.S. also expressed worries. The electoral umpire INEC also threatened to cancel both Ondo and Edo polls in the event of electoral violence.

To ensure transparency, the electoral umpire, INEC, said it would publish results from polling units during both governorship elections in Edo and Ondo in real time.

In respect of the corruption scandal rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a Senate report said the agency paid scholarship grants to its top officials. It also alleged that the NDDC paid officials N85.6m to attend UK graduation ceremony during lockdown.

From its end, the NDDC also asked Delta North senator, Peter Nwaoboshi, who had been accused of fraud by the interim management of the NDDC to refund N2.5 billion to its coffers. The senator responded by calling the management of the agency a “bunch of confused men.”

Following the attack on his convoy about a fortnight ago, Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, and the Defence Headquarters traded words. Mr Zulum alleged that soldiers, not Boko Haram, were behind the attack but the DHQ denied this, saying it is the other way round.

Meanwhile, citing concerns of terrorism and kidnapping, the United States warned its citizens not to travel to Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna and others.


During a crucial meeting between President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the service chiefs, the president said the service chiefs “are doing their best,” but charged them to do more. Many have called for the resignation of the military chiefs.

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, supported the president’s refusal to fire them, saying the service chiefs need not be sacked amid the worsening security situation in the country. Rather, he said, the chiefs need more funding.

The presidency also denied the claim that repentant Boko members had been absorbed into the Nigerian military.

This newspaper also reported how Amotekun, a local security outfit launched by state governments in south-west, raided and arrested illegal miners in Osun. Suspects included different nationals caught with weaponry and charms.

Other news

In other news, Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, added his voice to the calls that the 2023 presidency be zoned to the south, a position that was recently opposed by President Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura.

Meanwhile, EFCC re-arraigned a former attorney-general, Mohammed Adoke, for alleged money laundering. The Court of Appeal, in another development, dismissed the no-case submission by Farouk Lawan, a former lawmaker accused of taking a $3 million bribe.

On Saturday, a former Ogun senator, Buruji Kashamu, died of COVID-19. The ex-fugitive was buried on Sunday with some ruing his death, others mourning him and a former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, saying Mr Kashamu escaped extradition but not death.

Before his death, Mr Kashamu was wanted in the United States of America (USA) for alleged drug offences. He consistently denied any wrongdoing.

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