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.........wants elections annulled

A pro-democracy Non-governmental body-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has decried the widespread bribery of voters in the recent Edo and Ondo States' elections by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even as the electoral body has been carpeted for incompetence and willful compromise.

The Rights group which is an officially accredited observer to both elections expressed sadness that mass poverty in Nigeria has made millions of voters susceptible and vulnerable to petty bribery of as low as N1000 (one thousand Naira) to betray their conscience, mortgage their future by selling their fundamental human rights to vote and be voted for. 

The Rights group said from evidence seen during the polls these results were sold and bought and therefore lacks constitutional legitimacy.  

HURIWA lamented that the sharp malpractices of massive financial inducements of voters by the mainstream political parties which apart from constituting a serious debasement of our rationality and humanity has also offended the fundamental principle of state policies enshrined in the constitution which obliges government of all levels to eradicate corruption. 

"How can a system institutionalised through cocktails of bribery and corruption fulfil this elementary imperative of our grund norm to eradicate corruption and abuse of office since logically it's impossible for someone to give what he hasn't got"?

“A pitiable situation whereby politicians bribe voters buffeted by government’s induced mass hunger to elect them into offices as has been seen in Edo and Ondo governorship polls in the recent times is not only tantamount to laying the criminal foundation for mass looting of public fund but is a blight on our national conscience and psyche.”

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf also indicted officials and officers of the electoral commission (INEC) and law enforcement agencies such as armed police and soldiers for colluding with political agents of bribery and inducement of voters just as it has called for thorough and independent investigations.

 "Members of the Armed security forces looked the other way whilst the bonanza of bribery and corruption took place in those Ondo and Edo State elections". 

“The Nigerian State must not tolerate these widespread bribery of voters and the current Federal government owe Nigerians the constitutional obligation to ensure that the electoral process is free from such grave bribery infestations more so when President Muhammadu Buhari has made heavy weather of his determination to weed out all corrupt practices.”

Regretting that the unchallenged regimes of open corruption that took place during the Edo and Ondo governorship polls if allowed to stand and the principal characters allowed to get away with these fundamental crimes against our democracy and the constitution, then generations to come will judge the current administration harshly for adopting hypocrisy as a national ethos.

HURIWA has similarly advocated immediate impeachment of the Edo State governor since it is clear that there were widespread malpractices of financial inducement of voters just as the group has called for the nullification of the just ended Ondo State elections for being a product of bribery and corruption.

HURIWA cited Sections 14(5) which affirmed thus: “the State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”, and 34(1) that: “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person”; to advocate the immediate review of the governorship polls in Edo and Ondo States.  

…Donates N100m Food items to IDPs and Returnees in Yobe State.

Moved by the plight of the Internally Displayed Persons (IDPs) and returnees in Yobe State, many of whom have been hit by starvation, the Dangote Foundation has flagged off the distribution of food and other relief items worth over N100 million to IDP camps in the state.

The Foundation said its support to the IDPs and other returnees across the North eastern states has grown up to N1.3 billion in the light of recent ugly developments in the camps that necessitated fresh interventions.

Chief Executive of the Foundation Zouera Youssoufou appealed to all public spiritual individuals and organization to rise up to be counted at this time of hardship for the IDPs, noting that no humanitarian assistance is too small to render to the people in IDPs as most of them are ravaged by hunger.

Youssoufou who flagged off the distribution in company with the Deputy Governor, Yobe State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu disclosed that all the IDP camps in the 32 communities will benefit from the donation. 

Speaking at the event the Deputy Governor expressed the state government’s heart-felt gratitude to the Chairman, Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for his genuine concern towards the plight of IDPs in the State.

He recounted previous donations made by the richest man in Africa towards improving health care delivery and eradication of polio in the State. 

Said he: “I am highly delighted to welcome Alhaji Aliko Dangote to Yobe State and also thank him for his laudable decision to donate relief materials including rice, spaghetti, noodles, salt, sugar, Dangote seasoning worth millions of naira to IDPs who have suffered untold hardship due to insurgency in the state. I wish to categorically state that Dangote Foundation has made previous donations towards great causes including eradication of polio in the state.” 

He noted that with the restoration of peace and significant improvement in security across the North East especially in Yobe State, Dangote’s intervention could not have come at a better time as the gesture would help the returnees find their feet since most of the IDPs across various camps have not cultivated farmlands or engaged in activities to sustain their livelihood in the last 2 years.

 Engr. Aliyu made a commitment that the food items will be judiciously distributed to bring succor to the IDPs and returnees and further asked for more assistances from the government, business development partners, philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders to help tackle the challenges of rehabilitation, reconstruction, re-integration and peace building in the second most affected state by insurgency in Nigeria.

In her remark, the Foundation CEO conveyed the readiness of Alhaji Aliko Dangote to contribute to peace and security in all parts of Nigeria describing the situation in the North East philosophically as “injury to one is injury to all, because we are our brother’s keeper.”

Youssoufou expressed her appreciation for the warm reception and the opportunity to fulfill the commitment of the Dangote Foundation which is alleviating poverty and ameliorating the sufferings and pains of vulnerable people in the society.  

She said “Dangote Foundation is committed to alleviating poverty and the suffering of vulnerable people in the society through intervention initiatives that impacts lives positively and engenders socio economic development. “ 

”The Foundation boss further said the Foundation is primarily committed to reducing the number of lives lost to malnutrition especially in children and also providing intervention in the focus areas of education, health and economic empowerment.”  

The host Local Government Chairman of Gubja, Alhaji Kijari Batarama noted that “Dangote Foundation’s donation today is a clear demonstration of support and concern for the plight of IDPs and it bears witness to his genuine sympathy of Alhaji Aliko Dangote to the victims of insurgency in the state.

“I am glad to inform you that return of peace in some of these areas has allowed for commencement of farming activities which resulted in bumper harvest during the outgrowing cropping season, complementing efforts in provision of food and attainment of food security.” 

He stated further that the return of IDPs has seen the total number of school enrolment rise to 6,819 pupils across 10 different communities and called for more support to help transform lives of returnees and restore affected villages to prosperity.

 It would be recalled that since Dangote Foundation commenced its intervention programme in the North East since July 2016 and has since donated 106 trailer load of food items worth 1.3 billion naira in Borno State.

The Dangote Foundation will also be committing additional 2 billion naira in supporting government reconstruction efforts in the North East.



……..more attacks feared as the siege may linger

A group of yet-to-be identified gunmen allegedly numbering about six has again invaded Umudunu village, Abagana in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State at the weekend, in a shooting spree and killing one Mr Chinenye Ikedimma instantly and injuring many others.

The victim was said to be an aide to the popular Ukpo, Dunukofia council Prince Arthur Eze, an international oil magnate who just celebrated his birthday in the area.

The attack, said to have occurred on Saturday at about 11pm left some other villagers who have chosen personally to go underground for security and publicity purposes, with extensive degree of injuries.

However, the Anambra state Police Commissioner, Mr Sam Okaula has confirmed the incident, noting “This is an isolated case. It is a case of murder somewhere in the village. One person was also injured. My Area Commander has visited him in the hospital. Maybe he had some issues with somebody or so. But the police are on it and must smoke out the culprits.”

He said that the incidence had no connection with the land tussle between Ukpo and Abagana communities.

According to an eye witness, Ikedimma's remains had been deposited at Bekee Hospital’s mortuary in Nimo,Njikoka local government of the State, while sympathizers have continued to flock their Abagana family home consoling the relations he left behind.

A female member of the family told reporters amidst tears feared that more victims might be killed subsequently, noting that her brother unknowingly walked into the gunmen who may perhaps had been laying siege on the villagers for some time. Hear her, "...he had no incline of any impending danger. He just finished his diner and took a walk to the neighbourhood", she said. 

Others villagers both from Ukpo and Abagana who refused to speak on tape for fear of their lives believed the killing might not be unconnected with the communal land crisis between Abagana and Ukpo communities which had renewed hostilities recently and has claimed many lives and property.

One of them said "Abagana people believe that our people working with Arthur Eze who hails from Ukpo and other prominent persons in that community might be giving them information on the plans Abagana people have on their ongoing tussle with Ukpo over a piece of land. So the option, as being speculated, was to ‘address’ their matter one by one”.

One of the victims who spoke from his hospital bed at Okpala Hospital, Enugwu-Ukwu, Mr Kenneth Obi Ajaegbo who sustained injury at his left knee said he was returning home late evening on Saturday from a social outing when he was attacked. He claimed he had no personal issues with anyone that could warrant such gun attack.

He said, “I ran home immediately they shot at me. It was when I got home that I discovered that I was shot at the knee. Blood was everywhere. My brother and I went to the Police Station immediately to give report before coming to this hospital. It was at the police station that we learnt that the aide to Prince Arthur Eze was shot dead..





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