Atiku and the rise of Peter Obi-foxxymobile.com.ng

Shortly after former Vice President Atiku Abubakar became the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on October 6, party members and other stakeholders began to recommend running mates for him and a short list began to feature on the front pages of Nigerian newspapers. Some of the names that were mentioned included former Governor Peter Obi, former CEO/Managing Director, Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) – Mustapha Chike-Obi, former Minister of Agriculture and AfDB President – Akin Adesina, former Minister of Finance and Supervising Minister of the Economy – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former CBN Governor – Charles Soludo, and Deputy Senate President – Ike Ekweremadu. 

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For about five days, there were theories and permutations, and a comparison of the credentials of the proposed running mates. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has acted pro-actively by quickly putting an end to the speculations. He met with the party leadership, consulted with other interest groups and promptly announced Peter Obi. If this is a sign of how he intends to run Nigeria if he becomes President, then he is off to a good start.  In the past week, he also did something else that was clever. He made peace with his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo. He asked for Obasanjo’s blessings and Obasanjo, wearing his hat as a seasoned political pragmatist and ebora strategist, endorsed Atiku.

The speech delivered by Obasanjo on that occasion is an elegant study in the art of being important.  President Obasanjo said he has forgiven Atiku for his many sins, which he Obasanjo had complained about previously.  He described him as someone who has a knowledge of business, who is less inflexible and a “Wazobia” man. There were subtle digs at the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, when Obasanjo advised Atiku not to recruit only kith and kin and try to run an inclusive government. In the same speech, Obasanjo reminded Atiku of his indebtedness to the Obasanjo legacy and the need to sustain that legacy. He also set an agenda for the man he described as Nigeria’s President-to-be. He even said “Insha Allah”. Obasanjo in that well-composed speech, practically killed many birds with one stone in many incantatory voices: boss, statesman, and letter-writer.

It was Atiku’s second biggest endorsement since he got his party’s ticket – the first being his victory in Port Harcourt. Obasanjo’s endorsement is particularly significant given the history of the relationship between both men. To add that Obasanjo has voice, influence and authority is to state the obvious, and we need to tell those who argue that Obasanjo has just one vote that they are politically dumb! Atiku’s boss has given him a new testimonial that has refurbished him. Obasanjo who once tore his membership card of the PDP, has also more or less re-oxygenated the party’s Presidential aspiration. The panic that this has caused in the Buhari camp is perfectly understandable even if the resort to name-calling and abuse by the President’s foot-soldiers may be counter-productive in the long run. It won’t make Obasanjo and his associates change their mind. Atiku’s gain is Buhari’s loss.

Then came the rise of Peter Obi… Without a doubt, all the persons on the shortlist of running mates for Atiku have relative strengths. They have all proven their mettle in the public arena. But with Peter Obi already chosen, we need not indulge in any detailed comparison except to note that very important to the selection process would have been, not just geo-politics, but also such factors as the temperament of the individual, the chemistry between the principal and the deputy, electoral value, international exposure, acceptability by key stakeholders and public persona.

My take is that former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi is bound to strengthen the chances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the scheduled 2019 Presidential elections. He will prove to be an asset to the Atiku campaign and also to the Nigerian government if the PDP wins the Presidential election. The announcement of his name has generated so much excitement in Igboland, particularly in his home state of Anambra where people broke out in dancing jigs at beer parlours, and free drinks were declared. Across the South East, his Igbo kinsmen are also similarly excited. Those who know him in politics and business attest to his good character, self-discipline, competence and fair-mindedness. I want to congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for choosing wisely and I want to disagree with those who argue that the Presidential candidate of the PDP should have chosen his running mate from the South Western part of the country.

The choice of a running mate of Igbo extraction is a politically deft move. The last time Igbos held the number 2 position in a civilian government was way back in the Second Republic (1979 -83).  Since the return to civilian rule in 1999, they have either been Senate President or heads of key agencies (under President Obasanjo) or Deputy Senate President and generally junior operatives (under President Buhari) or held critical Ministerial positions or headship of agencies and departments –indeed the entire economic sector (under President Jonathan). But Ndigbo’s main interest is the big job: the Presidency of Nigeria. The choice of Peter Obi and his likely emergence as Vice President of Nigeria brings Igbos much closer to consideration for Presidency either in 2023 or 2027. For a people who believe that they have been short-changed by other Nigerians and that the civil war has not actually ended, the possibility of one of their own returning to the Presidency, 35 years after Ekwueme, is bound to promote a sense of belonging.  By choosing an Igbo man, Atiku is also exploiting prevailing sentiments in Igboland. The average Igbo, either in the South East or in diaspora, is certainly not impressed by the Buhari administration.

The circumstances of Operation Crocodile Tears and the crushing of the rebellion of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra Movement (IPOB), pitched Igbos against Buhari. Atiku is seeking to bring them back into the fold. Call it opportunism, but that is politics. A Yoruba running mate would have looked like the Buhari template. Atiku also probably knows that the Yoruba in the South West do not always vote as a bloc and that the South West is far more divided today than ever.  The electoral value of the Yoruba man, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is Buhari’s running mate for now, except he changes him, lies more in his being part of a political group in the South West, and right now, even that group is divided, it has lost part of its grip, and its leader is fighting many political battles of his own. An Igbo running mate can guarantee bloc Igbo voting, in Igboland and from Igbos who are all over Nigeria. The votes may not necessarily be for Peter Obi as a person but for the Igbo nationalistic interest.

I say this because I have heard some people say Peter Obi may not even be able to deliver Anambra. I say to such persons that even the incumbent Governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano of APGA, who has issues with Peter Obi, or David Umahi, Ebonyi Governor (PDP) and Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, would dread being found out to be working against the possibility of an Igbo man emerging again as Vice President of Nigeria. In terms of political strategy, it can be taken for granted that the South South, still angry over how the Buhari government has treated President Goodluck Jonathan and others from that region, will also naturally vote en masse against Buhari. Technically, Atiku may have locked down the South South and the South East and can be sure of substantial votes from the South West where his promise of restructuring resonates well with the socio-cultural and political elite.

But why Peter Obi? Obi, Governor of Anambra State for eight years, survivor of election battles, has proven himself to be an astute politician and leader. As Governor, he blocked the leaky buckets. He reduced wastages and leakages. He led by example. He served the people. He left a healthy balance behind in the treasury. He was known across the South East as Peter the Rock or Okwute, and he more than any other former Governor has spent his time out of office, to prepare himself for a bigger role in Nigeria. He didn’t disappear from the radar. He didn’t take the option of going to the Senate which has become a retirement home for former Governors who go there to sleep and snore during plenary and collect heavy retirement benefits for saying nothing.

Peter Obi returned to school. He chose the lecture circuit where he shared his experience as Governor with Nigerians, mostly young Nigerians. He was always on point: he preached good governance, prudence, accountability and gave personal examples.  He granted the media access to him and he granted interviews as frequently as he could. He became an analyst and something slightly close to being a public intellectual. He built a public persona as someone who understands business, politics, the economy and governance. He attended international programmes and built a network of contacts.  He was my course mate at the Said Business School, University of Oxford and I can attest that he can hold his own confidently in the company of persons of extreme intelligence and superb skills. Above all,  he is humble and approachable. He can fit into a team.  He is young. He is also rich, but I hear he does not like to spend money! He is a strong member of the Catholic Faith, and he bears the name Peter. From what we know about him, his Peter will not deny Atiku whenever the cock crows. He has recognition, respect and relevance.

So, there you have it: the Atiku-Obi Presidential team of the Peoples Democratic Party. Good to go. But how will Atiku handle the North, his own political zone? That is the other question for analysis to be addressed shortly.

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Why reserves are falling – Emefiele-foxxymobile.com.ng

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that reserves of emerging and frontier markets have been falling because of the rising interest rates in developed economies.

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According to him, foreign investors, especially portfolio investors who invested in the capital markets of the emerging markets were returning their funds to their home countries, thereby exiting and leaving huge gaps in the developing economies of the world. His words: “If you all recall, about 2009, 2010 and 2011, those were the period of quantitative easing. “During that period, there were flows of capital from the U.S and Europe and Japan.

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Those capital flows ended up in emerging markets and developing countries. “At this time where we are beginning to see reversal in development policy, where interest rates are rising, naturally, those flows are beginning to return back to where they came from. “Practically, all emerging and frontier markets have suffered not just depreciation, but also, they have lost reserves.

“In Nigeria we have done a very good job not only trying to see to it that we maintain a stable exchange rate but also avoid the pitfalls of depreciating our currency so soon in the early days of normalization.”

The CBN boss said he agreed with the need to build buffers but that it was feasible in the present situation.

“We are very conscious of the need to build buffers. Unfortunately I will say that we are in a period where it will be difficult to talk about building reserve buffers at this time. “You can only build those reserve buffers if you want to hold on to the reserves and allow your currency to go – and wherever it goes is something else. It’s a choice we have to make. “But at this time, the choice for Nigeria is to maintain a stable exchange rate so that businesses can plan, so that we don’t create problems in the banking system assets because when these happen, they have very wide ramifications. That is the reason we are maintaining our current position and we believe it is sustainable, at least in the short run.”
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Adebayo Shittu sues NYSC, says I wasn’t invited for youth service-foxxymobile.com.ng

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has sued the National Youth Service Corps, alleging that the body failed to serve him with a call-up letter in 1979 to enable him to observe the mandatory one-year national youth service, while he was still below the age of 30.

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The minister filed the suit marked FHC/IB/CS/111/2018 before the Federal High Court in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, through his lawyer, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN).

Joined as defendants in the suit are Director General, NYSC; the Oyo State Coordinator, NYSC; the NYSC and the Attorney General of the Federation.

The minister is urging the court to declare that the NYSC had waived his obligation to observe the one-year compulsory service by allegedly failing to serve him with a call-up letter in 1979 after he finished from the Nigerian Law School.

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The suit followed Shittu’s disqualification from Oyo State governorship race by his party, the All Progressives Congress.

The party had screened him out of its governorship primary in Oyo State after it became known that Shittu skipped the compulsory national youth service.

But relying on Section 2(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Act, 1973, Shittu, who read Law from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, and graduated in 1978, contended that his failure to serve should be blamed on the NYSC.

He is urging the court to declare that “the possession of the NYSC Discharge or Exemption Certificate is not one of the requirements for the appointment of the plaintiff as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or for his election as a state Governor or as a senator, pursuant to sections 147, 177 and 65 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Shittu prayed the court to perpetually restrain the NYSC and the other defendants from calling upon him to serve under the NYSC scheme “or from imposing any liability on or making the plaintiff to suffer any liability, be it civil or criminal, on account of his purported non-service under the NYSC scheme.”

He urged the court to order the NYSC to issue to him a Certificate of National Service, “having served the nation as member of the Oyo State House of Assembly immediately after graduating from the Nigerian Law School.”

In the alternative, he wants the court to order the NYSC to issue to him an Exemption Certificate in view of his service as a lawmaker in Oyo State

2019: INEC insists APC won’t be allowed to field candidates in Zamfara-foxxymobile_ng

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it stands by its statement that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not field candidates for the 2019 general elections in Zamfara.

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INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, stated this on the sideline of the opening of a two-day validation workshop titled “Study on the cost of elections in ECOWAS Region” on Monday in Abuja.

“We have issued a statement on Zamfara and nothing has changed. We stand by the statement that we issued,” he said.

Mr Yakubu re-emphasised that the deadline for submission of party candidates’ name to the commission was October 18, saying that it would give a full report on that after November 18.ads2

INEC had informed the ruling APC in a leaked memo that it would not be allowed to field candidates for elective positions in Zamfara in the 2019 elections.

The commission’s acting secretary, Okechukwe Ndeche, in a letter to the APC said the party was barred from fielding candidates for governorship, national assembly and state assembly elections.

The commission said this was because APC failed to comply with Sections 87 and 31 of the Electoral Act of 2010.

Parties, according to the act, were expected to comply with the timetable and schedule of INEC, which says that the conduct of primaries must be held between August 18 and October 7.

INEC said it received reports from its Zamfara office, indicating that no primaries were conducted in the state “notwithstanding that our officials were fully mobilised and deployed.”

The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, later responded to INEC in a statement and said that the party had already arrived at a consensus before the deadline.

Mr Oshiomhole said that following the high level of friction, disagreements and threats of violence by various political camps before the primaries, all the aspirants met at City King Hotel, Gusau, to find a truce.

“After hours of intense horse-trading, a consensus was reached within the spirit and context of the electoral act and the constitution of our party.

“This was done in strict compliance with Section 87 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended),” he said.

He said that the claim by INEC that no primaries were conducted could only be referring to its officials’ observation that actual voting did not take place.

The APC chairman said that conduct of primaries was not the only mode prescribed for producing candidates in the electoral act, 2010 (as amended).

“We, therefore, affirm that indeed, primaries took place in Zamfara State,” Mr Oshiomhole said.

The party chairman also noted that PDP had similar issues in Kano State and wondered why INEC did not bar the opposition party from fielding candidates.

Mr Yakubu further said that the commission would by the end of November print the outstanding Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

“We have printed the PVCs for those who registered in the first quarter of 2018. We are right now simultaneously printing for those who registered in the second and third quarters.

“We are looking at the end of November for all the PVCs to be printed including request for transfer and relocation.

“Let me just repeat the assurance that every citizen that registered and who have applied for transfer or replacement will get his or her PVC before 2019 general elections.”

He, however, said that the commission had stopped every registration, request for transfer and replacement of damaged PVCs. (NAN)

Falana says travel ban will expose FG to ridicule, calls for its withdrawal-foxxymobile.com.ng

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says the travel ban placed on 50 high-profile Nigerians by President Muhammadu Buhari should be withdrawn “without any delay”.

In a statement on Sunday, Falana said the directive which is backed by an executive order signed by the president is an “ingenious design to expose the Buhari administration to ridicule”.

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He said the executive arm of government is not empowered under the law to restrict the movement of criminal suspects.

Falana said only the anti-corruption agencies and courts have the right to restrict movement of individuals under investigation.

The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) cited various instances in the past where top government officials and other prominent individuals, including himself, were placed on watch lists by the ruling government.

He said an application for interim release of passports by some individuals under trial is usually granted for medical reasons, with the exception of “indigent accused persons standing trial for stealing, fraud or other economic crimes in Nigerian courts”.

“Sadly, the travel ban is a sad reminder of the reckless placement of political opponents on security watch list and seizure of their passports by the defunct military junta,” he said.ads2fala

“Notwithstanding such judicial indictment of politically exposed persons seeking medical treatment during trial the law has not authorised the Executive to restrict the movement of criminal suspects.

“The power of the anti graft agencies and the courts to place criminal suspects on watch list or subject their passports to temporary seizure has never been in doubt.

“To that extent, the directive to place the 50 high profile suspected persons on watch list and restrict their movement is highly superfluous, completely unwarranted and totally uncalled for.

“In fact, it is an ingenious design to expose the Buhari administration to ridicule.

“If the federal government had done some background check it would have discovered that the names of the 50 VIPs have long been placed on security watch list while their passports have been impounded by the anti graft agencies or the courts as one of the conditions for admitting them to bail.

“For the umpteenth time, I am compelled to caution the Buhari administration to wage the war against the menace of corruption within the ambit of the rule of law.

“Since the 50 high profile criminal suspects covered by EO6 have been placed on watch list while their passports have been seized by either the anti graft agencies or the courts the travel ban slammed on them by President Buhari ought to be withdrawn without any delay.”

Why Buhari banned 50 high-profile Nigerians from travelling – Presidency-foxxymobile

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday ordered a travel ban on 50 high-profile Nigerians to stop them from selling off assets acquired with stolen funds, the presidency has said.

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The individuals, whose identities were not disclosed were banned from travelling abroad.

Those banned include those whose assets, valued at N50million and above, are subject of corruption investigation and litigation.

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His spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in an email response to questions by state house correspondents on Sunday said “the very essence of the order is to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases”.

Mr Shehu said the order, known as Executive Order 6, is the first of its kind in Nigeria in the fight against corruption.

Nigeria’s major opposition party, the PDP and its presidential candidate for the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar have both described the order as a “return to fascism” and a repeat of “evil Decree 2”.

Mr Buhari as Head of State in 1984 promulgated Decree 2, which allows for indefinite, incommunicado detention of Nigerian citizens.

However, Mr Shehu said the government simply drew up the list of 50 Nigerians from ongoing corruption cases.

He said the order is not political and that “there is no political gain behind its activation.”

“These high profile cases we are talking about have been ongoing for between 7 to 10 years with no end in sight. These case were mostly originated by administrations other than this one.

“What is clear is that the access to these resources by the suspects has enabled them to be in a position to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial.

“In most of the cases, the courts are held in a helpless position by legal acrobatics paid for from corrupt enrichment by the suspects,” he said.

Mr Shehu said the new measures put in place would now compel everyone involved to make for a speedy conclusion of these cases.

“If it is your money, you have it back. If it belongs to the public, it goes back to the treasury,” he said.

The presidential aide also said the question of the constitutionality of the restriction order is already answered by a court of the land which has given the government a clean sheet.

“The Executive Order is legal and constitutional and therefore implementable.

“One of the cardinal objectives of the government under our constitution is to fight corruption. Fighting corruption is a responsibility and obligation upon the government,” he said.

Mr Shehu also denied reports of the release of the list.

“I want to confirm to you that we have not issued any list and we are not doing so.

These cases are well known and to say this or that name is on it, will open the door to further accusations, including trial by media.

 

“The Immìgration Service and other security agencies have the mandate of the President to carry out enforcement and they will do so, giving due respects to individual rights, in line with the constitution,” Mr Shehu said.

Travel ban will hurt economy, says Atiku-foxxymobile.com.ng

President Muhammadu Buhari’s travel ban on 50 Nigerians over the Executive Order 6, on Sunday attracted more condemnations.

The Peoples Democratic Party and the Coalition of United Political Parties had on Sunday slammed Buhari for the executive order, saying it was meant to cow opposition members.

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ut more Nigerians and groups including the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a civil society group, Access to Justice, on Sunday lambasted the President, describing his action as draconian, clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal.

Executive order’ll lead to capital flight, recession  – Atiku

Atiku, in a statement by his media office in Abuja, warned that the Executive Order which was recently signed by Buhari would lead to capital flight and another recession.

He also said that the statement by the Presidency banning 50 unnamed Nigerians from travelling out of the country, purportedly on the strength of Executive Order 6, was undemocratic.

He described the travel ban as another form of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections. Atiku said he abhorred  any act of criminality, either financially or otherwise.

The presidential candidate, however,  warned that the rule of law must be the guide at all times or society would descend into anarchy.

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He said it was wrong for the President to act under a mere suspicion that the suspects were  believed to have property overseas and were involved in tax dodging or other alleged financial infractions.

The statement partly read, “We must be unequivocal in saying that we abhor any act of criminality, financially or otherwise, but the rule of law must be our guide at all times or society will descend into anarchy.

“Thus, we find it most undemocratic that in a nation governed by the rule of law, a President who swore an oath to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does this.

“If past events are to be the judge, these 50 individuals will conveniently be critics and opponents of the Buhari administration.

“This is nothing short of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections. This is what the Buhari administration did in Osun where they froze the accounts of the Adeleke family and then illegally and clandestinely paid N16.7bn to the Osun State Government to facilitate the daylight electoral robbery.”

The former Vice-President said “the Nigerian constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen freedom of movement and freedom of association.”

This constitutional right, he added, could not be taken away except by a court order.

Atiku said, “If the Buhari administration wants to curtail the rights of Nigerians, then it must go to court and obtain a court order. Anything short of this is unconstitutional and extrajudicial.

“This sudden dictatorial act brings to mind President Buhari’s comments for which he was condemned by the international community and by the generality of Nigerians.

“While delivering an address at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association on August 26, 2018, President Buhari has said ‘where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.’

“That was not only a faulty interpretation of the constitution, the statement also betrays the dictatorial and authoritarian mindset of President Buhari because only he gets to decide who and what threatens national security.”

Atiku recalled Buhari’s Decree Number Two of 1984, which he said, criminalised truth telling if it did not please the President.

He said that the recent action of the President merely showed that “dictators can grow old, but they can’t grow into democrats.”

Atiku said, “Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented capital flight out of the nation to the extent that we are not even listed amongst the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the latest ranking by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“It is salient to note that we were number one under the last Peoples Democratic Party administration.

“Funnily enough, the Buhari administration was unable to stop Abdulrasheed Maina, their financier, from leaving the country after he was illegally brought back by them and reinstated to the federal service with double promotion.

“It is precisely this type of draconian orders that have chased investors away from Nigeria and it is precisely why Nigerians will chase this recession-friendly government away from power on February 16, 2019, so we can begin the job of Getting Nigeria Working Again.”

Executive order targeted at opposition – Obasanjo coalition

On its part, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo lambasted the Buhari-led Federal Government for imposing a travel ban on 50 politically-exposed persons.

The CNM said this in a statement by its Director, Strategic communications, Akin Osuntokun, on Sunday.

According to the coalition, the ban, which was done in line with Executive Order 6, was a subversion of the rule of law, reminiscent of military decrees.

The CNM also described the new executive order as an attempt to muzzle the opposition.

The CNM said Buhari had been planning to use security agencies to achieve a hidden agenda hence his decision to compromise the nation’s security architecture.

The statement read in part, “Recall that journalists were jailed on account of a similar decree that criminalised any reporting that embarrassed his government. Against this background, what the Executive Order 6 portends is a significant step towards the creation of a police state.

“It is also against this background that the personalisation of the national security architecture makes sense. Otherwise, there would have been no need to continue to reinforce the lopsided and parochial subversion and subordination of the security agencies to a personality cult agenda, at every available opportunity.”

It’s counterproductive to FG’s anti-graft war – SERAP

Also, an anti-corruption advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, also condemned the travel ban, warning that it would be counterproductive to the government’s anti-corruption campaign.

The group, in a statement by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, contended that the ban was “clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal,” demanding that the Federal Government should lift it immediately.

This was as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, argued that the travel ban was a usurpation of the power of the judiciary by the executive.

Ozekhome, who argued that the ban was targeted at the members of opposition political parties and voices critical of the Federal Government, described it as “an extreme panicky measure of desperation” by President Buhari ahead of the next year’s general elections.

SERAP, in its statement, argued that the travel ban violated both domestic and international laws that protect citizens’ human rights.

SERAP said, “The order banning 50 alleged high-profile corrupt Nigerians from travelling abroad without any legal basis and a judicial authorisation is clearly arbitrary, repressive and illegal, as it breaches constitutional rights and the country’s international obligations, which protect the rights to freedom of movement, to leave one’s country, to privacy, and to due process of law.

 “Rather than performing its declared objective of preventing dissipation of stolen assets, the travel ban would seriously undermine the government’s expressed commitment to combat grand corruption and violate the country’s international human rights obligations.

“The travel ban will play right into the hands of high-profile corrupt officials by feeding into the narrative that the fight against corruption is targeted only at political opponents.”

On his own part, Ozekhome said the ban was a violation of the principle of separation of powers.

Falana, AJ ask Buhari to lift travel ban on 50 VIPs

Also,  a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and a civil society group, Access to Justice, faulted the travel ban.

Falana in a statement asked the President to immediately withdraw the travel ban, but Access to Justice called for the total cancellation of the entire PEO6, which it argued “is unquestionably anti-democratic and a veiled snare for citizens’ rights.”

“The PEO is also a gratuitous piece of dangerous precedent that opens the door to an uncontrollable dictatorship; it can be used arbitrarily and vindictively to fight and muzzle political opposition, and promote wholly politically-partisan objectives,” the Director of Access to Justice, Mr. Joseph Otteh, added in a statement on Sunday.

In separate statements on Sunday, Falana and Access to Justice, said the executive order could not be the basis for preventing suspects from travelling.

Falana described the travel ban as “superfluous” because either the court or the various anti-corruption agencies had already seized the passports of the affected persons.

He added that it was an “ingenious design to expose the Buhari administration to ridicule.”

He said, “If the Federal Government had done some background check it would have discovered that the names of the 50 VIPs have long been placed on security watch list while their passports have been impounded by the anti-graft agencies or the courts as one of the conditions for admitting them to bail.

“It is public knowledge that whenever the defendants wish to travel abroad for medical treatment they usually apply for the interim release of their passports. Since the courts have taken judicial notice of the perilous state of medical facilities in the country such applications are usually granted.”

He called on President Buhari to immediately withdraw the ban.

He said, “For the umpteenth time, I am compelled to caution the Buhari administration to wage the war against the menace of corruption within the ambit of the rule of law.”

On its part, the Access to Justice, in rejecting the travel ban, called for the reversal of the PEO6 which it said could be vindictively used to fight and muzzle political opponents, and promote wholly politically-partisan objectives.

Otteh said in the statement that the judgment on which the Federal Government anchored the decision for the issuance of the travel ban, made it clear that the Attorney General of the Federation who is the coordinator of the implementation of the PEO6 could not deny owners access to their assets without a court order.

Its director said in a statement, “It is also legally warrantless; the government claims the judgment of Hon. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on the case involving PEO 6, gives it authority to bar the named persons.

“This is so very untrue: the judgment clearly required the government to implement PEO 6 in a way that is consistent with the rule of law; the court ruled that the government (Attorney General) could not block, freeze or confiscate any funds or assets without an order of court! If the government cannot take property without an order of court, how could it legitimately bar persons (presumed innocent by the law), from exercising their rights to liberty and movement without an order of court?

“Access to Justice requests the Federal Government to immediately rescind this obnoxious Executive Order.

“In its stead, we ask for Presidential Executive Orders that mandate all persons and authorities, in line with the constitution, to obey all orders and judgments of courts immediately, release all persons ordered by courts to be set free, as well as pay reasonable living (minimum) wages to all workers!”

Why I don’t care about my travel ban – Fani-Kayode

However, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, says he is not moved by the decision of the  Buhari-led government to bar him from travelling.

Fani-Kayode said in a statement that his passport had been with the courts and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since 2008 thereby making it impossible for him to travel.

The ex-minister, however, said he pitied those who needed medical attention but had also been placed on the list of 50 persons not allowed to travel.

He said, “I could not give a damn that my name is on the list of 50 members of the opposition and prominent Nigerians that have been placed on a travel ban because nothing that Buhari does surprises me.

“I have not left Nigeria since 2008 because my passport has been with the EFCC and the courts for the last 10 years and they have refused to give it to me and allow me to travel. Those on the travel-ban list that need to travel abroad for medical attention or to see their loved ones are the ones I feel sorry for.

“For me, travel ban or no travel ban, I have no intention of leaving Nigeria anytime soon because I am one of those that will be on the forefront in the struggle to liberate our country and  ensure that we get Buhari out of power in the next few months.”

Fani-Kayode said Buhari had shown repeatedly that he was a despot and would do anything to muzzle the opposition in order to retain power.

Names Of Those Barred By Buhari From Travelling Abroad, may Sell Their Assets-foxxymobile.com.ng

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed the travel ban on Saturday in a statement.

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Thirty-four out of the 50 names of those said to be on the travel ban list of President Muhammadu Buhari have been unveiled by The Nation newspaper.
According to the highly credible newspaper, it sighted the list on Saturday night.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed the travel ban on Saturday in a statement.
Shehu said this follows Buhari’s decision to implement the Executive Order 6 to the letters.

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Top on the list is a former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd).
Also on the list as obtained by The Nation are 13 former governors and seven ex- ministers.
The list:
1. Sambo Dasuki
2. Saminu Turaki
3. Murtala Nyako
4. Adebayo Alao-Akala
5. Gabriel Suswam
6. Rasheed Ladoja
7. Orji Uzor Kalu
8. Danjuma Goje
9. Attahiru Bafarawa
10. Muazu Babangida Aliyu
11. Chimaroke Nnamani
12. Sule Lamido
13. Gbenga Daniel
14. Ibrahim Shehu Shema
15. Nenadi Usman
16. Bashir Yuguda
17. Jumoke Akinjide
18. Bala Mohammed
19. Abba Moro
20. Femi Fani-Kayode
21. Ahmadu Fintiri.
22. Air Marshal Alex Badeh
23. Vice Admiral A. D. Jibrin
24. Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar
25. Sunday Ehindero
26. Air Marshal Adesola Amosu
27. High Chief Raymond Dokpesi
28. Waripamowei Dudafa
29. Justice Innocent Umezulike
30. Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia;
31. Olisa Metuh
32. Chief Jide Omokore
33. Ricky Tarfa
34. Dele Belgore.