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THE NATION

Court discharges, acquits 100 Shi’ite members

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A Kaduna High Court has discharged and acquitted about 100 members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise called Shiites, according to a statement signed by the President of the movement’s media forum, Ibrahim Musa, and distributed to newsmen in Kaduna on Tuesday.

While discharging and acquitting the IMN members, the court was quoted as saying, “This judgement has not only vindicated the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, but it is certainly a victory for perseverance in the face of extreme persecution. It is a victory for truth and justice against tyranny and impunity.”

The Islamic movement recalled that “the Kaduna state government sued almost close to 200 members of the Islamic Movement after an attack on the Movement by the Nigerian Army in December 2015 which led to the killing of over a thousand souls, including three sons of the Sheikh Zakzaky, his elder sister and a nephew.

“The attack was sequel to the unlawful invasion of the privacy of their residence and eventual destruction of the house completely. This has been aptly described by several human rights bodies as a massacre.

“To worsen these flagrant crimes against humanity, bodies of all the hundreds killed were hurriedly and secretly buried in mass graves about 100km away from the scene, apparently in a shoddy attempt at hiding the crime and its magnitude.”

The Shiites reiterated their call for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, adding that, “We are all aware of the crude tactics of the Kaduna state government led by El-Rufai all in his devilish plots at perpetuating the persecution against the Islamic Movement and the continued detention incommunicado of Sheikh Zakzaky and his ailing wife.

“In spite of previous court judgements ordering their immediate release from detention, thereby further flaunting his fundamental rights and rights to liberty. With this victory in the court today, the false charges filed against them of aiding and abetting the culpable homicide has been punctured for good.

“We await the response of the Kaduna state government as Sheikh Zakzaky’s case comes up in the next two days. We expect them to respect the judgement of this honourable court and the course of justice to withdraw the fake charges against him and release him with immediate effect.

“As a peaceful Movement, we have kept to our clean tradition of seeking redress through peaceful means without any resort to violence despite deliberate and persistent provocations by the government.

“Today, Kaduna state government has again failed in court after a fair trial. We therefore give praises to the Almighty for yet another successful outing, which further proves to the world that the Movement and its leader are only victims of impunity and mischievous plots by the El-Rufai-led government,” read part of the statement.

The IMN however expressed gratitude to those who stood by it throughout the trial, saying, “We wish to use this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all people of conscience, human rights activists and organizations, journalists and all those that joined in our dogged campaign for justice for the victims of Zaria genocide. Thank you and God bless.”

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THE NATION

Why DSS must obey court order, release Dasuki – APC chieftain, Orji Kalu

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A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has said if court has ordered the release of former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, then security agencies should comply with the order.

Kalu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Sunday.

He noted that the various tiers of government, individuals and corporate entities should have respect for the decisions of the courts.

According to Kalu, “We are making many unlawful things possible.

“If a court issues an order that Sambo Dasuki be released, it should be obeyed.

“If we Nigerians genuinely want democracy to endure, we should learn how to respect the laws of the land.

“The law of the land is our constitution and any pronouncement made by the court based on the constitution should be obeyed.’’

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THE NATION

Ortom: No amount of persecution will make me return to APC

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Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, says no amount of “torment or persecution” will make him reconsider his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement issued on his behalf by Terver Akase, his chief press secretary, the governor accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being a strike squad of the ruling party.

He also alleged that the federal government had been using the anti-graft agency to “cripple governance in the state.”

“After succumbing to nationwide condemnation of its illegal freezing of Benue State Government accounts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has resorted to yet another shameful act in its desperation to cripple governance in the state,” the statement read.

“The anti-graft agency’s latest move is the bandying of figures in national dailies claiming that such figures are those of transactions in the accounts owned by the Benue State Government.

“It released figures allegedly withdrawn from the Benue State Government accounts without disclosing the dates of the withdrawals and the period during which they were made.

“The commission has also not been able to state accounts into which such monies withdrawn were paid to prove that the funds had been diverted.

“EFCC is contented with publishing the figures without stating how impropriety has been established.

“Are government monies supposed to be kept in the accounts indefinitely without expenditure? Their objective is apparently to give Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration a bad name.

“On this score, it is clear that the EFCC has now become both a strike squad of the APC for torment, and their law court for the trial and conviction of political opponents.

“The commission may torment and persecute Governor Ortom and his subordinates on the directives of the powers that be as much as it serves their purposes, but he will neither be distracted nor reconsider his defection from APC.”

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Osinbajo berates gospel preachers for failure to preach against corruption

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has berated gospel preachers for failing to lend support to the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war by failing to preach against the scourge.

Speaking at the 30th National Biennial Conference of the Students Christian Movement (SCM) of Nigeria holding in Enugu, Osinbajo noted that preachers were preoccupied with preaching prosperity rather than righteousness.

“Very rarely do you hear our preachers talk about corruption from their pulpits. If a nation is not righteous nothing will help it.”

Osinbajo said that the problem with Nigeria was neither ethnicity nor religion but systemic corruption.He said that corruption had been so entrenched in the country that if you dare challenge it, you will be in the minority.

He, however, challenged the youths to change the narrative and make the difference by checking the impunity of those that had stolen the resources of the country.

“Our problem in this country is not ethnicity or religion; it is not about Christians or Muslims. Our problems are the same wherever you go in this country.

“The story of our country is about good and evil. It is about those that have left us in this condition by stealing our common resources. Do not let anyone deceive you.”

The acting president challenged members of SCM to ensure that the movement becomes one of the tools that will move the country forward. “You should understand that our country can be delivered by people like you.”

According to him, young Christians have special and distinct roles to play in the transformation of the country which is superior to those of other sets of people.

“All of the great nations of the world were transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a gospel that tickles people’s imaginations or dwells on prosperity.

“It is not a gospel that fits your fancy. It is a gospel that teaches that righteousness exalts a nation.”

Osibanjo appealed to Nigerians to stand against the plundering of the nation’s resources as well as support the anti-corruption initiative of the Federal Government, irrespective of party affiliations.

Earlier in his address, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State commended the organisers of the event for a successful convention, stating that Christians needed such events in order to seek spiritual reformation and renaissance, considering the situation in the world.

He said that Christians also needed to contribute their quota toward promoting good living among Nigerians.

Ugwuanyi urged Nigerians to continue to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari and for the peace of the nation.

In an address of welcome, the National President of SCM, Rev. Eric Ighalo, commended Osinbajo for honouring their invitation.

Ighalo said that the conference was about active involvement of youths in reversing the problems that had held the country down through dialogue, collaboration and contention.

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