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Soyinka: Nigeria on the edge, Buhari must take urgent action

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  • Faults President on locating grazing routes

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is on the “edge”, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to move beyond mere talk, and take urgent action to set the country on the right path.
He said the President should stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.
Last week, Buhari spoke, in two recorded interviews and a national broadcast, on challenges facing the country, stating that his administration was committed to ensuring growth and improved security.
Soyinka on Arise Television programme on Monday said the problems of the country could be addressed with the right actions by the leaders.
He said, “First of all, he should start talking to people like a leader — and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation. Then, let us see actions being taken.
“I’m tired of hearing things like ‘you will see differences in a few weeks’ time’. We are tired of that. He’s got to put his cards on the table and take people into confidence.
“He’s got to stop exuding a false confidence, because that kind of confidence is totally false. It is not based on realities, and we’ve got to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer a problem of the people,; it is a problem of leadership, because the people have shown themselves ready to act, to save their own community.”
Soyinka also said the national assembly and the 36 state governors were not doing enough, considering their constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “Members of NASS are not doing enough. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise that they have certain powers which they haven’t touched
“There are certain areas they can compel this government to act the way it should, and that applies especially to governors — the governors themselves are too timid.”
He warned Nigerians to stop spreading fake news, stressing that it is a way of distorting constructive narratives that could help the people.
Soyinka said, “I appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by stealing my identity and putting words in my mouth on social media, you are wasting your time. Not only that, you are acting in a distorting way.
“At this sensitive time, I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with such serious issues, otherwise they are going to lose the kind of support they have from people like me.”

Soyinka also faulted Buhari on his plan to locate old grazing routes across the country, saying hs comments were “disturbing” and indicated that his administration has not gone beyond narrow-mindedness.
He said: “There is at least 50 per cent of a nation, at least their representatives, saying that within the constitution, within this democratic dispensation, we’re saying on behalf of our people: ‘we do not want open grazing anymore.’
“And then, somebody sits in Aso Rock and says to them: ‘I’m instructing my Attorney-General to dig up some kind of colonial law, which arbitrated between farmers and herders, so I’m instructing him to dig up that old, mangy documents so that I can recover, on behalf of a certain private business, the old routes; which means that he’s not listening to what the people are saying and what the governors who represented them are saying.
“He’s saying: ‘I’m going to restore those routes’ by referring to some colonial arrangement. When I listen to a thing like that, I really despair.
“It was a very instructive interview, not that there was anything new in it, but I was just hoping that this government had transcended that kind of partisan thinking. It was very instructive.
“That was a leader, who incidentally, I must congratulate him on one thing: he seemed to have recovered his verve – he was energetic, he was articulate; he seemed to think about what he was saying. It was a different kind of Buhari but also a rather disturbing kind of Buhari.
“This was the language of a leader who felt he was on a roll, while the nation is on a roller-coaster, and that’s even putting it mildly because the nation is on a nose-dive.”

 

 

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Court grants 12 Igboho’s associates bail

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An Abuja Federal High Court has granted bail to detained 12 associates of Yoruba nation advocate Sunday Igboho.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a ruling a moment ago, granted eight of them, whose bail application was not challenged by the Department of State Services (DSS) bail at N5 million each.
Justice Egwuatu granted bail at N10 million each for the other four, whose application was challenged by the DSS.
The judge also ordered each of the detainees to produce two sureties and asked them to remain in the custody of the DSS until they were able to meet the bail conditions.

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Igboho supporters granted bail after one month in detention

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A federal high court in Abuja has granted bail to 12 supporters of Sunday Igboho who were arrested in Oyo state.

 

Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) had on July 1 raided Igboho’s residence in Oyo and arrested 12 of his supporters.

 

The arrested persons were subsequently moved to the federal capital territory (FCT) where they have been in detention.

 

Subsequently, the suspects through their lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, filed an application asking the court to “inquire into the circumstances constituting grounds of their arrest and detention since July 2, 2021, and where it deems fit admit applicants on bail”.

 

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Olajengbesi, counsel to the applicants, asked the court to admit his clients to bail.

 

“There is no need to continue to keep them with the respondents,” he said.

 

Commenting on the bail application, David Awo, DSS counsel, had said he was not opposed to bail for the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th applicants.

 

He told the court that the remaining four applicants (2nd, 12th, 5th, and 6th) were still being investigated.

 

Ruling on the bail application, Obiora Egwatu, the presiding judge, said it is clear that no charge has been preferred against the applicants and that they have been in detention since they were arrested.

 

He said the applicants have a right to liberty and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

 

He admitted the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10 and 11th applicants to bail in the sum of N5 million and two sureties each.

 

The judge said the sureties must be residents of Abuja with an acceptable means of identification and passport photographs. They must also provide evidence of tax payment of two years and swear to an affidavit of means. The residence of the sureties shall also be verified by the court.

 

“For the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 12 applicants, since no charge has been preferred against them, bail is equally granted to them in the sum of N10 million and two sureties in like sum,” the judge ruled.

 

“The sureties shall be resident in Abuja, provide means of identification, passport photograph, evidence of tax payment within 2 years and depose to an affidavit of means.

 

“One of the surety must be a civil servant in the employ of the federal government or any of its agencies on level 12 and above. He shall provide the original of his employment letter and promotion letter. The residence of the sureties shall be verified.

 

“Each of the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th applicants, shall report at the office of the respondents every first Monday the month, commencing from the first Monday in September 2021.”

 

At the initial court session which was held on Monday, officials of the DSS had barred journalists from covering the trial.

 

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) subsequently described the action as a threat to the rule of law and democracy.

 

Emmanuel Ogbeche, chairman of the FCT NUJ, had called on “relevant authorities” to take “necessary measures to protect and ensure journalists’ safety on duty”.

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COVID-19

Anxiety in NYSC camps as COVID-19 cases hit 109

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There are fears among young graduates currently at the various camps of the National Youth Service Corps across the country, as at least 109 prospective corps members are said to have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The NYSC orientation camps were opened at the weekend for Batch B, Stream 1 of this year’s season of the national youth service.

The cases were detected following mandatory COVID-19 tests conducted on reporting corps members. The identified cases, our reporters gathered, have been moved to isolation centres in the respective states.

The NYSC officials at the states level have constituted COVID-19 Vanguard, a team to aid enforce compliance to health protocols on the camps.

The Federal Government on Monday raised the alarm over the spread of the contagious Delta variant of the virus to more states, as authorities mull fresh lockdown for the worst-hit states.

Data obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control shows a sharp spike in incidences with 851 cases recorded in the first two days of August.

The agency’s statistics indicate that 11 persons died from COVID-19 complications on the second day of the month.

In Edo State, for instance, 17 corps members tested positive for the virus at the point of registration.

It was gathered that all the corps members were tested for the virus before being admitted into the camp.

The state NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Abiodun Olubukola, had during the swearing-in ceremony inaugurated COVID-19 Vanguard as part of efforts to ensure strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol.

The Chief Medical Director, Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Edo State, Dr Osagie Ebomwonyi disclosed that 17 corps members in the state were currently receiving COVID-19 treatment at the hospital’s isolation centre.

The personal assistant to the state NYSC Coordinator, Mr Ozeto Waheed, confirmed the development.

An employee of NYSC at the orientation camp in the Mangu Local Government Area said the camp had recorded 26 cases since the commencement of the orientation exercise.

In Gombe State, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has called on corps members posted to the state to avail themselves at the testing centre to know their COVID-19 status.

The NYSC DG was in Amada Temporary Orientation Camp following the recently reported COVID-19 cases, where 25 corps members posted to the state tested positive for the disease.

He said that it is mandatory for every corps member to get tested and adhere to the rules, adding that they must comply with the non-pharmaceutical rules to stay safe and return to their parents healthy.

 

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