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Anxiety over plans to truncate inauguration of NDDC board

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A group in the Niger Delta region has claimed that some people are desperately working to truncate the inauguration of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) raised the alarm yesterday in a statement made available to The Nation.

It would be recalled that the upper legislative chamber on 5th November 2019 screened and cleared 14 of the 15 nominees to the board of the NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But their inauguration was put on hold to allow for the completion of the comprehensive forensic audit of the Commission.

The report of the audit has since been submitted to the President on 2 September 2021.

Two weeks after submission and no talks of inauguration of members of the boards of the Commission, tongues have started wagging over plans by some powerful persons working to maintain the status quo.

The Commission has been under the control of a Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa since December 2020.

Reacting to the rumour, the group stressed that the continuous running of the activities of the Commission by a Sole Administrator is inimical to the representation of the various stakeholders in the region and thus is totally rejected.

The group alleged that those behind the scheme are doing it for their own personal interest and not for the good of the region.

Consequently, the group urges President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency inaugurate members of the board already cleared by the senate to deescalate the agitation already going on over the issue.

The statement which was signed by Mr. Izon Ebi leader of 21st CYNDAC reads: “The 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) have been made aware of the various underhand tactics been employed by political jobbers to truncate the inauguration of the substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.

“As critical stakeholders, we reiterate our stance that any attempt to truncate the inauguration will bid the region and the Commission no good.

“The attempt by these political jobbers to truncate the inauguration is for their political and pecuniary gains and nothing else, of what benefit will it be for the people and the region? Nobody is talking about the prosecution of people found culpable of the decades-long malfeasance, these rogues masquerading as stakeholders are only interested in planting people in the commission as a means of getting their hands on the cookie jar to fund their lifestyle.

“We use these medium to urge Mr. President to keep to his promise of cleaning the NDDC Augean stable by making the NDDC to benefit the people and the region, any attempt to allow fifth columnists to truncate the work of the forensic audit and further delay in inaugurating the substantive board will be of no benefit to the people and the region.

“The palpable restiveness and tension of the youths in the region is already being felt.  We urge Mr. President to do the needful and deescalate the tension and agitations. The 21st CYNDAC therefore use this medium to urge the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to take his redemption mission of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC to its logical conclusion by making sure that the substantive board of the commission is sworn in.

“Words on the street is that the minister is more amenable to running a one man show through the sole administrator vehicle which gives him unilateral power over the running of the Commission,  though the 21st CYNDAC are not in tandem with this submission taking cognisance of the forensic audit of the Commission which is more or less the brainchild of the Honourable Minister,  it behooves on the minister to come clean on his plans for the inauguration so as not to give charlatans an avenue to rubbish his noble objectives about the Commission to downsize the board of the Commission is inimical to the representation of the various stakeholders in the region and thus is totally rejected by the 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience  ( 21st CYNDAC  ) and other stakeholders in the region.”

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Seven killed, 140 injured in Sudan coup protest

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Seven people have reportedly died and about 140 others wounded after soldiers opened fire on crowds opposing a military takeover in Sudan.

Many people took to the streets after the armed forces dissolved civilian rule, arrested political leaders and called a state of emergency on Monday.

Troops are reported to have been going house to house in the capital Khartoum arresting local protest organisers.

The coup has been condemned around the world, and the US halted $700m in aid.

The leader of the coup, Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, blamed political infighting for the military action.

Civilian leaders and their military counterparts have been at odds since long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown two years ago.

As night fell on Monday, large numbers of protesters were on the streets of Khartoum – and other cities – demanding the return of civilian rule, BBC Arabic’s Mohamed Osman reports from the capital.

One wounded protestor told reporters he was shot in the leg by the army outside the military headquarters, while another man described the military firing first stun grenades, then live ammunition.

“Two people died, I saw them with my own eyes,” said Al-Tayeb Mohamed Ahmed. Sudan’s doctor’s union and the information ministry also wrote on Facebook that the fatal shootings had happened outside the military compound.

Our correspondent says that despite the violence, the protests show few signs of easing.

Demonstrators have blocked roads with piles of bricks and burning tyres. Many women are also taking part, shouting “no to military rule”.

The city’s airport is closed and international flights are suspended. The internet and most phone lines are also down.

Central Bank staff have reportedly gone on strike and across the country, doctors are said to be refusing to work in military run hospitals except in emergencies.

BBC

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Sudan military declares state of emergency after coup, shuts down internet

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Sudan’s military leader has declared a state of emergency across the country and dissolved its transitional cabinet, which is seen as a huge blow to the country’s already fragile transition to democracy.

Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan made a televised announcement on Monday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded the streets of the capital Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, after soldiers arrested several government officials.

Among those detained on Monday is Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He was moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.

The military also raided the television and radio headquarters and shut down the internet. The capital’s airport has been also closed, together with some of the city’s roads and bridges.

At least 12 people have been wounded so far in the protests that have been called by the pro-democracy coalition born out of the uprising which put an end to the 30-year long rule of Omar al-Bashir.

In his announcement, Burhan said that the military will continue the process towards democracy, but dissolved the sovereign council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the country since al-Bashir’s removal.

“We have started our path towards the state of freedom and peace but some political powers are still trying to maintain everything in their hands, without giving attention to political, economic and social threats,” he said.

Al-Burhan said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023.

But he made clear the military will remain in charge.

“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” al-Burhan said.

The move came just before the military was supposed to hand leadership of the country’s joint military-civilian administration to civilians next month.

The information ministry called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup”.

Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan’s civilian and military leadership over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy.

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Sudan: UN condemns military takeover, PM detention

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The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has condemned the military coup in Sudan, and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials.

He said this in a tweet Monday

In a military takeover on Monday morning, Sudan’s armed forces dissolved a governing council that included civilians and detained the prime minister and other civilian officials, endangering the country’s transition to democracy.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and members of Sudan’s cabinet were detained and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a security alert posted Monday, the US Embassy said it “has received reports that armed forces are blocking certain areas in and around Khartoum” and “internet in Khartoum is non-functional.”

Guterres said the UN would “continue to stand” with the people of the country.

“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan.”
An aide and office director of Sudan’s now-arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told CNN that the premier was aware of army plans and was under pressure to dissolve the government.

The adviser, Adam al-Hireika, said that he visited Hamdok on Sunday evening where he discussed the current state-of-affairs.

Hamdok had just met with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who declared the coup on state-TV on Monday.

“I say he was cautiously optimistic that there was an opening for agreement, but I think the military side wanted him to dissolve the government and he insisted on not unless there is a process and there is an agreement between political parties,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson.
“This morning, when I heard about what happened I went to the PM’s residence, he is my boss and friend. I went to his residence unfortunately he wasn’t there. His wife and him were taken to an unknown destination by soldiers,” he added.

Burhan said in a statement that power-shared council and government were dissolved and declared a state of emergency after a balanced power-sharing agreement with the civilian component “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.

“What, General Burhan mentions in his address, actually what most of a lot of it was agreed between the two parties, but as the PM stood very strongly against dissolving the government without a process. I think that was the biggest issue of contention,” Hireika said.
Hireika warned of a civil war in Sudan if there was a return to military rule. “
“Well, I think the bigger picture, a return to military rule will mean more civil war in Sudan and instability in the region as a result,” he added.
Amnesty International calls on Sudan authorities “to respect human rights” following military takeover
From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq
Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sudan “to respect human rights” following the arrest of the country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials in an apparent coup.
“We are concerned by the escalating tensions in Sudan following the reported arrest of the Prime Minister and other civilian leaders and the imposition of an internet shutdown,” Amnesty International said in a post to Twitter on Monday.
Amnesty International “calls on the authorities in Sudan to respect human rights—including the right to life, right to freedom of association, expression and assembly, both offline and on the internet. The right to peaceful protest must be respected, now more than ever.”
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s armed forces, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, saying in a televised statement that an “independent and fair representative government” would assume power until one is elected in 2023. Burhan also announced a state of emergency across Sudan.
Several articles of the constitution were suspended and state governors were removed, Burhan said.
Those arrested by “joint military forces” include various civilian ministers of Sudan’s transitional government and members of Sudan’s sovereign council, the Information Ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the Information Ministry’s claims, however family members said the Minister of Information was one of several senior officials detained.
Protesters who opposed the coup have taken to the streets in the capital Khartoum and have faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters, according to the information ministry.

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