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Reps probe NYSC over advice of ransom payment to kidnappers by corps members

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House of Representatives, Tuesday, resolved to investigate the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC over alleged insertion of the advice for Payment of ransom to kidnappers into its pamphlets containing security tips to serving corps members.

 

It will be recalled that the matter which went viral especially on social media became controversial with the NYSC authorities initially denying the insertion but later backtracked.

 

The insertion read thus: “When travelling on high risks roads such as Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene or Aba-Port Harcourt roads, then alert your family members, friends and colleagues, in order to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded.”

 

Also, in another section of the handout, the NYSC also warned serving corps members against travelling with communication gadgets like laptops and cell phones so as not to be charged according to their worth.

 

The section reads, “In this period of ICT, do not travel with communication gadgets like laptops, iPad, handsets, and other electronic facilities that you stored personal information such as finances, net worth, investment, and business dealings as kidnappers will charge according to your worth.”

 

Considering and adopting a motion titled “Need to Investigate the Alleged Insertion of the Advice for Payment of Ransom into the National Youth Service Corps Pamphlets Containing Security Tips”, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu at Tuesday plenary, the House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Youth Development to investigate the insertion of item 65(e) in the NYSC Security Awareness and Education Handbook to ensure that adequate measures were put in place to provide safety of Corps Members across the country.

 

Presenting the motion earlier, Elumelu recalled that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was created on 22 May 1973 as an avenue for reconciliation, reconstruction and rebuilding of the nation after the civil war.

 

 

He noted that the programme was set up, primarily for Nigerian graduates below the age of 30 who intend to work in Nigeria to be at the forefront of national developmental efforts as well as a means to impart values of nationalism, patriotism, loyalty and accountable leadership in Nigerian youths.

 

“The programme requires that participants be posted to States other than their States of origin where they are expected to mix with people from other ethnic groups, social and family backgrounds and learn the culture of the indigenes they are posted to, to bring about unity in the country regardless of cultural diversity

 

“The security challenges in the country affect Corps Members as some of them, on their way to respective places of posting, have fallen victim to kidnap-for-ransom, some have lost their lives to insurgents and other mishaps.

 

“In the last few days, reports have surfaced with picture evidence of an embarrassing provision under section 65(e) of the NYSC security tips pamphlet, advising Corps Members to tell their families to make ransoms available in case they are kidnapped on the road.

 

“The inclusion of the said section shows a complete collapse in the architectural system of the country’s security forces and a major worry for friends and family as to why their children should be allowed to participate in this compulsory exercise.

 

“The provision shows a lack of concern for the safety of Corps members as against the provisions of Section 19 of the Public Officers Protection Act which places the welfare and security of Corp members on the Federal Government Disturbed that the insertion of such a clause by the NYSC in its security tips manual portrays the inability of the government to provide security on the highways as well as a surrender by the government to kidnappers and bandits”, he said.

 

Reacting to the motion, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila reminded Elumelu that the NYSC denied the praise.

 

“I thought NYSC denied it”, he said.

 

In response to Gbajabiamila’s question, Elumelu read the lines in the pamphlet.

 

“I am aware that NYSC denied it but Mr. Speaker, I have before me the pamphlet. This is the pamphlet they are using everywhere”, he said and proceeded to read the lines.”

 

But Gbajabiamila still expressed fear there could be another version of the booklet especially with the NYSC denying the insertions.

 

He however asked the Committee to verify the authenticity of the insertions, saying there will be a problem if it was real.

 

“During the course of your investigation, verify the authenticity. If it is authentic, then, there is a problem”, he said.

 

The motion was eventually adopted after securing the votes of the majority of the House.

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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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