High profile sponsors are behind the secessionist activities of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, President Muhammadu Buhari said this morning.
According to President Buhari on Friday, one of those found to be financing the agitators is a federal lawmaker.
The President said those sponsoring violence and making hate speeches to instigate disorder would be arrested and prosecuted.
President Buhari spoke in his Independence Day broadcast aired on television and radio networks.
Besides insecurity, the President spoke on the economy, food security poverty eradication and education.
Nigeria marks 61 years on Friday (today) as an independent nation.
Restating that Nigeria’s “unity is not negotiable”, President Buhari announced that while efforts were ongoing to prevent further misuse of the social media, the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria had been lifted.
It is however subjected to some conditions, he said.
He also said “Nigeria Roadmap on Local Refinery” was on track with the inauguration of a modular refinery in Imo State.
The President added that a second modular refinery will come on board in December in Edo State and a third in Bayelsa State in 2022.
On those behind agitators, he said further that the revelations were made possible by the arrest of two separatist figures: Kanu and Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
The President, who said the Federal Government believes that every grievance by any section of the country could be resolved through dialogue, however, warned that any person or group found in the act of inciting violence would be arrested and prosecuted.
According to him, those who had caused serious chaos and violence did so through words, using lies, targeted hate speeches to propel violence, which had led to the death of many citizens and destruction of property.
He called on all Nigerians to reject the lure by those he described as “evil people” from plunging the country into further crisis.
Citing section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President said the security and welfare of Nigerians remained the prime focus of his administration.
Buhari said: “Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.
“I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.
“Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.
“We shall continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.
“Fellow Nigerians, this is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.
“Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing.”
Speaking generally on security, President Buhari noted that progress had been made in the fight against terrorism and banditry, which had been the major features in the northern part of the country.
According to him, to support and sustain the ongoing campaign to keep the country safe and peaceful, the armed forces had recruited over 17,000 personnel, while the police had been granted leave to recruit 10,000 personnel yearly for the next six year.
More than 8,000 terrorists had surrendered as evidence of the various efforts, Buhari said.
He added: “As our economy continues to open after the COVID-19 related lockdowns, we have also seen the resurgence of insecurity in certain parts of the country.
“In the last four months, the gallant men and women of the military and security agencies have made tremendous progress in addressing these new security challenges. We are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning.”
Buhari said the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, the Deep Blue Project, was launched to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea.
On measures being taken to secure the country, Buhari said: “I am also pleased to note that most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria. These will positively impact our security operations in all parts of the country.
“In line with section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolves.”
President Buhari, who identified the social media as a useful platform, said it had been misused to coordinate criminal activities.
He said he has directed the lifting of the suspension of the activities of Twitter in Nigeria as long as the microblogging site fulfilled some conditions.
He said: “As we embrace the digital economy in Nigeria, we are fully aware of the prospects and the perils. Our policies have been developed to enable Nigerians to take advantage of the prospects and avoid the perils of digital technologies.
“Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.
“To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021 to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.
“Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.”
The President lamented the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country, saying that the last 18 months had been the most difficult in the history of the country.
He said: “Nigerians came together as one to fight against COVID-19. It is this attitude and by the special grace of God, we continue to survive the pandemic as a nation and indeed, provide leadership and example at regional and international levels.
“The doomsday scenario predicted for our country never came. Even as the Delta variant continues to spread, we have built the capacity we need to respond now and into the future,”
He cautioned Nigerians against taking the pandemic lightly, admonishing that they adhere to public health and social measures, put on mask on and get vaccinated.
He said: “We can control this pandemic, but it requires effort on everybody’s part. The investments we made in response to COVID-19 will also serve our country to tackle any future disease outbreaks or pandemics.”
The President rejected the lack of easy access to COVID-19 vaccines, saying: “I will take this opportunity to remind the global community that the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable. We cannot afford a situation where a handful of countries keep the global vaccine supply to themselves at the expense of other nations.
“We must act now to accelerate equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This is the message I conveyed to the international community in New York last week.
“As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines. Should another pandemic arise in the future, our question is simple; will Nigeria be ready?”
Buhari said the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Education and Science and Technology have been directed to work with local and international pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to enhance Nigeria’s domestic pharmaceutical capacity.
“Already, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is raising a $200 million fund for this initiative that will complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing N85 billion Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme to support local researchers in the development of vaccines and drugs to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases, including COVID-19,” he stated.
Speaking on the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas sector, Buhari acknowledged the achievement made in passing the almost two decades old Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), adding that the new law would help in removing the dark corners in running the nation’s oil sector.
Seven killed, 140 injured in Sudan coup protest
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.
Sudan military declares state of emergency after coup, shuts down internet
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.
Sudan: UN condemns military takeover, PM detention
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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