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Buhari’s appointments: Nigerians must change ethnic mindset – MURIC

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The Muslim Rights Concern has thrown its weight behind the recent appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

MURIC said there was nothing wrong with the appointments despite the harsh criticisms by some Nigerians that it favoured the North to the detriment of the South.
MURIC said what Nigerians need to do now is to change their ethnic mindset.

The body, in a statement by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said the most important thing is for the appointees to deliver on their mandates.

In the statement on Tuesday, MURIC said there was no need for the “tornado of criticisms” that greeted the appointments.

The statement reads in full: “The most recent appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari have been greeted with a tornado of criticisms from several quarters.

The Federal Government named Engr. Babachir David Lawal Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, Kure Martins Abeshi, Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service Sentor Ita S. J. Enang and Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu as Special Advisers on National Assembly Matters, Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

“The crux of the rejecting voices is the complaint by ethnic groups like Afenifere and Ndigbo that they have been marginalized in the appointments made so far.

“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) considers the outcry unnecessary. It is a product of negative perceptions and a manifestation of ethnic jingoism. The criticisms cannot be justified by any objective parameter. Worse still, opposition to those appointments cement our fear that Nigeria cannot be called a country any more than a log of woods can be referred to as a ship.

“Nigeria is not yet a nation-state. Instead of thinking of the country, most Nigerians think first of their states of origin or even the narrow confines of their clans.

“We are baffled that a people who voted for change are not patient enough to allow that change to take place. Ministers, heads and members of parastatals and boards are yet to be announced but we are already passing judgement. Appointments under past regimes were made via political godfathers and on the basis of tribal distribution.

But what did we get from that anachronistic and clannish system? Public office holders looted ad infinitum and attempts at checking them were frustrated by their powerful godfathers and ethnic groups who turned the thieves into heroes.

“Have Nigerians forgotten so soon? A South-South governor defrauded his state blind, managed to escape justice in Nigeria but Nemesis caught up with him in England. He jumped bail over there, disguised as a woman and arrived Nigeria only to be welcomed by a mammoth crowd in his home state. A top politician in the South-West who was jailed for corruption was met at the prison gates by his ‘aso-ebi’-clad kinsmen who jubilated as if the man had just won an election.

“It appears that the goal of each ethnic group is to get political appointment for the smartest rogue in its midst. Nay, we seem to be expecting our sons and daughters to bring loot from Abuja. How can we celebrate kleptomaniacs so shamelessly?

“Instead of behaving like brainwashed ethnic zealots, MURIC advocates objective assessment of appointments. What Nigeria needs to change and move forward are men and women of integrity. We need people with robust pedigrees, men and women of impeccable character, only such people can turn this country around.

“We all know that Buhari alone cannot take Nigeria to El-Dorado if he is surrounded by thieves and criminals. He needs like-minds to succeed. So what is the uproar about? It was in this country that a graduate of Yoruba language was employed as an engineer in a water corporation.

No wonder Nigerians have no access to portable water. How can we continue to put square pegs in round holes and expect good results?

“We warn Nigerians not to confuse Mr. President. The East is crying marginalization because an Igbo man is not on the list. Afenifere is mimicking the East even without having the mandate of all sections in Yorubaland. The North is complaining that Buhari picked Christians from the North. Yet it is not as if some have not been represented, their grudge is they want more, like Oliver Twist.

“In particular, many appear to be suffering from a chronic anti-North phobia. Nigerians need to be more broadminded. We do not have to live a life that is permanently based on suspicion of one another. Yet come to think of it, it was the North that gave Buhari the decisive millions which turned the table. What becomes of the goose that lays the golden eggs?

“Had Buhari’s appointments tilted towards Muslims the noise of Islamisation would have been deafening. Where are those who tried to use religion to divide us? Where are those who claimed that Buhari’s party was an Islamic party and that the man himself was a Muslim fanatic? Nigeria parades too many confusionists, numerous alarmists and uncountable advocates diaboli.

“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to change their mindset. Let us focus on credibility instead of ethnicity. Let our target be excellence and not mediocrity. The National Orientation Agency has a lot to do in this direction. Nigerians urgently need a reengineering session. Let us encourage our leaders to pick the right persons for the right job.

“In conclusion, we advise the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to enforce its policy of party supremacy in the issue of appointments in order to avoid sacrificing excellence on the altar of mediocrity.

This was what brought the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) down. Cluelessness should not be hereditary across political parties.”

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Court soft-pedals on Nnamdi Kanu’s trial

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The authorities of the Federal High Court in Abuja have soft-pedaled on the stringent conditions imposed on the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Against their last month decision, the court authorities have stopped the movement of the trial to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, at Jabi District of Abuja.

Also, the authorities of the Court have permitted the media to witness the treasonable felony charges brought against the Biafra nation agitator by the Federal Government.

At the time of this report, fully armed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), have taken perfect control of the security situations within and outside the court premises.

Journalists, lawyers, litigants, as well as workers are being allowed into the court premises unhindered after formal introduction and presentation of identity cards.

The court had last month issued a Practice Direction which moved the trial to CCT believed to be large and spacious enough to accommodate the crowd that usually surged to witness the trial.

The Practice Direction endorsed by the Chief Judge of the Court, Justice John Tsoho had also prohibited media coverage except where expressly permitted.

However, it was observed that the stringent conditions have been jettisoned.

Although, reasons for deviating from the Practice Direction have not been made known, it was gathered that Jabi Code of Conduct Tribunal was considered too porous for such a sensitive trial, especially from the security points.

Apart from unhindered access being granted to lawyers and media practitioners, roads leading to the court are not blocked, while food vendors are also having their businesses done without molestation.

However, adequate security measures are being observed to prevent security breaches.

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Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join the world’s biggest military alliance, a move driven by security concerns over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday after receiving their application letters from the two Nordic countries’ ambassadors.

“This is a historic moment, which we must seize,” Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Neutral throughout the Cold War, the two countries’ decision to join the alliance is one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades.

The applications must now be weighed by the 30 member countries. That process is expected to take about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.

If his objections are overcome, and accession talks go as well as expected, the two could become members within a few months. The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly given the threat from Russia hanging over the Nordic countries’ heads.

Canada, for example, says that it expects to ratify their accession protocol in just a few days.

Several NATO allies, most notably the United Kingdom, have offered security assurances to Finland and Sweden during the application period before they are covered by the alliance’s mutual defence pact.

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO

“Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by allies committing to Finland and Sweden’s security. NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region and NATO and allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary,” Stoltenberg said.

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 Nigerian government puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Facebook and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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