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Northern Coalition warns Buhari not to succumb to pressure to release Nnamdi Kanu

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has rejected Igbo leaders call on President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Igbo leaders had visited the president at Aso Rock on Friday, demanding that Kanu should be released.

Buhari, who described their request as heavy, had said he would consider it.

But CNG has described the request as an attempt to subvert the course of justice, saying those who made it should be treated as “accomplice and sponsors of the atrocities and crimes Kanu committed against humanity and the Nigerian state.”

At a press conference in Kano on Monday, spokesman of the coalition, Abdul-Azeen Suleiman, criticised Buhari’s response to Igbo leaders, saying “the North would hold Buhari responsible for the blood of its people unlawfully shed through the activities of Kanu in the event he succumbs to the Igbo pressure to release him.”

Suleiman said the coalition on the ground research in the South East showed hat from 2017 to 2020, IPOB under the leadership of Kanu triggered  the “killing of more than 1,230 northern Nigerians living in parts of the South East.

“Several millions worth of businesses, properties and valuable assets belonging to northerners and citizens of other regions were destroyed across the South eastern cities on the instructions of Nnamdu Kanu within the same period.”

The coalition said it observed that “the demand (by the Igbo elders) and Buhari’s disturbing promise to consider it without minding the number of soldiers, policemen and thousands of other innocent Nigerians already murdered and presently physically threatened by IPOB militants  on the express orders of Kanu suggest a lack of sense of responsibility on the part of those in power.

“Buhari’s response to the Igbo leaders’ demand could also signal a dangerous endorsement of the amassing of the huge number of arms already imported by IPOB terrorists and their sponsors, which are already being used to cause mayhem across the country.”

“This has also further exposed the extent of complicity and docility of our clerics and other community leaders who were in the forefront of urging tolerance from northerners when they came under incessant attacks, but could not find the voice to speak today.”

Suleiman said the coalition, therefore, resolved among others that any attempt to release Kanu “will inadvertently reduce Nigeria to a completely lawless state where criminals of all shades will commit crimes against the country, and then ask their traditional rulers and other regional or tribal leaders to press for their release.”

The coalition also warned Buhari to reclaim his statesmanship by “refusing to be cajoled into interfering with the standard principle of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.

“Warn that the North would no longer remain idle when its people are deliberately targeted and massacred while the perpetrators are shielded by criminal tribal bigots who pose as leaders.

“Warn President Buhari that the North has today realized that he places more premium on the pursuit for votes and political popularity for his party, than he does for the sanctity of lives of northerners and security personnel who stake their lives and welfare of families in the service the nation.”

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Google set to invest $9.5bn in US

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Google has announced plans to invest $9.5bn in its US offices and data centers around the country in 2022, up from more than the $7bn it spent in 2021.

According to CNN, the big bet on office space was coming at a point Google was embracing a hybrid work model. The Alphabet-owned company has called for many of its employees to work in an office three days a week after two years of being fully remote.

The Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet and Google, Sundar Pichai, said, “It might seem counterintuitive to step up our investment in physical offices even as we embrace more flexibility in how we work.

“Yet we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses and that doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees, and stronger communities.”
Google said it would open an office in Atlanta this year and continue to develop and expand office space in Austin and New York. It added that it planned to continue investing in data centers in Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, among other states.

As part of the announcement, Google said it expected to create at least 12,000 new full-time jobs at the company this year.

Google and other tech companies were among the first businesses to shift to remote work when the pandemic hit in early 2020. But that shift always appeared to be temporary. Like others in Silicon Valley, Google had previously invested billions in expansive campuses and lavish office benefits for workers.

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European markets pull back amid doubts over latest Russian pledges over Ukraine

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European stocks retreated on Wednesday following the latest round of talks between Russia and Ukraine, aimed at finding a solution to the conflict.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8% in early trade, with autos shedding 1.9% to lead losses, while oil and gas stocks gained 1.7%.

In terms of individual share price movement, Finland’s Nokian Tyres fell 6.6%, while Sweden’s Lundin Energy added 4.7%.

Investor sentiment was boosted on Tuesday following negotiations between Russian and Ukrainian officials in Turkey, at which Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Moscow had decided to “drastically” cut back its military activity near Ukraine’s capital.

Alexander Fomin, who spoke following the talks in Istanbul, said Russia would slow its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv in order for peace talks to progress. Russia previously claimed that it would reduce military operations in other parts of Ukraine but then continued its advance.

Growing hope for a cease-fire appeared to boost investor sentiment Tuesday, as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 200 points, or 0.6%. S&P 500 futures also climbed 0.6%, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.7%. Meanwhile, the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil, which spiked on the heels of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fell more than 4% to $100 per barrel.

Doubts have set in over the pledge, however, and while the Russian military has begun moving some of its troops in Ukraine away from areas around Kyiv to positions elsewhere in Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby warned the troop movements do not amount to a retreat.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors watch for developments surrounding the war in Ukraine. Stateside, traders are keeping tabs on a slew of key economic reports, while also monitoring the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday showed 11.3 million job openings, higher than the 11.1 million expected. The ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report, on Friday.

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Lagos Assembly kicks against harassment of residents by police

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Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, yesterday, cautioned police in the state against harassment, intimidation and extortion of residents.

Obasa said this on the floor of the House when lawmakers honoured outgoing Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, who has been promoted to Assistant Inspector-General, and is due to retire in January 2022.

Obasa said Odumosu was honoured as the first Commissioner of Police in the state to stand before the lawmakers and address Lagosians on his experience policing the state.

The Speaker thanked Odumosu for his openness and responsiveness to issues affecting the peace of the state.

“It is important to call on those behind you to know that the relationship between the police and the people need to be constantly improved upon,” Obasa said, adding that men of the Nigeria Police Force need to build more trust among the people.

“Everybody must be treated with respect, dignity and honour. And that is how we can earn respect. Policing should not be about harassment and extortion but building trust among the people and making them comfortable,” Obasa said.

The Commissioner of Police, who led a team of officers to the House, thanked the lawmakers for their support. According to him, nothing could have been achieved in terms of security and peace in the state without assistance of the House.

He said he would remain grateful to Lagosians for making it possible for him and his team to effectively manage the security of the state.

Odumosu, who described Lagos as ‘mini-Nigeria’, said proactivity of the Assembly led to the creation of laws that helped the police remain successful in the state.

He said the Cultism Prohibition Law also helped to reduce illegal associations in tertiary institutions in the state and enlightened property owners and residents.

“We promise to continue to excel in providing watertight security for people of the state,” he told the lawmakers. He also promised he would encourage his successor to sustain the relationship between the police and the House, while urging the lawmakers to extend their support to his successor.

“Policing Lagos is not a tea party. Without the laws in Lagos, it would have been difficult to police the state. Don’t get tired, don’t relent in making laws that would make Lagos maintain its place as the most peaceful state in Nigeria,” he said.

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