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Fascism: Soyinka should have condemned Onanuga, not Datti-Ahmed – Bode George



For Olabode George, former National Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the damning label handed down to vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, by Wole Soyinka, recently over his comment on the outcome of the recent presidential election in Nigeria, should have gone to Bayo Onanuga, who is the real danger to the Nigerian polity.

The Nobel Laureate, had described Datti-Ahmed as fascist, for warning that if Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was declared winner of the February 25 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was sworn in on May 29, 2023, it would not only be against the constitution, but signal the end of democracy in Nigeria.

George, however sees Soyinka’s chastisement as misplaced compared to that of Onanuga, who openly supported ethnic cleansing in Nigeria when he aligned with those who assaulted, maimed and even killed some Igbo voters in Lagos during the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Onanuga, had while hailing the action, warned that 2023 should be the last time the Igbo people should attempt to interfere in the political affairs of Lagos, which he said belonged to the Yoruba, in line with the narrative in certain quarters that the people were trying to take over Lagos by supporting the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate, Gbadebo, Rhodes-Vivour.

But “And until now, Bayo Onanuga has not apologised for the comment and I expect Prof Wole Soyinka to tell him to apologise rather than be abusing Datti Baba-Ahmed. That was misnormal, senseless and insane to make that kind of comment in a country where we are still trying to build the nation.

But berating Onanuga who he accused of fanning the embers of ethnic war, George, Atona Oodua of Yorubaland, said: “I see that the misinformation grew because the Nigerian government stopped teaching history, which was a fundamental mistake on the part of our country. If you don’t learn about your past, you will repeat the same mistakes going forward.

“How can you tell them that they can’t come here? Is that the culture of Lagos? Lagos is the commercial-nerve centre not only for Nigeria but for the whole of West Africa. I believe that there is a new move in Lagos and the elders of the real Lagosians are going to meet because you don’t come here to come and define our culture. The culture that has existed. I want to apologise publicly for the statement by Bayo Onanuga. So, I want to apologise as a true born and genuine Lagosian that that is not our style and attitude. We must stop it.

“If Bayo Onanuga is not careful, we will also ban him from Lagos. He can’t talk on behalf of Lagosians. What authority does he have to make such a comment? I am sure that there is a move by elders too to get the real Lagosians, respective of political leaning, to come together, let us save the culture that was handed over to us by our forefathers. Nobody can start to manipulate or re-write the history of our state.”

George spoke on a day Igbo leaders in Lagos, on the platform of Anya Ndigbo, led by Uma Eleazu, visited him to establish their apprehension over the current threats on them, as a result of the fallout of the current elections, declaring that Ndigbo were no longer fealing safe in the state.

Leading other members of the team, including Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Ben Akah, President of the South East Town Unions in Lagos, Amaechi Ebeledike, Segun Adebanjo, Elvira Salleras and Ikechukwu Amaechi, he said: “Some faceless people are going round fomenting trouble for Igbo people. There is a development we noticed in the last election. It turned out to be a do-or-die affair. If you do a content analysis of the just concluded elections, the words that were used were worrisome. These are words that create fear in the minds of people. In the last election, it went beyond that. In an attempt to dissuade people from voting, we saw one ethnic nationality brought out to be antagonised and given names.

“This had nothing to do with politics and it created fear in an attempt to degrade and dissuade people from coming out to vote. So, our people felt there was a need to talk to leaders like you because we have heard some people say that Igbo and Yoruba are going to fight for Lagos. This is misinformation and it puts fear in the minds of the people, they are asking whether the Igbo people are safe because we have been here for a long time.

“So, our coming to you is to tell you that the Igbo people are not in Lagos for a war or a fight. We are in Lagos to earn a living and to contribute to the development of the place where we are making a living. As a leader, we are telling you what we feel because most of our people are now afraid. Some faceless people are going around fomenting trouble for Igbo people. The latest one is that they said Igbo traders want to close their markets for two weeks. These are fake news.

“Please help us in spreading the word that Igbo people are not at war with the Yoruba people in Lagos State. We are not planning anything and as I said, we are here to do our business and we don’t want to be molested. We need to douse this tension so that everyone will live in peace.”

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Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

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Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

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Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

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