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Shiite Petition To ICC Abuse Of Court Process – HURIWA

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By Iyojo Ameh

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Monday, described as an abuse of court process, a recent petition by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) known as Shiites asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, for alleged genocide against the Shi’ites Muslim sect in the state in 2015.

HURIWA, in a statement read at a media briefing by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said a judicial panel of inquiry had seven years ago indicted those responsible for the alleged genocide and the names of Buratai and El-Rufai weren’t amongst those indicted. The duo were not indicted at all, HURIWA reaffirmed.

The group further revealed that the commission indicted some soldiers and the IMN leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky for the December 12-14, 2015 clash between the officers of the Nigerian Army and Shiites.

HURIWA, therefore, said dragging the names of the Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai and Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai is shadow chasing and a waste of precious time if the ICC is being asked to reopen a matter that a domestic judicial process was activated and a determination reached and if dissatisfied, the group can file a suit within the Nigerian jurisdiction and as it is, they have multiple cases on this sad incident.

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“Without sounding immodest or trying to demean or dishonour the memory of the citizens who were unfortunately killed by gunfire, we feel it is just a dramatic show of ignorance to drag these two persons particularly as it is clear that local judicial processes had taken place and a determination one way or the other reached on that incident that led to avoidable fatalities. But the truth is that ICC’s jurisdiction can only be invoked if Nigeria at any level had failed to activate judicial inquisition on that unfortunate incident. Even the National Human Rights Commission did not indict the former Army chief after it carried out extensive investigation.”

A 13-member panel headed by Justice Mohammed Garba Lawal, in its reported submitted recently to Governor Nasir el-Rufai which was made public seven years ago , said El-Zakzaky and his members should be held responsible for the bloody clash with the Nigerian Army last December, which led to the deaths of 349 people, including one soldier.

The report also accused the Nigerian Army of “disproportionate use of force contrary to its rules of engagement”, declaring that soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army who were involved in the killing of 348 members of the Shiite sect should be prosecuted.

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The clash was a clear assassination attempt on Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, according to Army spokesperson, Colonel Abubakar Usman Kukasheka, who was with the Army Chief during the incident.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “El-Zakzaky and his members have for seven years staged demonstrations in protest of what has been concluded by the judicial commission. HURIWA doesn’t have issues with public peaceful protests since protest is one essential ingredient that nurtures constitutional democracy. So those who feel aggrieved can ventilate their angst lawfully. But we think making any demands of accountability should be focused on the individuals so indicted. But Buratai and El-Rufai were not indicted according to public records available for all to apprehend.”

“The Islamic Movement of Nigeria it would be recalled recently petitioned the ICC but their petition is of no moment since a judicial commission had already determined the matter and indicted those responsible. The judicial investigative commission did not in anyway indict General Buratai and Kaduna governor. A resort to ICC after a domestic judicial body has handled the matter is an abuse of court process and the petition would be dismissed. It is also double jeopardy to subject people to multiple judicial inquisition over the same matter.

“Both the Kaduna state governor and Buratai were not found culpable of the killings and indeed the commission had already identified the persons responsible and recommended action to remedy the damage. So, the petition of IMN to ICC is of no effect.”

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Business and Economy

Nigerian Minister laments low investment in Infrastructure

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By Iyojo Ameh

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu on Friday said the country has not invested enough in infrastructural development.

According to him, several problems been encountered recently by Nigerian are as direct results of under- investment in several multi- dimension infrastructure.

The minister spoke at the National Assembly during an interactive session with the Senate committee on Appropriation under the chairmanship of Senator Olamilekan Adeola.

The minister was invited to provide insight into the N6.2 trillion supplementary appropriation approval for the 2024 budget by the National Assembly as requested by President Bola Tinubu.

Bagudu commended President Tinubu for the political will yo confront the infrastructure deficit by seeking the N3.2 trillion to fund the projects which include the Lagos – Calabar coastal highway, the Sokoto – Badagry highway and the Trans- Sahara highway.

He commended the President for his confidence that the projects when completed will increase economic activities and shore up the nation’s revenue base.

He added that the projects will encourage massive transformation apart from strengthening economic realities.

The minister while trying to douse the agitation of members of the committee on the fate of other deplorable roads and uncompleted roads projects in their various constituents said the federal government has not abandoned any of the ongoing projects.

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Bagudu categorically stated that the government is not giving priority attention to the innovative projects at the expense of other road projects.

He assured that the Federal Executive Council will continue to consider and give financial approval to other roads as funds are available.

The minister though did not give a detailed statement of the supplementary approval, gave a sectoral overview of both the N3.2 trillion of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Projects and the N3 trillion increase in the recurrent component of the budget.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola the government has full capacity to finance the 2024 budget.

He , however implore the minister to make available to the committee a full detail and breakdown of the N6.2 trillion approval as soon as possible.

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Business and Economy

Economy : CBN announces indices on growth and stability …As Senate interfaces with the CBN Gov

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By Iyojo Ameh

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja , rolled out indices , signaling improved growth and stability of the Nation’s economy.

This is as the apex bank through its Governor , Olayemi Cardoso , assured Nigerians of better days ahead .

Rolling out the growth and economic stability indices during statutory engagement with the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance and other Financial Institutions , the CBN Governor said : ” The
spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June 2024, indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency, and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to US$36.89 billion as of July 16, 2024, compared with US$33.22 billion at end-December 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

” In Q1 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

“Our external reserves level as at end-June 2024 can finance over 11 months of import of goods and services, or 14 months of goods only. This is significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

“The banking sector remains robust and diverse, comprising twenty-six commercial banks, six merchant banks, and four non-interest banks. Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

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“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalization expanding by 38.33 per cent from December 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence.

“While we are encouraged by these positive trends, the CBN remains vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in our financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability”

He added by assuring the committee members , that required measures and strategies , have been mapped out to confront emerging challenges .

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures. These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 percent, increasing Cash Reserve Ratios, normalizing Open Market Operations as our primary liquidity management tool, and adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework.

“In the area of banking supervision, the CBN has taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

” Key measures include intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

” We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans.

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“We are in the process of reviewing the Bank’s micro and macroprudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions in Nigeria to withstand tightened conditions, thus creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalize deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices”, he said .

Earlier in his opening remarks , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru said the overall purpose of the interaction , ” is to update the commiittee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the Bank with respect to monetary policy”

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I’m not a power manipulator —senator Bamidele

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The Senator leader senator Opeyemi Bamidele has dispelled the campaign of calumny against him in some social media not the Citypost and office of the Leader of the Senate,

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele in a statement from his media directorate says some individuals, either misconstrued the statutory role of the Majority Leader in a democracy or willfully distorted established legislative rules that charged the Majority Leader with the duty of leading the business of the Parliament, including government bills.

The statement reads in parts:

“Senator Bamidele is never a power manipulator, enemy of the people and an obstacle to national peace, as some reactionaries or agents of regressive forces have been peddling in the social media. As a political actor who enjoys vast public trust, he will never or can never act against the core and strategic interests of Nigeria and Nigerians at any level”

“Under Rule 23, the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended) specifically provides for the Office of the Leader of the Senate, who shall be a Senator duly nominated from the political party with the highest number of seats in the Senate. This is the global best practice, which is not peculiar to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also to all democracies worldwide”

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“The rule further establishes that the Leader of the Senate shall (a) lead all government bills; (b) lead the business of the Senate; (c) manage the legislative schedule of the Senate; (d) liaise with Committee Chairmen and other functionaries of the Senate and (e) perform such duties as the President may assign to him.

Consistent with the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended), therefore, Senator Bamidele is under obligation to lead all government bills, a role he has been playing creditably. By implication, he is responsible for sponsoring and promoting government bills originating from the Executive Arm or its ministries, departments and agencies”

“In this light, Senator Bamidele has been able to manage the floor debate on government bills successfully; build consensus across political divides; mobilise support for government bills within the Senate and lead negotiations to gain broader support. Since his assumption of office on July 4, 2023, Senator Bamidele has equally deployed strategies in navigating the complex legislative procedures to advance government bills and coordinated closely with the Executive Arm to ensure that government bills reflect the administration’s policies and priorities”

“Like other principal officers of the Senate, the role of the Leader of the Senate is provided for in the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended). In Nigeria, particularly, this role has been pivotal in advancing the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR through the National Assembly. And he has played the role well through a combination of strategic planning, negotiation and leadership skills”

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