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Quick Take: 5 shocking political events this week

Takeaways

Quick Take: 5 shocking political events this week

  • U.S government effects no-visa policy for blacklisted Nigerian politicians

The United States government released a statement announcing its implementation of a travel ban against specific individuals involved in acts that undermined the democratic process in Nigeria. The US government’s action is in line with its earlier statement prior to the Nigerian elections where it promised consequences against these category of persons. The US government also clarified that its position was not against the newly elected government.

Why it matters: The State Department did not list out the persons but most people are inferring and drawing potential names. Top of this list includes the Governor of Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who threatened the US and UK governments against intervention in Nigeria’s democracy. He made the violent suggestion that certain actors “will go back in body bags.” There has also been insinuations that the Northern Governor’s Forum which planned to embark on a foreign retreat recently only chose Canada because some of them were denied U.S visas. While the move is largely welcomed as a deterrent for politicians in Nigeria, there are concerns that the yardstick for measuring who is guilty or not of undermining the polity is opaque and largely subjective.

  • Army allegedly razes Bayelsa town in retaliation for slain soldiers – why it matters

The town of Azagbene community in the Ekermor Local Government Area of Bayelsa state was allegedly invaded on Tuesday and razed to the ground by Nigerian Army troops believed to be affiliated to the 16th brigade. According to reports, the action was in retaliation for the killing of two Army personnel and abduction of one by suspected militants.

The Nigerian Army has denied burning down the community. Per spokesman of the 16th Brigade, Maj. Danjuma Jonah:

Our men did not burn down houses in Azagbene community. We are only combing the community and neighbouring towns in search of one soldier that is missing as a result of the attack that led to the death of two other soldiers. We are carrying out the search for the missing soldier in conjunction with the leaders of the community.

Why it matters: The history of the Nigerian Army razing down communities in retaliation for lost personnel is not new. We recall that in;

  • Odi, same Bayelsa state, in 1999, civilians were murdered and the town was burnt down after soldiers were killed by an armed cult group.
  • Zaki Biam ìn Benue State in October 2001, several townspeople were murdered and the town razed.
  • Zaria, Kaduna state in December 12, 2015 where El-Zakzaky’s sons and other followers of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were killed by armed soldiers. He’s still being detained by the government, almost four years later.

Bottomline: A community was razed after the reported killing of soldiers. It will be hard for the Nigerian military to absolve itself from this, given its history of violent reprisals.

  • 2,525 N-power beneficiaries sacked for absence at duty post

The Federal Government has sacked 2,525 N-Power beneficiaries over allegations of truancy at their duty post. The N-power initiative is responsible for the payment of unemployed Nigerian graduates serving in volunteering positions within the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme (NSIP). “Acts of dereliction of duty, indolence, absenteeism and indiscipline on the part of volunteers shall continue to be dealt with decisively and in line with the rules of engagement,” said Justice Bible, the NSIP communications manager.

  • EFCC goes after former Governor Okorocha, lists alleged properties

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced crackdown against Imo Senator and former state governor, Rochas Okorocha. The commission announced that it had sealed up properties traced to Okorocha as well as those of his family members and cronies. Some of the properties listed include:

  • Dews of Hope Hospital
  • Market Square Super Market
  • East High Academy and East High College
  • Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment

Rochas Okorocha’s travails began as he fell out with his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in October 2018 when the fight for control of the Imo state party machinery began with National APC chairman, Adams Oshiomole, as the antagonist.

  • Alaafin’s open letter as Osinbajo begins consultation with Yoruba Monarchs

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has started a round of consultative visits to top monarchs in the Yoruba speaking majority South West region. The VP has already visited the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi; Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; and the Awujale of Ijebu Kingdom, Oba Sikiru Adetona, in Ogun state. These visits appear to be part of the presidential response to calm the rising tensions in the region over the activities of killer armed herdsmen. While the VP is at it, the the Alaafin of Oyo, in an open letter to the president, presented what appeared to be a common position of the monarchs in the South West. The Alaafin expressed concerns over:

  • “…the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and in some occasions, in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands; which ultimately points to imminent starvation.”
  • “On top of it all is the menace of professional kidnappers usually in military uniforms. What is more worrisome about the kidnapping notoriety is what looks like (immunity) which these kidnappers enjoy their nefarious activities.”
  • “…no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests, we cannot talk of their facing of the law.”

The talks with the monarchs seems to be a good course to take. However, what most agitated citizens in the region would want to see is a laid out plan and action by the government to improve the security of their lives and property.

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