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APC vs PDP: Atiku reveals those behind Bill Clinton’s cancelled trip to Nigeria

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has balmed the cancellation of the planned visit of former United States President, Bill Clinton to Nigeria on utterances of key members of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

A statement signed by Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the PDP presidential candidate, in Abuja on Tuesday recalled the “body bag” remark credited to Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state who suggested that any foreigners who interfere in Nigeria’s electoral process will return home in body bags.

Clinton was scheduled to preside over the revalidation of the peace agreement among political parties before the commencement of the elections. But he was reported to have cancelled the visit fearing that it will be politicised.

Atiku’s statement reads: “It is with some disappointment that we note the release from President Bill Clinton expressing his inability to visit Nigeria because of recent “conversations” that have made the intended visit inexpedient.

“We understand the reasons given by President Clinton and wish the situation on the ground were more ideal as to make his visit more conducive.

“We note that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, a man with a history and pattern of peaceful democratic activity, had looked forward to President Clinton’s visit.

“We quite understand the reasons given by President Clinton, coming especially after the unfortunate “body bag” comment emanating from the All Progressives Congress.

“Be that as it may, Atiku Abubakar wishes to reaffirm to Nigerians and the world, his commitment to peace and democracy and urges all contestants and parties involved in the 2019 Nigerian elections to publicly do the same.

“Atiku Abubakar urges all Nigerians to peacefully troop out in their numbers to vote according to their conscience and dictates. A large voter turnout makes it even more difficult, and perhaps impossible to rig elections.

“Atiku Abubakar also notes the harassment of friends of Nigeria by the Buhari administration and its agents and privies, who have taken to releasing and uttering statements threatening diplomats and election observers.

“We wish to make known to these individuals the fact that Nigeria has long-standing friends and it will be myopic to burn those bridges on the altar of desperation.

“Finally, we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to place the interest of Nigeria above partisanship and call these antagonists to order.”

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Arewa

Buhari issues fresh order to military over banditry

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President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in Katsina, Katsina State, charged the military to be more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits, ordering them “not to spare bandits’’ that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.

Addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji’’, at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, President Buhari, said:

“This group was formed by the military to secure the geo-political zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.

“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them,’’ he said.

“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations,’’ he said.

The President, flanked by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, assured the troops that the Federal Government will provide all the necessary support for restoration of peace in the country.

“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with despatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,’’ he added.

President Buhari said the government and all officials were being sustained in office by the ordinary people, and they owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property.

“Please give my regards to your families. The earlier you finish with the bandits, the earlier you will return and stay with your families,’’ he said.

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Ekweremadu speaks on attack on him by IPOB members in Germany

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Ike Ekweremadu, the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate has confirmed a physical assault on him by some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, in Nuremberg, Germany, on Saturday.

Ekweremadu confirmed the attack in a statement released by his Media Assistant, Uche Anichukwu in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a 64-second video about the attack had gone viral on the social media earlier on Saturday.

NAN further reports that there were initial speculations on the veracity of the video where the senator was attacked with eggs by the irate IPOB members.

The Senator who also gave an account of the event on his social media handle, @iamekweremdu, however, assured that he was safe.

He condemned the attack and said he had immediately reported it to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Yusuf Tuggar.

He said: “I attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nurnberg today where I was billed to give a keynote address along with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it eventually.

“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.

“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue. The organizers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.

“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons, who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the southeast Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to the heart against them, for they know not what they do.

“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hail and hearty. I have also spoken with the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.”

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Crime

Army vs Police: Military issues strong warning to Nigerians

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The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has warned Nigerians against comments and actions that could pit the Nigerian Police Force against the Nigeria Army.

The warning became necessary following the controversies and public criticism that greeted the killing of three policemen and a civilian last week by soldiers on the Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.

Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Acting spokesman for the DHQ, Colonel gave the warning while reminding Nigerians that the police and the army are two very important services in the country.

He said that concern should be geared at ensuring the joint panel constituted undertakes an exhaustive investigation.

When asked by The Nation about the captain alleged to have been responsible for the unauthorised shootings and release of the suspected kidnapper, Nwachukwu said, “That information did not come from me. Our concern is to allow the panel do a thorough job and avoid comments that heat up the situation. We are trying to apply some restraint on this issue to avoid pitching the police against the army.

“These are two very important institutions in Nigeria and it will be most unfair to this nation to pit them against each other or the personnel of each service against the other.

“What is important is that lives have been lost and this is a difficult time for the families of the victims. We should be more concerned at looking into the human angles, the psychological traumas these families are going through.

“Our concern should be that the panel does exhaustive investigation and gets to the bottom of the matter. So, I would not like to begin to make comments that would pre-empt the investigation or its outcome.”

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