Human rights activist and pro-democracy crusader, Senator Shehu Sani, has urged the United Nations and the European Union (EU) to immediately impose visa sanction and other restrictions against President Muhammadu Buhari and elements under his government for undermining democracy in the country. According to him, if the current trend is allowed to continue it would mar the conduct of 2023 general elections.
Sani explained that unless the international community rises up to its responsibility to save democracy in Nigeria, the subsequent conduct of elections in the country after the outcome of the recent governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa States might lead to chaos and erode democracy. He was reacting to the violence, the use of firearms against voters, the killings and general malpractices that were recorded during the elections in Kogi and Bayesa States. He said unless the international community responds appropriately to sanction the anti-democratic elements in Nigeria the country’s future stands endangered.
According to him, “The only way to address the problems of elections in Nigeria, apart from implementing electoral reforms, is through sanctions on individuals that are fully involved in electoral malpractices. The European Union should not sit down and simply fold its arms and allow only the United States to carry out the responsibility of sanctioning individuals that are involved in election fraud or violence.
“The EU must join other democratic nations of the world. A no-fly sanction must be declared against elements in the army, police, INEC and the political sphere that are involved in violence, killings and other malpractices internationally.
“They cannot fly to any country. The African Union (AU) must also be serious about this political problem. Visa restrictions should not only be limited to people going to the United States. The EU and other democratic nations of the world who are not part of the EU must impose sanctions. The airline companies of these countries must apply sanctions against anti-democratic elements”.
Also, Sani blamed President Buhari for allowing the country’s democracy to nose-dive, saying that if former President Goodluck Jonathan had followed Buhari’s antecedent, he would not have been in office as incumbent president.
According to him, “The former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has been consistently drawing the attention of the country to the new reality as far as elections in Nigeria are concerned. There is general consensus that the 2015 elections were free, fair and credible. Most of those who lost elections did not go to court to challenge the results. The president at that time, Jonathan, warmly and heartedly congratulated Buhari.
“Buhari promised the country that he would leave behind a legacy of fair, transparent and credible elections in the country. But the 2019 elections and subsequent elections have clearly demonstrated that the president rather has drown us back to pre-2015, particularly the military era. Our elections are now characterized by violence, thuggery, ballot stuffing and ballot snatching; the use of arms, killings and outright manipulations. This is not what Nigerians bargained for. The two elections in Bayelsa and Kogi are an eye-opener.
“The government of Buhari has lost the moral ground to organize elections that the world can see as free and credible. We have never had it so bad in this country where the international, domestic observers, the media and Nigerians will unanimously condemn elections such as the ones in Kogi and Bayelsa. I have said it many times that President Buhari should be concerned about his role in Nigeria’s history.
“What kind of legacy does he want to leave behind when the elections that brought him to power is more credible than the ones he is organizing? So, as far as I am concerned, this present INEC, as it is today, and the conduct of elections show that we have gone backward to the dark and stone ages where election results are simply written and announced”.
Sani excoriated the electoral umpire for taking the country’s democracy backwards just as he insisted that most of those in elective positions today would not have been elected if the electoral umpire did its good job properly.
“When you see a political leader using violence, thugs, manipulations, fire arms to secure votes, he knows very well that he has lost the moral high ground and he does not have the support of the people. So, we cannot call this a democracy if the method and processes of getting elected into office is through violence, bloodshed and manipulation of votes, ballot snatching and ballot stuffing.
“You can’t build honesty in a foundation of fraud. The assessment of the UN, the EU, and international and domestic observers said they have never seen anything like this.“With subsequent elections in the country, especially the 2023 general elections, I think the message has been sent clearly to everybody that the means of assuming power is not through a peaceful, credible and transparent elections. It is the ability to gather and garner an equivalent force that may likely play out to counter the other side. And I am very sorry to say that the judiciary and the National Assembly, as they are today, are not in a good position to address the problems of elections in the country”.
Drama as DSS Officers Engage Sowore in Scuffle in Attempt to Rearrest Him
A mid drama ensued inside the courtroom this morning as men believed to be officers of the Department of State Service made attempt to rearrest the RevolutionNow protest convener, Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore was released around 7pm on Thursday following an ultimatum issued by the court.
Ex-Abia State Gov, Uzor Kalu Bags 12 Years Imprisonment for Graft
The Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, to a maximum of 12 years imprisonment for N7.65bn fraud, among other multiple sentences ranging from 3 years to 5 years on 27 counts.
Justice Mohammad Idris also convicted and sentenced his two other accomplices who were also found guilty of N7.65bn fraud.
They got multiple sentences between 10 years and 3 years.
Kalu’s co-defendants are his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited; and Udeh Udeogu, who was Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor.
The judge also ordered that Slok be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.
Saraki’s Ordeal Continues as Court Orders Forfeiture of Houses to FG
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday secured an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos for the forfeiture of two houses in Ilorin, Kwara State, belonging to a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The EFCC told the court it uncovered monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011, when Saraki was the governor of the state.
Based on an ex parte application filed by the EFCC pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006, Justice Rilwan Aikawa ordered the temporary forfeiture of Saraki’s two properties designated as Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State.
An operative of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq, said in an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application that the EFCC moved to have the two houses forfeited after investigating “the report of a committee set up to review sales of Kwara State Government properties during the reign of the Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.”
Sadiq said the EFCC also received “a damning intelligence report, showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011.”
He said, “Whilst the investigation was ongoing, several fraudulent transactions were discovered.
“I know for a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following mind-boggling findings, among others:
“That between 2003 and 2011, Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.
“That whilst he held the aforementioned position, the common pattern was that after the payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100m would be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.
“That upon the payment of the said N100m, same would, in turn, be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”
The EFCC said it believed that Saraki developed the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activities.
Counsel for the commission, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Aikawa to order their temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government.
After granting the order as prayed, Justice Aikawa directed the EFCC to publish the temporary forfeiture order in a national newspaper and adjourned till December 17 for anyone interested in the properties to appear before him to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
Reacting to the judgment, Saraki maintained his position that the application to the Federal High Court, Lagos, for interim forfeiture order on his Ilorin home by the EFCC was an abuse of the court process and a violation of a subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, vowed to challenge the verdict at a higher court of competent jurisdiction.