Hamisu Wadume, the notorius kidnap kingpin, has revealed how soldiers in Benue state rescued him when he was arrested by police officers on August 6th.
Speaking in Hausa, Wadume who was arrested in Kano yesterday August 19th, said
“I am Hamisu Bala also known as Wadume. The police came to Ibi and arrested me. After arresting me, they were taking away when soldiers went after them and opened fire and some policemen were killed. From there the soldiers took me to their headquarters and cut off the handcuffs on my hands and I ran away''
Wadume's confession corroborates the statement released by the Nigeria Police Force on August 7th in which it accused the soldiers of killing the policemen that effected the arrest of Wadume. Three of the detectives attached to the special anti-kidnap squad of the Inspector General of Police and a civilian were killed when soldiers opened fire on them.
The Nigerian Army denied the allegation, claiming its officers mistook the police officers as kidnappers.
Watch the video below
Suspected armed robbers on Tuesday attacked the convoy of Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, killing three policemen and a civilian.
Akabe was on his way to Abuja on an official engagement when the convoy ran into the robbers who were operating few kilometres away from Akwanga at about 6pm.
ASP Usman Samaila, Police Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lafia.
Samaila however did not give details, saying the commissioner of Police, Bola Longe had led a team of officers to the scene to assess the situation.
“As I speak with you now, the Commissioner of Police, the Deputy Commissioner Operations and other high ranking officers of the command have gone to the scene of the incident,” Samaila said.
Meanwhile, one of those in the convoy, said the armed robbers opened fire on the convoy before fleeing.
According to him, three policemen and a driver were shot and killed by the armed robbers and their corpses have been deposited at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital Lafia.
The deputy governor who was unhurt but looking shaky, was at the hospital but did not speak to journalists on the incident
Cult members have hacked to death a 36-year-old man, Bolaji AbdulSalam, for reporting them to the police in Ilorin, Kwara State.
AbdulSalam incurred the wrath of the cultists, after he found them smoking Indian hemp in front of his family house at Alfa Yahaya area of Ita-Amon in Ilorin township.
The cult members returned for retaliation, barged into AbdulSalam’s room at night while he was in bed with his wife. They attacked him with machetes and killed him in the presence of his wife and daughter.
A witness said: “When Bolaji challenged the cultists for smoking Indian hemp in front of his family’s house, their response to him was not too good. He therefore went to Adewole Police Station, which was the nearest station and reported the incident. Police went to the venue and arrested seven among the smokers.
“The following day, one of the boys escaped from police detention. He came to the disputed place and started smoking Indian hemp again; this time in broad daylight. Bolaji challenged him again.
“Bolaji and the boy started fighting. The boy brought out a pistol and shot Bolaji, but the bullets did not penetrate his body. Bolaji, however, overpowered the boy, collected the pistol and in the process, the boy ran away.
“Bolaji took the pistol to Adewole Police Station to alert them of the new development. Police launched a manhunt for the cultist, they couldn’t locate him.”
It was also learnt that the cultists later came on Saturday, about 3.30a.m., to attack AbdulSalam in his house. They broke the flat’s gate and his room door, where he, his wife and daughter were asleep and killed him by inflicting machete cuts on him.
A neighbour said he heard noise of a door breaking and came out to find out what was going on. He said that he had to run away after he saw the cultists all dressed in black. The remains of Bolaji have been interred according to Islamic rites.
A family member of the deceased, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they had left everything to God and the police to unmask the faces of Bolaji’s killers and bring them to justice.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, said that the case had been transferred to the state headquarters for proper investigation.
The PPRO disclosed that some members of the cult group had been arrested and detectives had commenced manhunt for other members at large.
He said: “Investigation is still on to apprehend other members of the group and justice will be done to all of them. We are also appealing to members of the public who have more information about the group to visit our headquarters to assist the police.”
More revelations have emerged on how the notorious kidnapper, Hamisu Wadume, was arrested late Monday night by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT).
Daily Sun gathered that the kidnapper was actually arrested at his uncle’s house in Kano, where he was hiding after the August 6 incident.
He was arrested alongside seven members of his gang, including his uncle who harboured him. The seven suspects were arrested at Zaria, Kaduna, Abuja and Taraba States. The arrest of the suspects, who are strong members of his group, paved the way for Wadume’s arrest.
The police operatives were said to have recovered 13 cars and over 20 houses in Taraba and Nassarawa States belonging to him. It was also gathered that 400 cows belonging to Wadume, already sighted by the police were relocated to another location before the officers got there.
Daily Sun equally gathered that all the recovered vehicles have since been taken to Abuja.
Investigation also revealed that Wadume, who is the chief executive officer in the kidnap business, has three kidnap groups that operate in Taraba and Nassarawa States. The groups report to him as the boss on their day-to-day activities.
Daily Sun also gathered that soon after Wadume was arrested operatives from the IRT informed the IGP, Adamu Mohammed, who asked them to bring the suspect to the Force Headquarters, Abuja yesterday morning.
To ensure that the news of the arrest did not get to the knowledge of police personnel, the IRT team hooded the suspect and took him to the office of the IGP, who personally interviewed him.
He was said to have been smuggled into the police headquarters for fear of being lynched by angry police men, who might want to attack him for killing their colleagues.
After meeting with the IGP, the suspect was taken to the Force Public Relations Officer’s Conference room for an interview to prove to the world that he had been re-arrested. Wadume, who does not understand a word in English language, has since confessed to the crime in a video in Hausa language recorded by the police to confirm his re-arrest. The suspect in the video recorded at the Force Public Relations Officer’s Conference room, narrated how the soldiers, on the orders of their commanding officer, Captain Balarabe Tijani, shot the police operatives from behind and how the captain took him to his house in the barrack, and eventually set him free after inviting a welder to destroy the leg chain and hand cuffs. Incidentally, the man at the center of the brutal killing, Captain Balarabe Tijani, happens to be an indigene of Taraba State.
It was gathered that the police decided to have the suspect’s confession in a video format to ensure that the panel set up by the Defence Headquarters which comprises mostly of only military officers would not have the opportunity to give a false report.
Sources hinted that the committee which has already commenced sitting was yet to arrest the army captain and the soldiers involved in the killings, while the police has since arrested and detained three of its personnel alleged to have taken part in the killing.
It was gathered that rather than taking the captain into custody, the army authorities asked him to be reporting to the office of the Regiment Sergeant Major (RSM), on a daily basis. It was not clear whether or not he is being closely monitored by intelligence officers.
Sources said the police have vowed to get to the root of the matter as the IGP and the entire personnel are resolute to prove to whoever cares to listen that the police are not a “second hand or inferior force,” as being perceived by the military.
The arrested kidnapper is ready to reveal his relationship with, not only Captain Tijani, but also other military operatives as far as the kidnapping business is concerned.
To ensure that the kidnap kingpin was arrested alive and brought to book, it was gathered that the IGP, mobilised the best IRT operatives from Rivers, Lagos, Imo, and Kaduna States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. The Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) of the Force was also mobilised to the fullest to ensure a hitch-free operation.
The team was said to have travelled across five states, namely Kaduna, Taraba, and Nassarawa States before zeroing in on the suspect in Kano where he was eventually arrested. Upon assembling the crack detectives, they were briefed on what to do before they embarked on the journey.
It was gathered that during investigation, police detectives found out that Wadume, who was a petty thief, was arrested two years ago for stealing a goat and given the beating of his life. Sources said Wadume suddenly became a millionaire and empowered so many people in his village with vehicles, motor cycles and other gifts. It was also gathered that a move by him to get the traditional ruler of his village to make him the youth leader was opposed by prominent citizens in the village who made it clear that they cannot install a thief as their youth leader.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court in Lagos has summoned the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to appear before him over the arrest of the Convener of the ‘RevolutionNow’ group, Omoyele Sowore and other Nigerians in connection with the August 5, 2019 #RevolutionNow protest.
The judge, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion filed by a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, said the DSS and the IGP must appear before him on September 4 to give reasons why he should not order them to immediately and unconditionally release Sowore and the protesters.
The lawyer had told the court that he filed the motion on behalf of himself and others who participated in the #RevolutionNow protest.
The Federal Government, DSS and the IGP were joined as co-respondents in the motion.
Ogungbeje, who said he also participated in the #RevolutionNow protest but was not arrested, urged the court to declare as unconstitutional and illegal, the police clampdown of the protesters and the arrest of Sowore by the DSS.
He urged the court to make an order for the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested and detained.
“There has been a grave constitutional infraction committed by the respondents against the applicant and other persons who engaged in the peaceful protest for good governance in Nigeria.
“I was deprived of my constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly and association and the right to freedom of expression.
“On the 3rd of August, 2019, the convener of the protest, Mr Omoyele Sowore’s residence was forcefully invaded and put under siege. He was arrested, whisked away and detained in the detention facility of the 2nd respondent (DSS).
“Mr Omoyele Sowore has not committed any offence known to law to warrant the infringement and likely infringement of his rights by the respondents.
“By engaging in the peaceful protest, the applicant and other persons have not committed any offence known to law to warrant the treatment meted out to them by the respondents and their agents”, the lawyer said.
He subsequently urged the court to order the immediate release of those arrested and detained.
However, rather than ordering the release of the detainees as requested by Ogunhbeje, Justice Oweibo said justice demands that he first hears from the Federal Government, DSS and the IGP.
He consequently ordered Ogungbeje to put them on notice and directed that the respondents must appear before him on September 4 to show cause why Sowore and others should not be immediately released.
Pat Utomi, political economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship is one of Nigeria’s leading public intellectuals and one of the few in that category who have refused to give up on the country, emigrate to another country in search of better opportunities, new friends and a place of imagined solace, away from the difficult environment that Nigeria has become. He is also one of the most versatile and durable of the lot, considering his devotion in the last four decades to the selfless task of seeking to make Nigeria a better place through the promotion and development of a public sphere propelled not by by the values of personal gain, but the common good, selfless leadership and national progress through enterprise and service. From an early beginning as a Catholic church altar boy exposed to Dominican principles, to his involvement in student unionism for public progress, his stint as a journalist reporting on the Nigerian dilemma, and his many years of involvement as a leader in business, advocacy and activism, Utomi has remained a recurrent decimal in the Nigerian public sphere. In a country where many have given up, and no longer bother about tomorrow, cocooned as they are in either a comfort zone or a place beyond care, he remains and continues to demonstrate his public-spiritedness, his faith and optimism that Nigeria can be transformed to a higher place of relevance, and value. There is a strong religious, if not spiritual, dimension to this conviction, that is often unmistakably noticeable in Utomi’s writings.
In his newly published book titled Why Not: Citizenship, State Capture, Creeping Fascism and Criminal Hijack of Politics in Nigeria (CVL Press, 2019), all of this stands out in bold relief. But it is a book that will draw mischievous responses in the shape of “we told you, didn’t we? or cries of disapproval and protest from those who are victims of Utomi’s case study approach to an unsparing portraiture of the idiocy, ignorance, insincerity, and absolute lack of enlightenment on the part of Nigeria’s social, political and economic elite. This is not Utomi’s first book. He has written extensively on and about Nigeria in books, journal articles, newspaper columns and has spoken extensively on television, including the creation by him of a 20-year-old television programme, Patito’s Gang. This is different essentially because it is part of a tetralogy, conveying what Utomi calls “a narrative of experience”. It is an intellectualized, analytical and elevated version of that book by Lamidi Adedibu titled “What I saw” except that this is not about “amala and gbegiri politics”, it is more about how that kind of politics – alimentary politics, the politics of the self, the politics of “I-me-myself”, indeed how the politics of wrong has thrown Nigeria into the vortex of modern slavery, failed potential and missed opportunities, orchestrated by those who rather than move the country forward have rather raped the mother-nation in a pitiable and abject demonstration of lack of conscience, values and a much-needed citizenship spirit.
The departure point for the narrative, here, is Utomi’s decision to run for Governor on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his home state of Delta in the South-Southern part of Nigeria during the 2019 general elections. Professor Utomi had helped to set up the APC in Nigeria ahead of the 2015 general elections as an alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had ruled the country and his home state, Delta, since the return to civilian rule in 1999. He was one of the most visible chieftains of the party. But how did an intellectual end up in active, partisan politics? The answer to that question can only be traced back to the brazen violation of the Nigerian public sphere by the military over decades, resulting in the equivalent of a people’s revolt in the early 90s. Utomi was part of that struggle for democracy , having been one of the founders of the Congress of Concerned Citizens (1983) and one of the leaders of the Concerned Professionals movement (1993) which brought together Nigerian professionals across every sector to stand up against the Nigerian military to say “No” and “Never Again” to the violation of the people’s will, and the imposition of a culture of fascism on the people of Nigeria.
In 1993, the military government led by General Ibrahim Babangida had annulled the June 12 election won by Chief MKO Abiola and that drove Nigeria to the brink of a precipice. The resistance of the Nigerian civil society would eventually lead to the exit of the military and what may be termed Nigeria’s second liberation in 1999, the first liberation being the attainment of independence from colonial rule in 1960. Utomi and other professionals, including priests, poets, journalists, lawyers and bankers, and a Nobel Laureate joined other concerned citizens at the barricades to defend the democratic right of all Nigerians.
One of the subsequent outcomes of that process was the realization that the governance of Nigeria could not be left entirely in the hands of professional politicians, either in military or civilian clothes, and that it was time professionals went into partisan politics. The message was one of engagement with the political process and bringing about change from within. Few of those who were part of the struggle for democracy joined the political process eventually, most of them simply moved back to their primary engagements once it was thought the struggle had been won. Professor Pat Utomi admits more or less that this was a mistake. In 2007, he threw his hat into the ring and ran for President of Nigeria on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the same party that the military robbed of victory in 1993. He didn’t win but he remained involved as a key contributor in policy spheres and the public arena.
In 2018, he expressed interest in political office again as a Gubernatorial aspirant in Delta State. This book titled Why Not is basically a field report by a participant-observer and a reflection on his experience. He was invited and encouraged to join the race by those who believed he could make a difference in the politics of Delta State. One or two persons advised him not to bother, and instead of going to Delta State, why not run for maybe Senate in Lagos State, having lived in Lagos most of his life. A bosom friend of his, Chris Asoluka advised him that he could end up being disappointed because the APC is a party of greedy and unconscionable politicians. But Utomi was motivated more by the determination to serve the people of Delta State, even if it meant running for a local government councillor’s seat. His long sojourn in other parts of Nigeria and the world had not robbed him of his connection with his Anioma and Igbo roots. He saw this as an opportunity to help build a new narrative of service delivery to save the people from the trap of poverty, under-development, corruption and irresponsible governance.
In an anecdotal and autobiographical style, the author tells the story of his disappointment. He delays the focus on Delta state politics and the APC during the 2018/19 general elections till much later in the book but when he eventually gets to it in Chapters V and VI, he does not hold back in expressing his shock at the transactional nature of Nigerian politics, the crass opportunism and insincerity of Nigerian politicians including those who call themselves friends and progressives. Or may be the word “shock,” should be re-contextualized. Given his background and exposure, the author of course must be fully aware of the sordid side of Nigerian politics, he probably did not anticipate the kind of rot that he encountered and the large population of criminals and sinners in Nigerian politics, especially among the ranks of self-styled progressives. In many of his writings, Utomi usually avoids attack on persons but here he departs in turns from his usual style as he writes with a tinge of anger, irritation and contempt. In Chapter V, he recognizes those he calls “a few good men”: those who get involved in the public sphere not for selfish reasons but as an opportunity to advance the common good. In Chapter VI, he turns the searchlight on transactional politics: the charlatans in the corridors of party politics and power who are only interested in what he calls “Shiagwaeri” money, party leaders who cannot be trusted, party members who are in it for what they can get, and the organisers of the APC Gubernatorial primary in Delta state on September 30, 2018 in Asaba.
Utomi refers to that day as a “day in infamy”, and he adds “not because a supposed primary election was rigged, but because it was done so unintelligently that those who organized it ought to go to jail. Not so much for the criminality of what they did but for how it exposed them to be low lives.” The author does not pull punches in identifying some of these persons he calls “low lives”. He names and shames them. Leaders of the APC, at both the state and national levels, accused of narcissism and insincerity many not be too pleased with Utomi’s account. They should read the book.
But perhaps before such persons rise in defence of the choices they have made, they should await Utomi’s sequel to the present book titled “In the Devil’s Den”. Beyond the politics of the Gubernatorial election in Delta, Utomi’s Why Not is devoted to a much larger subject: the Nigerian dilemma, that is how a country of great promise, blessed with so much, and once considered the epicentre of African renaissance simply failed and found itself in a position of “strategic irrelevance.” He writes about the absence of “enlightened leadership” and the capture of the Nigerian state and its politics by “criminals, ritualists, 419-ers and con men.” In Chapter IV he puts the blame on those he calls “the complicit middle”: the critical segment of the Nigerian population which has failed to rise to the occasion to make a difference, namely the Nigerian intellectual who has lost moral authority, young Nigerians who have embraced a full-time culture of gossip and idleness on social media, hypocritical business tycoons who are mostly interested in rent-collection and conspicuous consumption, a sedated religious leadership class, the media and other civil society stakeholders not doing enough.
However, in spite of the rot that he sees and the disappointment that he describes, Utomi does not regret the choices he has made. His baptism of fire in local and national party politics may convey the limitations of the system and perhaps the limits of the hypothesis that change can be effected by getting involved, but this merely pushes Utomi to reflect further on matters of culture, values, leadership and the nature of man. In Why Not?, he poses additional questions: Who will save Nigeria? How do we save Nigeria? How do we rescue a thoroughly challenged country from creeping anarchy and its capture by fascists? The key question for Nigeria, he concludes is: “Where are the citizens?”. In Chapter VIII and elsewhere in the book, the author answers some of the questions he raises. He is of the firm belief that Nigeria can be “reclaimed” and “redeemed” through a “people’s revolution option”, youth mobilization, an enlightened leadership revolution, the arrest and trial of “those who abuse electoral processes…in International Criminal Courts,” and conscientious action – to move Nigeria from “serfdom to freedom”.
Utomi’s call for “a people’s revolution” and “action” and the public presentation of this book in which he does so, comes ironically at a time when the word “revolution” has crept so prominently into the Nigerian conversation, even if it is a much mis-understood word. Frustrated with the turn of things in Nigeria, a Coalition for Revolution also known as Coalition for Security and Demoracy, led by Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, is calling for a “revolution now” in Nigeria. The authorities with the support of those who have hijacked the Nigerian state and politics insist that such calls amount to treason, and they have responded with tear gas, police brutality and other forms of state-sponsored abuse. Professor Pat Utomi’s writing may well prove prophetic in the long run. His arguments are unassailable. His focus on “the complicit middle class” is a useful reminder of the failure of citizenship on the part of those who should function more as change agents. The picture that he paints about the crisis of internal democracy in the APC is an apt and realistic comment on the state of every other political party in Nigeria’s democratic space. Virtually every institution in Nigeria is in dire need of redemption.
But with regard to Utomi’s own politics: we should ask: what next? Will he run for political office again? Will he ignore those Asoluka, his friend, calls “scoundrels?” And move on to other challenges? Will he seek new political associates? Or will he lead a “revolution” from within?
On the whole, Pat Utomi’s Why Not: Citizenship, State Capture, Creeping Fascism and Criminal Hijack of Politics in Nigeria enriches an ongoing conversation about the crisis of statehood and citizenship in Nigeria and the place of politics, the politician and the political party system in the unmaking of Nigeria. This is a welcome contribution to the bibliography on the Nigerian condition which should be of interest to students of ideas, researchers and the general reader as well. In future reprints, the author is advised to pay more attention to proof-reading oversights, provide an index, and package the book more stylishly.
Book review by
A rainbow road crossing made up of colours of the Gay Pride flag has been unveiled in London.
The crossing outside Brockwell Park in Herne Hill has been installed by Lambeth council to ‘show solidarity with the LGBT+ community’.
It is the first permanent pride crossing in the UK and follows in the footsteps of other major cities including Vancouver, Sydney and Paris.
People are being encouraged to share images on social media with the hashtags #WeAreLambeth and #HerneHillRainbow.
Homophobic and transphobic hate crime has more than doubled in England and Wales over five years.
The rate of crimes against LGBTQ people have risen by 144 per cent from 2013/14 to 2017/18, according to analysis by the Guardian.
At the end of May, two women were attacked on a London bus for refusing to kiss in front of a group of men.
The mayor of Lambeth, Councillor Ibrahim Dogus, said the crossing was a way to stand in solidarity with those facing discrimination.
Councillor Sonia Winifred, Cabinet member for equalities and culture, said: ‘We have a tradition of championing equality and LGBT+ rights — this crossing celebrates that and is an example of our bold and progressive thinking. We’ve come a long way and Lambeth is proud to be leading the way.’
A temporary rainbow crossing was set up in Totnes, Devon, in 2017 by social enterprise Proud2Be.
But plans to make it permanent were blocked by local councillors in November over concerns the markings could be seen as ‘ambiguous’.
Plans to end freedom of movement for EU citizens immediately after a no-deal Brexit have caused anxiety and confusion among European nationals in the UK, with concerns they could be caught up in hostile environment policies.
Downing Street confirmed rules allowing EU nationals to live and work freely in the UK would end abruptly if the UK leaves the bloc without an agreementat the end of October.
In theory, the rights of EU citizens who have permanent residence in the UK should not be affected and they will continue to be allowed to apply for settled status – granted once they have lived in the UK for five years – until the end of December 2020.
However, news of a possible sharp end to free movement without the transition period envisaged under Theresa May’s administration provoked concern about how at least 2.6 million EU nationals who have yet to apply for settled status would prove they are in the UK legally.
The3million, which represents EU nationals in the UK, said plans by the home secretary, Priti Patel, to impose new border restrictions overnight on 31 October if Britain leaves the EU without a deal were “reckless”.
Nicolas Hatton, a co-founder of the group, said: “Ending freedom of movement without putting legal provisions in place for those EU citizens who have not yet successfully applied through the settlement scheme will mean that millions of lawful citizens will have their legal status removed overnight.”
Concerns were heightened with the leak of an internal government discussion paper warning introducing a sharp cutoff date could present “legitimate concerns of another Windrush”.
Since March, 1 million EU nationals have successfully applied for settled status, giving them the right to live in the UK after Brexit.
Some of those who have yet to apply are worried about their right to NHS treatment or employment being questioned. Some are also concerned about how they would prove they have the right to live in the UK if they travel abroad.
Stephanie Dawoud, a spokeswoman for Imix, an immigration communications charity, said: “The fear is that the hostile environment will be applied to EU citizens who are living here legitimately. There is no system in place to distinguish between the people who have been living in the UK before Brexit and someone who has arrived on 1 November.
“It will be up to employers, the NHS and landlords to check whether someone has the right to be here or not. It is another announcement that feeds into the worst fears of EU citizens in the UK.”
Some EU nationals have not applied for settled status because the digital application process is yet to be available on iPhones, although this should be resolved before the end of the year. Campaign groups say large numbers of people who are required to apply for settled status are still unaware they need to do so.
There was dismay about the absence of clear information about what kind of documents people might need to take with them if they were to travel abroad, returning after 31 October.
Gregorio Benincasa, an Italian citizen living in the UK who has yet to apply for settled status, said: “Are we expected to carry reams of documentation proving that we’ve built a life in the UK over the last decade? Will border guards be responsible for reviewing our employment contracts and utility bills to prove our status?”
Christian Wuff, a finance project analyst who has been in the UK since arriving as a student from Norway, said: “This is very scary stuff. What if I need a new bank account, a new mortgage, a new job? I’ve been here 19 years without ever having to show anything other than my passport. Now I’m having to apply to stay in my own home.”
The Home Office urged EU nationals to apply for settled status to avoid potential difficulties. Officials said no one eligible for the status would be barred from re-entering the UK if and when free movement ended, but it was not clear how checks would be made.
Under May’s government, there was an acceptance the new immigration system and border controls would not be ready for an immediate change, so a transition phase was envisaged until they were put in place. This now appears to have been dropped.
The Conservative MP Alberto Costa, a campaigner for EU citizens’ rights, said: “The government are creating deep confusion as to what will happen. No details have been given on how the government would distinguish between the rights of EU nationals lawfully in the UK pre-Brexit from those who come into the country after 31 October.”
He said he was concerned about the lack of detail from the Home Office. “Is there going to be a total block on all EU nationals coming into the country post-Brexit? Or will all lawfully resident EU nationals be expected to show some form of settled status evidence? What about the 2.6 million people who have not yet registered?” Costa asked.
“If we don’t do this correctly, it’s not just about lorry queues on the road to Dover, it’s about denying people their basic rights – rights to reside, rights to healthcare, rights to pensions.”
Costa also warned of a reciprocal sharp end to free movement for the 1.3 million British citizens living in other EU nations. “Their rights would also end abruptly. It is unclear how the British government would protect their rights,” he said.
A Home Office spokesperson said further details were being worked on and would be announced shortly. “EU citizens and their families still have until at least December 2020 to apply to the EU settlement scheme and 1 million people have already been granted status,” they said.
“Freedom of movement as it currently stands will end on 31 October when the UK leaves the EU, and after Brexit the government will introduce a new, fairer immigration system that prioritises skills and what people can contribute to the UK, rather than where they come from.”
In a sign of further confusion over the government’s policy, a senior Whitehall source said the only change that had so far been confirmed by the Home Office was additional criminal record checks on those entering the UK, while other potential changes were still being assessed.
“I don’t think anyone is leaning in to the fact that there will be a spanking new system in place,” the source said. “The change is a symbolic gesture towards the many voters who supported Brexit because they wished to stop the free flow of people into the UK.
“The home secretary and the PM think that ending freedom of movement is an integral part of taking back control. The reality is that time is so short that … it may not look a whole lot different from the policy the previous government set out.”
While the unanswered questions keep coming about Prince Andrew's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the Duke of York has been taking time out among Europe's moneyed elite with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in Sotogrande.
According to locals, the pair are regulars in this part of southern Spain and Sarah is a familiar face at the Santa Maria polo club.
Jon Clarke, who has lived here for almost two decades, says the former Duchess of York has been here 11 or 12 times and often hands out the winners' medals at the annual summer polo tournament.
We know the former couple flew into Spain last week and, as we toured the secluded lanes where some of the grandest estates are hidden in the hillsides trying to find them, it became clearer that they were still here.
We met an Argentinian woman who told us she had cooked a traditional barbecue for the pair who were guests at a private 50th birthday party on Monday night, also telling us she was going to do something similar for the Sultan of Brunei who's also in the area.
Earlier in their stay, staff at the exclusive Cancha Dos restaurant, which is surrounded by private polo fields, told us they ate in a specially cordoned off area, but only after the prince's security team had swept the place to make sure it was safe.
And workers at the Valderrama golf course, one of the best in the world, said the prince had been playing there.