Leaked documents detailing UK-US trade talks were posted on Reddit by an account linked to a campaign "originating from Russia", the online message board has said.

In a post on Friday, the site said it had suspended 61 accounts that were part of a co-ordinated effort.

The papers had their first wide burst of public attention when unveiled in the election campaign by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. He claimed they show the NHS is "for sale" and Labour says their release was in the public interest.

The Conservative Party, which denies the NHS would be on the table during trade talks with the US, declined to comment on Reddit's announcement.

Reddit's post did not provide any further details about the evidence behind its conclusions.

But it said a group of suspect accounts "provides us with important attribution for the recent posting of the leaked UK documents, as well as insights into how adversaries are adapting their tactics".

The leak

Mr Corbyn and Boris Johnson continue to debate what the UK government documents actually mean - and the subject came up again during Friday's televised BBC debate.

The Labour leader, who first highlighted them at a press conference on 27 November, contends they pave the way to higher drug costs and the privatisation of the National Health Service, while the prime minister insists that is not true.

The documents themselves were posted on Reddit more than a month prior to Mr Corbyn's announcement, prompting questions about how they got there - and why few people seemed to notice them before.


Reddit statement

The original Reddit post containing the trade talks documents came from an account with the user name "gregoratior".

In its post, Reddit said: "We investigated this account and the accounts connected to it, and today we believe this was part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia."

"Suspect accounts on Reddit were recently reported to us, along with indicators from law enforcement, and we were able to confirm that they did indeed show a pattern of coordination," the post continued.

The company also said the suspended accounts participated in vote manipulation - Reddit uses a "karma" points system to highlight popular posts - but that "none of these accounts or posts received much attention on the platform."


Trying to get attention

Following the original Reddit post, further attempts were made to get attention for the documents - via a Twitter account, the fringe message board 4chan, websites in Germany and Austria, and an American conspiracy site.

On Monday, researchers at Oxford and Cardiff universities, the Atlantic Council think tank and social media analysis firm Graphika said that the way the documents were posted and spread online closely resembled a Russian campaign uncovered earlier in the year. Researchers dubbed that earlier campaign "Secondary Infektion" after a Soviet-era disinformation plot.

The researchers who uncovered the earlier network pointed out that "gregoratior" used the same unusual combination of websites to spread the leaked documents. At several points, the account's posts seemed to be written by a non-native speaker of English.

Similarly, the BBC determined that a post made by one of the accounts in German does not appear to be the writing of a native German speaker.


Debate confrontation

During a previous leader debate on 19 November, Mr Corbyn produced heavily-redacted versions of the documents, and announced that they were the result of a Freedom of Information request.

That request was originally lodged by campaign group Global Justice Now. A spokesperson told the BBC that after the debate, the organisation was contacted via email and alerted to the presence of the uncensored documents on Reddit.


Labour's response

The BBC attempted to contact "gregoratior" via Reddit and email, but we have not received a reply.

A Reddit spokesperson said Friday: "The integrity of our site continues to be of great importance, and we will continue to be transparent with our community and the public on these issues."

However the company did not release any specific details about the evidence it obtained from law enforcement or its own investigation.

The Labour Party has not commented on how they obtained or became aware of the documents.

A party spokesperson said: "These documents reveal the plot against our NHS. And of course neither the UK nor the US government have denied their authenticity. Our releasing them to journalists was clearly in the public interest."



Amnesty International invites?International Criminal Court to immediately begin an investigation into crimes being committed by the Nigeria Government



Amnesty International has invited the International Criminal Court to immediately begin an investigation into crimes being committed by the Nigeria Government.


Amnesty International while reacting to the publication of the annual report of the Prosecutor of the ICC on preliminary examinations, which sets out the work of the ICC over the last year looking at countries around the world where crimes may have been committed to decide whether to open investigations, Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director, said that an ICC investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in North-East Nigeria is now inevitable.    


The ICC had released its 2019 report on preliminary examinations. The ICC prosecutor said it is losing patience with the failure of the Nigerian Government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for crimes committed by different insurgent groups in the country.  

AI, stressing the need for investigation in Nigeria, lamented that the government was not keen on delivering justice.

Belay said, “The prosecutor has also confirmed that she will make a final decision in 2020 on whether to proceed to investigate specific crimes.  

“Should Nigerian authorities fail to demonstrate tangible steps to fulfil their obligations, she will be bound to proceed towards a full investigation.  

“Victims have been waiting for justice for over 10 years. Nigeria has already demonstrated that it is not willing to investigate and prosecute those responsible for heinous crimes committed by all parties to the conflict in the North-East.  

“The ICC should have already launched an investigation but there can be no doubt that the time will come in 2020 for the ICC to step up to its role as the court of last resort.”

Seun Kuti has reacted to Omoyele Sowore's rearrest at the Federal High Court in Abuja which led to an uproar yesterday December 6. 

According to the music star, Buhari's biggest weapon is knowing that Nigerians will never stand up for those that stand up for them. 

The son of Nigerian music legend Fela, recounted how same treatment was meted out to his father by Buhari when he was the military head of state. Seun Kuti said his father who had blood all over him was dragged through the streets while everyone watched. 

Seun Kuti alleged that Nigerian professionals are Buhari's biggest accomplice as he pointed out that "Sowore is all of us without our shackles."

He wrote "They know the Nigerian professionals are their biggest accomplice. They know you have never gone on strike because poor people have no food, because u have food. You have never downed tools because poor people can’t go to school because u can afford school fees.

"You have never stopped yes sir for one second because innocent babies are dying by their thousands since u can afford private clinics for your kids ( some of u even employ the poor kids and nearly kill them yourselves). That’s why you can’t stand up and down tools for Sowore even after the courts of LAW that we all claim to obey has been spat on. I know the truth though cos the stigma of loving the African people is one I’m familiar with! How dare he?

"Who does he think he is?! Hmmmm. Let me tell u, Sowore is all of us without our shackles!!! This is our greatest opportunity to change this narrative. This is our biggest chance to insist on our dignity and our rights not just for Sowore but for our HUMANITY! Let’s change this narrative!! UNA GO RELEASE THIS ONE OOOO."

Pastor Clement Oni, one of the suspected vandals arrested in connection with the explosion of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline in Baruwa, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos on Thursday, has indicted some officials of the corporation as well as men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Oni, the pastor in charge of the celestial church, Imole Ayo Parish in Baruwa, said about eight NNPC officials in company with some NSCDC men had come to fix leakage from the pipeline on Wednesday.


The 56-year-old man explained that in the process of fixing the leakage, fuel gushed out and officials of two agencies reportedly siphoned it into several jerry cans which they took away.

He stated that the NNPC workers also gave him seven jerry cans of fuel and allowed some local security men manning the facility to help themselves to the product.

Oni, who spoke to journalists on Friday at the police headquarters in Ikeja, stated that the officials left on Wednesday unable to fix the leakage and promised to return the next day, adding that they were about to resume work on Thursday morning when the explosion started.

The inferno reportedly broke out after a pastor administering a spiritual bath on his church member in a stream around the pipeline lighted a candle.

Fuel from the pipeline was said to have flowed into the stream, resulting in the fire which travelled to the leaking spot.

One person died on the spot while another victim, who suffered about 90 degrees burns was admitted to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

In the wake of the explosion, police raided the affected area, and arrested Oni with several fuel-laden jerry cans found buried on his church, premises where he also lives.

Three other suspects – Omo Opeku, Rasheed Ajibade and Yusuf Waheed – were also apprehended by the police, with 14 sacks of fuel suspected to have been siphoned from the pipeline.


Oni, in an interview with our correspondent, denied involvement in pipeline vandalism, insisting that NNPC officials gifted him the fuel for his generosity.

He said, “On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, about eight NNPC officials came to repair the pipeline which was vandalised about three months ago. They identified themselves as maintenance officers and some NSCDC men came with them. They asked me to help them get five labourers to work with them but I was able to get three. They gave them N30,000 after work that day.

“In the course of repair, they removed the stick that was used to block the leakage but they did not succeed in fixing the fault and fuel was gushing out like flood. They siphoned it and gave me seven jerry cans to power the church’s generator.


“The NSCDC officials and local security men guarding the pipeline also siphoned fuel into jerry cans and took it away. Three of the local security men are called Ejo, Agbara and Dublin.”

The pastor stated that most of the jerry cans recovered by the police belonged to Dublin, adding that he buried the fuel to prevent fire outbreak.

“The NNPC officials came around 7am on Thursday to resume the maintenance. They were about to start work when the explosion happened,” he said.

Asked to name the officials, he said could only identify their faces.

Ajibade, 40, a resident of Ojuelegba, said one Ade, who is at large, had asked him and his accomplices to convey the fuel to Ijora from Iyana Ipaja.

He said they were waiting for Ade at the destination when the police rounded them up.

He stated, “Ade brought out the fuel packed in 14 sacks from a building around 11pm and asked us to take it to Phase 3, Ijora. He promised to meet us there. I didn’t bother to ask him where he got it. This is the first time he would involve me in something like this.”

The police spokesperson in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, dismissed the pastor’s allegation against the NNPC officials but said investigation had commenced to reveal the truth.

He said, “The excuse that the maintenance officers gave him the fuel is not adding up. Which maintenance officers from NNPC would give individuals fuel while they are trying to do away with people vandalising their pipelines?

“We are searching our beam light at the community to fish out those who are involved. The Commissioner of Police is determined to bring an end to this.”

The spokesperson for the NSCDC, Lagos State Command, Kehinde Bada, confirmed that NNPC workers were at the area on Wednesday to fix the leaking pipeline and officials of the corps provided security for them. She, however, refuted the claim that the men siphoned fuel.

She said, “Why will the NNPC officers and our men be there to scoop fuel? When we get (petroleum) product, we hand it over to the NNPC and if there is leakage from pipeline, we inform the NNPC and ensure we are at the scene for safety.

“They started fixing the pipeline but they could not finish the work because it was creeping into night. By the time they got there the next day, there was explosion already. Today (Friday), we were there all through and it has been fixed. Our men and the commandant were on the ground. It is not possible that our men siphoned fuel. The man (Oni) was actually arrested by our men from Alimosho office.”

Efforts to get the comment of the Group Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr Samson Makoji, proved abortive as he did not pick up our correspondent’s calls to his mobile. He had also yet to reply to a message sent to him on the allegation as of press time.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Makoji had said that “preliminary reports of the incident indicated that the pipeline might have been torched by an act of vandalism by suspected oil thieves, who hacked into the line to intercept the flow of petrol.”




President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to state governments to simplify the process of land ownership. The President said this will enable more Nigerians access bank facilities for affordable homes. Buhari made this call on Friday while receiving the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) led by the chairman, Dr. Uche Olowu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President expressed concern over some of the challenges being faced by Nigerians, such as land and other collateral related issues, hindering the banking industry’s ability to lend to the real sector.



“As a government, we are also facing such challenges as part of our various affordable housing programmes. But I am urging state governments to assist by simplifying and rationalising land matters,” he said.



Commending the banking industry for increasing their lending in key job-creating areas such as agriculture in the last four years, the President welcomed their collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria in this regard, noting that the partnership had been a “key anchor” to the food security programme of his administration. “We can only feed ourselves by deploying capital in the right areas. I implore the banking community to keep this trend up,” he said.



Affirming that the banking sector is critical to the economic development of any society, President Buhari said he is proud that Nigeria has the most vibrant, creative and innovative banking sector in Africa. “Nigerian bankers have not only proved themselves in Nigeria alone but across the entire continent and in other parts of the world.



“I am proud when I visit African countries and see posters or branches of Nige- rian banks. I will ask all your members to continue to be great ambassadors of Nigeria as you expand within Africa and beyond, “the President said. In his remarks, Olowu expressed gratitude to President Buhari for the plethora of interventions to drive inclusive growth in the country, through initiatives such as Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and diligent progress in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, among others.


The chairman declared the institute’s support for the current policy by the Federal Government to close Nigeria’s land borders. He said the policy would protect and promote Madein- Nigeria products as well as prevent the country from being used as a dumpsite for substandard products and other illicit cross border activities. The institute’s chairman also raised topical issues affecting the Nigerian economy especially the banking sector.



Saturday, 07 December 2019 05:26

Oshiomhole meets Buhari - APC won’t lose Edo

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, boasted on Friday the party would not lose his home state, Edo, in any election.

He spoke with State House correspondents after he led state chapter chairmen of the party to a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


There has been reported disagreement among National Working Committee members and other stakeholders of the APC on whether Oshiomhole should continue to lead the ruling party or not.

The APC state governors were also said not to be united on the continued leadership of Oshiomhole.

The meeting with the chairmen came barely 24 hours after the governors also held a separate meeting with Buhari on Thursday. Oshiomhole was expected at the Thursday meeting, but he was absent. Governor Godwin Obaseki attended the meeting.

The two meetings were said to be connected with efforts to resolve the crises in the APC, particularly the situation in Edo, before the governorship poll in 2020.

Remarkably, the meeting was brief; it started at 12pm and ended within 24 minutes.

Speaking after the meeting, Oshiomhole claimed the state chairmen visited to congratulate Buhari on his re-election and to commend him for the manner he had steered the party so far.

He also denied that he was supposed to attend the meeting the governors held with Buhari, insisting that it was for the governors alone.

“There was no reason for my absence from the governors’ meeting with the President yesterday (Thursday). The meeting was for the governors and Mr President and I was not available to be part of the meeting. There was nothing to it.


“But as you can see, I am here today because I am to be here”, he said.

On the crises in the APC, Oshiomhole admitted there were issues, but maintained they were normal.

Asked if the crisis would not cost Edo the APC, Oshiomhole boasted that the APC would never lose the state to any other party, no matter the candidate fielded.


His response was a veiled reference to speculation that Governor Obaseki might seek a second term on another party’s platform, if the APC denied him a ticket.

He stated, “The first thing to appreciate here is the fact that in a human organisation, there is bound to be contestation, sometimes. Even when the destination is not in dispute, how best to get there may be a point for argument and those arguments are reflections of the democratic nature of the party.

“I don’t know any organisation that doesn’t have some internal disagreements; what matters is the commitment of everyone, both the leadership and the followership, that when there is a communication gap, as soon as it is noticed, efforts are made to resolve it.”

Oshiomhole gave details of the peace efforts, saying, “You may have read in the papers, even on the electronic media last week, when we held the meeting of the national caucus and, subsequently, Friday the 22nd, we had a meeting of the National Executive Council. The resolution taken at that meeting is that a national committee will be set up to reconcile those aggrieved for whatever reason. I will tell you that we are on top of the situation.

“Let me reassure you, the APC is not at risk of losing Edo State in the next election. Edo people have accepted the APC as a preferred party since 2008 when I assumed office, and if you look at the result of elections, it shows that the people have faith in our party; on the basis of the performance of the government that the party has produced, both when I was there and even when I had left.

“That I come from a place does not mean that the place cannot have a quarrel. You will be exceptionally lucky as husbands and wives if you do not have misunderstandings with your spouses and sometimes, your children. If anybody suggests that whenever you have arguments in the family house, the family may go under, the person may be a poor student of human history and human organisation.”

On the mission of the state chairmen to the Villa, he said, “The state chairmen represent the party and it’s been their desire to pay a visit to Mr President, to thank and congratulate Mr President on his re-election and all the bye-elections won so far.

“They are happy with the way the President is handling governance. They came to express appreciation. The President too appreciates the role of the chairmen in providing leadership in the states.”

Incidentally, the chairmen hurried out of the venue of the meeting, declining to speak on the issues discussed with Buhari.




The Federal Government on Friday filed a fresh appeal in the English court against the award of $9.6billion to Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) by a United Kingdom court.

The government said the new application was based on new evidence that has come to light in recent investigations

A statement by the Special Assistant Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said the new action was part of the steps to upturn the $9.6bilion judgment against the Federal Government.


The statement said:  “The filing challenges both the underlying arbitral award and its enforcement, and lodges a fresh appeal against the subsequent High Court judgment.

“Based on new evidence that has come to light in recent investigations, it is clear that the original contract was a sham commercial deal and designed to fail from the outset.

“The fraud was only recently discovered as a result of President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts spearheaded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The challenge argues that the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption, while the subsequent arbitral process was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the rest of the government.

“The filing is a significant step forward in the Federal Government fight to secure justice for the people of Nigeria.


“The Federal Government recently expanded its legal team to include a leading London law firm, Mishcon de Reya. The team is led by Shaistah Akhtar, Partner, and Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers. The expansion will enable the FGN to launch in full its investigations and challenges.

“It is important to note that clear and concrete evidence of fraud and corruption were only recently discovered. This followed an increase in the Buhari government’s well-regarded anti-corruption efforts. The new administration’s efforts have brought to light the fraudulent nature of the P&ID contract.

”President Buhari has established several initiatives aimed at tackling corruption. These include the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and the Whistle Blowers Policy in 2016, as well as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017-2021″ in 2017.

The English Commercial Court had granted Nigeria’s application for leave to file an appeal against P&ID.

Another application for a stay of execution of the award was also upheld.

P&ID secured the damages against Nigeria following a failed Gas Supply Project Agreement (GSPA) contract between it and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Federal Government team had raised 13 grounds on why the London court should reverse the $9.6billion judgment.

The government has uncovered that the Memorandum of Understanding on the gas contract was signed in 2009 by P&ID Nigeria Limited with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

But a trick clause was inserted in the MoU which allowed the British Virgin Island (BVI) registered P&ID to replace the original contractual party, P&ID Nigeria Limited, to sign the contract in January 11, 2010.

The Federal Government said the P&ID case cannot stand because the contract was fraudulent.



Wife of Omoyele Sowore, the convener of the RevolutionNow protest and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mrs Ope Sowore, has sent a message to President Muhammadu Buhari that she and her children are waiting for the return of her husband.

She said she had no clear roadmap on how to handle the situation but that she had sent appeals to the United Nations and had been working with Amnesty International and many other organisations to help raise awareness and “hopefully help to secure the release” of her husband.


Officials of the Department of State Services had on Friday invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja to rearrest Sowore, who was released alongside his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare, on Thursday after they had spent over three months in the DSS custody.

The DSS had also defied the court order that granted them bail, even after meeting their bail conditions and in spite of several appeals and protests to secure their release.

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019 over a planned protest, which he tagged ‘RevolutionNow’. The DSS accused him of planning to overthrow the government with his planned protest, the basis upon which he had been detained.

Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after they were released, Sowore was rearrested by about 15 DSS officials after the close of Friday’s proceedings, which the judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had adjourned till February 11.

Before the fresh arrest, a stampede occurred as Sowore and his supporters tried to resist the officials of the DSS. The ensued commotion made court officials, lawyers, journalists and others to run for safety. The development disrupted the proceedings, which Justice Ojukwu was conducting after Sowore’s case was adjourned.

The judge was therefore forced to suspend sitting, directing that the remaining cases on her list for the day be adjourned.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Friday, Sowore’s wife said, “I’m concerned about what happened to my husband. It’s less than 24 hours that the Nigerian government has basically turned around and shown a gross abuse of power. I am praying and hoping that it will be resolved so that he can come home to meet me and the children.

“No clear roadmap or script on how to handle a situation like this. The reason why there is rule of law is because it protects people’s basic rights and the fact that Buhari and the DSS have refused to do that is a matter of great concern.


“We are currently working with many international organisations to help advocate on his behalf and we have sent several urgent appeals to the United Nations.”

I can’t eat, sleep, Sowore’s mother laments

Sowore’s mother, Esther, expressed shock over the rearrest of her son on Friday, adding that her son’s continuous stay in the custody of the DSS had affected her health.


Speaking during an interview with the CNN on Friday, she said, “I cannot eat. I cannot sleep. It is affecting my health. It has been four months now. I plead with Buhari again in Allah’s name, I plead with him to release my son.”

DSS wanted to kill me – Sowore

Meanwhile, Sowore, in an interview with Channels Television during the invasion, alleged that the DSS invasion was an attempt to kill him, but that he would not give up.

He said, “It might be my only word on the record before they kill me; this is an attempt to assassinate me in court. They came with guns and they tried to shoot and they dragged me down in front of a judge after I had been granted bail.

“I said it yesterday (Thursday) that these are a set of lawless people and that they were reluctant to respect the order of the court. Now they have shown it to the whole world. What is important for Nigerians to know is that I am not going to give up until every Nigerian benefits from a country that is theirs and I made it very clear to them.

“They tried to break me in prison; they sent delegations to me, offering all kinds of things but I refused and they promised that I would not walk out of detention alive. That was what they came here (the court) to implement today.

“Nobody in Nigeria should be afraid; it is our country and some people have to make the sacrifice for this country to be a country of rule, law and dignity and this also involves judges. If suspects who have been given bail are not safe, then the judges themselves are not safe and that was why the judge had to retire hurriedly into her chambers.”

Falana says invasion barbaric

Speaking on the development, Sowore’s lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), described it as a “horrendous, bizarre and barbaric contempt of court” never witnessed under “even the most brutal of past dictators that had ever ruled Nigeria.”

He added, “Under the military regime, the so-called enemies of the government would not be arrested in the web of the court which is considered a sanctuary. The military regimes would always show some respect for the court and would only arrest after the person left the court premises. What we have witnessed today is alien to Nigeria.”

Falana said at a meeting which Justice Ojukwu called to be held in her chambers with him and the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), the judge “expressed dismay” over the development as she said “she was made to flee her court”.

Meanwhile, Falana said he had not been informed about the reason for his client’s rearrest, adding that his legal team would meet Saturday to determine the next line of action.

I’m not aware of basis for Sowore’s fresh arrest – FG’s lawyer

Dr Hassan Liman (SAN), hired by the Federal Government to prosecute Sowore, has said he was not aware of the basis for the rearrest of Sowore.

Responding to Saturday PUNCH’s enquiry more than eight hours after the incident happened, Liman said he was not aware of any plan to institute fresh charges against Sowore.

He said, “I am not aware of any plan to file fresh charges against Mr Sowore. I am not aware of the basis for the fresh arrest, but I believe the Service (DSS) will address that accordingly.”

Control your ‘dogs of disobedience’, Soyinka tells Buhari

There was outrage on Friday by prominent Nigerians, civil society organisations, human rights activists and many others over the invasion of the court by DSS men. In their respective reactions, they said the invasion was an attack on the rule of law and the sanctity of the nation’s justice system.

Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to control the excesses of DSS officers, whom he described as the President’s ‘dogs of disobedience.’

Soyinka, who spoke in a statement titled ‘Lessons from the African wild dog (Lycaeon Pictus)’, while reacting to Friday’s court invasion by the DSS to rearrest Sowore, said, “Soyinka noted, “It has become imperative and urgent to send this message to President-General Buhari: Rein in your wild dogs of disobedience. And for a start, get a trainer to teach them some basic court manners!”

The essayist and social critic in a symbolic analogy said a few years ago, he watched the video of a pack of the famed African wild dogs hunt, which eventually brought down, and proceeded to devour a quarry.

He added, “It was an impala, antelope family. The pack isolated the most vulnerable looking member of the herd–it was pregnant-pursued it, until it fled to a waterhole which, for such animals, is the nearest thing to a sanctuary.

“A few minutes ago, almost as it was happening, I watched the video of a pack of the DSS, bring down, and fight over their unarmed, totally defenceless quarry within the sanctuary of a court of law. I found little or no difference between the two scenarios, except that the former, the wild dogs, exhibited more civilised table manners than the DSS in court manners.”

Court invasion, attack on judiciary – Atiku, PDP, AI, SERAP

Former Vice-President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 elections, in a statement titled, ‘Without Rule of Law, There Cannot Be Rule At All’ said never in the history of the country’s democracy had a judge been treated in such a “disdainful and brazen attack, not just on her person and office, but on the judiciary.”

He added, “This is unacceptable. It is a rape on the sanctity of the court. We are a democracy, no matter how inconvenient this fact is to the powers that have forced themselves on us. I call for an immediate inquiry to be set up to identify those responsible for the maltreatment meted out to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu and the desecration of her court, and indeed the Nigerian judiciary.”

The Peoples Democratic Party on Friday said the invasion of the court by DSS men further confirmed that Nigeria, under the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency, was finally sliding into a dictatorship.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said, “The international community must have more than a passing glance at the situation in Nigeria as any crisis in our country, God forbid, given our population, is capable of having a negative spillover effect across the African continent and other parts of the world.”

Also the Coalition of United Political Parties, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Imo Ugochinyere, decried the invasion, saying the serenity as well as the sanctity of the court was utterly desecrated by the DSS officials.

While calling for the sacking of all the officers of the DSS involved in the invasion, he said CUPP would await the comments of the Chief Justice of Nigeria before taking a more formal position on the issue.”

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project also condemned the invasion, saying the violent rearrest of Sowore inside the courtroom was a textbook case of a mockery of justice and abuse of the judicial process.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said, “The United Nations Human Rights Council, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and members of the international community should urgently put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to end serious violations and abuses of human rights and threats to the rule of law in Nigeria.”

Also, Amnesty International said the action of the secret police indicated a total disregard for human rights and due process.

Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said, “These acts should not be condoned by the Nigerian authorities and does not reflect the commitment to human rights Nigeria agreed to during the UPR (Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council) earlier this year.”

The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, also faulted the actions of the DSS. He said, “Even if the DSS has any cause to file fresh or additional charges against the accused, either before the same judge or in another court of competent jurisdiction, this would have been done in cognizance of known procedures that would not precipitate contravention of law and order.”

The immediate-past President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, in his reaction, described Friday’s event as an “unfortunate display of recklessness and over-zealousness by agents of the DSS,” and called on Justice Ojukwu to jail the Director-General of the DSS for contempt of court.

Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, also said he was not surprised by the abuse of power perpetrated by the Buhari-led government, saying he warned Nigerians in 2015 about the excesses of Buhari and how he could never change his dictatorial ways but that he was heckled by the All Progressives Congress and selfish Yoruba leaders.

Ninety-one-year-old Adebanjo, while speaking with Saturday PUNCH about the invasion, noted that he would have expected that the likes of APC stalwarts, Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande; as well as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who is a senior advocate, to caution Buhari but that “the Yoruba elements in the APC are all sellouts; they cannot tell the President the truth because they have sold out.

“In all that has been happening, has Tinubu said anything? Has any Yoruba APC person said anything?”

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria in the 2019 elections, Mr Fela Durotoye, in a series of tweets on Friday said, “Nigeria does not need rulers; Nigeria needs leaders. And now the leaders must arise and speak up with one voice against this rulership system that uses the ‘security’ forces to oppress us and suppress our rights and the power of the judiciary in securing those rights.”

Also, a non-governmental organisation, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, condemned the actions of the DSS, while urging Nigerians to resist the move which it described as part of a well-coordinated plot to destroy democracy and constitutionalism.

“The desecration of the Temple of Justice is an affront on the principle of rule of law and a desecration of the Nigerian Constitution,” National coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said in a statement.

Also speaking, an activist and President, Centre for Change, Joe Okei-Odumakin, in a statement titled, ‘This is crossing the line’, described the development as brazen and barbaric.

She added, “The only way the government can attempt to prove it does not sanction this bestial conduct is to fish out those responsible for this barbaric conduct and ensure the rule of law is followed in the case of Sorowe.”

While also faulting the invasion of the court, a pro-democracy movement, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, in a statement by its Executive Director Faith Nwadishi, said, “The DSS must be cautioned now before it turns into a monster that may consume all of us.”

Celebrities fault DSS

Meanwhile, Nigerian entertainers also faulted the rearrest of Sowore by officials of the DSS.

Entertainer and politician, Banky Wellington, described the action of the security agency as “absolute disgrace” and urged President Buhari to “surprise” Nigerians by doing the “right thing.”

On his Twitter handle, @BankyW, on Friday, said, “This brings shame to our fragile democracy. This is an absolute disgrace to our country and a blatant abuse of human rights. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with Sowore’s political ambitions or not. This is a new low, even for us.”

On his part, celebrity singer, David Adeleke, aka Davido, while reacting to the development via his Twitter handle, @iam_Davido, said, “Justice slowing becoming a thing of the past and our country….a kid somewhere in Nigeria dreaming of becoming a lawyer and bettering the community would see this and start having doubts…just sad (sic).”




Saturday, 07 December 2019 05:03

Nnamdi Kanu’s father dies, IPOB blames army

Nnamdi Kanu's father, Eze Israel Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu's father, Eze Israel Kanu


The father of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Eze Israel Kanu, has died at the age of 86.

The younger brother of the IPOB leader, Emma, confirmed this to our correspondent but did not disclose the cause of his death.


He, however, assured Saturday PUNCH that he would officially speak on the death of his father, who was the Isiama Afaraukwu, on Saturday.

The traditional ruler of Okwulaga Afaraukwu and representative of the Afaraukwu Eze-in-Council, Eze Eddy Ibeabuchi, also confirmed the death adding that further information would be disclosed to the public later.

Nnamdi Kanu’s mother had died in August following the alleged shock of the invasion of her residence by the military during Python Dance II in Umuahia in September, 2017, fuelling the speculation that the grief suffered by her husband might have contributed to his death.

On his part, the Abia State Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, described the incident as a shock, considering the late traditional ruler’s contribution to the development of his community and Abia State.

Meanwhile, the leadership of IPOB has condoled with its leader over the death of his father.

In a statement on Friday, the group lamented that their leader had lost in his struggle to liberate his people from the stranglehold of the Nigerian government, alleging that the attack on Kanu’s Afaraukwu residence in September, 2017, was a contributory cause  of  his death and that of his wife.

The statement read in part, “The global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra wishes to console the family of our leader, Nnamdi Kanu, the entire Kanu family and the community of Afaraukwu over the passing of their father, uncle, brother and traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty, Eze Sir Israel Okwu Kanu, the Egwu Ukwu II of Afaraukwu, who joined his ancestors as a result of health complications arising from the trauma of the invasion of his palace by Nigerian soldiers on September 14, 2017, and most recently, over the  shock of the sudden death of his wife, Ugoeze Kanu.

“We are left in no doubt that the military attack on Isiama Afaraukwu and the Kanu family by the armed forces of the Federal Government of Nigeria is the principal cause of death of our leader’s parents.”



Sowore: I apologize for underestimating the DSS capacity for the unthinkable - Wole Soyinka



Prof. Wole Soyinka has called out President Buhari over the re-arrest of Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare at the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Department of State Services, DSS.  


Soyinka said it had become imperative and urgent to send message to “President-General Buhari: Rein in your wild dogs of disobedience. And for a start, get a trainer to teach them some basic court manners!”  


Soyinka, in a statement today likened the scene leading to the arrest of Sowore and Bakare in the court premises to that of an African Wild Dog. According to Soyinka, he was amazed by the level of disobedience to court’s order by the present government of Buhari.

“A few years ago, I watched the video of a pack of the famed African wild dogs hunt, eventually bring down, and proceed to devour a quarry. It was an impala, antelope family.

The pack isolated the most vulnerable looking member of the herd it was pregnant pursued it, until it fled to a waterhole which, for such animals, is the nearest thing to a sanctuary.  

“A few minutes ago, almost as it was happening, I watched the video of a pack of the DSS, bring down, and fight over their unarmed, totally defenceless quarry within the sanctuary of a court of law.

I found little or no difference between the two scenarios, except that the former, the wild dogs, exhibited more civilized table manners than the DSS in court manners,” he said.

The Nobel Laureate said only yesterday, in his commentary on the ongoing Sowore saga, he pointed out the near perfect similarity between plain crude thuggery and the current rage of court disobedience, saying that little did he suspected that “the state children of disobedience would aspire to the level of the African wild dogs on a pack hunt.

“I apologize for underestimating the DSS capacity for the unthinkable. I reiterate the nation’s concern, indeed alarm, about the escalating degradation of the judiciary through multiple means, of which disobedience of court orders is fast becoming the norm.  

“May I remind this government that disobedience calls to disobedience, and that disobedience of the orders of the constitutional repository of the moral authority of arbitration the judiciary can only lead eventually to a people’s disregard of the authority of other arms of civil society, a state of desperation that is known, recognized and accepted as – civil disobedience.    

“It is so obvious state disobedience leads eventually to civil disobedience, piecemeal or through a collective withdrawal of recognition of other structures of authority. That way leads to chaos but – who set it in motion? As is often the case, the state, unquestionably. Such a state bears full responsibility for the ensuing social condition known as anomie.”