2019 Elections: U.S. expresses concerns over neutrality of Nigeria’s security services

January 16, 2019Lois Ugbede

European Union Ambassadors visit Chairman of INEC in Abuja. [PHOTO CREDIT: LOIS UGBEDE]
European Union Ambassadors visit Chairman of INEC in Abuja.


The United States government has expressed concern over the neutrality of security services ahead of Nigeria’s general elections beginning with the presidential and National Assembly polls on February 16.

A representative of the American embassy in Nigeria, David Young, made this known at a meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

“One of the concerns is about the neutrality of the security services. For us, it is very important that the security services provide for the election security, the safety of the process of the election in a way that doesn’t interfere with people getting to the polls, civil society monitors, election observers who have access to observe the process freely,” he said.

Mr Young recalled that the U.S. government had assured INEC of its support when its envoys visited INEC alongside those diplomats from the European Union (EU), the French and Germany embassies in Nigeria.

“We support INEC and the work they are doing. We look forward to providing more support,” he said.

He also said the he hoped the new Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, will cooperate and give the necessary support.

Ketil Karlsen, EU ambassador to Nigeria, said the EU was meeting with INEC to get updates on the preparations towards the election.

“Our only real mission here is for Nigeria to succeed in having fee, fair transparent and credible elections,” he told INEC’s management.

“We want to be briefed by you on the preparation for the election. We already have long term observers.”

Noting that the 2015 election sent a powerful message that the outcome of a democratic election can be roundly accepted, he said the envoys will like to see that again in 2019.

Re-emphasizing it is not supporting any candidate, party or ideology, the EU diplomat said whoever emerges from the election, will become a partner of their countries.

The British high commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said their role in supporting INEC as they had done over the years, is to support it to deliver credible election in the eyes of the people of Nigeria.

The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the commission was putting finishing touches to its preparation for the election as all heavy equipment for the election are being delivered.

“We have concluded and published the guideline, we have finalized the manual for the election to be used for training staff for the election. We are recruiting as hoc staff and will soon start training them. We are aware the election is going to be an intense media event.”

European Union Ambassadors visit Chairman of INEC in Abuja. [PHOTO CREDIT: LOIS UGBEDE]
European Union Ambassadors visit Chairman of INEC in Abuja. [PHOTO CREDIT: LOIS UGBEDE]
European Union Ambassadors visit Chairman of INEC in Abuja. [PHOTO CREDIT: LOIS UGBEDE]

The chairman, therefore, promised INEC will not disappoint the international community and the Nigerian people.

He said, “2019 will be credible, we will zealously guard the process.”

The representatives later went into a closed-door meeting at the end of which INEC inaugurated its new Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC), which is beside the Media Centre in the commission’s headquarters.

50 Governorship Candidates Sign Peace Accord In Sokoto, Northwest Nigeria

Fifty political parties are fielding candidates for the governorship seat in Sokoto State, Northwest Nigeria. Out of the number, the top contending parties are the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Peoples Congress.

Campaigns for votes are already on and with it came outbreak of violence between supporters of the major contenders. Thugs serve as vanguards of political parties and they are reputed to foment violence against opponents.

To stem the tide of violence, a National Peace Accord, an initiative of the Kukah Centre, Abuja Nigeria brought together the 50 Governorship candidates to contest the Governorship election in Sokoto to sign a peace accord to conduct themselves responsibly.

The national version of the accord had already been signed by presidential candidates of the political parties in Abuja.

The governorship candidates and their supporters, officials of the Sokoto office of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the International Republican Institute, and Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto were present at the accord signing. Bishop Kukah represented the Chairman of the Forum General Abdulsalami Abubakar at the event.

The candidates
Accord signing
Accord Signing

Addressing the forum, Bishop Matthew Kukah said the accord aims at helping contestants and members of their political parties to renew, commit and dedicate themselves to peaceful conduct and work towards building Nigeria.

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah

He said the responsibility of building Nigeria is that of all Nigerians and urged the candidates, their supporters and parties to uphold the reputation of Sokoto as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.

Cross section of participants

Governor Aminu Tambuwal was among those who signed the peace accord and spoke on behalf of the other candidates.

Governor Aminu Tambuwal

He commended the organizers for the initiative aimed at guaranteeing the conduct of peaceful, free, transparent election in Sokoto state.

Governor Tambuwal urged the political parties and candidates to abide by the accord stating that “democracy is a process and that Nigerians should continue to build on it as work in progress”.

Nigerian Government’s Doublespeak: Not Aware Of Chief Justice’s Prosecution But Directed the Freezing of His Bank Accounts

AGF Malami Orders Freezing Of Onnoghen’s Accounts

By checkpointcharley on 16. January 2019 • ( 0 )


The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami has requested the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to freeze the bank accounts, allegedly belonging to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Mr. Malami made the request in a letter dated January 14, 2018 with reference number HAGF/2019/E06/Vol.01, saying the request was pursuant to Executive Order 06 on the preservation of assets connected with corruption.

In the letter, which was signed by Abiodun Aikomo on behalf of the AGF, Onnoghen’s dollar, pounds, euro and naira accounts at Standard Chartered Bank, with following numbers: 0001062650, 9300106268, 285001062679, 5001062683 and 0010626667, were asked to be frozen.

The letter partly read, “I am directed by Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to request that you, pursuant to Executive Order 6 of 2018, forthwith restrict normal banking operations on certain accounts belonging to Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen pending final determination of the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT/ABJ/1/19 – Federal Republic of Nigeria v Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel.

“These accounts are: Account number 5001062683 (euro) Standard Chartered Bank. 5001062683 (pounds) 0001062650 (dollar), 0010626667 (naira) and 5001062683 (naira).”

The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari alleges that the CJN failed to declare the funds in the accounts in his asset declaration form.

See the letter below:

ag letter1

Theresa May faces immediate no-confidence vote from Labour after MPs hand her humiliating Brexit defeat

Yahoo UK StaffYahoo News UKJanuary 15, 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no-confidence in Theresa May’s Government after the Prime Minister was handed a crushing defeat in the crunch vote on her Brexit deal.

The Labour leader said the confidence vote, which is expected at 7pm on Wednesday night, would allow the Commons to ‘give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this Government’.

It came immediately after MPs overwhelmingly rejected the PM’s agreement by 432 votes to 202, the worst defeat suffered by a UK Government in more than 100 years.

118 Tories rebelled against their own leader to bring down the deal.

Mrs May insisted she would not resign despite the catastrophic result, and attempted to reassure MPs that the Government would ‘listen’ to their concerns.

The Prime Minister is set to head back to Brussels in yet another attempt to secure concessions from the EU on the deal – something EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has repeatedly said he is not willing to do.

The will lay out her ‘Plan B’ on Monday in a motion that MPs will be able to amend, opening the door for a second referendum to be put to Parliament.

Theresa May’s final plea to MPs to win support for her Brexit deal failed (PA Images)

The EU responded seconds after the result came in. The EU Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt said: “The UK Parliament has said what it doesn’t want.

“Now is the time to find out what UK parliamentarians want. In the meantime, the rights of citizens must be safeguarded.”

The result could propel the PM towards a decision to delay Brexit by seeking an extension to Article 50 as time runs out to get a deal approved.

Speaker John Bercow suggested he would facilitate a vote on extending Article 50 in the House of Commons if enough MPs pushed for him to do so.

What happens next?

Downing Street has given little indication as to how the prime minister intends to proceed if she is defeated.

Under the terms of an amendment passed last week, Mrs May must table a motion on her Plan B by Monday – although in practice she is unlikely to want to wait that long.

Some reports have suggested she could fly to Brussels – possibly as early as Wednesday – in an attempt wring further concessions on the crucial issue of the backstop.

A senior EU Commission official confirmed that Jean-Claude Juncker has pulled out of an event tomorrow in order to be in Brussels to deal with Brexit.

Following further talks it is likely that MPs will vote on the deal again in a matter of days.

Mrs May is likely to win the no-confidence vote, which was tabled by Mr Corbyn in the immediate aftermath of the vote, because the DUP and Tory Brexiteers have already pledged to back her.

Pro and anti-Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in London before Tuesday’s Commons vote (Picture: PA)

Will Brexit be delayed?

It is possible that the PM could delay Brexit by seeking an extension to Article 50 if her deal is defeated to allow more time to tinker with the Withdrawal Agreement.

Mrs May’s tone on extending Article 50 has notably softened this week. She continues to say she does not believe doing so would be a good idea, but is not categorically ruling it out.

The EU would have to agree to this, as Britain cannot extend Article 50 without their permission.