Romans 2:1-3


June 17, 2019 by Arlin Sorensen

In Romans 2:1-3 Paul gets pretty direct with us.  He lays it right on the line – we have no excuse and can’t raise ourselves above others for any reason, because we are equally guilty. “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.” In the first chapter of Romans, Paul points out a number of the things we might consider are big sins. But now he speaks to those of us who are generally moral in the way we live. A good example of this mind set is Jesus’ illustration of the Pharisee and the Publican. If we take those figures from Jesus’ parable, Paul spoke to the Publican in Romans 1 and now he addresses the Pharisee.

We can’t be good enough on our own. We can compare ourselves with others, and find some who may seem to be more sinner that we are. But sin is the great equalizer. All of us have and will sin. So none of us is worthy of eternity with God based on His standards. We all fall short. And the least sinner is equally as guilty as the one who sins most – guilty and condemned. “For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” When we judge others, we need to look in the mirror and realize that we are also judging ourselves. We fall short of God’s requirements of godliness, holiness and righteousness. We cannot make it on our own.

It isn’t the judging that makes us guilty and condemned. It is the fact that we too are sinners in need of a Savior. We practice the same sinful things, maybe in different ways or on different levels, but sin is sin no matter how you try and put lipstick on it. It isn’t that we necessarily do the exact same things, but we fall short of God’s perfect requirements. Our sin is all the same (singular), but our sins are not. We will all stand before God and face judgment based on our one sin of falling short of His requirement. We won’t escape God’s judgment. “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.”

Paul asks a rhetorical question to those listening – do you think you can escape judgment? The answer is clearly no, but he gives those listening the opportunity to come to that conclusion on their own. The point is clear. We are sinners who will stand before a just and holy God and come up empty. Our sins are not the issue – our sin is – that we heart is not pure and we are guilty. We can run. We can hide. We can pretend that none of this will apply to us because we’re basically good. But the truth is, we’re all guilty and going to be judged. “Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God?”

‘You’ve no power to remove Chief Judge’ – Court tells Kogi Governor, Assembly


Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello
Yahaya Bello
Governor, Kogi State

The Kogi State High Court, Koton-Karfe, on Tuesday ruled that the Executive and Legislature, jointly or unilaterally, cannot remove the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah without recourse to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The court also declared that the Chief Registrar of the state High Court held a statutory position as the accounting officer of the Judiciary and was therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the Executive or the Legislature.

The presiding judge, Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye, made the declaration in his judgement on the suit brought against the Assembly, the governor and three others by Mr Ajanah and the Chief Registrar, Yahaya Adamu.

Mr Omolaye-Ajileye who granted all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit said, “On the whole, I find merit in this action and it succeeds. All the declarations sought are allowed.

“By item 21 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (As Amended), the National Judicial Council (NJC) is the body empowered to exercise disciplinary control over all Judicial Officers of Nigeria.

“It is also the NJC, established under Section 153(i) of the constitution (as amended), that has the power to recommend to the Governor, the removal of a judicial officer.

“Where a Chief Judge of a state is to be removed, for whatever reason, it is the NJC, not the state House of Assembly that is empowered to make recommendations to the Governor of a state under item 21(d) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.

“To allow only the House of Assembly and the governor of a state to remove a Chief Judge of a state or any judicial officer for that matter, without the input of the NJC, will be monstrous and outrageous as it is capable of destroying the very substratum of justice and introducing a system of servitude, utterly inconsistent with the constitutional independence of judges”, he said.

The judicial officers had approached the court to challenge the powers of the defendants to remove them from office over refusal to be investigated by the state House of Assembly.

The Suit No. HC/KK/11CV/2018 brought by the Chief Judge and the Chief Registrar had as respondents, Kogi State House of Assembly; Speaker of the House; Bello Hassan Abdullahi, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee; the Governor of Kogi and the state Attorney General.

The claimants, in their Originating Summons posed four questions for determination which revolved round whether the defendants had power to remove the Chief Judge as a “Judicial Officer” within the meaning of sections 292 and 318 of the 1999 constitution.

They also sought to know among others, whether the 1st defendants (Assembly) or its committee was vested with the power to invite the 1stclaimant (Ajanah) to the floor of the house for the purpose of investigation.

They sought declarations that the defendants were not vested with the power to remove the CJ or invite him to the floor of the house for purpose of investigation; that the constitution of the ad hoc committee by the House of Assembly on December 11, 2018 was unconstitutional, ultra vires and therefore, null, void and of no effect.

They equally sought orders of perpetual injunction setting aside the purported resolution and another restraining the defendants, their agents, privies or servants from investigating or exercising any form of disciplinary control or sanctions on the claimants.

Mr Omolaye-Ajileye said the facts of the matter according to the affidavit supporting the Originating Summons deposed to by Shaibu Yakubu, a legal practitioner, revealed that the impasse was ignited by a missive between the heads of the Executive and the Judiciary.

According to him, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Folashade Ayoade-Arike, who had a pending case before the Chief Judge, had addressed a letter to him on the orders of the state governor to release the payroll of Judiciary staff for pay parade of civil servants in the state.

The Chief Judge had instructed the Chief Registrar to reply the letter as it was unethical for him to communicate directly with her while the case was pending.

In the reply, the Jurist said, the claimants declined to yield to the demand for staff payroll on the grounds that the request was contrary to the provisions of Kogi State Public Finance (Judiciary Special Provisions), Edict No. 6 of 1991 and sections 81(3) and 162 (d) of the 1999 Constitution.

The development led to a communication between the SSG and the House of Assembly, alleging financial misappropriation on the leadership of the judiciary.

The House subsequently constituted an adhoc committee to investigate the Chief Judge and Chief Registrar on the matter.

On April 2, the assembly recommended to the governor and the State Judicial Council, the removal of the Chief Judge and sanctions for the Chief Registrar after it adopted the report and recommendations of the adhoc committee.

Nigeria’s 2019 elections ‘fell significantly short of standards set in 2015’ — IRI/NDI


NDI/IRI Elections Observers

Nigeria’s 2019 general elections “fell significantly” short of the standards set in 2015, the joint Nigeria International Election Observation Mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) said in its final report on the elections.

The United States-based organisations released their joint report on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Nigerian Presidency said it welcomed the report with “reservations”. It rejected the groups’ criticism of the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, ahead of the polls.

This final report builds on the findings and recommendations of three pre-election assessment missions in July 2018, September 2018, and December 2018 as well as preliminary statements released following the February 23, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections and the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections.

The IRI/NDI mission said it conducted its activities in accordance with Nigerian law and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.

The NDI/IRI observation mission concluded that the 2019 elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians.

It said the last-minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections on the morning of February 16 and delays in opening some polling units and other administrative challenges on February 23 undermined public confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The report said four years ago, Nigeria held elections that were recognized internationally as free, fair and credible.

“The 2019 general elections fell significantly short of standards set in 2015. Citizens’ confidence in elections was shaken,” said Dr. Daniel Twining, IRI President. “Election stakeholders should take concrete steps to address the concerns of citizens with regards to the polls in order to rekindle their faith in the power and possibility of credible elections.”

“The 2019 elections highlighted for many Nigerians the need for a national conversation about the country’s democratization since the 1999 transition to civilian rule,” said Ambassador Derek Mitchell, NDI President. “We hope this report may both spur and contribute to enriching that national conversation.”

The final report provided recommendations to enhance the credibility of elections in Nigeria going forward, including areas of improvement for political party conduct, civic engagement, election security, and legal frameworks around election disputes. In previous years suggestions for improvements by reputable citizen and international observation missions went unheeded, it said.

The high-level delegation for the joint Nigeria International Election Observation Mission included Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana; Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former president of Latvia; Fatoumata Tambajang, former vice president of The Gambia; Johnnie Carson, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs; Randy Scheunemann, vice chairman of IRI’s board of directors; Derek Mitchell, NDI president; and Daniel Twining, IRI president, along with 40 observers from Africa, Europe, and North America. Five thematic experts were also deployed to provide in-depth analysis on key issues identified during the pre-election assessments: electoral violence, election administration, inclusivity and the political environment.

Unhappy with shoddy job by predecessor, Gov. Ihedioha Orders Closure Of “Unsafe” Flyover Built By Okorocha


BY CHECKPOINTCHARLEY on 18. JUNE 2019 • ( 0 )

ihedioha

Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha has ordered the closure of the flyover at Orji, Owerri.

Mr. ihedioha gave the order while on inspection visit to the flyover built by the government of former governor, Rochas Okorocha and Commissioned a month ago by the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo.

The governor, who was unhappy with the quality of work done and the dangerous state of the newly built flyover, asked the ministry of works to close it down with immediate effect.

The ministry was also directed to close other “life threatening projects” executed by the past administration.

Ihedioha further asked the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Imo Chapter, to partner with the ministry of works to conduct integrity test on all projects of note done by the past administration.

The Governor was accompanied on the inspection by the Deputy Governor, Gerald Irona, the Heads of Security agencies, Government officials, amongst others.

orji-flyover.jpg
orji-flyover1.jpg

Romans 2:4


June 18, 2019 by Arlin Sorensen

In Romans 2:4 Paul takes on those who believe they are good because of their morals head on. We can’t get there by living a good life – because we aren’t perfect. So Paul points out that the person who believes he is good enough presumes upon the kindness, forbearance, and patience of God, which all should bring the moralist into a humble repentance instead of an attitude of superiority. “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Guzik reminds us:

  1. Kindness is God’s kindness to us in regard to our past sin. He has been kind to us because He has not judged us yet though we deserve it.
  2. Forbearance is God’s tolerance with us in regard to our present sin. This very day – indeed, this very hour – we have fallen short of His glory, yet He holds back His judgment against us.
  3. Patience is God’s understanding of our future sin. He knows that we will sin tomorrow and the next day, yet He holds back His judgment against us.

Considering all this, it is no surprise that Paul describes these three aspects of God’s reaction toward us as riches. The riches of God’s mercy may be measured by four considerations:

  • His greatness– to wrong a great man is a great wrong and God is greatest of all – yet He shows mercy.
  • His omniscience– if someone knew all our sin, would they show mercy? Yet God shows mercy.
  • His power– sometimes wrongs are not settled because they are out of our power, yet God is able to settle every wrong against Him – yet He is rich in mercy.
  • The object of His mercy: mere man – would we show mercy to an ant? Yet God is rich in mercy.

Knowing how great God’s kindness is, it is a great sin to presume upon the graciousness of God, and we easily come to believe that we deserve it. We do not deserve any of these three aspects of God’s love, nor the riches of His mercy.

Sometimes men think of this as weakness in God. They say things like “If there is a God in heaven, let Him strike me dead!” When it doesn’t happen, they will say, “See, I told you there was no God.” Men misinterpret God’s forbearance and patience as His approval, and they refuse to repent. But they are wrong. They will discover that clearly when they stand before God on judgment day and have to account for all their sin. Without the saving grace of Christ, they will at that point discover that God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience is gone, and they will stand there without any answer to the question of why they should enter heaven. They can’t make it on their own. So they will not be allowed entry.

Many people misunderstand the goodness of God towards the wicked. They don’t understand the entire reason for it is to lead them to repentance. God doesn’t force us to repent. But His kindness, forbearance, and patience is given so we will come to understand the need for it. Men should see the goodness of God and understand:

  • God has been better to them than they deserve.
  • God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him.
  • God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him.
  • God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him.
  • God is perfectly willing to forgive them.
  • God should be served out of simple

If you are waiting for God to drive you to repentance know that He doesn’t work like that; God leads you to repentance through His character and love. But we have to ake the step to come and receive it!

Truth Never Dies: Saudi journalist Khashoggi’s murder ‘pre-meditated execution’, UN finds


Jamal Khashoggi (Photo Credit: The Independent)

A United Nations special rapporteur has found that the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated.

Mr Khashoggi, 60, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul in October 2018.

In a highly anticipated report, the UN special investigator Agnes Callamard found that Mr Khashoggi was a victim of a “deliberate, pre-meditated execution” and held Saudi Arabia responsible for the “extra-judicial killing” under international law.

Mr Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post. His death has continued to stir worldwide diplomatic backlash against Saudi Arabia.

Although Saudi initially denied involvement of the killing, independent investigation later found that Saudi actors were responsible for the gruesome murder of Mr Khashoggi. The government later blamed rogue state agents for the killing.

Ms Callamard did not directly blame Saudi Crown Prince and King for the murder, but said there was “credible evidence meriting further investigation by a proper authority” to establish whether a “threshold of criminal responsibility has been met”. The report was circulated to the media on Wednesday morning.

It was not immediately clear if the Saudi government has released a response to the report.

Mr Khashoggi repeatedly expressed fears about his safety should he return to Saudi Arabia, the report further found. Findings released by the Turkish intelligence found that Mr Khashoggi was sedated before his head was pushed into a plastic bag and suffocated. An audio recording also said those who killed Mr Khashoggi threatened to take him to Saudi Arabia.

Alleged Corruption: Court restrains Ganduje from taking action against Emir Sanusi


June 19, 2019 Agency Report

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State (Left) and the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll [Photo: Thisdaylive]
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State (Left) and the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll [Photo: Thisdaylive]

A Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Tuesday granted an order restraining Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission from acting on the preliminary report on alleged misappropriation of N3.4 billion by the Kano Emirate Council.

The order followed a suit filed on June 7, by Muhammad Mannir-Sanusi, Dan Buran Kano, seeking an order to restrain Mr Ganduje, the Commission and the state Attorney General or their agents from acting on the preliminary report of the investigation.

Justice Obiara Egwuatu issued the restraining order and directed that the respondents be served through a publication in the Daily Trust newspaper and the Attorney General of the state.

He adjourned the case to June 28 for the hearing of the motion on notice.

The anti-corruption commission had on June 14, forwarded the preliminary report of the investigation in which it indicated the Kano Emirate Council, to the Secretary to the State Government for appropriate action by the state government.

Witness At Election Tribunal In Nigeria Says INEC didn’t conduct elections in parts of Kaduna


June 19, 2019 Agency Report

Kaduna State map used to illustrate the story.

Kaduna State map used to illustrate the story.

Thirteen witnesses on Tuesday told the Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, that the March 9 governorship elections did not hold in parts of Zaria Local Government Area of the state.

The witnesses, who testified on behalf of the petitioners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Isah Ashiru, also said even where the poll held, it was disrupted and marred by irregularities.

The witnesses mostly from Kwarbai ward ‘A’ with 26 polling units said polls either did not take place or were not concluded in some of the polling units.

Muhammad Garba, the collation officer of Zaria LGA, had declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 111, 014 votes while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had 35, 356 votes during the governorship election.

However, the PDP witnesses told the Tribunal that elections did not hold in some polling units, while results from some polling units where elections held were tempered with.

Yahaya Abubakar, a witness who said he served as agent to the PDP in polling units 014, Kwarbai A ward, told the Tribunal that “election did not take place in my polling unit, but surprisingly, I was later shown the result of the election purported to have emanated from INEC without the official stamp.”

Another witness, Ahmed Babajo, also an agent, said that elections did not take place at polling Unit 008, adding “I was surprised that INEC announced the result of an election that never took place.”

Mohammed Amfani, another witness from polling unit 032, also said “election did not hold in my polling unit, but INEC released a result from that same polling unit which had no stamp or signature on it.”

Also, Sadam Shehu of polling unit 001 said “as agent of my party, I can confirm elections did not hold in my polling Unit on March 9.

“Even the result from INEC didn’t have stamp of the presiding officer.”

Danjuma Garba, also a witness, said, “Election took place at 011 polling unit but the result from INEC certified copy did not reflect the true result.

“It was changed and given figures which did not reflect the outcome of the election.”

Another witness, Mohammed Dogara, also testified that election never held at 001 polling unit because INEC officials did not show up at that polling unit.

“But I later saw result from INEC that elections were held, but there was no stamp on the results sheet from INEC and the signature on the sheet is not mine too”.

Tukur Mustapha also told the Tribunal that there was no election at unit 006, “because the INEC officials did not bring any election materials at the polling unit.

“But INEC announced a result with my name written on the result sheet without a signature.”

On his part, AbdulRahman Lawal told the Tribunal that election was conducted in his polling unit 003 and that he was given a pink copy of the result with his name and signature on it as an agent.

He, however, said that he was later shown another result sheet emanating from INEC with different scores by the political parties.

Another witness, Bello Ubaidullah, who served as collation agent of the petitioners at Kwarbai ward A, said “there was no collation of results at the entire 26 polling units of the ward because the election was disrupted by security agents.

“I was surprised to see results from INEC, signed by another ward collation agent we didn’t know.”

Meanwhile, the Ibrahim Bako-led Tribunal which had so far taken a total of 16 witnesses, has adjourned to June 19, for the continuation of hearing.

Elisha Kurah, the counsel to the petitioners, who spoke to reporters after the adjournment, said they would take as many witnesses as they could out of the 685 they assembled, within the 14 days given by the Tribunal.

Shameful! Nigeria Army Chief Blames “uncommitted soldiers” for Sustained Boko Haram Attacks


UK govt warns citizens against travelling to Borno, Abia, Katsina, other Nigerian states

BY CHECKPOINTCHARLEY on 19. JUNE 2019 • ( 0 )

The chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, has said insufficient commitment of soldiers is responsible for some attacks on military bases.

Mr. Buratai said this while speaking at the opening of a five-day leadership workshop for mid-level officers and soldiers in Abuja, saying the unwillingness of some soldiers to perform is affecting the success of the counter-insurgency operations.

The chief of army staff said, “It is unfortunate, but the truth is that almost every setback the Nigerian Army has had in our operations in recent times can be traced to insufficient willingness to perform assigned tasks or simply insufficient commitment to a common national and military course by those on the frontlines,” he said.

He warned officers under that category to leave the army as soon as possible, saying the military can no longer tolerate them.

The Nigerian army has suffered many attacks from the Boko Haram sect, especially in Borno, in recent times.

Only last week, insurgents attacked a military formation in the state, killing at least six soldiers.

Not to mention that some weeks before that attack, Boko Haram fighters killed 25 military personnel in an ambush in Borno.

Boko Haram used to illustrate the story.
Boko Haram used to illustrate the story.

The United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised its citizens against traveling to some states in Nigeria.

The FCO promotes the United Kingdom’s interests overseas by giving the latest travel advice by country including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings, and health.

According to the report on safety and security of its citizens which was last updated on Monday, June 17, the UK advised against all travel to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and Gombe states and the riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states within 20 kilometre of the border with Niger in Zamfara State.

It also advised against all but essential travel to Bauchi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, and Kogi states and within 20km of the border with Niger in Sokoto and Kebbi states.

Also included are the non-riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Abia states.

According to the warning, “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Most attacks occur in the northeast, particularly in Borno (including central Maiduguri and along access routes connecting the city to other major towns and along the Niger border, including in Damasak), Yobe, including the eastern LGAs bordering Borno State both north and south of the Damaturu road), and Adamawa States.”

“There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in the Federal capital, Abuja. The terrorist threat across eastern Yobe and Borno State is high, with frequent recent attacks.”

“We continue to advise against all travel to Borno and Yobe States.”

The UK also spoke on kidnap incidents.

“There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Kidnaps can be motivated by criminality or terrorism, and could be carried out for financial or political gain.

“The security environment in the northeast has deteriorated since 2018 and there is a heightened b risk of kidnap. Kidnaps in the north east have included humanitarian and private sector workers.

“There are also reports that Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) are continuing to actively plan to kidnap foreigners. As well as in north-east Nigeria, this is believed to include some northern and middle belt states including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, and Adamawa.

“If you’re working or travelling in areas where there is a Boko Haram or ISWA presence, especially in the north-east of Nigeria, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping. There is also a high threat of criminal kidnap in the Niger Delta region and Kogi State.

“If you travel to areas to which the FCO advise against travel, you are particularly at risk and will need a high level of security. If you’re working in northern Nigeria you should make sure your employers provide an adequate level of security where you live and where you work, make sure they regularly review security arrangements and familiarise yourself with those plans.”