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Envoy flays foreign critics over subsidy removal, Boko Haram

WORRIED by rising international concerns over Nigeria, the Ambassador to the United States (U.S.), Prof. Adebowale Adefuye yesterday took a swipe at critics of the fuel subsidy removal and the handling of the Boko Haram criminalities, urging the…

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adefuyeWORRIED by rising international concerns over Nigeria, the Ambassador to the United States (U.S.), Prof. Adebowale Adefuye yesterday took a swipe at critics of the fuel subsidy removal and the handling of the Boko Haram criminalities, urging them to take another look at the Federal Government’s motivations in taking its decisions.

Adefuye said “it is grossly incorrect and patently unfair” to say the Federal Government’s current policy decision “undermines the peoples’ personal security and hope for improvement in their lives, when, in fact, it is doing just that.”

The envoy spoke in a statement issued in Washington DC yesterday in response to a recent wave of criticisms, specifically, of the Goodluck Jonathan presidency in the U.S. media over the removal of fuel subsidy and the fallouts of the recent spate of violence by Boko Haram sect in Nigeria.

In the last few days, several U.S. media organisations like USA Today, Associated Press, New York Times and CNN have been actively reporting recent developments in Nigeria, particularly the heightened threats to peace by Boko Haram.

Apart from the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell who has also spoken on the CNN and written in his own blog to question the Jonathan administration timing of the oil subsidy removal and also written extensively on the Boko Haram threat, Adefuye’s statement especially identified an opinion article by another U.S. professor of history, published yesterday in the New York Times.

According to Prof. Jean Herskovits, the Boko Haram threat is merely “an elusive and ill-defined threat,” which both the American news media and policy makers are chasing. Curiously, the U.S. historian even suggested that the U.S. government should not place Boko Haram on its foreign terrorists list.

In The New York Times op-ed titled, In Nigeria, Boko Haram Is Not The Problem, she said “there is no proof that a well-organised, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram even exists today.”

Responding in a statement, Adefuye said: “I was amazed by the contents of an article by the respected Prof. Jean Herskovits… But it seems this time around the subject matter is still too fresh and she has not had sufficient time to ponder on the issues before putting pen to paper.”

Continuing, Adefuye said he was surprised to read Prof. Herskovits declaring as “simplistic” the blame heaped on Boko Haram for Nigeria’s security challenge. “What further surprised and amazed me is the glaring contradictions and conflicting conclusions in Herskovits’ article. In the second paragraph, she writes that  ‘there is no proof that a well  organised, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram exists today’. But in the following sentence, she admits that ‘there is an original core group which still exists  and remains active.’”

The professor was also said to have warned the U.S. government not to be aligned with the Jonathan administration in fighting the perceived terror threat of the Boko Haram to which the Nigerian ambassador also frowned.

Adefuye stated that it is in the interests of both Nigeria and the United States to see a world free from nuclear proliferation, terrorism and a world in which the tenets of democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance, and accountability thrive.

On the issue of oil subsidy removal, the U.S. professor queried removal of the subsidy on New Year Day “more than doubling the price of fuel. In a country where 90 per cent of the population lives on $2 or less a day, anger is rising nationwide as the costs of transport and food increase dramatically.”

But Adefuye who conceded the painfulness of the subsidy removal, nonetheless said the U.S. professor seemed not to have given thought to the fact that Nigeria has paid huge sums running into trillions of naira for domestic fuel subsidies since 2006 with more than a third spent in 2011. Adefuye stated that removing the fuel subsidies will help save $7.5 billion this year which is about 25 per cent of the government’s spending plan.

According to him, “this money, the government promised, will be channelled into capital projects to develop infrastructure such as roads, railway and electricity.”

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Man United and Arsenal Go Head To Head In The Premier League on DStv

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It’s another big weekend for Manchester United as they face Arsenal in the English Premier League on Sunday November 1, 2020.

Still battling with a wobbly start to the new season, the Red Devils will be looking forward to ending their home games woes as they face the Gunners at the Old Trafford in the Super Sunday match.

United head into the match under intense pressure to regain fans’ confidence and get its Premier League campaign on track after an unimpressive home run. They have won their last 10 away games in all competitions but none of their last five at home.

It is United’s worst start to a season at Old Trafford in the last 48 years.

The once dreaded Old Trafford where opponents visit with their hearts in their mouths is fast becoming a common ground after United suffered 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace, 6-1 to Tottenham and refused to score a goal against the Blues last weekend. It is left to be seen whether Arsenal will come close to repeating the 6-1 plummeting of United by its North London rivals.

Despite losing 1-0 to Leicester City on Monday night, the Gunners boss, Mikel Arteta, will be boosted by the fact that his side has a head to head advantage over United in their last three encounters.

The head to head record appears to favour Arsenal having won two and drawn one of the duo's last three league meetings while United’s last win against Arsenal was in the FA Cup in 2019.

Arsenal presently at 10th place on nine points travel to Old Trafford on Sunday without Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers have all been ruled out with injury. David Luiz who picked up a muscular injury against Leicester is also unsure for the game yet.

United with seven points sits at 15th place will also be without Anthony Martial still serving his domestic suspension, while Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard and Phil Jones are all ruled out with injury.

While we look forward to the epic battle at Old Trafford this weekend live on DStv, we cannot lose sight of matches from the 18 other Premier League clubs that will all be in action this weekend. The games will also be live on
SuperSport Premier League for all DStv customers.

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Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew

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Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew
Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq

Following the outbreak of violence in some quarters of the State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has declared a 24-hour Curfew on the state starting on Saturday.

Governor Abdulrazaq made this known in a statewide broadcast on Friday night.

Recall that on Friday some residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital stormed the warehouses where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives expected to be distributed to citizens.

Also Read: BREAKING: Lagos Government Relaxes Curfew

The warehouses, located at the cargo warehouse of the International airport in Ilorin as well as the agro-mall located in the Sango area of the state were totally ransacked as residents struggled to pack as much food items as they could.

Abdulrazaq said, “Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.

“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.

“Our observation is that what has happened today is not a protest, it cannot be defended under any guide, it was a pure act of criminality as some people are hiding under the guise of nationwide protest.”

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Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest

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Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest

Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.

The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.

According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.

After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.

Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.

“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.

“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”

Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.

He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.

“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.

“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”

Sahara Reporters

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