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Ahead of vote, Nigeria’s Buhari sets transition to a new leader in motion

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed an executive order setting up a council to facilitate transition to a new president who will emerge after a Feb. 25 election.

Buhari, 80, who is constitutionally barred from contesting the election, is serving his second and final term. He becomes the second Nigerian leader to complete two terms in office since the end of military rule in 1999.

A new president will be sworn in on May 29.

“The new Executive Order puts in place a legal framework for the seamless transition of power from one Presidential Administration to another,” Buhari said in a statement.

He said Nigeria’s secretary to the federation would chair the transition council, which will be launched on Tuesday.

Three main candidates, Bola Tinubu from the ruling party, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition party and Peter Obi from a smaller party are the top contenders vying to succeed Buhari.

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‘Misplaced priority,’ Nigerians slam FG’s decision to reinstate old national anthem

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The decision by the government to revert to the old national anthem in Nigeria has sparked a range of reactions among Nigerians.

President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, signed the National Anthem Bill 2024, seeking to reinstate the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” into law, shifting from the “Arise, O Compatriots.”

The “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” anthem was used from 1960, when Nigeria gained independence, until it was replaced by “Arise, O Compatriots” in 1978.

Reacting to the news of the reinstatement of the old national anthem on X (formerly Twitter), a former Minister of Education, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, said she would not revert to the old national anthem.

According to her, no one can suppress her right to dissent from what she described as an “obnoxious law” repugnant to all who are of good conscience in Nigeria.

Other Nigerians have also taken to social media to express their displeasure with the new law.

One Abiola, who uses the handle #AbiolaMaylaw on X  (formerly Twitter), wrote, “What will this return to the old anthem do to Nigeria and Nigerians? Why are they quick to pass this bill into law?”

Another tweep, Lawrence Ohineme, who identifies as #LOhineme, commented, “It appears that this government wants to distract Nigerians from focusing on the hardship they are battling with by forcing us to learn an old national anthem. This is a misplacement of priorities.”

Similarly, #SamFomwul, who tweets anonymously, asked, “How is this supposed to improve the welfare of the masses? Na wa oh!”

Another X  (formerly Twitter) user, tweeting anonymously as #charlycity, wrote, “Nigerians never agreed to this; the Reps and senators never consulted with their constituencies before going ahead with this retrogressive and inconsequential bill.”

“Why go back to the old national anthem when we can ask our creative songwriters to give us something better than the existing old anthems?” Gbenga Akeju, tweeting as #GbengaSegu23029, asked.

Kingsley Ibietela, tweeting with the handle #Iamkingsleyf, also asked, “Please, can you guys hurry like this and bring back the 1963 constitution?”

On Facebook, Adegboyega Adeyemi wrote, “This is nothing but a backward integration. When will Nigeria be free from colonial mentality? Here, we are sacrificing a homegrown national anthem for a colonially imposed national anthem.”

Nelson Oriarebun commented, “This particular move by this government simply tells you that they don’t have regard for the opinions of Nigerians on any issue, because based on popular opinion, changing the national anthem is not our priority for now, and it’s not the reason why Nigeria is not working.”

Olayemi Salami wrote, “I’m 42 years old now; it took me 40 years to learn our national anthem, and now you’re introducing a new one, which will take me another 40 years to learn. God will judge you people.”

Despite the multitude of knocks trailing the new law, one Simeon Simeon on Facebook had a different opinion as he supported the change, describing it as a positive move.

He wrote, “A welcomed development. I have always said if I were president, I would change the Arise o compatriots thing. Thank you, Mr. President for a clear vision.”

Recall on Friday, many Nigerians on social media questioned the relevance of the move by the House of Representatives to revert to the old national anthem, wondering if it would help salvage the nation’s economy, being Nigeria’s biggest challenge at the moment.

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FG moves to eliminate torture in detention facilities

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The Federal Government on Wednesday disclosed that it is committed to seeing the end of torture in places of detention where persons don’t have the freedom to live at their own will.

The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, stated this at a sensitisation and advocacy workshop for law enforcement agencies and other critical stakeholders on the United Nations Convention against torture, in Abuja.

She noted that the sensitisation forms part of measures aimed at eradicating the use of torture by public officials as the act in itself is cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Jedy-Agba added that the law on preventing the use of torture will be expanded to include psychiatric hospitals, detention facilities, and others.

She said, “We are currently reviewing the Anti Torture Act and Regulations to expand the definition of torture and improve mechanisms to discourage and eliminate torture in places of detention, such as deprivation of liberty in Nigeria, such as police stations, prisons, and other detention facilities, psychiatric hospitals and any other places where persons are not permitted to leave at their own will.

“Psychiatric hospitals where relatives and family members are being taken care of, no matter what they are going through, they are still human and these institutions are to uphold human treatment at all times.”

Speaking particularly to law enforcement agents, she said “Torture is prohibited, unlawful and an offence. Security agents are not allowed to get information from a suspect using torture.”

Jedy-Agba noted that information extracted from a suspect through torture is not admissible by law.

She explained that the definition of torture under the relevant legal frameworks pertains to acts committed by public officials, particularly law enforcement, which inflicts pain or suffering, whether mental or physical on individuals placed under their custody.

She stated that it is not enough to punish perpetrators for committing acts of torture as the government on its part, has a responsibility to ensure restitution and rehabilitation of victims of torture.

Jedy-Agba urged participants to work as champions of the federal government’s policy against torture, avoid the use of torture against citizens and adopt anti-torture measures when they return to their various institutions and organisations.

“As you are aware, Nigeria is a signatory to various international treaties and conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture, all of which guarantee human rights of both citizens as well as persons in detention.

“You may also wish to note that the prohibition of torture has since been elevated to the international law standard. This means that the international community recognises the prohibition of torture in all ramifications as so fundamental, that it supersedes all international treaties. The federal government therefore prioritises initiatives aimed at preventing torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

“It is in view of its commitment to human rights standards that the government signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and enacted the Anti-Torture Act to prohibit and punish acts of torture committed by public officers,” she added.

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Infrastructural development: Abiodun commissions Sagamu-Iperu-Ode road

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…Promises to reconnect Siun-Ogere-Iperu-Ilisan road

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Wednesday commissioned the Sagamu-Iperu-Ode-Sapade road, as part of activities to mark his first year for the second term in office, even as he announced award of contract for the construction of the Siun-Ogere-Iperu-Ilisan road.

It would be recalled that the Governor on Tuesday was in Ogijo, in Sagamu Local Government Area to commission the popular Hospital road in the town, where he vowed to sustain the tempo of the ongoing infrastructural transformation across the State.

Speaking at the commissioning of phase one and two of the eight kilometres road, the Governor said the Siun to Ilisan road would complement the existing roads and make travelling seamless in the axis.

Governor Abiodun, who underscored the importance of good road network as key to the development of any society, noted that the newly re-constructed road, apart from serving the people of Remoland, also serves people from other parts of the country as it connects Lagos to Ibadan and to the rest of the country.

He said before its takeover by his administration, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) had carried out palliatives on the road, which was still in a terrible state, forcing motorists to find alternative routes.

The Governor said: “This road starts from Ikorodu. It is connected to Lagos and passes through Sagamu to Iperu to Ibadan to the rest of the country.

“Before we constructed this road, it used to take about seven hours to get to Ibadan from Lagos. But now, you can travel from Lagos to Ikorodu to Ogijo to Sagamu in less than 50 minutes.”

He said the contract for the construction of the road was awarded in three phases to ensure quality job, adding that with the two phases completed, the third phase has been awarded, and the contractor mobilised to site.

Governor Abiodun emphasised that providing infrastructure is in line with his administration’s transport master plan, which is aimed at increasing the ease of doing business, which in turn would create jobs and reduce crime in the long run.

The Governor disclosed that the Gateway International Agro-Cargo Airport has been licenced to commence non-scheduled flight operations, while that of scheduled flight is expected to be approved soon.

The Governor also hinted that the construction of the Kajola Dry Port would soon be flagged off to further boost the infrastructural development of the State.

In her remarks, the member representing Ikenne and Sagamu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Adewunmi Onanuga expressed gratitude to the state government for reconstructing the road after many years of neglect.

Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya said the road was divided into three phases for quality jobs, adding that the contract for the third phase has also been signed.

The Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, in his remarks noted the remarkable achievements of the governor in the last five years, appreciating him for responding to the cries of the people by fixing the road.

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