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Nnamdi Kanu’s trial turning to persecution – Lawyer Ejimakor

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Aloy Ejimakor, the Lead Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Friday said the trial of the Biafra agitator is turning from prosecution to persecution.

Ejimakor made the claim while narrating Kanu’s travails since his first arrest in 2015.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Ejimakor stressed that Kanu was arrested and detained for nothing

He said the IPOB leader should not have been arrested and detained, adding that he never deserved the travails he’s going through.

Ejimakor said: “The public should be aware of how this case is turning from prosecution to persecution.

“After he was brought into the country from Kenya, the Federal Government, instead of pivoting on the charges for which Kanu was unlawfully and forcibly brought into the country, abandon those charges, but for one that bothered on false declaration of imported radio equipment. That’s a very unserious charge.

“The more serious ones bordering on treasonable offences where completely abandoned for new 15 charges bordering on terrorism.

“For seven years – 2015 to 2022 when these charges were finally amended to 15 which I call prerendition charges were completely abandoned.

“Nnamdi Kanu suffered at the hands of criminal justice system in Nigeria for seven years for charges that were abandoned. So, for the 18 months he was detained and subsequent arrest in 2015, he was detained for nothing.

“He didn’t deserve the detention, he also didn’t deserve any tribulations and travails he had to go through including the Python dance that almost claimed his life, his parents and lots of innocent people, his exile abroad and rendition.

“So why was he renditioned for charges that were later abandoned? That’s a question that the answer will come one day.”

Ejimakor also disclosed that when the matter began in 2015 and escalated through September 2017 with Python Dance, “Kanu through myself, brought an application before the African Commission on Human and People’s right complaining about the Python dance proscription of IPOB and we won.

“The African Commission wrote a letter to the then President calling for the implementation of certain things they asked him to do.”

He added, “In a swift decision concerning the extraordinary rendition, the United Nations (through its Special Rapporteurs) on 26th August 2021, transmitted a Communication/Decision (No: UA NGA 5/2021) to the Government of Nigeria, conveying its official position that the manner of bringing Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria was illegal and a grave violation of international human rights laws. The United Nations stated further as follows:

“In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning allegations of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, by Kenyan Security officials, as well as his illegal rendition to Nigeria, to face trial for terrorism related charges, which are believed to be linked to his leadership of the “Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)” group.

“Since his rendition to Nigeria, Mr. Kanu has been allegedly detained by the Department of State Services (DSS), and denied family visits, confidential access to a lawyer, and necessary medical treatment for his underlying health condition.

“While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, we would like express our concern in relation to the enforced disappearance of Mr. Kanu from 19 June 2021, until his reappearance at Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja on 29 June 2021, and his reported illegal rendition from Nairobi to Abuja without judicial process. We are further alarmed by the alleged torture and and ill-treatment Mr. Kanu has been subjected during his detention by the DSS in Nigeria. If confirmed.

“The allegations in the case of Mr. Kanu raise serious violations of international human rights law and may cause irreparable damage to his life or personal integrity, which we believe warrants prompt attention.

“In this regard, we are considering to publicly express our concerns in this case in the near future, believing that the wider public should be informed about the implications of these allegations for the enjoyment and exercise of human rights in Kenya and Nigeria.

“Any public expression of concern in this regard, will indicate that we have been in contact with your Excellency’s Government to clarify the issue/s in question.”

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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