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Don’t Hold Procession Tomorrow, Police Warn Shiites

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US vs Iran: Keep IMN In Close Tab - Group Tells Buhari

From the police force yesterday came another warning to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) which the security outfit accused of planning to perpetrate illegality.

It gave the warning in a reaction to the group’s plan to hold its yearly Arbaeen procession tomorrow, saying: “Since it (IMN) is proscribed, the police as a law enforcement agent won’t sit and look at people take the laws into their hands.”

Spokesman for the police in Kaduna State, Yakubu Sabo, told The Guardian: “It is our primary responsibility to enforce the law of the land. The Federal Government of Nigeria has proscribed them. You are also aware that the state government proscribed them too. So, if they are proscribed, you can anticipate what the police will do when they are seen engaging in any activities in the name of IMN.

“Anybody who disregards this warning will definitely be dealt with in accordance with law.”

But IMN gave no indication it would back down, insisting instead that the procession would be peaceful.

Members of the group clashed with security operatives in Abuja during last year’s edition of the trek. “Soldiers began to fire. They targeted protesters fleeing the chaos. Many of the injured were shot in the back or legs as they sought for where to duck and hide. Some were shot at close range on the head, chest and stomach,” recounted the president of IMN’s Media Forum, Mallam Ibrahim Musa, in a statement yesterday.

He, however, dispelled concerns that the march could turn violent: “We would like to assure the general public that this year’s Arbaeen, as usual, will be peaceful and devoid of any attempt to disrupt the right of safe passage to other road users. There is no cause for alarm over the Arbaeen trek.”

He reiterated the group’s demand for the release of its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, “who has now spent four years in an illegal and unconstitutional detention, despite a valid order from a court of competent jurisdiction ordering his release. We will not rest on our oars until the revered Sheikh, his wife and others in illegal detention since December 2015 are set free.”

The purpose of the symbolic trek, Musa explained, “is to recall and experience the trial and tribulation faced by the household of the Holy Prophet, who were chained and dragged in the heat of the desert barefooted from Karbala in Iraq to Damascus in Syria after the killing of Imam Husain, 61 years after Hijra.”

Some residents of Abuja expressed sympathy with the group over its ordeal with security operatives. One Mrs. Godwin, a resident in the Dei-dei area, said: “Honestly, I think that these people should be allowed to do their type of religious worship. I don’t really understand why they are always shooting and killing them. It is so sad and I really feel sorry for them. Maybe President Buhari does not like them.”

Urging the police to confront kidnapping instead, she said: “We are afraid to move freely. Even the public transportation system has become dangerous because of abductors. So, I think these Shiites are not the problem the police should be chasing after.”

A security agent who sought anonymity, said: “I know that these people have been calling for the release of their leader. This has put them at loggerheads with the government. But I think it is not proper to continue to attack and even kill some of them. They are Nigerians who should also enjoy freedom of worship like everybody.”

Meanwhile, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has condemned the reported abduction of children from Kano State and their subsequent sale in Enugu State.

The perpetrators of the “barbaric” act “must be tried and sanctioned appropriately in accordance with the relevant laws,” said a statement by Secretary General Khalid Abubakar Aliyu.

Also, the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria said it has set up a five-man fact-finding committee to investigate the Kano incident in which nine children were allegedly abducted. It also instituted a 16-man panel to investigate the recent discovery of an Islamic reformation centre in the Rigasa area of Kaduna State where inmates were held under inhuman conditions.

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BREAKING: FG Proposes Extension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal By 18 Months, Seeks To Amend PIA

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BREAKING: NNPC Increases Petrol Price, To Sell For N170/Litre

The Federal Government is proposing to extend the period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, by 18 months.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

He disclosed that the government has concluded plans to approach the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them,” the minister said. “We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.

“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022. However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.

“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.

“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”

Sylva, who chairs the PIA Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.

Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in the society.

The minister believes other measures such as the Dangote refinery, the Port Harcourt refinery, and other modular refineries will have significantly come on stream by the end of the year.

According to him, the new PIA provides for unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.

Sylva, however, stated that the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.

“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for the government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort.

“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated, has assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

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Former Lagos SSG Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya Dies At 74

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Former Secretary to the Lagos State Government Princess Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya has died after a brief illness.

It was learnt that Adeniran-Ogunsanya, who served as SSG under former Governor Babatunde Fashola, died on Tuesday.

She was reportedly in a comma for a few days at the Lagos State University (LASUTH) before her death.

The Ikorodu-born grassroots politician and daughter of chairman of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPN) in the Second Republic Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya was apex leader of the Lagos4Lagos movement which recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Her illness prevented her from attending the group’s official defection ceremony at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Saturday, January 22.

Details later…

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Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC Amends Charge Against Fani-Kayode

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode on an amended 17-count charge of money laundering.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the counts and were granted bail.

Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

The case was subsequently assigned to a new trial judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de novo).

At Monday’s proceedings, the amended 17-count charge was read over to the defendants and they each pleaded not guilty.

After the plea, the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court for a trial date.

The defence counsel, Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), however, asked the court to allow the defendants to continue on the existing bail conditions granted by the former trial judge.

In a short ruling, the court allowed the defendants to continue on their existing bail conditions. He adjourned the case to March 11, for trial.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.

The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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