Leaders of Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and those of the Niger Delta were denied landing permit to attend the Middle Belt Rally held in Makurdi on Monday.
The groups were delayed in Abuja for over five hours in a bid to frustrate them before finally being informed that the plane to bring them to Makurdi had not been granted landing permit.
This is even as the Middle Belt Elders Forum described the recent killings in the country as the worst form of corruption.
Leaders of the three major socio-cultural groups, which recently teamed up with the Middle Belt to form the South-South/Middle Belt Forum, told competent sources that their delay at the Abuja airport was to ensure that they did not attend the rally.
In his address at the occasion, the Chairman of the Middle-Belt Elders Forum, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (rtd), confirmed the incident.
He explained that the leaders of the groups were kept at the airport for over five hours without a genuine reason as to why they were held there.
Dan Suleiman stated that despite the challenges confronting the region and the hurdles placed before the Middle-Belt, it would remain united and march forward to greatness.
He stressed the need for Nigeria to restructure which would give way to a fair sharing of resources, and insisted that justice must be delivered to the people of the region.
Darius Ishaku, Taraba State governor, who spoke at the rally, appreciated the National Assembly for initiating a bill to establish state and local government police.
He sued for accelerated attention and passage of the bill, adding that if passed and subsequently signed into law it would go a long way to addressing incessant killings in the country, particularly in the Middle-Belt region.
The governor said: “Killing people is another form of corruption and the worst of it all.
“When one steals one million naira, he is prosecuted but when some people kill innocent people in their sleep they are allowed to walk freely.
“This must stop. Nigeria is a great country but it is wasting away. Every state in Nigeria is a potential country of its own.”
Samuel Ortom, his Benue State counterpart, reiterated the call for the arrest of members of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who, he alleged, were responsible for the January 1 killings in the state, among others.
General T. Y. Dajuma, represented by Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, said he and others of like minds could not stand and watch Nigeria sink into oblivion.
According to him, he was duty bound to speak for the voiceless in the society just as he stated that he fought hard to keep the country one.
The National President, Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, commended Governors Samuel Ortom and Darius Ishaku for enacting the Anti-Open Grazing Law.
He lamented that while the people of the Middle Belt region had contributed immensely to keep the country one, they were being treated as second-class citizens and also relegated to the background.
He argued that without the Middle Belt the country wouldn’t have survived as a nation.
BREAKING: Court Sentences Olisa Metuh To 7 Years Imprisonment
The Federal High Court in Abuja has sentenced former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh to seven years in prison.
The trial judge, Okon Abang passed the judgment on Tuesday.
The judge agreed with the prosecution that the defendant used public funds for personal and PDP activities.
But the defense counsel, pleaded with the judge to show mercy.
The defense counsel prayed the judge to consider the health of Metuh in his judgment.
“My lord, sentencing is entirely at the discretion of the trial court, and how it pleases the court.”
He stressed that the judge could give an option of fine in place of imprisonment.
The first and second defendant counsel also asked the judge to tamper justice with mercy and give the accused a light sentence.
The defendant counsel also reminded the judge that Metuh is a legal practitioner of long standing, who later entered politics.
The counsel told the judge that the defendant had played a crucial part in the political process over the years, particularly with the PDP.
BREAKING: Court Finds Olisa Metuh, Firm Guilty Of First Count In N400m Fraud Trial
The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, convicted a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, and his firm, Destra Investments Limited, of the first of the seven counts instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Ruling on the first count in his judgement, Justice Okon Abang ruled that a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, unlawfully transferred the sum of N400 million to the defendants in November 2014.
The judge ruled that Metuh and his firm reasonably ought to have known that the sum of N400 million paid to them formed part of the proceeds of the unlawful activity of the ex-NSA because they had no form of a contractual relationship with the ONSA.
According to the judge, Dasuki transferred the money to the defendants “in breach of public trust”.
He dismissed the contention of the defence who argued that the defendants could not be convicted for the money laundering offence because Dasuki, who is currently being prosecuted, had yet to be convicted for the predicate offence of breach of trust and corruption.
The judge said, contrary to the argument, “the predicate offence and the money laundering offence are intertwined”.
“The success or failure of the predicate offence does not determine the success or failures of the money laundering offence,” the judge added.
‘How Boko Haram Threw Child Into Burning Vehicle’
Ex-military governor of Lagos State, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (retd.), says he was informed that Boko Haram fighters threw a child into a burning vehicle during their attack on Auno, Borno State, two weeks ago.
The hoodlums reportedly burnt to death at least 30 people.
Marwa, who is the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, said this on Channels TV’s programme Sunrise Daily on Monday.
The ex-Borno State military governor said only persons under the influence of hard drugs could have done that.
He said, “Last week someone in Auno near Maiduguri mentioned to me that there was a woman in one of the buses burnt.
“She threw her child out, so that at least the child would survive, but the insurgents picked up the child and flung him back into the bus.
“What kind of depravity could that be unless somebody was completely out of his senses?
“So this is the root cause of most of our problems, including security, and must be tackled.”
Marwa said raids on terrorist hideouts had shown the insurgency was being fuelled mainly by hard drugs.
According to the retired general, Nigeria will have a lot of problems if it doesn’t tackle drug abuse effectively.
The committee, constituted in December 2018, submitted its report to the President in October 2019.
But the report has not been implemented as it is being reviewed by a second committee chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
According to Marwa, the second committee is expected to meet later this week and he will be “surprised” if its implementation does not “start in another month.”
He said, “The drug control scourge in Nigeria, unless it is tackled, we are finished.
“Whether it is Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, they (hoodlums) all use drugs.”
Among the recommendations of the committee are the declaration of emergency on drug abuse and the establishment of a new agency – the National Drug Control Commission.
When asked why the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency couldn’t be expanded, Marwa said the agency would be “moved to work in partnership” because it “faces supply reduction”.