The Late 5: New law disqualifies Jonathan from re-contesting for Presidency, Obasanjo accuses FG of plotting to silence him and other stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed a constitutional amendment that stops a vice president who completes the term of a president from contesting for the office of the President more than once.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, explaining that the effect of the new law, Act 16, is that having taken the oath of President or governor once, the affected person can only contest one more time and no more.

The new law is likely to disqualify someone like the former President, Goodluck Jonathan from running for the Office of the President again, having completed the tenure of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua after his death and held office for a four year term based on an election he contested and won in 2011.

Enang added that the President also signed an amendment to the constitution that grants autonomy to state judiciary and state Houses of Assembly, as well as another amendment that increased the time taken to conduct by-elections in case of vacancy by the Independent National Electoral Commission from the present seven days to 21 days.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has accused the federal government of plotting to silence him from speaking against it.

In a statement on Friday by his media aide, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, the former president said “impeccable security sources have alleged Chief Obasanjo’s name is on their Watch List and that the security of his life cannot be guaranteed.” 

Obasanjo also said “another plot being hatched is to cause the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to re-open an investigation into the activities of Chief Obasanjo’s administration using false witnesses and documents,” it added.

“We would like the Government and its supporters to understand that no amount of campaign of calumny, no matter how well contrived, orchestrated or marketed would deter Chief Obasanjo from calling a spade by its name,” it added

The Presidency has made clarifications on a reported public holiday to celebrate democracy day on June 12, 2018.

In an announcement made on Friday via its official Twitter account, @asorock, the Presidency affirmed in the tweet that questions had been raised on June 12 being a public holiday, and that its response to the questions, is no.
It  further clarified that the Presidential Order that declared June 12 National Democracy Day said the date would in “future years” replace May 29 as a national public holiday in celebration of the nation’s Democracy Day.

The Borno Government said on Friday that it plans to convert the notorious Galadima prostitution den in Maiduguri to public schools for the members of the community.

Governor Kashim Shettima disclosed this during an assessment visit to the area, where he commended members of the committee set up to clear illegal structures and shanties in the area for a job well done, while reminding them to act within the ambit of the law.

He said the initiative of building schools was to meet the yearnings and aspiration of people, adding that the decision was necessary to save the city from breeding criminals and terrorists.

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for immortalising the winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola, with the highest award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dickson, who disclosed this during a media chat on Friday at the Government House, Yenagoa, noted that though the award was belated, it would partly address the wrongs of the past and strengthen the nation’s democracy, stressing that it is better late than never.

He called on the President to direct the same political will and patriotism shown on June 12 towards ensuring that Nigeria is restructured with power devolved from the centre to the federating units and fiscal federalism enthroned to guarantee balance, peace, prosperity, and stability in the country.

The Governor also urged the President to honour the then Chairman of National Electoral Commission, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, with a national award for his uncommon courage and commitment to the conduct of transparent elections in June 1993.

And stories from around the world:

United States President, Donald Trump says he wants Russia re-admitted to be part of the G7 group of key industrialised nations.

Trump said he regretted the meeting had shrunk in size, putting him at odds with most other G7 members on yet another issue.

“You know, whether you like it or – and it may not be politically correct – but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in,” he said.(BBC)

Israeli troops killed four Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others on Friday with live fire or tear gas used against protesters at the Gaza border, medics said, while Israel said militants had attacked its forces with guns and grenades.

Organizers linked the protests to annual “Jerusalem Day” events in Iran, which like Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists preaches Israel’s destruction and was incensed by the U.S. recognition in December of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Israel, with U.S. support, has described the protests as a ploy by Hamas to breach its border, and says that its lethal tactics have been necessary to prevent that. At least 124 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire, medics say. (Reuters)

A former Congolese Vice-President, Jean-Pierre Bemba (55), has had his convictions for war crimes and crimes against humanity overturned.

The Appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court in the Hague decided by a majority on Friday to acquit the former politician following an earlier hearing.

In a majority opinion supported by three of the five judges, the ICC appeals chamber said the trial court had “erroneously convicted Bemba for specific criminal acts that were outside the scope of the charges as confirmed” (The Guardian, UK)

The Islamic State group seized parts of a key town on the Syrian-Iraqi border Friday in a massive operation that further confirmed the jihadists remain a force on the ground.

IS used at least 10 suicide bombers in its offensive on Albu Kamal, which lies in he Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria and swiftly took several neighbourhoods, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“IS now controls several parts of the city. Fighting is ongoing in the centre,” he said, adding that at least 18 jihadists, including the suicide attackers, were also killed. (AFP)

American celebrity chef, storyteller and writer, Anthony Bourdain has died. 

CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.
Bourdain (61) was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series, “Parts Unknown.”
His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.

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