Peter Obi Fires Back at INEC, Alleges Bias; Buses Evacuating Nigerians From Sudan Cost $1.2m – FG | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Peter Obi Fires Back at INEC, Alleges Bias
  • Buses Evacuating Nigerians From Sudan Cost $1.2m – FG
  • I Am Drug-Free, Atiku Slams Tinubu
  • No Nigerian Lives Lost in Sudan Conflict, Confirms Minister
  • ISWAP Abducts Three Humanitarian Workers and Security Guards in Borno State

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

Peter Obi Fires Back at INEC, Alleges Bias

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of bias in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Obi’s remarks came in response to a preliminary objection filed by INEC, which appeared to favor the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and now President-Elect, Bola Tinubu.

In a statement, Obi faulted INEC for taking sides in the case and called on the electoral body to remain neutral in all litigation involving election outcomes. “Both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have in the past cautioned INEC to place itself in a position of neutrality, remain fair and focused,” he said.

Obi expressed disappointment at INEC’s decision to file a preliminary objection against his petition, calling it “an embarrassment and repudiation of the duty of INEC.” He also accused INEC of “adorning the garb of a contestant” in the election it conducted as an umpire.

“I expected the electoral body to maintain a neutral stand in all litigations where participants in elections are challenging the outcome of the elections and not indulge in filing objections to the petition,” Obi said.

He further described INEC’s objection as “misconceived” and urged the tribunal to dismiss it. “INEC’s duty is to conduct free, fair and credible elections, not to interfere in the legal process of challenging election outcomes,” he added.

Buses Evacuating Nigerians From Sudan Cost $1.2m – FG

The Nigerian government has disclosed that the cost of evacuating its citizens from Sudan, where violent clashes have been ongoing, amounts to $1.2 million. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced this on Wednesday, adding that the high cost was necessary to ensure the safety of the Nigerian citizens during the journey to the Egyptian border.

“We have huge transporter luxury buses made available to us to transport to the Egyptian border. Of course, you know, because of the risks involved and so many other things, a lot of people are going to also take advantage, you’re going to hike up the price,” Onyeama explained. “We saw that the French convoy was attacked and so forth. It was difficult procuring these buses. But we had to do it because, you know, Nigerians’ lives matter to us.”

The ongoing conflict between Sudan’s army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has left over 400 people dead and thousands injured since April 15th. Numerous Nigerians were among those stranded in the country as a result of the unrest.

The Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) shared pictures of buses arriving in Sudan to transport stranded Nigerian students to safety. The buses are expected to take the citizens to the Egyptian border, where they will be airlifted back to Nigeria.

The evacuation of Nigerian citizens from Sudan is part of the government’s effort to ensure the safety of its citizens abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously urged Nigerians living abroad to register with their respective embassies to facilitate the government’s intervention in case of any emergency.

I Am Drug-Free, Atiku Slams Tinubu

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has responded to criticism from President-Elect Bola Tinubu, asserting that he has been able to run for the office of the President of Nigeria without any controversy since 1993 because he is free from drugs and identity scandals.

Atiku went on to criticize Tinubu’s qualifications, asserting that he is unfit to lead Nigeria having been indicted for drug-related offenses in the United States and forced to forfeit a sum of $460,000 as a compromise agreement.

Atiku’s response also alleges that Tinubu holds dual citizenship of Nigeria and Guinea, having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the Republic of Guinea, which disqualifies him from contesting for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Furthermore, Atiku accused Tinubu of failing to disclose the facts of his constitutional qualifications in his Form EC9 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is contrary to the provisions of the law.

Atiku justified his request for the annulment of the declaration of Tinubu as President-elect, stating that Tinubu and APC never won the majority of the lawful votes cast in the February 25 presidential election. He maintained that Tinubu failed part of the constitutional requirements by not securing 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, as constitutionally required.

Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), filed the response to Tinubu’s reply to Atiku’s petition challenging the process and outcome of the February 25 presidential election. In the response, Atiku also asserted that his identity, comprising age, State of Origin, and educational qualifications, has never been in dispute like those of Tinubu. Atiku accused Tinubu of deliberately avoiding the substantive issues raised against him and the disputed election.

Reacting to another issue raised against Atiku’s petition, the former Vice President claimed that his petition did not in any way constitute a gross abuse of any court process, adding that the originating summons filed at the Supreme Court by Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Sokoto states have since been discontinued. Atiku requested the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to disregard the objections and the averments raised against the petition by Tinubu and grant him all the reliefs sought in the petition.

No Nigerian Lives Lost in Sudan Conflict, Confirms Minister

According to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, no Nigerian has been reported dead in the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

Speaking at a media briefing after the Federal Executive Council Meeting, he said that the government had put plans in place to evacuate over 5,000 Nigerians from the country. The first batch of Nigerians was being conveyed on Wednesday, and they will be transported via buses through Egypt and airlifted thereafter. However, the evacuation would prioritize diplomats, women, and children.

The current conflict has been ongoing for 11 days and has resulted in several deaths, with the streets littered with corpses and some areas in greater Khartoum destroyed. The battle is between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the heavily armed paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The RSF was created from the Janjaweed militia that former President Omar al-Bashir unleashed in the Darfur region over two decades ago, leading to charges of war crimes against Bashir and others.

“The government has already planned the evacuation of about 5,000 Nigerians from Sudan. We have begun with the transportation of the first batch of Nigerians. We are taking them via buses through Egypt and then airlifting them.” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada.

“We will prioritize diplomats, women, and children,” he added.

The Federal Government’s efforts come after 11 days of conflict between the army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths and destruction in parts of greater Khartoum.

“The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been involved in numerous human rights abuses and were created from the Janjaweed militia that former President Omar al-Bashir unleashed in the Darfur region over two decades ago. Bashir and others were charged with war crimes,” the Minister said.

ISWAP Abducts Three Humanitarian Workers and Security Guards in Borno State

Five staff members of the Family Health International (FHI360), a US-based non-profit organization, including three humanitarian workers and two security guards, have been abducted by fighters from the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) in Borno state, Nigeria. The group reportedly stormed the guest house of the NGO and took the victims away in a silent operation in the early hours of Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The whereabouts of the victims are currently unknown.

Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency publication focused on the Lake Chad region, reported the abduction, stating that the group was taken to an unknown location. There has been no official statement from the organisation since the incident occurred.

This is not the first time aid workers have been targeted in the region. In 2022, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that many aid workers had either died, been injured, or been kidnapped in northeast Nigeria. Despite the risks, humanitarian workers continue to work tirelessly to provide aid to people in need.

António Guterres, UN secretary-general, praised aid workers in a video message marking the 2022 World Humanitarian Day. He said, “against incredible odds, often at great personal risk, they ease suffering in some of the most dangerous circumstances imaginable.”

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