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38 Senior Army Officers Petition Buhari over Wrongful Dismissal

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Thirty-eight senior army officers have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over what they described as wrongful dismissal from the Nigerian Army and accused the Minister of Defence, Brig-General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai of victimisation of innocent senior officers.

The retired officers alleged that Ali, Olonisakin and Bruatai abused their offices with impunity by maliciously punishing innocent officers.

In a petition dated August 22, 2017 and addressed to President Buhari by the law firm of Abdul Muhammed LP, the officers recalled that at the beginning of this administration, two panels were instituted to inquire into allegations of electoral malpractices by Nigerian Army personnel and allegations of corruption associated with arms procurement under the office of National Security Adviser (NSA).

The officers also noted that sometime in June 2016, the Nigeria Army under the leadership of the troika of Ali, Olonisakin and Buratai presided over an abrupt sitting of the Army Council that saw to the punishment by compulsory retirement of the 38 senior officers of the Nigerian Army.

The petitioners also told President Buhari that after their unjust retirement, some of the officers wrote letters of redress for the president’s matured consideration of their individual cases, through the Chief of Defence Staff as provided by the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service (Officers) 2012 but the military authorities deliberately refused to show proof of transmitting the said letters to the president as required by regulations.

The petitioners argued that even though it was claimed that these officers were “retired”, they were actually dismissed going by the proper construction of their circumstances.

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“I must point out that the very public nature of the declaration of compulsory retirement of the 38 officers has undermined the individual reputations of these senior army officers and frustrated their respective efforts as securing a livelihood for their families,” said Abdul Muhammed, who signed the petition.

The petitioners told President Buhari that 18 of the senior army officers that were dismissed did not at any time appear before any one of the two panels that were set up or any other inquiry or investigation for that matter.
According to the petition, “the 18 officers were never investigated for any infraction, they were never indicted, they were never tried and they were never convicted of any disciplinary or criminal breaches whatsoever.

“Additionally, many of these officers have no relationship whatsoever with election duties or procurement office as falsely alleged by army leadership. Most importantly, Your Excellency, none of the 38 senior officers that were compulsorily retired was at any time ever charged or tried by a court martial or found guilty of any offence in line with due process of the armed forces extant rules and regulations, before they respectively heard of their retirement in the media. Interestingly, none of these officers has been informed of the particulars of any alleged offence till date,” the petitioners explained.

The affected officers also recalled that some of them had written to the army authority to furnish them with facts that constitute any alleged offence, but the army failed to respond to this simple request one year after.

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“After the very public dismissal of the 38 senior army officers, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Army Staff went to the media with the narrative that the 38 army officers were professionally corrupt and that these officers were punished after due process. These are untrue statements because the dismissed officers were never indicted or found culpable at all as there was a complete failure to follow the due processes laid down by the Nigeria army with respect to these wrongful and illegal dismissals. Your Excellency, in fact records of the Army will confirm that at the relevant periods some of these 38 retired officers were actually in the frontline of North Eastern operations waging war against terror which earned them official commendations and accolades for their exploits, as against the narrative of participating in election duties. Several others in the list of petitioners were on Army posting outside the shores of Nigeria or civil studies during the period of the General elections and during the entire periods that the relevant panels were sitting in Kaduna and at Abuja,” the petitioners explained.

They accused Ali, Olonisakin and Buratai of gross act of abuse of office without any due process by punishing innocent officers and deliberately misleading the President.

The petitioners appealed to President Buhari to order an urgent investigation and reinstatement of the innocent officers, alleging that the names of innocent officers were substituted in place of the guilty ones in a case of gross corruption and abuse of office.

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The petitioners also disclosed that after one-year of persistent abuse and denial of justice to the 38 retired officers, one of them, Lt Col Baba-Ochankpa died of a heart attack while the military leadership deliberately refused to forward his appeal and that of others to the president for his matured consideration as stipulated by the Harmonised Terms and Condition of Service (Officers) 2012 which was the quoted basis for their retirement.

“Your Excellency, the 38 Senior Army Officers are crying for justice as promised to Nigerians by your administration. The widow of Lt. Col Baba-Ochankpa (Mrs. Ruth Baba-Ochanpka) deserves justice. The children of the late Lt Col Baba- Ochanpka, Master Joshua Baba – Ochankpa, Miss Esther Baba-Ochankpa and Miss Abigail Baba-Ochankpa deserve our justice. These beautiful children deserve to have removed the stain that the present Army leadership has put on the memory of their father the late Lt Col Baba-Ochanpka,” the petitioners added.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: Buhari to address the Nation at 7pm on Thursday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will make will make a national broadcast Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7pm.

This was stated in a Press Statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adriana

According to him, “Following detailed briefing by security chiefs on the current situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari

”Television, radio and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria respectively for the broadcast”.

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#ENDSARS: ‘Military offensive on protesters is an abomination, Akande -Sadipe talks tough

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Akande-Sadipe

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has called on President Muhammed Buhari to address the killing of unarmed protesters across the nation, while condemning the killing of protesters by Armed Security operatives in the country.

Tolulope Akande Sadipe in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday said, “I weep for my beloved country, Nigeria. This is the Darkest Moment in our Nation. The Current Action is Unacceptable”.

She wondered why men of the Nigerian Army turned on the people they were meant to Protect, firing live bullets at citizens holding the Nigerian Flag and chanting the National Anthem, describing such as an “Abomination”.

“I, as a member of the House of Representatives cannot keep quiet in the midst of this abominable action. I was duly elected to be the voice of my people and my people are weeping”, she said.

She opined that the protests were about a generation trying to end the systematic rot that pervades the society, which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nation.

The APC chieftain  continued, “We need to be honest with one another on this matter. We need to face the truth on ground. The youths were out there because they are tired and fed up of victimization, daily oppression, injustice, unemployment, untapped talents, lack of opportunity, poor healthcare, poor education and lack of infrastructure and power across the Nation. The Youths are protesting for a better future for themselves and their children. The #EndSARS PROTEST stands for the systematic ROT in our Nation.

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“This was about the realities on ground. This was about the ROT since independence. This was about genuine service to the people who elected us to represent them. This was not about the President, this was not about the current administration, this was not about North and South, this was not about Religion. This was not about party affiliation. This was about a Generation trying to end the systematic ROT that pervades our society”.

Speaking against the backdrop that there are some external forces pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, the lawmaker representing Oluyole Federal Constituency  said the Federal Government should genuinely address issues.

“Those alluding, that there is a 5th Columnist within or external, there is a solution. If there is a 5th columnist or external negative force, pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, if we do the right thing, by genuinely addressing the issues that have led to the distrust between leadership and our youths, by addressing the rot that has pervaded our Nation. The 5th columnist in our midst or external negative force, would fail. But with this action, what have we said to the Youth and to the world.

“This is the time to make the wrongs right and it is not by bringing out the Army to shoot its own citizens, that we achieve this. We can still put a stop to this inferno. We must realize that no position is permanent and it is the country we make that we shall all live in”, she added.

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Concluding, she empathized with all the families of fallen Youth Patriots, praying that their death would not be in vain.

 

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Nigeria Excluded From 2022 US Visa Lottery

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Nigeria has been barred from the US visa lottery application for 2022, a document obtained from the US Government website showed. 

In a 19-page document published on the website, Nigeria is the only African country barred from the visa lottery.

“For DV-2022, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than, 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam,” the document read. “Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.”

Although natives of other African countries are allowed to apply, the document explained that “persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” it said.

“Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.”

In the document captioned “Instructions for the 2022 diversity immigrant visa program (dv-2022),” applicants must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for the visa lottery.

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“The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing,” the statement added.

“The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.”

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