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The Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, on Saturday said if the local security initiative of the Southwest governors codenamed Amotekun differs from the support being rendered by state governments to the Federal Government on security matters, it will be unconstitutional.

The Minister who spoke in an interview with newsmen in Sokoto, insisted that security is an exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government with state governments and other organisations rendering support as needed.

Dingyadi told journalists that the governors in the zone had good intentions, but the constitution bestowed the responsibility of national security on the Federal Government.

”The intentions of the Southwest governors are good. However, some people have expressed fears on the regional security force.

”Security is an exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government being supported at times by state governments and other organisations.

” If Operation Amotekun differs from the support being rendered by state governments to the Federal Government on security matters, then it is unconstitutional,” Dingyadi stated.

The Minister also advised Nigerians to reduce desperation for money as a way of minimising cases of kidnappings and other crimes in the country.

Dingyadi noted that it was worrisome identifying close relations among the gangs perpetrating kidnappings.

” It is beyond doubt that some children, couples and relatives are discovered to have participated in the kidnap of their associates.

”All these occur in order to get money, and such magnitude of desperation is beyond ordinary crime.

”Though we have cases of kidnappings and other crimes in our society, the dimension it is now taking is worrisome,” Dingyadi said.

The minister, who said that the police were doing well in tackling the menace in all forms, enjoined Nigerians to support them in order to ensure maximum success in that regard.

He said that the border closure by the Federal Government had yielded result regarding the nation’s security aside the achievements recorded in economic activities across the country.

Dingyadi further stated that the police would perform efficiently if the military personnel were withdrawn from areas affected by insurgency, saying that managing internal security was their primary responsibility.

According to him, the military is involved in tackling insurgency because some national territorial areas were taken over by the insurgents, adding, however, that the police are capable of containing the situation.

 

 The Federal Government has accused the U.S. of attempting to sow seed of religious mistrust among the various religious groups in Nigeria with its recent report.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government rejected the U.S. designation of Nigeria as “a country that engages in or tolerates severe violations of religious freedom”.

Mohammed said that the iniquitous tag stemmed from an orchestrated narrative that had long been discredited.

He stressed that the people of Nigeria enjoyed unfettered freedom to practise their religion.

The minister blamed failed politicians and disgruntled elements – some of them supposedly respected leaders, for latching on to religion as their trump card, especially in the run up to the last general elections.

He said it was unfortunate that the U.S. fell for the antics of “the discontented and the unpatriotic few, who will not hesitate to hang Nigeria out to dry on the altar of their inordinate ambition and their sheer animosity towards the Buhari-led administration”.

He said the Nigerian government was aware of how the political opposition in particular, had spared no resources in deriving political capital from the various security challenges in the country.

“The deliberate effort to give religious colouration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the U.S. into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom in the country.

“But, as we have always said, the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with environmental and socio-economic realities.

“The religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact, but it is very convenient for those who will very easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it.

“On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretence to Islamic adherence,” he said.

The minister said the good news was that the government had succeeded in curbing the farmers-herders clashes through the implementation of proactive and multi-dimensional strategy, yielding remarkable results.

He added the government had largely defeated the Boko Haram insurgency.

“On the El-Zakzaky issue, which was referred to in the report by the U.S. government, it is purely a criminal matter, which is being handled by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.

The Minister stressed that while the government welcomed constructive criticism from any quarter, it rejected any attempt to sow seed of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country

 

Spokesperson for the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has said that the Iranian government has started consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari over the case of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

 

Mousavi disclosed this on Sunday, while highlighting the country’s consultations with the Nigerian government over the conditions of the Shiite cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky on Sunday.

 He said the Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs, Mohammad Nahavandian, recently met with President Buhari in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on varying issues, including how to address El-Zakzaky’s health challenges

 According to him:  “In the recent meeting between Dr. Nahavandian and the President of Nigeria, Mr. Buhari, various subjects have been mooted in the area of economic relations, the regional and international developments, as well as the issue of Sheikh Zakzaky” He added.

 “Moreover, in the constant diplomatic meetings and contacts that we hold with Abuja, negotiations about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s help in settling the problem is on the agenda, and we hope that the consultations and arrangements that are underway with the Nigerian government would expedite the resolution of the problem,” Mousavi stated.

 “We hope that the consultations and arrangements that are being made with Nigerian government will expedite the settlement of this El-Zakzaky issue,” Mousavi said.

 El-Zakzaky and his wife had remained in custody since 2015 after Nigerian soldiers clashed with IMN members and allegedly killed several members of the Islamic group.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that he will not condone any political officeholders using the name of his office to canvass for votes in future elections in the country.

The president stated this when some presidential aides, staff of the State House and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, presented to him a birthday card to commemorate his 77th birthday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He, therefore, advised those interested in elective positions in 2023 to work hard as he would not allow anyone to use his name to canvass for support.

President Buhari also assured Nigerians that he would ensure a free, fair and credible elections in 2023.

“Well, what I want to promise Nigerians is that I will work very hard on ensuring free and fair elections.

All those that are going to succeed the National Assembly and the presidency, they better work very hard because I will make sure  I use the law enforcement agents to ensure that elections are free and fair (and that) nobody uses his office or his resources to force himself on his constituency,’’ he said.

The president, who said he had accepted the realities of leadership in Nigeria, pledged to continue to do his best in transforming the country.

“I think I come to accept the realities of leadership in Nigeria. You can only try, is a terrific country, no matter what you do, there are people on daily basis that look for your faults and go to the press.

“So, You have to learn to live by that,’’ he added.

President Buhari enjoined Nigerians to continue to exhibit the virtues of patience and patriotism to ensure speedy transformation of the country.