InternationalAPA




Press focuses on failure of Nigeria to buy US attack helicopters due to poor human rights record, others

The report that the US lawmakers are holding down the proposed sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria, citing poor human…

The report that the US lawmakers are holding down the proposed sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria, citing poor human rights record of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Vanguard reports that the US lawmakers are holding down a proposed sale of attack helicopters to Nigeria, citing poor human rights record of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, as it grapples with multiple security crises.

The deal, according to US officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter is worth $875 million.

The lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to a report reviewed by Foreign Policy magazine, have reportedly delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military, citing the drift of the present government in Nigeria towards authoritarianism and human rights violations, among others.

But the Presidency in a swift reaction, said Nigeria would get every necessary assistance it wants from the US government.This came as UK parliamentarians, including Founder/CEO of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, HART, Baroness Cox, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Dr. Rowan Williams, Founder/President, Mervyn Thomas CMG and CEO, International Organisation for Peace and Social Justice, Ayo Adedoyin, wrote a letter to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, expressing concerns that recent Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO, report on human rights and democracy didn’t list Nigeria as a priority country.

Their concerns stemmed from the fact that Nigeria was excluded, despite daily reports of terrorist violence, mass forced displacement, rise in abductions for ransom and a general backsliding on democratic practices.

The newspaper says that the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has said that democracy and dictatorship cannot coexist, noting Nigeria was treading a dangerous path because young people are feeling disempowered.

Kukah, who spoke at an event organised by The Kukah Centre and Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, in Abuja on Wednesday, said: “This is a dangerous path we are treading. Our young people are feeling disempowered.

‘’We are faced with a nation that is consuming its own children, we are faced with the prospects of an uncertain future. It is impossible, even the worst enemy of Nigeria would never have contemplated that this is where we will be.”

Kukah said the 2023 elections would give Nigerians another opportunity to think of the mistake they had made.

He said: “Democracy is not an exercise undertaken by good men and women, which is what Nigerians have always fallen victim to — that we are looking for holy men, men of integrity, men of dignity to govern us and we assume that managing a diverse Nigeria does not require some level of deep intellectual reflection and understanding on the complexity in managing a society so energetic.

“This is a dangerous path we are treading. Our young people are feeling disempowered. We are faced with a nation that is consuming its own children, we are faced with the prospects of an uncertain future. ‘’It is impossible, even the worst enemy of Nigeria would never have contemplated that this is where we will be.”

The Guardian reports that 10 Nigerian athletes were among 18 competitors from “high-risk” nations who have been barred from the Tokyo Olympics after failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing, World Athletics’ independent anti-doping arm said Thursday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said the athletes concerned had failed to comply with rules introduced in 2019 requiring those from countries deemed to be at highest risk of doping — so-called “Category A” nations — to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10-month period leading up to a major event.

The AIU said that two athletes from Kenya were replaced by the national federation prior to being submitted for entry.

Other countries with athletes barred from the games included Belarus (three athletes), Ethiopia (one), Kenya (two), Morocco (one) and Ukraine (three).

Nigeria was by far the hardest-hit nation, with 10 of 23 entries for Tokyo declared ineligible.

A source familiar with the case said the 10 Nigerian athletes did not include star sprinter and medal hope Blessing Okagbare.

It was not immediately clear if the athletes affected by the AIU ruling had already arrived in Japan.

AIU board chairman David Howman said while those nations placed in Category A had made “significant improvements” with anti-doping efforts, “there remains a long way to go in some circumstances”.

“The eligibility rules for athletes from ‘Category A’ countries are very clear and compliance is essential for cementing the required long-term changes and ensuring a level playing field for clean athletes,” Howman said.

ThisDay says that a Kaduna State High court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada, has discharged and acquitted leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as the Shiite group, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat, after over five years in detention.

Addressing journalists shortly after the court session on Wednesday, a counsel to El-Zakzaky, Marshal Abubakar, said the court upheld their no-case submission filed by the defence counsel and agreed that, the case lacked merit.

He said, “The trial of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibraheem, has come to an end today. The court has upheld our no-case submission. The court found that the charges that were filed in the year 2018 pursuant to a penal law enacted by the Kaduna State government in 2017 over offences allegedly committed in 2015 is ab-initio.

“The court ruled that the charge ought not to be in the first place, because you cannot arraign a man for an offence that was already committed as at the time the said crime was not an offence. And the Court was very emphatic on that,” he explained.

He agreed that though the Kaduna State government has powers to enact laws, “they cannot enact law to prosecute an offence prospectively. That is the first ground on which the court held that, that charge was incompetent.

“On another footing, the no-case-submission we filed in court, the court agreed with us that the trial lacked merits, that the prosecution only came to court to tell stories that are at cross variance with the offences that were alleged in the charges.

“The court agreed with us that, El-Zakzaky and his wife have committed no offence. The Court, however, discharged and acquitted El-Zakzaky and his wife. It said there should not have been any charge against El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat in the first place,” he said.

The Punch reports that the naira slumped further to 523/$ at the parallel market on Wednesday, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria stopped the allocation of foreign exchange to Bureau de Change operators in the country.

The naira, which exchanged to the dollar at 503 on Monday, fell to 505 on Tuesday, few hours after the CBN announced it would no longer sell forex to the BDCs and stopped approval of new licences to the operators.

According to naijabdcs.com, the official website of the BDCs, the dollar was bought at N515 and sold at N523 on Wednesday. At the Investors & Exporters forex window, the naira hit a high of 413/$1 but closed at 411.60/$1.

The CBN, however, maintained the official rate of N410.16/$1 on its website. Before the new regulation, the CBN had been supplying each BDC $10,000 twice a week at the rate of N393. After the Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had accused the BDCs of abusing the privilege given to them and sabotaging efforts to ensure naira stability in the country.

Expressing the displeasure of the MPC, he said, “The facts abound that BDCs have turned themselves into agents that facilitate graft and corrupt activities.

Follow the live information on our channel