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Frustrated, Buhari elevates Nigeria’s anti-graft war to ‘national emergency’ status

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria said Thursday that he has signed an executive order seeking to restrain owners of assets under probe from carrying out further transactions on such properties

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President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria said Thursday that he has signed an executive order seeking to restrain owners of assets under probe from carrying out further transactions on such properties.

He added that exigencies of the moment demanded that a ‘national emergency’ on the ‘crisis’ of corruption in Nigeria be declared.

Speaking while signing the order on Thursday in the nation’s federal capital, Abuja, the president said:

“Like I have said many times, if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will sooner-or later kill Nigeria.

“It has thus become necessary to re-kit and re-tool our arsenal to be able to effectively tackle corruption’s perilous counter-attack against the Nigerian state. Accordingly, the federal government of Nigeria has declared a national emergency to deal with that crisis.

“In this regard, the federal government of Nigeria in line with its anti-corruption strategy seeks to ensure that justice is not defeated or compromised by persons involved in a case or complaint of corruption.”
The president said the viability and continuous well-being of the nation faces enormous threat from corruption.

“Whilst there are many reasons why Nigeria has been struggling; regrettably, the most unfortunate cause of great disparity between Nigeria’s wealth and its poverty is endemic corruption.”

Read Also: ‘Africa, learn to fend for yourselves’

He added, “It is in consequence of this that I have decided to issue the Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 to inter alia restrict dealings in suspicious assets subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption in order to preserve such assets from dissipation, and to deprive alleged criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities which can otherwise be employed to allure, pervert and/or intimidate the investigative and judicial processes.

“Or for acts of terrorism, financing of terrorism, kidnapping, sponsorship of ethnic or religious violence, economic sabotage and cases of economic and financial crimes, including acts contributing to the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and against the overall interest of justice and the welfare of the Nigerian state.”

“There is also a very strong link between corruption, peace and security. Unfortunately, corruption is everywhere; at all levels of government, and every stratum of our society. Without doubt, corruption constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the well-being, national security, and economy of Nigeria,” he said.

Some close watchers of Nigeria’s political space, however, feel that the fresh push to nail alleged looters is a deliberate distraction to take attention away from the internal squabbles threatening to consume the ruling party, leading to emergence of a breakaway group, R-APC.

It has also been argued that the executive order is another indirect attempt to muscle the nation’s judicial processes which Buhari finds a bit too cumbersome and frustrating.

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Weeks after justices protest, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad resigns

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Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned.

Sources confirmed that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Hint of potential crises in Nigeria’s judiciary played out last week when fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, lamenting the parlous state of affairs in the court.

The petition is the first-of-its-kind in the 58-year history of the apex court, the justices chronicled the operational challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court.

Arrangements are said to be ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 suspended Justice Tanko’s predecessor Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against the most senior judge in the country. It was the first time that Nigeria’s head of state had sacked a chief justice since 1975, when the country was under military rule.

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18 years after suspension, Zimbabwe lobbys for readmission into Commonwealth

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Southern African Zimbabwe has continued with lobbying for readmission 18 years after it was thrown out of the body over allegations of human rights abuses.

The country made its latest move to be readmitted at the ongoing Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Rwanda Charity Manyeruke, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali as an observer alongside other top government officials, told newsmen that the country’s participation at the summit was a “positive development.”

“Zimbabwe is excited to be participating in Commonwealth forums as this presents opportunities to network with the international community taking into account the government of Zimbabwe’s policy of engagement and reengagement,” Ms Manyeruke said.

“The Commonwealth meeting in Kigali has provided opportunities for our Zimbabwean diaspora across the globe, who are participating as panellists, facilitators and as delegates in the forums.

Zimbabwe was first suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth for one year, after international observers condemned disputed presidential election as unfairly tilted toward Robert Mugabe in 2022.

One year after the suspension, Mr Mugabe revealed that he did not accept a Commonwealth decision to prolong Zimbabwe’s suspension from the group until the country mended its ways.

“Accordingly, Zimbabwe has withdrawn its membership from the Commonwealth with immediate effect,” said a government statement.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Musabayana said he had held meetings with influential people to discuss the country’s potential readmission.

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