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    MASSOB Biafra-Nigeria News: Presidential Media Chat – Why Dasuki, Kanu Can’t Enjoy Bail Now – Buhari

    Photo: The Guardian
    President Muhammadu Buhari

    President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday explained why the federal government was reluctant to release former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), Nnamdi Kanu, in spite of the order of court directing that they should be granted bail.

    Buhari said considering the weight of the crimes the duo are accused committing against the Nigerian State, if they are allowed to enjoy any form of freedom, they are likely jump bail.

    The president stated this during his first presidential media chat at Aso Rock in Abuja.

    Dasuki, who is standing trial over alleged diversion of over $2.2 billion budgeted for the procurement of arms meant for the fight against insurgency and sharing same to top public officers and close associates of the former administration, was yesterday re-arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) after he had been granted bail by three different courts.

    The leader of the pro-Biafra agitators, Kanu, who was also granted bail by an Abuja Federal High Court, was re-arrested by operatives of the DSS and a fresh charge of treasonable felony filed against him.

    Responding to questions from a team of media executives at his maiden media chat, the president maintained that because of the enormity of the atrocities for which the duo are being prosecuted, it was not in the best interest of the country to release them at the moment.

    He said, “Technically, if you see the kinds of atrocities these people are believed to have committed against the country, if they are given the opportunity, they will jump bail. See, the former president wrote to the governor of Central Bank and said ‘give N40bn to so, so and so, and then he gives account.

    “And the one you are calling Kanu, do you know he had two passports – one Nigerian, one British – and he came into the country without any? Do you know he brought equipment into this country and was broadcasting Radio Biafra? Which kind of government do you think should harbour that kind of person? There is a treasonable felony suit against him and I hope the court will listen to the case.”

    The president contended that it was not proper to allow Dasuki travel to London to see his doctor, asking: “what of the over two million people displaced, most of them orphans, whose fathers have been killed? What type of government do you want to run? We cannot allow that.”

    For Kanu, President Buhari noted that even with two international passports, one for Britain and the other for Nigeria, Kanu “did not use any of them to come into the country,” adding that the pro-Biafra leader smuggled in equipment into the country just to preach hate messages.

    PMB faults NASS on N47.5bn car budget

    President Buhari also faulted the National Assembly on the proposed purchase of cars for lawmakers worth N47.5 billion, saying he would revisit the issue and exploit all avenues to stop them from proceeding on such a wasteful venture.

    Expressing hope that the lawmakers had not proceeded to purchase the cars, he said, “I turned down a huge bill for vehicles, but I know we need some vehicles for foreign visitors. If I refuse to agree for my own presidency, I will not agree for NASS.

    “I cannot see the NASS spending N45billion to buy cars on top of the transport allowance they collect. I hope the cars have not been bought,” the president said in response to a question by one of the panellists.

    “I won’t devalue Naira”

    President Buhari also foreclosed the possibility of the federal government devaluing the Naira, saying he needed to be convinced about why he should do so.

    He said he was yet to see reasons to devalue the country’s currency which has currently fallen to about N250 to a dollar in the parallel market.

    “I need to be convinced. If you devalue the naira, against what – dollar, sterling, yen, French Franc?” he queried, even as he said the recent ban on ATM use for international transactions will remain for now because the country’s forex reserve was at an all-time low.

    “There is no money to serve as shocks for forex. So it’s not about lifting the ban on the use of forex,” the president said, adding that the county is now focusing on encouraging local production of foods and only importing what is really needed.

    FG to remove subsidy by March 2016

    On the controversial issue of fuel subsidy removal, President Buhari said by the first quarter of next year, there would be no mention of oil subsidy anymore because of the low pricing of the product.

    “The cost of petrol is so low you don’t have to subsidize it,” he said, adding that government would rather focus on getting its refineries back in working order.

    No intelligence report on Chibok girls – PMB

    President Muhammadu Buhari also hinted that the federal government does not have any intelligence report on the whereabouts of the Chibok girls at the moment.

    He said government can negotiate for the release of the Chibok girls if it is assured of the credibility of the Boko Haram sect which comes forward for negotiations.

    LEADERSHIP recalls that on the night of April 14 last year, over 200 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.

    Noting that the government would ensure all the Chibok girl are complete before negotiating for their release, Buhari however expressed concern that the girls may have been dispersed to various locations.

    He said, “This is the third time I am answering on Chibok girls. I could recall that so many leaderships of Boko Haram existed. But we insisted on establishing the bona fide leadership of the so-called Boko Haram before we can agree to negotiate with them on what terms will be of interest to us before we can take them to their schools.

    “Secondly, we want to ensure that they are complete, 209, and they are safe and sound. But what we also found talking to a lot of sources is that no Chibok girl has been recovered; they must have dispersed them all over the place.

    Asked specifically if he had intelligence reports confirming that the girls are still alive and are in the custody of Boko Haram, he said, “That is what I’m looking for. We are looking for a credible Boko Haram leadership that will convince us that the girls are there and alive. If any of Boko Haram can come out to say it is the leader and that he knows where Chibok girls are, we cannot automatically believe him.

    “That kind of information, I’m working with Niger, Chad and the Cameroon and I assure you that the question of Chibok girls is also on our minds for even humanitarian reasons, but there is no such intelligence reports of where those girls are physically are, and in what condition they are in, but what we believe in, from our intelligence, is that they keep shifting them around so that they are not taken by surprise until the girls are freed, and they are not kept in one place; that is the honest truth.”

    On the question as to whether the IDPs are going to be resettled or not and whether there would be psychological counseling, he said, “Well, you know that there are about two million internally displayed persons (IDPs) in different camps in the country, mostly in Borno State, with over 70 per cent of those being women and children. Over 65 per cent of the children are orphaned; their parents have been killed; some of them don’t even know from where they came; this is how pathetic the situation is today.

    “The federal government came in and met efforts where some Nigerians contributed money, the Dangotes, the Lt. Gen. TY Danjumas and a number of people and about N25 billion was raised. There was a committee that would supervise how the monies could be utilized to rehabilitate the IDPs.”

    FG still awaiting reports on Army, Shi’ite clash

    President Buhari also said there will be no federal government investigation into the recent army/Shiite clash in Zaria which reportedly claimed over 300 lives until the report of the inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government is submitted to him.

    “Certainly, I know something about it; I ought to because I have heard about it. When it happened I was in touch with the governor of Kaduna State. Interestingly, the president of Iran spoke to me about it. But I told him that as government, we have a system. It happened in one of the cities, the governor has physically visited the area. We have a system of investigation. The military that was involved too has a tradition of investigation. And I, as the head of federal government, I have to wait for official report before I can come out as the head of the federal government and make a statement.”

    ” So I am allowing the Army and the Kaduna State government to submit their own reports of inquiry. The police, the DSS, though they are not directly involved, also they are doing their own constitutional role of finding out the cause of the matter.”

    On the potential threat of the Shiite group to the security of the country, he said: “How can any group create a state within a state. I don’t want to speak about it in detail now; I think I should leave it until I see the report of the inquiries. But there are a number of things that I saw where some excited teenagers were virtually hitting the chest of generals, putting roadblocks and threatening them with missiles.”

    On the figures given about those who died, he said, “You can’t justify the figures. But to be fair to both sides, we have to wait for the inquiries, and then you tell the public. For instance, I heard some people in Zaria gave a press briefing in Kaduna, isn’t it? About 2 or 3 days ago? They called the press and told them the agony they had been going through in the last five, ten years.

    “I expect my report of inquiry from Kaduna State government because it happened in Kaduna, in one of the cities, and it has been there for the last 20 years from what I have been reading from your papers; they occupied federal highways sometimes from Kano to Kaduna. This is what I heard and, fortunately for me, I have never been in that mess.”

    No corrupt minister in my cabinet – PMB

    President Buhari also maintained that there is no corrupt minister in his cabinet, but added quickly that he will not hesitate to sack any of his ministers found guilty of corruption.

    On the allegation that he was being selective in his fight against corruption as some of his ministers have been accused of being corrupt, he said: “I have been a democrat since 2002. I don’t think I tolerate corruption. I don’t think I have picked anybody that I know will embarrass my government.

    “But if you have got evidence on any of my ministers, it is your right as a Nigerian citizen to take them up, that you don’t want a, b or c in the cabinet because they have got a case in court. I don’t think I picked anybody as a minister who has a case of corruption in court. I swore by the Holy Qur’an that I will defend the constitution. The important thing is that we don’t put anybody above the law.”

    Buhari noted that the federal government is making progress in the fight against corruption and promised Nigerians he would give them a progress report by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

    He said: “Thirty years ago when I was head of state of Nigeria, we arrested people who were perceived to be corrupt and put them in protective custody and we told them they are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent. Now I am here in a different form, in a multi-party democratic system. We are looking forward for cooperation.

    “Under the circumstances we found ourselves security-wise and economy-wise, even morally. The only acceptable decision to them is those suspected to be corrupt are innocent until they are proven guilty. Having said that, we have been lucky to find some documents where public funds were diverted to personal pockets.

    “We have some documents where Nigerian crude oil was lifted illegally and the proceeds were put in personal accounts, instead of the federal government account and, of course, we have started going to court.

    “We got evidence and we are taking the people to court and whatever is in the court, we will not comment until we see what they do with the documents we presented. There are terrible cases of corruption and we can only appeal to Nigerians to be patient.”

    FG may ban hijab

    President Muhammadu Buhari also said the federal government may ban the wearing of hijab in public places in view of its widespread use in suicide bombings.

    LEADERSHIP recalls that women suicide bombers in hijab have been on the increase lately with calls for the ban on hijabs gaining momentum.

    “No, banning hijab is not enough. But hijab will be banned if these suicide bombings continue. It just has to be done because it’s for the safety of people generally,” he said.

    President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday explained why the federal government was reluctant to release former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), Nnamdi Kanu, in spite of the order of court directing that they should be granted bail.

    [See the full post at: MASSOB Biafra-Nigeria News: Presidential Media Chat – Why Dasuki, Kanu Can’t Enjoy Bail Now – Buhari]

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