Super User

Super User

The Federal Government has asked the Supreme Court to nullify the actions of 36 states accused of withholding local government funds. The lawsuit, filed by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, seeks to prevent state governments from disbanding elected local government chairmen and replacing them with caretaker committees.

The suit, dated May 20, 2024, calls for a declaration that, under Section 162(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, state governments are merely agents of local governments in collecting funds from the federation account. These funds, once received, must be paid directly into the state joint local government account and subsequently distributed to each local government.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, comprising 27 grounds, the Federal Government also seeks to invoke Sections 1, 4, 5, 7, and 14 of the Constitution to mandate governors and state houses of assembly to uphold a democratically elected system at the local government level.

A 13-paragraph affidavit supporting the originating summons was filed by Kelechi Ohaeri of the Federal Ministry of Justice. The affidavit includes publications from national newspapers and broadcast media from 2023 to 2024, highlighting the public interest in this litigation.

The AGF's suit demands a declaration that the dissolution of democratically elected local government councils by governors or state powers is unlawful, unconstitutional, null, and void. It further asserts that states failing to establish a democratically elected local government system are in breach of the 1999 Constitution and should not be entitled to receive and spend funds meant for local governments.

Among the reliefs sought are:

- A declaration that local government councils are entitled to direct payments from the federation account for funds standing to their credit when state governments fail to transfer these funds.

- An injunction preventing states from receiving or tampering with local government funds if no democratically elected local government system is in place.

- An order for the federal government to pay local governments directly from the federation account when states fail to do so.

- Immediate and successive compliance by state officials with the terms of the court's judgment and orders.

The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for May 30. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has not yet responded to the suit. When contacted, the acting Head of Media for the NGF, Halimah Salihu Ahmed, declined to comment.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling on December 9, 2016, voiding laws that allowed governors to appoint caretaker chairmen for local governments, many states have continued to violate this ruling. State governments have historically resisted local government autonomy. On January 24, 2023, the Senate revealed that among the 35 constitutional amendment bills rejected by state assemblies were those seeking financial and legislative autonomy for local governments.

Supporters of Aminu Bayero, the dethroned Emir of Kano, have taken to the streets in protest across the five emirates of Bichi, Rano, Karaye, Kano, and Gaya. Bayero was deposed on Thursday after Kano Governor Abba Yusuf signed a new law repealing the Emirate Council Law of 2019, which had previously divided the Kano emirate into five jurisdictions and provided the grounds for the dethronement of Muhammadu Sanusi in 2020.

Sanusi was reinstated as the 16th Emir of Kano on Thursday during a colorful ceremony at the government house and has since moved into the palace. In response, Bayero returned to Kano early Saturday morning and moved into the mini palace in Nassarawa area of Kano, only to be subsequently ordered arrested by the governor. Soldiers are currently stationed to guard the dethroned monarch.

Protesters carrying banners and placards called for Bayero's reinstatement, chanting anti-government slogans and setting up bonfires on major roads. They claim the emirship dispute is politically motivated. The state has been in turmoil since Muhammadu Sanusi II's return as the Kano emir, four years after his own dethronement, leading to a royal power struggle with Aminu Ado Bayero.

Governor Yusuf, after signing the Kano State Emirates Council Law on Thursday, issued a reappointment letter to Sanusi on Friday and demanded that the emirs affected by the law vacate their palaces within 48 hours. Despite this, the state police command announced on Saturday their intent to enforce a court order against Sanusi's reinstatement.

While Bayero remains in the Nassarawa mini palace under heavy security, Sanusi operates from the Gidan Rumfa palace, protected by vigilantes and local hunters.

Protests continued yesterday, with Bayero's supporters lighting bonfires and chanting anti-government slogans. In Rano Emirate, youths protested the dethronement of Kabiru Muhammad Inuwa, known as 'Autan Bawo,' as the first-class emir of the area.

Protest leader Aliyu Harazimi Rano expressed their discontent with the state government's new law, highlighting the developmental benefits the establishment of the Rano Emirate had brought to the area.

Israeli airstrikes kill at least 35 in Rafah, Gaza authorities say

Israeli air strikes killed at least 35 Palestinians and wounded dozens in an area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah designated for the displaced, Palestinian health and civil emergency service officials said.

The Israeli military said its air force struck a Hamas compound in Rafah and that the strike was carried out with "precise ammunition and on the basis of precise intelligence." It took out Hamas' chief of staff for the West Bank and another senior official behind deadly attacks on Israelis, it said.

"The IDF is aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review."

The spokesman for the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza, Ashraf Al-Qidra, said 35 people were killed and dozens others, most of them women and children, were wounded in the attack.

The strike took place in Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood in western Rafah, where thousands of people were taking shelter after many fled the eastern areas of the city where Israeli forces began a ground offensive over two weeks ago.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said its field hospital in Rafah was receiving an influx of casualties, and that other hospitals also were taking in a large number of patients.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri described the attack in Rafah as a "massacre", holding the United States responsible for aiding Israel with weapons and money.

"The air strikes burnt the tents, the tents are melting and the people's bodies are also melting," said one of the residents who arrived at the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah.

Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli military said eight projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Rafah, the southern tip of the Gaza Strip where Israel kept up operations despite a ruling by the top U.N. court on Friday ordering it to stop attacking the city.

A number of the projectiles were intercepted, it said. There were no reports of casualties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was convening his war cabinet later on Sunday to discuss continued operations in Rafah. Israel argues that the U.N. court's ruling allows room for some military action there.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades said the rockets were launched in response to "Zionist massacres against civilians".

Rafah is located about 100 km (60 miles) south of Tel Aviv.

Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area, but its assault has worsened the plight of civilians and caused an international outcry.

On Sunday, Israeli strikes killed at least five Palestinians in Rafah, according to local medical services. The Gaza health ministry identified the dead as civilians.

Israeli tanks have probed around the edges of Rafah, near the crossing point from Gaza into Egypt, and have entered some of its eastern districts, residents say, but have not yet entered the city in force since the start of operations in the city earlier this month.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said the rockets fired from Rafah "prove that the (Israel Defense Forces) must operate in every place Hamas still operates from".

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant held an operational assessment in Rafah where he was briefed on "troops’ operations above and below the ground, as well as the deepening of operations in additional areas with the aim of dismantling Hamas battalions", his office said in a statement.

Itamar Ben Gvir, a hardline public security minister who is not part of Israel's war cabinet, urged the army to hit Rafah harder. "Rafah with full force," he posted on X.

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, Gaza's health ministry says. Israel launched the operation after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Fighting also continued in the northern Gaza area of Jabaliya, the scene of intense combat earlier in the war. During one raid, the military said it found a weapons storage site with dozens of rocket parts and weapons at a school.

It denied Hamas statements that Palestinian fighters had abducted an Israeli soldier.

Hamas media said an Israeli airstrike on a house in a neighborhood near Jabaliya killed 10 people and wounded others.

TRUCE TALKS

Efforts to agree a halt to the fighting and return more than 120 hostages have been blocked for weeks but there were some signs of movement this weekend following meetings between Israeli and U.S. intelligence officials and Qatar's prime minister.

An official with knowledge of the matter said a decision had been taken to resume the talks this week based on new proposals from Egyptian and Qatari mediators, and with "active U.S. involvement."

However, a Hamas official played down the report, telling Reuters: "It is not true."

Netanyahu's war cabinet would discuss the new proposals, his office said.

A second Hamas official, Izzat El-Reshiq, said the group had not received anything from the mediators on new dates for resuming talks as had been reported by Israeli media.

Reshiq restated Hamas's demands, which include: "Ending the aggression completely and permanently, in all of Gaza Strip, not only Rafah".

While Israel is seeking the return of hostages, Netanyahu has repeatedly said the war will not end until Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, is eliminated.

AID TRUCKS ENTER GAZA

Israel has faced calls to get more aid into Gaza after more than seven months of a war that has caused widespread destruction and hunger in the enclave.

Khaled Zayed of the Egyptian Red Crescent told Reuters 200 trucks of aid, including four fuel trucks, were expected to enter Gaza on Sunday through Kerem Shalom.

It follows an agreement between U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday to temporarily send aid via the Kerem Shalom crossing, bypassing the Rafah crossing that has been blocked for weeks.

Egypt's state-affiliated Al Qahera News TV shared a video on social media platform X, showing what it said were aid trucks as they entered Kerem Shalom, which before the conflict was the main commercial crossing station between Israel, Egypt and Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has been shut for almost three weeks, since Israel took control of the Palestinian side of the crossing as it stepped up its offensive.

Egypt has been increasingly alarmed at the prospect of large numbers of Palestinians entering its territory from Gaza and has refused to open its side of the Rafah crossing.

Israel has said it is not restricting aid flows and has opened up new crossing points in the north as well as cooperating with the United States, which has built a temporary floating pier for aid deliveries.

 

Reuters

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russian jamming rendering much US-supplied weaponry ineffective – WaPo

Many US-made munitions that rely on satellite guidance have failed to withstand Russia’s jamming technology after being supplied to Kiev, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The Ukrainian armed forces have had to stop using some of those armaments altogether because of Russia’s extensive electronic warfare capabilities, the paper said.

The affected munitions include Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells, rockets for HIMARS multiple rocket launch systems and JDAM aircraft-dropped bombs, the report read.

The US completely ceased deliveries of Excalibur shells half a year ago after Ukraine reported that they had been rendered ineffective, unnamed Ukrainian officials told WaPo.

The paper said that it had also reviewed an internal assessment by Kiev, according to which the success rate of the munitions fell to just 10% within several months. “The Excalibur technology in existing versions has lost its potential,” the document read, adding that the encounter with Russian jamming has disproved its reputation as a “one shot, one target” weapon.

The HIMARS system used to make headlines after being provided to Kiev in 2022, but the next year “everything ended: the Russians deployed electronic warfare, disabled satellite signals, and HIMARS became completely ineffective,” a senior Ukrainian military official complained. Because of this, Kiev had to resort to deploying the “very expensive shell” against lower-priority targets, he said.

The success rate of JDAMs also dropped significantly just weeks after they were first provided to Kiev in February 2023 as their “non-resistance” to jamming was revealed, the Ukrainian assessment stressed. During that period, the US-made bombs were missing their targets by between 200 meters and 1.2km, it said.

The Ukrainian officials told WaPo that getting the needed adjustments to the “failing weaponry” has been difficult due to “an overly bureaucratic process” in Washington. However, in the case of JDAMs, the manufacturer was able to provide a patch and the munitions are still being used by Kiev, according to the sources.

On Saturday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, the production of electronic warfare equipment has increased 15-fold in the country.

Russia has warned repeatedly that deliveries of weapons systems to Kiev by the US and its allies will not prevent Moscow from achieving its military goals, adding that it will merely prolong the fighting and could increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. According to officials in Moscow, the provision of arms, the sharing of intelligence, and the training of Ukrainian troops means that Western nations have already become de-facto parties to the conflict.

 

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Russian attack on Ukraine's Kharkiv kills 14, injures dozens

A Russian strike on a crowded DIY hardware store in Kharkiv killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens more, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday, the death toll rising as the country's second-largest city reeled from two attacks a day earlier.

Two guided bombs hit the Epicentr DIY hypermarket in a residential area of the city on Saturday afternoon, Regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on national television.

The strikes caused a massive fire which sent a column of thick, black smoke billowing hundreds of metres into the air.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the local prosecutors' office said 14 people died, with 44 injured. Prosecutors said 11 of the dead had been identified and seven people were missing.

Syniehubov, in a late-afternoon post on social media, put the death toll at 16.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said about 120 people had been in the hardware store when the bombs struck.

The past week has seen an uptick in strikes on the city after Russian troops stormed across the border, opening a new front north of the city.

Russia has bombarded Kharkiv, which lies less than 30 kilometres (20 miles) from its border, throughout the war, having reached its outskirts in a failed bid to capture it in 2022.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a plea to Ukraine's Western allies to help boost air defences to keep the country's cities safe. French President Emmanuel Macron, writing on social media platform X, denounced the attack on the store as "unacceptable."

A separate early evening missile strike hit a residential building in the centre of the city of 1.3 million. The number of people wounded by that strike had climbed to 25 by Sunday morning.

The missile left a crater several metres deep in the pavement at the foot of the building, which also housed a post office, a beauty salon and a cafe.

Emergency workers ushered away residents of nearby apartment buildings. Some of the injured had blood on their faces.

Just over the border, in Russia's Belgorod region, the regional governor said four residents died in Ukrainian attacks on Saturday.

FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE BLAZE

Andriy Kudinov, director of the suburban shopping centre, told local media the hardware store was full of shoppers buying items for their summer cottages.

It took 16 hours to fully extinguish the fire at the centre, which had raged over an area of 13,000 square metres (15,548 square yards), Interior Minister Klymenko said.

Rescuers, medics and journalists occasionally had to rush away from the scene of both strikes on the city and take cover on the ground, fearing another strike, as has occurred during several recent Russian attacks.

Dmytro Syrotenko, a 26-year-old employee of the DIY centre, described panicked scenes.

"I was at my workplace. I heard the first hit and ... with my colleague, we fell to the ground. There was the second hit and we were covered with debris. Then we started to crawl to the higher ground," said Syrotenko, who had a large gash on his face.

Syrotenko told Reuters he was taken to safety by a rescue worker who helped him, several colleagues, and shoppers.

Zelenskiy, in his nightly video address on Sunday, said the strike and carnage prompted widespread condemnation that should lead to "absolutely just consequences" and again underscore the need for Ukraine to secure sufficient air defences.

"This, in order for us to have enough air defence systems at least to defend Ukraine, our cities," he said. "And so that our partners muster the resolve for preventive defensive actions against Russian terrorists."

Ukraine, he said, would keep pressing its partners to speed up deliveries of F-16 fighter aircraft "to strengthen our defences against terrorist attacks on our cities and pressure from the Russian army on the front line."

Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians, but thousands have been killed and injured during its 27-month invasion of Ukraine.

 

RT/Reuters

Kano’s Muhammad Sanusi II has been rethroned the exact way he was initially enthroned and dethroned: in the melting pot of the politics of vengeance and recrimination.

And he just might be dethroned yet again by this, or another subsequent partisan government, given Sanusi’s infamous incapacity to rein in his tongue and to understand the wisdom in restraint and tact, which his position requires of him—and, of course, the juddering, hypocritical contradictions between what he says and what he does.

Recall that when he worked at the UBA, Sanusi had derided then Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as a scorn-worthy “rural aristocrat” who “surrounds himself with provincials and places key posts in the hands of rural elite.” He characterized the Kwankwaso administration as “the classic comedy of the Village Headmaster in a village council.”

Kwankwaso was so incensed by Sanusi’s boorishness and Kano urban condescension that he threatened to pull out the Kano State Government’s money in UBA if Sanusi wasn’t fired from his job. Yet it was the same Kwankwaso who, for partisan, anti-Goodluck Jonathan political considerations, enthroned Sanusi as the emir of Kano even when he wasn’t the choice of the kingmakers.

And let’s not forget that Sanusi is a vicious, unashamed enemy of common people. His entire economic philosophy revolves around sheepishly advancing the annihilating policies of the IMF/World Bank, such as removal of every kind of subsidy for the poor while leaving intact the subsidies that sustain the sybaritic extravagance of indolent but overprotected elites like him.

Well, after destroying properties worth billions of naira and restoring Sanusi as emir all in the bid to get even with Ganduje, I hope the government will now get down to actually governing and improving the lives of the people who elected it.

The sense I get from people in Kano (many of whom are supporters of the government) is that governance has been on hold in Kano in the last one year in the service of retaliation. Not even the dirty water that Ganduje’s government caused to be distributed to homes is available now, Kano people tell me.

Anyway, when Ganduje dethroned Sanusi in March 2020, I wrote a column titled, “Ganduje is a Monster, But Sanusi Is Not a Victim.” On the occasion of his rethronement, I reproduce portions of it below:

Governor Abdullahi “Gandollar” Ganduje is no doubt a contemptibly philistine monster of avarice and debauchery who dethroned Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Emir of Kano because he couldn’t stomach the former emir’s disapproval of the electoral fraud that brought him to power.

There is also no doubt that Sanusi’s unrelenting public censures of the rotten, if time-honored, cultural quiddities of the Muslim North discomfited many people who are invested in the status quo, and this became one of the convenient bases for his ouster.

But Sanusi isn’t nearly the victim he has been cracked up to be by his admirers and defenders. First, he rode to the Kano emirship in 2014 on the crest of a wave of emotions stirred by partisan politics and came down from it the same way.

Even though he wasn’t initially on the shortlist of Kano’s kingmakers, APC's Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso (who is now in PDP) made Sanusi emir in 2014 to spite PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan and shield Sanusi from the consequences of his [false] unmasking of multi-billion-dollar corruption at the NNPC. Apart from his unceremonious removal as CBN governor for his [false] whistle blowing, he was going to face other untoward retributions from the Jonathan administration, but his appointment as emir put paid to it.

Now, Sanusi lost his emirship to the same partisan politics that got it for him in the first place. In an ironic twist, he was made emir by an APC government for making privileged [if false] revelations that disadvantaged a PDP government and was removed as an emir by an APC government for his overt and covert acts that could have benefited the PDP in 2019.

In other words, Sanusi’s emirship was molded in the crucible of partisan politics and was dissolved in it.

Nonetheless, Sanusi, given his intellectual sophistication and pretenses to being an advocate of egalitarianism, had no business being an emir. Monarchy is way past its sell-by date not just in Nigeria but everywhere. It’s an anachronistic, vestigial remnant of a primitive past that invests authority on people by mere accident of heredity. Any authority that is inherited and not earned, in my opinion, is beneath contempt.

Emirship isn’t only a primeval anomaly in a modern world, it is, in fact, un-Islamic. In Islam, leadership is derived from knowledge and the consensus of consultative assemblies of communities called the Shura, not from heredity.

Monarchies in the Muslim North, which have constituted themselves into parasitic, decadent drains on society, but which pretend to be Islamic, are grotesque perversions of the religion they purport to represent. Anyone, not least one who makes pious noises about equality, that is denied the unfair privileges of monarchy is no victim.

Most importantly, though, Sanusi embodies a jarring disconnect between high-minded ideals and lived reality. He rails against child marriage in public but married a teenager upon becoming an emir. When the late Pius Adesanmi called him out, he told him to “grow a brain.” He suddenly became the patron saint of conservative Muslim cultural values.

He expended considerable intellectual energies critiquing polygamy among poor Muslim men, but he is married to four wives. His defense, of course, would be that he can afford it, and poor Muslim men can’t. Fair enough. But transaction-oriented reformists lead by example.

Fidel Castro, for example, stopped smoking when he campaigned against it. It would be nice to say to poor, polygamous Muslim men, “Why are you, a poor man, married to four wives when Sanusi, a wealthy man and an emir, is married to just one wife?”

That would have had a much higher impact than his preachments. In spite of their moral failings, Buhari, Abba Kyari, and Mamman Daura would be much more effective campaigners against disabling polygamy by poor Muslim men than Sanusi can ever be because they are monogamists even when they can afford to marry four wives.

This is a legitimate critique since Sanusi has a choice to not call out poor Muslim men who marry more wives than they can afford since polygamy is animated by libidinal greed, which is insensitive to financial means.

Sanusi habitually fulminates against the enormous and inexorably escalating poverty in the north, but even though he is an immensely affluent person, he has not instituted any systematic mechanism to tackle the scourge of poverty in the region in his own little way.

Instead, he spends hundreds of billions of naira to decorate the emir’s palace, buy exotic horses, and luxuriate in opulent sartorial regality.

And, although, he exposed [what he thought was] humongous corruption during Jonathan’s administration and dollar racketeering during Buhari’s regime, he is himself an indefensibly corrupt and profligate person. In two well-researched investigative pieces in 2017, Daily Nigeria’s Jaafar Jaafar chronicled Sanusi’s mind-boggling corruption as emir of Kano, which apparently didn’t abate until he was dethroned.

Sanusi was ostensibly a Marxist when he studied economics at ABU, which explains why he exhibits flashes of radicalism in his public oratory, but he is, in reality, an out-of-touch, unfeeling, feudal, neoliberal elitist who is contemptuous, and insensitive to the suffering, of poor people.

He supported Jonathan’s petrol price hike in 2012 and even wondered why poor people were protesting since they had no cars, and generators, according to him, were powered by diesel, not petrol!

When his attention was brought to the fact that only “subsidized” and privileged “big men” like him use diesel-powered generators, he backed down and apologized. But I found it remarkably telling that until 2012 Sanusi had no clue that the majority of Nigerians used petrol-powered generators to get electricity.

In a September 1, 2012, column titled, "Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Unwanted 5,000 Naira Notes," I noted that Sanusi was "one of the most insensitive, out-of-touch bureaucrats to ever walk Nigeria’s corridors of power."

Again, in my December 10, 2016, article titled, "Dangerous Fine Print in Emir Sanusi's Prescription for Buhari," I wrote: "If you are a poor or economically insecure middle-class person who is writhing in pain amid this economic downturn, don’t be deceived into thinking that Emir Sanusi is on your side. He is not. His disagreements with Buhari have nothing to do with you or your plight. If he has his way, you would be dead by now because the IMF/World Bank neoliberal theology he evangelizes has no care for poor, vulnerable people."

What is happening in Kano should be of concern to not only the Kanawa or Northerners but to all Nigerians. Kano, as we all know, is the heartbeat of the North. If Kano is economically buoyant, it cascades down to the rest of the North and reflects on the nation’s GDP.

Conversely, any chaos or breach in security will affect other parts of the North, thereby stretching the capacity of our security agencies with all the attendant consequences.

This is why the ongoing ”Game of Thrones” in the ancient city of Kano should concern every Nigerian.

There were some misgivings in some quarters when Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, popularly called SLS - fresh from a controversial sacking from the office of the governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank by then President Goodluck Jonathan - was made the Emir of Kano, against all odds, by Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso on 8th June 2014, in a move that lends credence to the saying that there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics but permanent interests.

In Kwankwaso’s first tenure as governor, he and SLS, then with the First Bank, were more like “enemies”, which made the government of Kano State close its account with the bank as its request for Sanusi’s sack was not acceded to.

Yet there were misgivings too when, again against all odds, he was dethroned by former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on 9th March 2020. To get at him, Ganduje “shattered” the revered Kano Emirate into five pieces.

Now there are more misgivings after the current governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf, himself a Prince, dethroned the five Emirs created by Ganduje and reinstated SLS and returned the emirate to its former status.

The issue, ordinarily a state affair within the governor’s authority, is threatening to escalate and burst onto the national landscape. That is, if it has not already,  what with the National Security Adviser (NSA) weighing in.

The thing is, the princes’ insatiable greed for power, influence, relevance and wealth has made them rush open-eyed into the crossfires of ambitious and unscrupulous politicians who keep no captives. To quote from 'Macbeth', the Kano princes have “murdered sleep and so shall sleep no more.”

However, the most pitiable here is the common man who whatever is happening in Kano will neither put garri on his table nor solve any of his mammoth and growing problems. It is the common man who would be used as a foot soldier to disrupt the peace of the community.

Welcome back, “Nigeria We Hail Thee!”

It is no longer news that the National Assembly will bring back our National Anthem at the birth of our nation. It is a welcome development.

On 10 August 2020, I wrote a piece entitled “Pray, who wants Zulum dead?” and I said, “Anybody who chooses to write the truth about our dear country, Nigeria, does so with a heavy heart. You cannot write about your beloved with no degree of passion. The love for it, the sadness at its travails, the fear for its future, and the cry for its affairs to be done right cannot be written dispassionately. Bewildered many a time, you just write for record purposes, knowing that it may change nothing.

"We grew up with the national anthem, 'Nigeria We Hail Thee', which was adopted on October 1, 1960. It was our anthem until 1978. The anthem was written by Lillian Jean Williams, a Briton who lived here at the time of our independence, while the music for it was composed by Francis Berda. In the first stanza, there was a rallying exhortation. After saluting the great mother country – 'Nigeria we hail thee', it went on to call us to unity and oneness – 'Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand…'

“A three-stanza anthem designed to whip up our patriotism, the third stanza struck a chord with me. In it, we supposedly beseech the Creator to help us build a nation where no man is left behind. “O God of creation, grant us this our one request, help us build a nation where no man is oppressed…” In my childish imagination in the early 70s (I was barely ten) I always romanticised that to mean we were imploring God to help us build a real wall of steel, mortar and cement strong enough to withstand external enemies and tall enough that no Nigerian can be thrown over it to the wolves.

“Now, while the first national anthem spoke of Nigeria as a mother, the second spoke of it as a father. The last verse in the first stanza of the earlier anthem was “Nigerians all and proud to serve our sovereign motherland” while the second verse in the first stanza of the later anthem said, “To serve our fatherland”.

“While the mother fiercely loves her brood and can stake her life for them, the father’s love is less sentimental but intense. By nature, he provides for both the mother and the kids and can break his back so that they can have something. He can move mountains to protect and preserve him. And so the child sees its father as stronger than Hercules and richer than Mansa Musa.

“There may be many reasons why General Olusegun Obasanjo's regime decided to change the anthem to the current one. Chief among them could be nationalism; after all, why should foreigners decide our national anthem, they might have reasoned. But did they put side-by-side the meanings, imports and differences between “motherhood” and “fatherhood” in their decision to adopt the current anthem? Or perhaps they felt that likening Nigeria to a father would make its children revere and work to make it proud of them while in return giving them the love, support and protection only a father can?

“You see, a citizen sees his country in the image of a father. Children begin to lose hope in a father who shirks his responsibilities. They begin to see him as the anonymous lover who, heartbroken, wrote: 'I am afraid to love you again. But whenever I see you, I just want to hold you in my arms forever. You had promised to protect me forever and never to hurt me for once, but you have broken that promise, just the way you have shattered my heart, too.'

“The yet-to-be-found Chibok girls and all their loved ones can say these words about their fatherland. All Nigerian children and their loved ones kidnapped or killed by Boko Haram in the North-East or its other arm, the bandits in the North West and North Central, can borrow these words too. Even those released after their people have paid their ransom can adopt these words. All Nigerians who believe more could have been done will be at home with these words. Do you think those appalled at how Boko Haram terrorists who were “rehabilitated” and released into society disappear will not see these words as apt?”

On 12 December 2022, writing on “CBN, Qatar 2023 and time to rekindle our patriotism (1)”, I said, “There is nothing more touching than watching fans at the ongoing World Cup shed tears when their national anthem is being sung, or crying when their national team loses a game or even wins. Such a show of intense emotion comes as a result of substantial love for one’s country. It is a sign of unbridled patriotism. You begin to wonder if a Nigerian would cry on hearing our national anthem or cry if we win or lose a game.

“But you must ask yourself whether such love for the country has something to do with the anthem or with how a country’s managers manage it.

Now, many things have happened that have made a lot of Nigerians want to give up because, sadly, the managers of our country have so bastardised our psyche that many of us are afraid to cry for a country those milking it have no sympathy for. Last week, I saw a video clip of a serving minister boasting to his audience that he cannot be defeated in an election because he had “amassed money”! How insensitive can one be!

We all had hopes for this nation. We still have, and we all want it to be the greatest in the world. However, this hope is fading for some, even as many of us still hold on to the dream of a greater Nigeria because we have no other country to call ours.

** Hassan Gimba is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Neptune Prime.

 

The 62-year-old is the president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, the Washington, D.C.-based construction management and design firm behind some of today's most recognizable buildings — from building the Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture to repairing the Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson memorials.

The firm's legacy dates back to her great-great grandfather Moses, a skilled brick maker who originally came to the U.S. as a slave in 1790. His skills were passed down and cultivated from generation to generation, prompting two of his grandsons to create a construction company in Tennessee, also called McKissack & McKissack.

That company remains in the family, now based in New York and run by McKissack's twin sister Cheryl. "My father always took us [to] job sites, took us to the office. We talked about it around the table," says McKissack. "It was always a very integral part of our family."

Motivated by a desire to strike out on her own, and to see more Black women CEOs in the construction industry, McKissack withdrew $1,000 from her savings account and launched her company in 1990. Today, it brings in between $25 million and $30 million per year, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, and manages $15 billion in projects with offices in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

"I remember in college, there were probably three women in my class, and my twin sister was one of them. So it's very rare that women are in this industry, but we're excelling," McKissack says.

'I had this burning passion ... that I just had to do this'

McKissack left an engineering job with a six-figure salary to launch her company, and quickly learned that even with a Howard University civil engineering degree and relevant work experience, attracting clients was difficult.

Lugging an old projector around, she presented slides of work she'd done for family members to help "sell my wares." She placed a job ad in the Washington Post, and hired an employee.

"It was touch and go because I didn't have a bank that believed in me," says McKissack. "It took me five years to get my first $10,000 line of credit. I probably went to 11 banks that told me 'no' ... [but] I had this burning passion on the inside that I just had to do this, and it was going to work out for me."

An illustration of Moses McKissack, who came to the U.S. as a slave and became a master builder and brickmaker.

Deryl McKissack

She used her networking skills to land her company's first project: doing interior work at her alma mater. She and her lone employee did all the work themselves, with McKissack putting in 80 hours of labor per week, she says.

One successful job led to another, and McKissack built a portfolio of work to show prospective clients. She applied for jobs as a federal contractor, getting her foot in the door to work on construction projects at the White House and U.S. Treasury building. Larger federal projects followed.

McKissack only paid herself $7,200 her first year in business, she says. Her second, $18,000. She finally paid herself a $100,000 salary after roughly ten years, she adds, prioritizing paying her employees over herself along the way.

"I'm extremely proud of where we are and the projects that we've done ... the impact that we've had in people's lives," says McKissack.

'I haven't made it until more Black [people] have made it'

The global construction industry is projected to be worth $13.9 trillion by 2037, according to a 2023 report from market research firm Oxford Economics. Yet women still make up only 1.4% of construction CEOsworldwide, and Black women account for a fraction of that.

Despite the identical company names, McKissack and her sister do run separate businesses — but they've collaborated on several projects, and often "trade notes" with each other, she says.

"We lean on each other in challenging times. And it's great to have an identical twin that is doing the same thing that I'm doing in a bigger city like New York," she says. "The challenges that she faces are different from mine, but they're similar. So it's good to have someone to talk to."

McKissack sisters Andrea, Cheryl and Deryl with their father, William DeBerry.

Deryl McKissack

A healthy support system is rare for most Black and women construction executives, largely because so few of them exist, McKissack says. Last year, she founded AEC Unites, a nonprofit that provides professional opportunities for Black talent in the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

"I haven't made it until more Blacks and more women have made it," she says, adding: "Once more people that look like me are in the industry and they're dominating in parts of this industry, then I can sit back and say, 'We've made it.'"

One of them, she hopes, will be her daughter — a bioengineering student at New York University who could become the sixth generation of McKissacks in the construction industry.

"I tell her all the time that all roads lead to McKissack," she says. "And I don't care how she gets there."

 

CNBC

The last 48 hours have seen series of drama and intrigues playing out in Kano and Abuja over who finally takes the coveted throne as Emir of Kano between Muhammadu Sanusi II and Aminu Ado Bayero.

Since Governor Abba Yusuf signed the Kano State Emirates Council (Amendment Number 2) Bill 2024 on Thursday and reinstated Sanusi, there has been tension in Kano State.

It was gathered that the state government had planned for Sanusi to move to the Gidan Rumfa Palace on Saturday, but upon getting wind of Bayero’s arrival in the city in the wee hours of yesterday, the process was hastened, and Sanusi was escorted to the palace before daybreak. This development, sources within the royal family disclosed, compeled Bayero to move into the mini palace in Nassarawa, upon his arrival in the commercial city.

Sanusi arrived at the palace in the company of the governor, the deputy governor, the speaker of the State Assembly and other top government functionaries at about 1:00am.

On the other hand, Bayero, who had paid a visit to the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona in Ogun State, before his dethronement, was received in Kano by a crowd in the early hours of Saturday. He moved to the mini palace in Nassarawa with a security cover from officers of the military, the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), fueling speculations that he enjoyed the federal government’s backing.

Before then, there had been insinuations that a top federal government official had facilitated issuance of the injunction granted by A. M. Liman of the Federal High Court in Kano, which  restrained the state government from implementing the new emirate law under which Sanusi was reinstated as the Emir of Kano.

There were series of drama yesterday in Gidan Dabo as well as in Gidan Nassarawa as people loyal to the two cousins pay homage to them separately.

NSA denies organising flight for deposed emir

The deputy governor of Kano, Aminu Gwarzo, while speaking from the Gidan Rumfa Palace, where Sanusi had earlier moved to, alleged that the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, arranged two jets to fly the dethroned emir into Kano.

“We have not understood their  intention,” he said.

But responding, the spokesperson of the Office of the NSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, said the allegation was untrue.

He said: “Political actors should desist from misinforming the public as law enforcement officials in the state strive to maintain peace and order,” Mijinyawa said.

Meanwhile, Ribadu’s lawyer, Sanusi Musa, has asked the deputy governor to retract the allegation.

“You have, without any justification, ridiculed the exalted office of the National Security Adviser, which our client occupies by portraying it as a ready tool to be used by politicians to achieve political goals. You have also ridiculed the personality of our client who has built a reputation as a principled and honest citizen in both his public and private life,” the lawyer told the deputy governor.

Police vow to enforce court order against Sanusi’s reinstatement

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Usaini Gumel, yesterday ignored Governor Yusuf’s order for Bayero’s arrest and said the police would enforce the court order stopping Sanusi’s reinstatement.

The governor had, according to a statement by his spokesman, Sanusi Tofa, accused Bayero of creating tension in the state.

“The former emir was smuggled into Kano city last night in an attempt to forcefully return to the palace two days after being deposed by the governor.

“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, the Governor of Kano State, Yusuf, has directed the Commissioner of Police to arrest the deposed Emir with immediate effect for disturbing public peace and attempting to destroy the relative peace the state enjoys,” the statement read in part.

Later at a press conference, the CP said the police would obey the order that restrained the state government from implementing the repealed law of the Kano Emirates Council, warning troublemakers to steer clear.

“The police command is expressly obeying the court order with suit no. FHC/KN/CS/182/2024 Dated 23rd May, 2024 issued by the Federal High Court sitting in Kano alongside all law enforcement agents in the state.

“Therefore, we are calling on members of the public to know that the police in the state are working together with the military and other security agencies and have full capacity to provide adequate security to everyone, as we are committed to carrying out our statutory duties as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Gumel said.

Gumel, in company of the Director of the State Security Services and other security chiefs in the state, met with Bayero yesterday, after the press conference.

Later while speaking in Hausa, Bayero said no one is above the law, calling “on the people to remain law-abiding while awaiting the outcome of the legal process on this tussle.

“We call on the authority to do justice in this matter. Kano is a very influential state in Nigeria. Whatever affects Kano affects Nigeria. May peace reign in Kano. We pray for Allah to bless Kano with responsible and just leaders. Justice is the way to go on every issue. There will be justice. Nobody is above the law.

“We will accept whatever the law says. I appreciate all the people who have shown concern. As I said, justice will take its course. We will keep on praying for peace in Kano State. May Allah, the Almighty, protect us,” Bayero said.

What Sanusi told security chiefs

The security chiefs later went to the Gidan Rumfa Palace and met with Sanusi and Governor Yusuf.

A source at the meeting said the governor allowed the security chiefs to have an audience with Sanusi alone.

The source said the security chiefs informed Sanusi about the decision to enforce the court order stopping his reinstatement.

“The emir, who spoke for over an hour during the meeting, told us that what the state government had done was justice against the injustice meted out to him in the past.

“He told us that he had not seen the court order we were referring to, describing it as a media court order until he sees it,” the source told our correspondent.

Later in an interview with Television Continental (TVC), Sanusi reiterated that his return to the throne was a correction of injustice done to the people, culture and tradition of Kano.

He said he was not given the opportunity to defend himself before he was dethroned in 2020.

State Assembly breached procedure–Dan Agundi

Aminu Danagundi, a kingmaker in Kano, who had secured the restraining order against Sanusi’s reinstatement, at a press conference at the Nassarawa mini palace yesterday, explained why he challenged the new Kano Emirates Law that sacked the five emirs.

Danagundi was reinstated as Sarkin Dawaki Babba and made a kingmaker by Emir Aminu Bayero.

He said the State House of Assembly did not follow due process in passing the bill as there was no public hearing.

He said the five deposed emirs would join his suit challenging the new law.

Atiku, Ulama, NBA warn FG against meddling

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar alleged that the deployment of security forces in Kano over the emirship tussle, by the federal government, contravenes the 1999 constitution as amended.

Atiku, according to a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, warned the federal government against making any attempt to destabilise Kano which, he said, had been known for peace over the years.

Similarly, the council of ulamas in Kano, in a statement signed by members of the council led by Abdullahi Limanci, said the situation could degenerate into chaos if not carefully handled.

The council called on President Bola Tinubu to allow the people of Kano State to resolve the issue amicably “without the use of any force or loss of lives.”

Also, the Kano State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in a statement by its chairman, Sagir Gezawa, said the army lacks the powers to enforce court order.

 

Daily Trust

Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, former Vice Presidential candidate for the Labour Party, has responded to Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka's critique of Peter Obi, the party's presidential candidate. Soyinka had criticized Obi for failing to manage his supporters' online hostility towards opposing views, suggesting this made him unfit to lead Nigeria.

Baba-Ahmed dismissed Soyinka's remarks as a distraction, refusing to engage further. He suggested that Soyinka's comments were driven by fear of the positive changes Obi might bring to Nigeria. Baba-Ahmed emphasized that intellectual prowess does not justify insulting others, referencing Soyinka's past derogatory remarks about the late General Sani Abacha.

"The respected elder statesman, Soyinka, is preemptively worried about the positive impact Obi could have on Nigeria. His actions are a diversion, and I respectfully choose not to engage with him. We have more important matters to address," Baba-Ahmed said in an interview with Arise Television on Friday.

He added, "Soyinka's intellect does not grant him the right to insult others. I recall him severely criticizing General Abacha, who was not an academic but a soldier. Despite having the ability to say things that could destroy Soyinka, I choose not to."

Gaza ceasefire talks could soon resume but Israel-Hamas war rages on

Prospects for a resumption of mediated Gaza ceasefire talks grew on Saturday although Israel carried out new attacks in which Palestinian medics said more than 40 people were killed.

An official with knowledge of the matter said a decision had been taken to resume the talks next week after the chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency met the head of the CIA and the prime minister of Qatar.

The source, who declined to be identified by name or nationality, said it had been decided that "in the coming week negotiations will open based on new proposals led by the mediators, Egypt and Qatar and with active U.S. involvement."

A Hamas official later denied Israeli media reports that the talks would resume in Cairo on Tuesday, telling Reuters: "There is no date".

After more than seven months of war in Gaza, the mediators have struggled to secure a breakthrough, with Israel seeking the release of hostages held by Hamas and Hamas seeking an end to the war and a release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Israel pressed on with its offensive in Gaza to eliminate the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas after the top United Nations courtordered Israel on Friday to stop attacking the southern city of Gaza.

Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area, but its assault has worsened the plight of civilians and caused an international outcry.

In northern Gaza, where the Israeli military says it is trying to prevent Hamas from reestablishing its hold, Palestinian medical workers reported new Israeli airstrikes that they said killed at least 17 people.

Abu Mohammad said he had been taking shelter with his family at a school in Gaza City's Saftawi suburb with other families, when an Israeli missile struck a yard and outside a classroom where women were preparing bread.

"We were sitting peacefully, then there was boom, a missile from a controlled drone, or a regular drone, but it did massive damage," he told Reuters. He said several people were killed, adding: "Even schools are not safe anymore."

The Israeli military said it was looking into the report.

Palestinians medics said 45 Palestinians had been killed in the past day across Gaza. They do not distinguish between civilian and militant casualties.

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, Gaza's health ministry says. Israel began the operation in response to Hamas-led militants attacking southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

FIGHTING ACROSS GAZA

Hamas and the smaller armed group Islamic Jihad said their fighters had fired anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs at Israeli soldiers in the north.

The Israeli military said its troops in the northern district of Jabalia killed dozens of militants in close combat and airstrikes. Residents and civil emergency services there said Israeli tanks moving deep in Jabalia destroyed dozens of houses, shops, and roads.

Further south, the Israeli military said that on Friday it had killed militants, taken down part of Hamas' tunnel system and found weapon stashes in Rafah, where its forces operated in what it said were specific areas.

Earlier in the war, Rafah became a refuge for Gazans fleeing fighting elsewhere. After Rafah became a target as well, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the city.

So far, fighting has taken place on Rafah's southern edge and eastern districts, away from the most populated areas.

Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), or World Court, is binding but its rulings have been ignored in the past, as the court has no enforcement powers.

Israeli officials said on Saturday that the World Court's order does not rule out all military action in the area.

 

Reuters

Page 1 of 328
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