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Nigeria: How British Manipulated Access to Power

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Text of speech delivered by Professor Sagay (SAN), former Head of Law Department of University of Benin.

Having installed the North as ‘husband’ of the South and Master of Nigeria in 1914, the British Colonial Master did not let matters rest there. At every stage they ensured that the reins of power would remain in the hands of their beloved proteges.

Thus, in preparing the North for its future role as the Rulers of Nigeria, the British rigged the very first Nigerian-wide population Census conducted in 1931, in favour of the North. The Figures awarded by the British were as follows:

Northern Region -11,434,000; Western Region – 3,855,000; Eastern Region – 4,641,000; Total = 19,930,000. Plurality in favour of the North = 2,938,000.

Thus, from the very beginning, a permanent majority in population which was intended to translate into a permanent majority in the future Central Legislature and consequently a permanent control of power, was programmed for the Northern Ruling class.

It will be recalled that at the 1950 National Conference, the North demanded at least 50 per cent of the seats in the Central Legislature, as a condition for being part of Nigeria. That demand was based on the Census figures that had been rigged in their favour. The Colonial Masters quickly granted the Northern demand and distributed the seats in the 1951 Central Legislature as follows: Total Number of Elected Members =136; North – 68, East – 34, West – 34.

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In the 1952 Census, the balance of 1931 in favour of the North was again meticulously maintained by the British. The increase of population in the 21 years between 1931 and 1952 was doctored so carefully that the birth rate in the three Regions was virtually the same and the difference between the population of the North and that of the South remained virtually the same. The figures this time:

Northern Region – 16,840,000; Western Region – 6,369,000; Eastern Region- 7,971,000. Total = 31,180,000. Plurality in favour of the North = 2,500,000.

Finally, in the last Federal elections before independence, which was organised by the British Masters, the Governor-General, Sir James Robertson, was so anxious for the Northern Peoples Congress to retain power, that he called on Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to form a new government whilst the votes were still being counted and results were being announced. When the final results were announced, the NPC did not have a simple majority in the House of Representatives, an it is clear that on the basis of the results, the NCNC (89 Seats) could have successfully established a coalition government with the Action Group (73 Seats) and put the NPC (134 Seats) in the opposition benches. Omoruyi explains the hasty action of Sir James Robertson in the following way:

“Sir James Robertson was the shrewd implementor of Northern rule earlier fashioned by Lords Harcourt and Lugard. Sir James was especially recruited by the British Government in 1955 because of his experience in the Sudan with an identical situation to Nigeria. He is on record as confessing that he did not handle this phase to the satisfaction of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Sir James confessed that he called Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to form the government in 1959 ‘by persuading some of the Southern members to support him and Sir Abubakar assured him he would get a Southern group to work with him. Sir James did this before the results were released in full. He confessed that he did this to appease the Sardauna of Sokoto, the Leader of NPC, to stop him from taking the North out of Nigeria’. The question is: Why was he more interested in the feelings of the Sardauna of Sokoto and not in the feelings of Dr. Azikiwe and Chief Awolowo? Was this not in furtherance of the design of the Colonial Government? We shall come to this again.

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“The ‘Model’ of a free and fair election sold to the successor regime, the North, was another issue which we should recognise. The way the 1959 election was handled taught the successor regime that the result of any election must be tailored to suit the anticipated outcome. What General Babangida did in preparation for the June 12 election was vehemently opposed by the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, on behalf of the Northern leadership because the North was not able to determine its outcome in favour of the North. Alhaji Ibrahim tried to prevail on the President to cancel the presidential election as early as May 19, 1993 because the plan was seen as capable of reversing the British design. What could Britain have done in 1959? The three parties should have been allowed by Sir James to negotiate and if he wanted to help, that would have been an opportunity for Sir James to pressurise them to form a Government of National Unity that would have ushered in independence in an atmosphere of intergroup trust. But Sir James was too much in haste to formalise a succession and formally named a Northerner as the Prime Minister who was to be the successor to his executive power at independence.”

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The British predilection for the North, particularly the Arewa North, can be summarised in the following views expressed by Sir James Robertson about the differences between Northerners and Southerners. In his assessment, he referred to “the differences in ordinary custom and behaviour between the dignified, polite and rather aloof Northerner and the uninhibited, vociferous Southerner, who noisily showed his disagreement in Council and Parliament without good manner and restraint.”

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US capital locks down as security threats mount

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The center of Washington was in lockdown Thursday as more than 20,000 armed National Guard troops were mobilized following the deadly assault on the Capitol and the threat of more violence at the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.
Police Chief Robert Contee said the US capital was facing “a major security threat” after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building a week ago in a violent bid to block Biden’s confirmation that left five people dead.
A day after Trump was impeached in Congress for allegedly supporting the assault, more barriers were being erected and razor wire laid as part of precautions ahead of the January 20 ceremony.
Most of downtown Washington was off-limits to traffic, drawing comparisons to Baghdad’s high-security “Green Zone.”
The Secret Service, in charge of security, was weighing an unprecedented shutdown of the entire National Mall, the grassy spread where hundreds of thousands traditionally gather to celebrate the inauguration of a new president.
Security officials are warning that armed extremist Trump supporters, possibly carrying explosives, pose a threat to Washington as well as state capitals over the coming week.
“We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter,” FBI Director Chris Wray told Vice President Mike Pence in a televised briefing.
“We’re concerned about the potential for violence at multiple protest rallies planned here in DC and state capitol buildings around the country in the days to come, that could bring armed individuals within close proximity to government buildings and officials,” he said.
– ‘Stay alert’ –
In steps not seen since after the September 11, 2001 national alerts, an internal FBI bulletin warned that an armed group planned to “storm” government offices in all 50 states to protest Biden, ABC News reported.
“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January,” the bulletin added.
The New York Times reported that the FBI has told police departments around the country to stay alert for extremist activity and pass on intelligence.
Political figures boosted their own personal security, as Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser revealed she has received death threats.
Peter Meijer, one of 10 House Republicans who voted with Democrats on Wednesday to impeach Trump for supporting “insurrection,” said he and other lawmakers were taking precautions like acquiring body armor.
“I have colleagues who are now traveling with armed escorts out of the fear for their safety,” he told MSNBC. “Our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.”
The potential threat was underscored earlier this week with the discovery that one of those arrested for taking part in the January 6 attack on the Capitol had the kind of weapons and ammunition one might use for an assassination.
-‘Stay home’-
Court documents said Cleveland Grover Meredith had two guns, one with a telescopic sight, and around 1,000 rounds.
Another man was arrested with four guns and 11 Molotov cocktails in his truck.
Police are still searching for a man who planted two pipe bombs near the Capitol on January 6.
On Tuesday police in Chicago arrested a man who weeks ago phoned in threats against Biden.
Worries were heightened when The Washington Post reported that dozens of people on an FBI terrorist watch list were in Washington for the pro-Trump rallies on January 6.
For the upcoming week Washington officials have urged people to stay home rather than celebrate the inauguration.
Downtown hotels were closing their doors, and Airbnb has canceled reservations in the days around the event.
Airlines were tightening security, with Delta announcing that legally armed travelers formerly allowed to check their guns at security would not even be allowed to do that on flights to Washington.
In several states, National Guard were also called out to prepare security for January 16-20.
Washington State, Michigan and others said they were concerned about possible far-right violence.
AFP

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Nigeria: Fulani massacre people daily but Miyetti Allah not designated a terrorist group — Kanu

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Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra – a separatist group in eastern Nigeria, has berated the Nigerian government for failing to designate Miyetti Allah as a terrorist group.

Despite the daily killings by Fulani herders, the Federal Government of Nigeria has ignored appeals from Nigerians seeking the designation of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association – a group focused on promoting the welfare of Fulani herders, as a terrorist group.
“We are in a country where the Fulani massacre people on a daily basis. They were called terrorists and later insurgents and now they are called bandits. But these are Fulani herders killing people. Nobody has ever designated Miyetti Allah as a terrorist group,” Kanu said while speaking at the ‘2nd Never Again Conference: 51 Years After Nigerian-Biafra Civil War’ organised by an Igbo think-tank, Nzuko Umunna, and monitored the Nigerian PUNCH Newspaper.
The leader of the separatist group, whose group has been designated as a terrorist group by the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari but not accepted by the international community, further claimed that Nigeria’s oft-called unity is a deception.

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Catholic Bishop Kukah risks assassination following threats from Nigerian Muslims groups

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A Nigerian bishop of the Catholic diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, faces assassination as another Islamic group threatens him.

Bishop Kukah had received threats from Muslim groups and officials in Nigeria after a homily in which he criticized the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari whom he accused of nepotism, and also referred to the worsening insecurity in the country.
The Muslim Solidarity Forum asked the cleric to apologize for what they called “malicious vituperations against Islam and Muslims” and to vacate Sokoto immediately.
The group claims that Bishop Kukah systematically attacks Muhammadu Buhari, who is a Muslim, and other Muslims at all times.
“In February 2020, he (Kukah) shamelessly staged a demonstration in the heart of Sokoto over the killing of a single Christian priest, presumably, by the Boko Haram insurgents, but did not consider hundreds of Muslims, Fulani herders that were mercilessly killed by the Christian militia in Taraba state in 2018,” the Islamic group said in a statement by its acting chairman, Professor Isa Maishanu.
Meanwhile, well-meaning Nigerians and activists have condemned attacks by Muslim groups on Kukah, describing the order asking him to leave Sokoto as a serious threat that could lead to his assassination.
The Nigerian government has yet to release any statement regarding the new threat.

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