WHAT’S NEWS? October 26, 2023
By Ezinwanne Onwuka
● Election challengers lose in court again
Challengers of the last presidential election in Nigeria Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party have suffered an agonizing defeat after the Supreme Court, on Thursday [today], defended President Bola Tinubu’s election.
Abubakar and Obi had sought to overturn the September 6 judgment of the election tribunal which affirmed Tinubu’s election as president in February. In Thursday’s ruling, the seven-member panel of justices said the duo’s appeals to sack Tinubu are “bereft of merit” and subsequently dismissed them.
“The judgment of the court below delivered on September 6, 2023, affirming the election of the second respondent as the duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is hereby affirmed,” chairperson of the court panel Justice Inyang Okoro ruled. The court also rejected Atiku’s evidence of certificate forgery against Tinubu.
● Muslim extremists launch manhunt for man who dumped Islam
Mr. Mahmud Ali Ado has fled his hometown Kano State and has gone into hiding after Muslim extremists in the northwestern State threatened to kill him for converting to Christianity. Trouble started for Ado three weeks ago after his family noticed that he had stopped performing his routine Islamic rituals.
“My dad took me to one malam in a place called Arzai, which is like a rehab for Muslim kids who are stubborn, use drugs, into robbery and kidnapping, and I was interrogated like a criminal, beaten and abused,” Ado narrated on X. He said he once narrowly escaped being lynched by a gang of irate mob.
Ado’s ordeal has drawn a spotlight to the threats to freedom of association in the West African country. Nigerian humanist Mubarak Bala was sentenced April 2022 to a 24-years prison sentence for embracing atheism and criticizing Islam.
Ado’s family has abandoned him for being a “disgrace to the family.” Though reportedly “safe” at an unknown destination, Ado still receives death threats from unknown persons. “I just want to live without the fear that you can make mistakes and religion can get you killed for that. I lost everything, but I am ready to start again,” he posted on X.
● Detained former anti-graft boss Bawa freed
Nigeria’s secret police Department of State Services [DSS] has freed the former head of the country’s anti-corruption agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Bawa has been in DSS custody since June 14 after his suspension from office by President Bola Tinubu. Bawa’s suspension was due to “weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him,” according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation [SGF].
The secret police detained him four months without charges until his release was announced by the secret police’s spokesperson Peter Afunanya late Wednesday. President Tinubu appointed Ola Olukoyede to head EFCC earlier this month.
● Bishop of Sokoto calls for former heads of state to mediate in Israel
A prominent Catholic cleric in Nigeria, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has announced his wish list of former heads of state who could serve as a mediation committee between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas. In a televised interview on Tuesday [Oct. 24], the bishop put forward the names of his proposed peace squadron.
He suggested former U.S. President Barack Obama, King Abdullah of Jordan, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ex-Ireland President Mary Robinson, and one-time Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Mr Kukah said the role of the international mediators would be to revisit and revive the two-state agreement reached between Israel and Palestine in Oslo, Norway, in 1993.
The ongoing Israel–Hamas conflict, which began on October 7, is a significant thread, with a ripple effect that extends far beyond its epicenter. “A long-standing role of the Christian minority in Iraq has been to mediate conflicts between factions of the Muslim majority. Bishop Kukah may be invoking that tradition from his perch at the center of Nigeria’s caliphate,” according to Douglas Burton, managing editor of TruthNigeria and a former State Department official in Iraq.
Ezinwanne Onwuka reports for TruthNigeria from Abuja.