From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has reacted to the ruling of the Appeal Court which discharged the leader of the outlawed Indegenious People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu of the terrorism charges levelled against him by the Nigerian Government.
Recall an Appeal Court, in Abuja on Thursday, had thrashed the case of terrorism leveled against Kanu, a decision many translated to mean his likely immediate release from detention.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in reacting to the Appeal Court’s decision, said Kanu had not been acquitted as there are other cases against him.
In the same vain, Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the National Security Council meeting alongside his colleague from the Ministry of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said what would become of the case against Kanu would be decided in coming days.
According to him, the Council was briefed and it observed Kanu was discharged and not acquitted.
He said: “The issue of Kanu has also been raised and council was briefed on the state of things on the matter. And it was observed that Kanu was discharged but he is not acquitted so, government is considering the appropriate action to be taken on the matter and Nigerians will be notified of the position that will be finally taken on the matter in due course”.
The council also directed the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in conjuction with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) to set up a high-powered investigation committee into the crude oil theft in the Niger Delta with a view to unraveling those behind it.
Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, speaking more on the directive said the team is to determine the rate of illegalities involved and perpetrators of such acts that are grossly affecting the economy of the nation and report back to the council.
Chief of Defence Staff who also briefed Journalists stressed that the military will sustain its tempo of fighting oil theft.
“Activities of the Armed Forces and other security agencies within the oil and gas base were also commended but with the directive to sustain the pressure and it is our resolve to deal decisively with those who have been involved in those illegal acts,” he said.
He revealed that a total of 101 combatants comprising members of the boko haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) groups have been moved from detention facilities for de-radicalization.
“Council was also briefed that a total of 101 ex-combatants were taken to Operation Safe Corridor and are currently undergoing the process of de-radicalization at the centre. These were people that have been in detention for several years; some of whom had served their jail terms, others were awaiting trial but because of the long time they have been detained and in line with the procedures for handling anyone who have been involved with terrorism, they have to be moved to the centre,” the Defence Chief added.
The council also directed the immediate stoppage of all illegal mining activities across Nigeria.
Aregbesola, said security and intelligence agencies have also been directed to enforce the order.
“All security agencies have been ordered to check illegal mining all over the country. Illegal mining operations and activities in the country are ordered to be stopped and all security and intelligence agencies are to enforce this,” he said.
Aregbesola further disclosed that the Security Council is committed to ensuring a free and transparent electoral process as Nigeria prepares for its general elections next year.
He therefore, urged politicians to pursue their democratic ambitions with decorum and in accordance with the laws of the land.
“That is the decision of the council. We are committed to ensuring a transparent free and fair electoral process in the coming elections and all the processes leading to it. So, we enjoin all political parties, individuals and Nigerians to pursue their democratic rights and interest with decorum. All security forces and agencies are advised to maintain the law,” he added.
Minister of police Affairs, Dingyadi also disclosed that an agreement has been reached to ensure the re-opening of the Cement Company in Ogbajana, Kogi State, to give room for peace in the State.
“An agreement has been reached between the Kogi State government and the Dangote Cement in Kogi on the need to re-open the factory and ensure that there is peace in the State. Government is committed to the provision of employment to its citizens rather than closing factories that will make people unemployed and we do hope that the parties involved will respect this agreement and come to terms with the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties involved,” he explained.
Dingyadi said the agreement was reached under the supervision of the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the meeting which held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In attendance at the meeting we’re Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd); and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.
Also in attendance are the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd); Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; and Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, led the service chiefs, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao, to the meeting.
Also in attendance were the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman; the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The Chief of Defense Intelligence, Major General Samuel Adebayo, also attended the meeting.