A 23-year-old Christian barber, Elijah Ode, from Benue State in Central Nigeria has been arrested for blasphemy in Kano.
Smith Akoko posted some information about the arrest on Facebook. The post states:
YOUNG BENUE (CHRISTIAN) BARBER DETAINED IN KANO FOR ALLEGED BLASPHEMY
By Smith Akoko
Elijah Ode, a resident of Kano from Adum East, Obi LGA of Benue State, who combines barbing with studies and is domiciled in the Sabon Gari town of the state was reported to have been in the net of Islamic religious extremists, who believe he has committed blasphemy in the cause of his work as a barber.
Report says Elijah, who is well patronized by young people for possessing exceptional skills in trendy haircuts, attracted the wrath of the extremists last week Wednesday when two of his customers were tortured to stupor for designs claimed to be blasphemous to the Islamic religion.
Thereupon, Elijah was traced to his barbershop, where he was arrested for complicity and has been in police detention with the two customers since last week.
According to information obtained from his cousin, Mr. Sunday Ukenya, the young (Christian) barber did not design the hairstyles to provoke. He said he was only being innovative doing his work, as usual, to eke a living and pay his fees at his tertiary institution of study in Kano, where he sponsors himself. Ukenya also added that the case is already in the court of law at the wish of the aggrieved Muslims with the first session being yesterday.
He expressed sadness, however, that all efforts by the young barber’s lawyer to bail him proved abortive for the claim that it is a major case and as a result not bailable. At the moment the family has run out of hope, soliciting intercessory prayers as the reality of incarceration stares Elijah in the face. And indeed, jamesibechi.com can confirm that unless prayers are offered or reputable human rights activists from across the globe rise for the defenceless self-sponsored young barber, the reality may be undesirable but inevitable.
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I have spoken with Smith Akoko and Sunday Ukenye and they confirmed the story. Islamic police in Kano arrested and detained Ode last week in connection with a hairstyle which they deemed an insult to Islam. Ode’s barbing shop is located at Aba road by Igbo road at Sabon Gari in Kano. Mr. Ode’s case came up for hearing at a magistrate’s court at Jedi Jedi, along Court Road on Monday, February 1, 2020. But the magistrate refused Mr. Ode and other accused persons bail. The court adjourned the case to Thursday, February 4.
Nobody knows the prison where they are kept at the moment. It is not certain that the accused persons will be granted bail at the end of the hearing tomorrow. If some pressure is not brought to bear on the Kano state government, Elijah Ode and other accused persons would languish in jail. There has been a growing number of allegations of blasphemy in Kano.
The Islamic police, Hisbah are often behind these arrests and the Kano State government turns a blind eye to these abuses. Kano is an Islamic stronghold and Muslims in the state take advantage of their number and political power to oppress, harass and abuse minorities with impunity. When Sharia law was introduced in Kano in 1999, the Muslim establishment stated that the Islamic law would only apply to Muslims.
Incidentally, that has not been the case. As the case of Mubarak Ode, Mubarak Bala and other non-Muslims accused of blasphemy have illustrated, Sharia is being enforced on non-Muslims in Kano and other Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria.
Blasphemy law is incompatible with human rights and civilized values. It is a weapon for religious oppression and persecution. Free Elijah Ode. Free Mubarak. Free all persons accused of blasphemy in Kano! Repeal all blasphemy laws.
Igwe chairs the Board of Trustees for the Humanist Association of Nigeria
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Why We Arrested Doyin Okupe – DSS
The Department of State Security Services (DSS) on Thursday explained why its operatives arrested Doyin Okupe, the former DG of the Peter Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign.
A statement by the PRO of the agency, Peter Afunanya disclosed that Okupe was arrested by DSS operatives on the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The agency said: “Doyin Okupe was intercepted by the DSS at Terminal 1 of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos this morning at the instance of the EFCC.
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“He has long been handed over to the Commisson which requested for the action. Okupe was billed to fly to London via Virgin Atlantic.”
The agency’s statement is coming shortly after Okupe’s lawyer, Tolu Babaleye raised alarm on social media over the arrest.
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The Answers Atiku Gave
By Sam Akpe
Sunday night, I wasn’t quite interested in watching the television; until I received a compelling message from a politically-minded friend. It came as a directive: Atiku is on Channels television. Watch and give me your opinion.
Reluctantly, I grabbed the television remote control, tuned away from the sports channel and moved to Channels TV. I simply needed to fulfil all righteousness. I had a beautiful book I needed to read that night.
There sat Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. On his left was Ifeanyi Okowa, a former senator and serving governor of Delta State; and of course, Atiku’s running mate.
I sat down, hoping to walk away soon. But after a few minutes, it looked as though I was getting interested in the conversation. Good penetrating questions flowed from the audience followed by what sounded like frank answers from Atiku and Okowa.
Atiku looked tired. Intermittently, what looked like a smile walked across his lips. At other times, he became too serious, perhaps in anticipation of another tough question.
I could excuse him. The heat in Abuja is unbearable. The city is undergoing intense rehearsal for a competition with hell. That alone is enough to melt any political rock in the mould of Atiku.
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One of the comments I kept hearing from Atiku was: as captured in my Covenant with Nigerians. Another question and the answer was: we have already dealt with that in my Covenant with Nigerians. I kept thinking: what is this Covenant with Nigerians about?
From my observation, throughout the session, Atiku did not mention any of his political opponents in the race to the Villa. He concentrated on the questions asked. No abuse directed at anyone. He kept his answers short, and did not outsource any question.
One interesting aspect of that interview was when he answered a question on Wike. The man who sent the question was straight to the point: why have you not engaged Nyesom Wike one-on-one on this issue that is affecting your chances in 2023?
Atiku’s response was short and quite presidential. Recall that since Wike, the Rivers State governor, lost the bid for presidency to Atiku at the party primary, he has dissociated himself from the winner.
Beyond that, he has campaigned and gathered loyalists across four other states to fight Atiku’s candidature on the excuse that the party’s chairman, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, must resign because the party cannot have both the candidate and the chairman from the north.
His argument makes a lot of sense, except for two reasons. First, he has become so personal and seemingly arrogant about the issue that he wants Nigerians to know that without him, Atiku can’t be president. He is already dangling Rivers State’s two million votes as a personal property.
Of course, Wike looks like a bad loser who must be compensated. His eyes were on the vice-presidential ticket, as of right. That did not happen. For unknown reasons, those who screened candidates for that office disqualified him.
These two reasons have made Wike’s otherwise good case look like a personal mission for personal benefits. Under normal circumstances, he should have been applauded for fighting for the rule of law and moral equity, but this has not happened.
One aggressive politician mentioned to me the other day that if not for Wike’s grandstanding, PDP’s victory at the polls would have been an easy ride. As he put it, by now, Atiku should have picked his cabinet-in-waiting and made his swearing-in attire.
So, when the Wike question came up during the Channels’ Television Town Hall engagement of presidential candidates, Atiku gave a short answer which I expect Wike to respond to soon, after celebrating his birthday.
Atiku noted that he had engaged Wike twice in Rivers State, twice in Abuja and once in the United Kingdom. He did not disclose whether he bought Wike’s flight ticket to the UK or they flew in his private jet.
What Atiku said in effect was that as a person, he has initiated five peace-making moves, Wike has remained stubborn, unyielding, almost playing god. But all the same, he is still waiting for Wike to get back to him with a response. Will he?
I was interested when questions on economy were asked because that’s the bedrock of development. When the economy works, everything other aspect of national development falls into line.
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This was what he said about the dead refineries across the country: “for the four refineries that do not work, please let’s give them to the private sector. I mean in every great country in this (world), you find that private sector is the driver of the economy.”
He continued: “They provide the jobs, they provide the prosperity, and they do everything. Why should we be different?” Atiku’s belief is that these refineries would function optimally if managed by private investors. I think it makes a little sense.
Can Atiku ensure one exchange rate for naira if elected as president? He said he would. I am not an economist. I don’t know how that sector works. But the man made it look so simple when the question was put to him on how he would stop shortage of foreign exchange.
His answer, “I will direct the Central Bank to stop multiple exchanges so that we close the gap.” Just like that?
Then came another controversial issue which the present government has been playing politics with: the removal of subsidy on petroleum product. Atiku said he would get it done by negotiating with relevant stakeholders on the palliatives. I don’t ever like that word.
He declared that by the Petroleum Industry Act, whether government removes subsidy or not, by June 2023, subsidy will remove itself based on the law which has been passed by the National Assembly.
As a north easterner, it is believed that Atiku should be worried by the deadly menace posed by Boko Haram. So, when the question came up, I became more attentive. His response did not disclose practically how he would deal with the situation beyond providing good governance.Atiku, just like other Nigerians expressed shock that with all the human and material resources committed into fighting Boko Haram, the bloody, religiously-motivated rebel group is yet to be defeated. “I am puzzled,” he noted, as could be seen from his face.
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He continued: “So maybe when I get there, I will understand. But honestly, I cannot understand the Boko Haram phenomenon.” He said it was not a mere terror act. A lot of politics and business could be traced to it, but that with the right leadership, it could be handled.
By this time in 2014, Candidate Buhari had promised to end Boko Haram within three months on assumption of office. Atiku is saying: let me get there first, study the dynamics before making a commitment. Should we trust him?
Two sectors of the nation’s development which have suffered in the hands of successive government also received serious interrogation during the Town Hall. These were education and health. As always, analyses followed by promises were made.
Well, the Town Hall engagement turned out to be quite rewarding as I listened to Atiku’s responses to questions on various issues. Okowa was quite articulate on the issues of militancy, health and education.
One question Atiku did not give a satisfactory answer to, in my subjective opinion, was on the public assassination of Deborah by a gang of religious fundamentalists.
Yes, he condemned the act in a public statement, but why did he delete his initial tweets which condemned that killing? His answer was that the tweet did not have his approval though the content was acceptable to him. That’s not cool.
As the engagement came to an end, my mind went back to the publication called Covenant with Nigerians. At daybreak, I was able to get a copy; plus, another one called Restructuring as A pathway to Unity and Development. I’m still studying them.
The Covenant deals with what Atiku calls: Five Point Development Agenda, comprising: unity, security, economic prosperity, education and restructuring. A review of these documents is quite necessary and will be done soon.
Buhari Set To Unveil New Naira Notes On Wednesday
By John Michael Ojo
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has announced that the nation’s redesigned currencies would be officially unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow Wednesday, November 23, 2022.
Emefiele said this during the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee monthly meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Central Bank Governor had announced in October that the bank with effect from December 15, 2022 would issue redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes in order to retrieve a vast percentage of money being held outside the formal banking sector.
Emefiele has now disclosed that the apex bank won’t wait till December anymore for the unveiling of the new notes but maintained that the deadline for returning the old Naira notes to commercial banks in exchange for newly designed ones would not be shifted.
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