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Ethnic nationalities, civil society query loyalty of army chief

By Emma Amaize

A coalition of Nigerian ethnic nationalities and the civil society groups, yesterday, in The Hague, queried the loyalty of the Chief of the Army Staff, General Dambazau, following the deployment of soldiers in Abuja and movement of soldiers between Kaduna and Abuja without the knowledge of the acting president and commander-in-chief, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

They also demanded an explanation for the “impolite shipment” of President Umaru Yar’Adua to the country without the knowledge of the acting president.

In a communiqué signed by Dr. Atuboyedia Obianime, president, Ijaw National Congress (INC); Mr. Ledum Mitee, President, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP);  Anyakwe Nsirimovu, chairman, Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition;  Dr. Chris Ekiyor, President, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide and  Dr. Sofiri Joab-Peterside,, representative of the academia, they said Jonathan remained the acting president of the country until the National Assembly says otherwise and, therefore, he should not be undermined.

The representatives welcomed the good news of the discharge of Yar’Adua, but  regretted the way and manner the president was smuggled into the country with the attendant military and security actions taken at the airport which shows the return of the days of Gestapo in Nigeria.

The communique reads: “Because the country prayed for the recovery of Mr. President and God answered our prayer, it is a matter of national courtesy that our President speaks to the people without the Turai-led smokescreen of political protocol and security expediency.

“The position of the Acting President is a creation of both Houses of the National Assembly based on the Doctrine of Necessity and the Spirit of the Nigerian Constitution; any person/persons who by their cynical actions create disrespect to that institution irrespective of his/her position(political or marital) should therefore be ready to face obvious attendant statutory consequences.

“The coalition wishes to reaffirm its confidence in the maturity, personality and the office of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (GCON) as Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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We warn those who seek to reap political and social capital from this turbulence in the polity; create ethnic tension and would want to play politics with the “Servant Leader’s” health to desist from this unwholesome act.

“The age of conquest, intimidation and killing is over: what we have is the age of consensus, nation-building, statesmen, understanding of the issues and civilized conduct in Nigeria.

“The destiny of this Nation is greater than any individual, group or matrimonial interests. For the umpteenth time, we advise that our silence and measured engagement are golden. The region has the capacity to reply in gold”, they stated.


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