Nigerian students under auspices of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), on Monday issued 24 hours ultimatum to Special Offences Mobile Court in Lagos to should release 13 students of the University of Lagos, currently being detained at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons. NANS threatened to invade the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons and relocate its Headquarters in solidarity with its members, if government refuses to release the UNILAG students after the expiration of 24 hours deadline. The factional President of NANS, Chinonso Obasi, in an interview with journalists in his office, condemned the action of the court which remanded the students in Kirikiri prisons. The Mobile Court, had on Saturday remanded the 13 UNILAG students in Kirikiri Prisons, pending their bail application. They accused persons, standing trial before Chief Magistrate P.E Nwaka, were alleged to have engaged in unlawful invasion of Television Continental in Lagos. They were arraigned on a two-count charge of unlawful invasion and disruption of activities and have all pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the two-count charge. The accused are: Femi Adeyeye, Toni Aina, Kodri Yaya, Asimi Oladime, Ismahim Olalekan, Segun Okesola, Abdulazeez Soneye, Idris Abogunloko, and Muyiwa Olaniyi. Others are: Toheed Oladimeji, Joseph Akanni, Lukumon Olusegun, and Abiodun Agbeniyi. The magistrate, who ordered that the accused be remanded in prison, adjourned the case till April 6 for a determination of their bail. Obasi said, “After a painstaking review of the circumstances surrounding the draconian ruling, we have resolved to demand and hereby demand the unconditional release of these students within 24 hours. “Consequently, we make bold to state that if at the expiration of our 24 hours ultimatum, these innocent students are not released without strings, we shall relocate the Headquarters of NANS to Kirikiri in solidarity with our members. “We also hope that the authorities would use the opportunity of the 24 hours ultimatum to either expand the facilities of Kirikiri prison or release our colleagues, as they can see we are serious and determined by offering them a fair choice.” He said if the best the Magistrate could do in the prevailing circumstances was to clamp University students to a prison facility and thereby unwittingly radicalise them, NANS shall help him to understand the implications of his unbalanced judgement that does not tally with the offence allegedly committed. The NANS factional futher President said, “Being first time offenders, the Magistrate, if ever he was once a University student, would have handed down a stern warning and demand of good behaviour instead of sending them to prison for whatever reasons. “In saner climes what the Magistrate should have done was to certify that the suspects are bonafide students and release them to their school authorities or student leaders. But rather than factor in the extenuating circumstances of their protest, the Magistrate apparently in a hurry to please some hidden forces, decided to blunt the proper socialization of 13 Nigerian leaders of tomorrow.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki on Monday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja, declaring there would always be issues over one or two things between the Senate and the executive.
Addressing State House journalists after the meeting, Saraki said a reconciliatory committee set up by Buhari last week was a good development.
The Senate President said, “Good development! But like I said, there will always be issues on one or two things. It doesn’t mean that is the foundation of it.
“When you have an arm of government that has to do with confirmation there will always be (issues). For example, the NDDC Bill we rejected three people from the NDDC, we keep on moving.
“We are all part of one government, that is why despite all these, still major decisions are taken. Like I said, we did a critical amendment on INEC by Tuesday or Wednesday for the first time in the history of the legislature.
“We are going to lay a report on the PIB for consideration. It has never happened. For the past 20 years, it has not gotten to this stage. So, it’s work in progress for the interest of Nigeria.
“Don’t let us get distracted by one or two infractions, it’s bound to happen. Even America that we are copying, even today as we are watching, see what is happening in the Supreme Court. These are things that happen on the part of democracy.
“But I can reassure Nigerians that it is just a drop in the ocean, it is not an issue that should stir the whole nation, be rest assured”
Saraki however described the relationship between the legislature and the executive as cordial.
“It is cordial, you cannot examine it based on NDDC, based on EFCC. We have other issues, we have ministerial that we are going to be working on. We have the budget that is more important, we have INEC, PIB. We have so many important things, and I think it is a mixture of all that should guide us. Don’t let us over heat on some of these issues,” he said.
Saraki promised that the 2017 budget would be passed very soon, saying “We are working on it, just to let the president know how far we have gone with it, we are on course.
“As you note. last week, we did ask all the subcommittees to submit their reports to appropriation. All that has been done now, it’s now collation and review. Then, hopefully, it will be passed very soon”