UK GOVT CONDEMNS ANTI-IGBO CAMPAIGN IN LAGOS
Mr Llewellyn-Jones said the strength of Lagos is its diversity as Nigeria’s cosmopolitan city.
The government of the United Kingdom has condemned ethnic profiling and disenfranchisement of Igbos in Lagos during the just concluded governorship election held on March 18.
“People chanting anti-Igbo messages and walking on the streets by polling units on election day is totally unacceptable. Not just in Lagos, but also in Enugu and Rivers where we had our teams as well and many other places,” Ben Llewellyn-Jones, British deputy high commissioner to Nigeria, said.
Mr Llewellyn-Jones, in an interview with Nigeria Info FM on Sunday, said the strength of Lagos is its diversity as Nigeria’s cosmopolitan city.
“Why is it that people who pay taxes, who work, who provide teachers, who build businesses, who create jobs, who live in Lagos, who happen to be from a different ethnicity to some other people are not Lagosians? Of course, they are.
“The strength of Lagos is its diversity, and if Lagos can’t be that kind of cosmopolitan melting pot of culture and language and all the things it should be, then really how is Lagos going to succeed?
“If you live in London, you are a Londoner, a British-Pakistan is a Londoner. The British Prime Minister lives in London. My boss, the British foreign Secretary, is clearly British-Sierra Leone and lives in London, they are Londoners,” Mr Llewellyn-Jones said.
The UK and United States have condemned violence and voter intimidation that marred the March 18 election across the country, threatening sanctions against political actors responsible for it.
Ethnic tension rocked Lagos in the days running up to the governorship election as operatives of the All Progressives Congress parroted ethnic-laced rhetoric to scare opposition voters away from the election. On the voting day proper, APC thugs roamed the streets unfettered, warning those who will not vote for their party to stay indoors.
Before the election, Musiliu ‘MC Oluomo, a notorious All Progressives Congress thug in Lagos, threatened Igbos who would not vote for the APC to stay indoors. However, Nigerian Police dismissed his threat as a joke.
After the election, Bayo Onanuga, spokesman for President-elect Bola Tinubu took to Twitter to push a toxic anti-Igbo message, calling for total exclusion of Igbos from politics of Lagos, Nigeria’ commercial and cosmopolitan city.
Condemned for his divisive statement, Mr Onanuga doubled down on his position, calling Igbos “existential threats to Yorubas”. Contrary to Mr Onanuga’s stance, the Igbos and Yorubas have coexisted peacefully for decades in Lagos and other parts of the country.
Texas Man Kills Girlfriend For Getting Abortion He Disapproved Of – Police
An angry Texas man killed his girlfriend Wednesday after he found out she traveled to a pro-choice state for an abortion, according to police.
Harold Thompson, 22, was charged with murder in the shooting death of 26-year-old Gabriella Gonzalez in a strip mall parking lot, Dallas police said.
Gonzalez had just returned the night before from a nearly 800-mile trip to Colorado, where abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Abortions in Texas are prohibited after roughly six weeks except in cases of medical emergency.
“It is believed that the suspect was the father of the child,” the affidavit said. “The suspect did not want (Gonzalez) to get an abortion.”
Surveillance video from the parking lot shows the couple arguing around 7:30 a.m. before Thompson grabs Gonzalez and put her into a chokehold, the document alleges.
Gonzalez “shrugs him off,” police said, and the two continue walking.
That’s when Thompson allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Gonzalez in the head.
Police said he continued shooting her multiple times while she lay on the ground before running away.
Gonzalez was killed at the scene.
At the time of the shooting, Thompson had been charged with assaulting a female family member after he choked her in March.
Though the affidavit does not name the victim, she was likely Gonzalez.
Thompson’s victim told police he had “beat her up multiple times throughout the entirety of their relationship,” the document states.
Thompson also reportedly told police the woman was pregnant with his child at that time.
The victim “reiterated that she is scared of the suspect because he had made threats to harm her family and her children,” according to the affidavit.
Uganda’s President Signs Anti-Gay Bill Into Law
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed into law a controversial anti-gay bill, his office and the country’s parliament said, introducing draconian measures against homosexuality that have been described as among the world’s harshest.
Museveni “has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023. It now becomes the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023,” a statement posted on the presidency’s official Twitter account said.
Uganda’s parliament on Twitter said Museveni had approved a new draft of the legislation that had been passed overwhelmingly this month by lawmakers, who defended the measures as a protection of national culture and values.
The president had called on MPs to rework the bill, although most of the hardline provisions that caused an outcry in the West and warnings of diplomatic repercussions were retained.
The amended version said that identifying as gay would not be criminalised but “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be an offence punishable with life imprisonment.
Although Museveni had advised lawmakers to delete a provision making “aggravated homosexuality” a capital offence, lawmakers rejected that move, meaning that repeat offenders could be sentenced to death.
Uganda has not resorted to capital punishment for many years.
The United States, European Union and international human rights groups have all condemned the bill, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk has described it as “probably among the worst of its kind in the world.”
But it enjoys broad public support in Uganda, a devout majority-Christian nation, where homosexuals have faced persistent discrimination in recent years, and same-sex relationships have been attacked as an import from the West.
Discussion of the bill in parliament was laced with homophobic slurs, and Museveni himself referred to gay people as “deviants.”
“As Parliament of Uganda, we have heeded the concerns our people and legislated to protect the sanctity of family,” said one of the bill’s strongest proponents and Uganda’s speaker of parliament, Anita Among, in a statement.
“We have stood strong to defend the Culture, Values and aspirations of our people.”
The revamped bill says that “a person who is believed or alleged or suspected of being a homosexual, who has not committed a sexual act with another person of the same sex, does not commit the offence of homosexuality”.
The earlier version also required Ugandans to report suspected homosexual activity to the police or face six months’ imprisonment.
Lawmakers agreed to amend that provision after Museveni said it risked creating “conflicts in society.”
Instead, the reporting requirement pertained only to suspected sexual offences against children and vulnerable people, with the penalty raised to five years in jail.
According to the new draft, anyone who “knowingly promotes homosexuality” faces up to 20 years in jail — a provision left unchanged from the original bill.
Organisations found guilty of encouraging same-sex activity could face a 10-year ban.
Reaction from civil society in Uganda has been muted following years of erosion of civic space under Museveni’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
But internationally, the law provoked outrage.
The European Parliament voted in April to condemn the bill and asked EU states to pressure Museveni into not implementing it, warning that relations with Kampala were at stake.
The White House has also warned the Ugandan government of possible economic repercussions if the legislation takes effect.
Homosexuality was criminalised in Uganda under colonial laws, but there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity since independence from Britain in 1962.
Sudan Army Chief Under Pressure From Islamist Backers
Before Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan got locked into a brutal war with his former deputy, he was propelled to power by powerful Islamists — a tide now turning against him, according to analysts.
Burhan “does not represent a political current in his own right. He’s a chess piece in Sudanese politics,” said Othman al-Mirghani, editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Tayar.
Under the regime of Islamist-military ruler Omar al-Bashir, who himself came to power in a coup in 1989, Islamists dominated the government, building powerful networks of financial, commercial and political influence.
In 67 years of independence, Sudan has been under military rule for 55.
“Sudanese politics is therefore deeply militarised, and the Sudanese armed forces is a significantly politicised institution,” according to the Rift Valley Institute think tank.
As the army moved to oust Bashir in 2019 under pressure from mass pro-democracy protests, the country’s Islamists resigned themselves to a low profile in what seemed to be the twilight of their reign.
Bashir’s long-ruling National Congress Party (NCP) was banned, government officials were imprisoned, and the army — anxious to appease both the public and international allies — chose “an obscure army officer” to lead the transition, according to Sudan expert Alex de Waal.
‘Secure their place’
At the helm of the country during a stuttering transition to civilian rule, Burhan attempted to distance himself from the Islamists, including by releasing statements against Bashir’s old party.
A mere month before the war began with his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo — commonly known as Hemeti — Burhan called on soldiers to “end” the military tradition of “supporting dictatorial governments,” referring to the old guard.
But with “his handicaps not limited to his bumbling public speaking,” according to de Waal, he could only distance himself so far.
“Unlike Hemeti, or Bashir before him, he doesn’t have his own personal source of cash for greasing political deals, and has been forced to haggle with the military capitalists and old guard cronies on key decisions.”
According to one military analyst from the region, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, “the Islamists have worked since 1989 to gain their hold over the army.”
“Burhan tried to get rid of some of them,” he said, but was only able to dismiss a few.
The Islamists maintained powerful positions in Sudan’s security apparatus and on October 25, 2021, Burhan “bowed to pressure and launched his coup”, Sudanese author Amir Babiker told AFP.
The takeover — for which he collaborated with now-enemy Daglo — ousted civilian officials from a power-sharing arrangement that was to lead to full civilian rule.
Quickly, Burhan cracked down on a commission responsible for dismantling the financial networks and economic empires that Bashir’s allies had built.
Pro-democracy activists warned their revolution was being reversed, as several high-ranking officials from the Bashir era found roles in Burhan’s administration.
In the early weeks of the war, more top officials from Bashir’s regime escaped from prison, and the NCP itself reappeared to voice its support for the army.
“They’re taking advantage of the exceptional situation the country is in to secure their place” in the future political landscape, according to Mirghani.
According to experts, Burhan seems to be facing more and more pressure from his own camp.
On Friday, he sent a letter to the United Nations’ secretary general requesting the dismissal of special envoy Volker Perthes, who has long been the target of accusations of “foreign intervention”.
Thousands of military and Islamist supporters held protests in the months leading up to the war, demanding the UN mission chief’s dismissal.
Days before fighting began, the UN urged Sudanese authorities to investigate after a man publicly called for Perthes’ murder at a conference of Islamist parties and others linked to the Bashir regime.
In his letter, Burhan accused Perthes of bias and of stoking the war by presenting a misleading picture of the situation in Sudan.
“Without these signs of encouragement, the rebel leader Daglo would not have launched his military operations,” the letter read.
It has never been possible to verify who fired the first shots of the war, which Burhan must fight on multiple fronts in order to survive, according to Mirghani.
His own supporters readily remind the public that Burhan himself named Daglo as his second-in-command — an ambitious militia leader originally armed by Bashir to crush rebels in Darfur.
Islamist and pro-Bashir television channels in exile now accuse Burhan of giving too much leeway to Daglo, which some suggest lays the groundwork for his eventual sidelining.
“At the end of the day, he’s a soldier whose job is done when the mission is over,” Mirghani told AFP.
“This could happen with this war.”
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