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Nigerian Journalist Ohimai Amaize Granted Asylum In The US

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Former AIT presenter, Ohimai Amaize has been granted asylum in the United States following his fleeing from Nigeria last year.
The journalist confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES in an e-mail Sunday. “I have just received notice of my asylum approval,” he said.

Mr Amaize, 35, departed Abuja in June 2019 following claims he was being trailed by Nigerian security agents with intention to arrest and charge him for treason and incitement. The alleged plots stemmed from a confrontation between the government and AIT and its flagship morning show, ‘Kakaaki Social’, a user-generated programme which Mr Amaize was anchoring at the time.

The Nigerian broadcast stations regulator, NBC, shut down the station for about 24 hours, alleging multiple infractions on federal guidelines for broadcasters. Although the station was reopened following a court order, its headquarters in Abuja was besieged by armed officers from the State Security Service, SSS.

Mr Amaize criticised the guidelines as arbitrary and repressive and subsequently fled to New York on June 23, citing threats to his safety by the SSS, police and other state agents and supporters. His wife, an Abuja-based fashion designer, also left Nigeria a few weeks later to join him.
American government grants asylum to individuals who have been able to substantiate claims of persecution in their home country, especially where such attacks are linked to their political opinion, religious beliefs and other fundamental rights.
“My forced exit from Nigeria last year has been a very traumatising experience for me and my family,” Mr Amaize told PREMIUM TIMES. “I am very happy and I thank God for this development.”

Before joining AIT in 2018, Mr Amaize was amongst top opposition voices highly critical of the Buhari administration. He worked previously as a media consultant for the Peoples Democratic Party, Nigeria’s erstwhile ruling party which Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress defeated during the 2015 elections.

Although Mr Amaize was never arrested, he alleged regular threats to his life. He also frequently cited several other critics and journalists who were arrested and charged under repressive laws.

“I can now live and carry on with my life without the fear of being persecuted by the Muhammadu Buhari regime for the opinions that I express or the work that I do as a journalist,” Mr Amaize said. “Of course, I miss Nigeria so much because there is no place like home.”

Media rights advocates quickly saw Mr Amaize’s asylum breakthrough as a positive development for press freedom.

“This is a victory for press freedom, one that rekindles the hope of all defenders of civil liberties across the world,” Martin Obono, an Abuja-based rights activist, told PREMIUM TIMES. “We congratulate Mr Amaize and his family.”

Mr Obono said the expeditious manner Mr Amaize received asylum from the U.S. should put the Nigerian government on the notice that America and other nations of the free world would not tolerate any acts that stifle freedom.

“Asylum is usually a long and cumbersome process that could take years for an average seeker,” Mr Obono said. “That Mr Ohimai was able to receive it within a short period should evoke introspection of a government that is capable of reading signs from the international community.”

While wishing Nigeria a prosperous future, Mr Amaize appreciated those who supported him, especially AIT, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights First and his American attorneys Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP.

“I hope that in the not too distant future, Nigeria will return to a true democracy where a free press, freedom of expression and the rule of law are respected”, he said.

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Crime

Guest Flees As Hotel Uncovers Murdered Female Companion

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Companion

The Kwara State Police Command has begun searching for a man who allegedly killed a lady in a hotel in Ilorin, the state capital, about three weeks ago.

 

 

The suspect, whom the police identified as Adegboye James of Okelowo Street, Ede, Osun State, was alleged to have murdered the lady whom he brought to the hotel on Adewole Housing Estate, Ilorin, on May 27, 2021.

 

 

The police, in a statement signed by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the address given by the suspect was fake and could not be traced.

 

 

He called on members of the public whose daughter or female relation was missing since May 28, 2021, to check the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department for possible identification of the corpse.

 

 

The statement read, “On May 28, 2021, around 7.30pm, we responded to a call from one  Olalekan Anafi, the supervisor of Premium Diamond Hotel, in the Adewole area of Ilorin that on May 27, 2021, around 2pm, one Adegboye James, lodged at their hotel.

 

 

“The said Adegboye James went out and came back with a lady.  The said Adegboye James later checked out of the hotel without the knowledge of any of the hotel staff.

 

 

“In the morning of the following day when nothing was heard from the room occupied by the said lodger, a spare key was used to open the room and the hotel was confronted by the dead body of the lady.

 

“Investigation into the incident is already at an advanced stage as ordered by the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State, CP Mohammed Bagega, to arrest the lodger whose name and address as reflected in the hotel’s logbook is fake.”

 

In another development, the Kwara State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps said its operatives are searching for a motorist who allegedly cut off the hand of a seven-year-old Alimanjiri student, Usman Abubakar, of Malam Aliu Adamu School, Patigi, in the Patigi Local Government Area of the state.

 

 

A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC, Babawale Afolabi, said the child was allegedly kidnapped together with his schoolmate by the unknown motorist, who promised to take them to where they would eat on Monday night.

 

 

Babawale said the suspect, who is now at large with the boy’s hand, later escaped into the bush.

 

 

He said the victim lost much blood and was treated at the Patigi General Hospital.

 

 

The PRO said the NSCDC had commenced investigation into the incident.

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Buratai, Olanisakin Get Ambassadorial Postings, Buhari Silent On Other Ex- service Chiefs

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Buhari

Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (rtd), has been deployed to Benin Republic. While General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (rtd), former Chief of Defence Staff, has been appointed the head of mission to Cameroon.

At a brief ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, presented letters of credence to the ex-service chiefs.

 

 

This was disclosed by Mr Kimiebi Ebienfa, information officer of the ministry.

 

 

“The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama today 22 June 2021, presented Letters of Credence to the Ambassador-Designate of Nigeria to the Republic of Cameroon, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin (Retired) and the Ambassador-Designate of Nigeria to the Republic of Benin, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (Retired).”

 

 

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs during the brief ceremony congratulated the immediate past service chiefs on their appointment by Mr. President and called on them to deploy their wealth of experience to promote Nigeria’s interest during their tour of duty in countries of accreditation,” he said in a statement.

 

 

However, the statement was silent on the postings of the other former Service chiefs, Vice Admiral Ibok- Ette Ibas (retired) former Chief of Naval Staff; Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retired), ex-Chief of Air Staff and and Air Vice Marshal Muhammad S. Usman (Rtd), former Chief of Defense Intelligence.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had, on February 4, 2021, appointed the ex-service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.

 

 

The president appointed the ex-service chiefs in 2015 and refused to bow to the pressure to relieve them of their duties until they “voluntarily resigned”.

 

 

 

Their ambassadorial appointment sparked public outrage, with calls on the Senate to reject their nominations.

 

 

Despite the outrage, the Senate, on February 23, 2021, confirmed their nominations.

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UNIJOS Hires Hunters To Secure Campus Against Bandits

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UNIJOS

The University of Jos (UNIJOS) has hired local hunters to beef up security within and around the campus, its vice-chancellor Prof. Sabastine Maimako has stated.

 

 

Maimako announced this on Tuesday during the valedictory session to mark the end of his five-year tenure.

 

 

He said: “It is no longer news that the security situation in the country is quite tenuous. This is why under my administration we made frantic efforts to ensure that all lives and property within the University are adequately protected.

 

 

“When we got a security report that we were the soft targets, we closed our hostels for almost two weeks and suspended lecturers eventually.

 

 

“Now before we could reopen, we were given a condition that we must employ the services of local hunters to help us secure our hostels, particularly at night.

 

 

“Today, this is where we are but thanks to God the Director of Peace and Conflict Studies looking at the happening, he has offered to train these hunters on the rule of engagement in their working in the University.”

 

 

He noted the institution has collaborated with various security experts for a significant drop in crimes on campus while some staff were recruited to address the deficits in security personnel.

 

 

He said his administration initiated and completed 85 projects which have been commissioned.

 

 

The VC explained out of the 75 programmes, which the institution was to run, 43 have full accreditation status while 30 programmes have interim accreditation status.

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