…As Youth Group says Attack on Ekweremadu shameful***
Sudan’s ousted President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Monday arrived amid heavy security at the courthouse in the capital Khartoum where he is facing corruption charges, an official said.
Bashir is charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner, prosecutor Alaa al-Din Abdallah said in June.
His trial will be a test of how serious authorities are about trying to erase the legacy of his autocratic 30-year rule, marked by widespread violence, economic collapse and the secession of South Sudan.
Bashir was also charged in May with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and prosecutors also want him questioned over suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.
On Saturday, Sudan’s ruling military council, which took over after Bashir was ousted in April, signed a power-sharing agreement with the main opposition coalition, paving the way for a transitional government and eventual elections.
It sets up a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country, but largely delegates’ executive powers to the cabinet of ministers.
The sovereign council was due to be sworn in on Monday.
But the spokesman for the Transitional Military Council, Lt.-Gen. Shams Kabbashi, said the formation of the new ruling body would be delayed by 48 hours on the request of the opposition coalition.
That coalition – the Forces of Freedom and Change – had chosen Aisha Mousa, Siddig Tower, Mohamed Suleiman, Hassan Idris and Taha Ishaq as its representatives on the council, a coalition source said on Sunday.
But the Sudanese Professionals Association, the main protest organiser and one of the most prominent coalition members, said on Monday that Ishaq had declined to take up his post.
According to the power-sharing deal, the opposition coalition is allowed to choose five members and the military another five, with the two sides jointly choosing a civilian as an eleventh member.
On Saturday, Kabbashi said that Military Council Head, Lt.-Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan; his Deputy, Gen. Mohamed Dagalo and Lt.-Gen. Yasser Al-Atta will serve as three of the five military members.
The military council has yet to announce the other two members, but Kabbashi said on Monday that the eleventh member had been agreed by both sides.
Stability in Sudan, which has been grappling with an economic crisis, is seen as crucial for a volatile region struggling with conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.
In the meantime, the South East APC Young Progressives Forum has described the attack on former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu as shameful.
Ekweremadu claimed that members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) attacked him in Nuremberg, Germany on Aug. 17.
Mr Paschal Otimkpu, Chairman of the group who made this known in a statement to newsmen on Monday in Onitsha, also described the assault as “an embarrassment to the Igbo nation and Nigeria.
“It is also shamefully pathetic that an event, which was nobly put together by the Ndi-Igbo community which members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, ended up in such a disgraceful manner.
“Obviously, this is not how to pay a man who has contributed his quota to the development of Igbo land and Nigeria at large.
“Most worrisome and inconceivable was that the attackers chose a great occasion for celebrating and showcasing our rich culture heritage` Iri-ji` –New Yam Festival — to exhibit such unbecoming conduct in the name of agitation.
“We urge our fellow youths of South-East extraction and every right thinking Nigerian to join in the condemnation.’’
The group noted that the country was currently going through challenges, including terrorism and kidnappings which required collective responsibility of all.
It, therefore, said that resorting to mob action and venting the spleen on leaders will rather create more problems and a vacuum that would leave Igbo and by extension, Nigerian leaders helpless.
“Irrespective of political difference, Sen. Ekweremadu is an outstanding and unpretentious Igbo leader, who deserves better treatment than he received,” the group said.