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Identify, Engage Protesting Groups’ Leaders, PGF Boss Lukman Tells Govt

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Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has advised the leadership of his party to urgently set up a strategic committee to recruit identified leaders of interest groups, including the leaders of the protest movement as part of efforts to end the ongoing agitation.

The PGF boss said APC must resist the lazy approach to present the protest as being influenced by political opponents.

In a statement he signed Sunday in Abuja, Lukman said the current ongoing youth protest across the country, calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police otherwise popularly known as #EndSARS protest, highlight some levels of citizens frustration, especially by the young people in relation to engaging initiatives of government aimed at resolving societal problems.

“As a party of change, APC is blessed with many energetic young people. Part of what must be done for APC to be able to reposition itself and attract the new strong energy of our young people is to ensure that the current process of rebuilding the APC is tailored to recruit our young people. In particular, a special strategic committtee to recruit identified leaders of interest groups, including the leaders of the protest movement by young people should be considered ahead of the membership registration exercise that is about to commence. Part of the medium to long term plans should be to try and develop new approaches to political leadership recruitment, which at the moment is unplanned.

“The days ahead will be decisive in determining whether our leaders can take steps to affirm the credentials of APC as a party committed to social change. The ability of our leaders to develop sophisticated structures and strategy, which can earn the trust and confidence of our protesting young people is facing a big challenge.

“All committed members of the party should rally round our leaders to support them to put in place the needed framework to resolve all the problems facing our young people and accordingly bring to an end to the #EndSARS protest. This should strengthen the process of orienting the politics of our party towards social change, which will confirm our progressive credentials.

“It is such a difficult reality. Yet, government and our party must do everything possible to resolve the problems and end the protest.”

The PGF boss also appealed to the protesting youths: “especially the underground leaders to see beyond the protest by taking the necessary steps to win landmark political concessions, which should include access to opportunities for leadership responsibilities by young people.

“Part of what this generation of young leaders must avoid is the unfortunate repeat of the mistake of our 1990s generation of activists when with all the political opportunities after a difficult prodemocracy struggle, in 1998/1999 we failed to take advantage of political transition and participate in politics.

“Not even appeals to our leaders by no less a person than revered Nelson Mandela when on two accessions as President of Republic of South Africa he sent former President Thabo Mbeki, the as Vice President of South Africa with the appeal to Nigerian prodemocracy activists to engage the transition process as part of the diplomatic mission to facilitate military disengagement from Nigerian politics. Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, Mr. Femi Falana, Mrs. Ayo Obe among many others are alive to confirm or refute the efforts by Mandela to convince Nigerian activists to take advantage of the 1998/1999 transition to be part of the emerging political leadership of this Fourth Republic. The rest as is often said is now history. After the difficult struggle to end military rule in the country, at a defining moment when we should mainstream ourselves as part of the political leadership of the country, we came up with theories of ‘democracy without democrats’ and disparaging our political class as ‘Abacha politicians’.

“If our protesting youth failed to convert the current protest to opportunity for access to political leadership responsibility, the resourcefulness of our youth as exhibited during this protest will be wasted. In fact, if there is anything capable of guaranteeing that the legal framework of “Not Too Young To Run” will lead to more political participation of young people, it is the current protest. But that is only possible if the negotiation around the current protest by our young people is broadened to issues of political participation. How can our leaders and APC achieve this? It is important that we are able to convince our leaders to recognise that opening the space for young people to actively participate in politics is necessary and compellingly in the overall interest of our democratic development as a nation.”

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Focus on Police Reforms, Coalition for Democracy Urges #EndSARS Protesters

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The Coalition for Democracy, CD, has urged EndSARS protesters in Nigeria, to focus on the theme of their campaign of reforming the Nigeria Police in order not to allow subversive elements hijack the protest.

President of the Coalition, Comrade Samson Atawodi, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja, said since President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Nigeria Police Bill, 2020, this is the right time for citizens to push for the implementation of the reforms which formed the original theme of the #EndSARS protests.

It would be recalled that President Buhari had in a memo dated September 16, 2020, communicated his assent to the Bill to the National Assembly, which repeals the Police Act Cap. P19. Laws of the Federation, 2004, and provides for a more effective and well organized Police Force in Nigeria. 

Comrade Atawodi said with the establishment of an appropriate funding framework for the Police in line with what is obtainable in other Federal Government key institutions, the new Act will enhance professionalism in the Force through increased training opportunities as well as create an enduring cooperation and partnership between the Police Force and communities in maintaining peace and combating crimes nationwide.

He said as President Buhari has taken prompt action and disbanded the SARS unit of the Police as demanded by the protesters and agreed to implement suggestions on improving the police, it would be unfair for the youths to continue to be on the streets. 

“The Presidential Panel on Police Reform has agreed to the five-point demand of protesters which includes halting use of force against protesters, unconditional release of arrested citizens; justice for the victims of police brutality, payment of compensation, and the psychological evaluation of policemen as well as  increasing their salaries.

“By agreeing to do these, the Federal Government has shown that it is a listening government and is prepared to listen to suggestions that would make lives better for Nigerians,” he said. 

The Coalition President said added to that, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu has gone ahead to set up a new outfit to replace the notorious SARS while the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also set up N200 million fund to assist victims of police brutality.

Comrade Atawodi however noted that despite the dissolution of SARS and FG’s concession to implement these reforms, that the protests have continued noting that this could be hijacked by opposition politicians and other subversive elements to cause hardship on fellow citizens .

He insisted that continuing with the protests when the cardinal point for staging it has been met would not only portray the protesters as having ulterior motives but would enable miscreants and other subversive elements mislead them into hidden, selfish and dangerous motive that will impact negatively on the nations democracy. 

He said the youths should be wary that not everyone that identifies with them is doing so with a clear motive as there are people who have been looking for opportunities to hurt the current administration for either defeating them at elections or blocking channels which they corruptly enrich themselves. 

He said Nigeria’s democracy came at a cost and the youths must be careful not to fall to the antics of mischief makers to throw it away.

“Nigeria has gone far with its journey into democracy and it is not at this time that we should give room to people who for selfish reasons want to turn back the hands of time to achieve their selfish aims.

“While we make demands of the government, we should be wary of naysayers and be focused on what we want so that our intentions remain clear,” he said.

The Coalition President reminded the protesters that no administration has impacted on the youths the way President Buhari has done in the last five years. 

He said it was President Buhari who increased the allowances of NYSC members by a hundred percent after several past administrations had failed to do so.

He said the current administration also introduced social interventions programmes like N-power Scheme that put unemployed youths on allowances until they were able to start businesses of their own.

Comrade Atawodi said the current increase in the salary of teachers is also a demonstration of the current government’s belief in bettering the lot of the youths adding that though the SARS police unit has been quiet unprofessional in their dealings with the citizenry, that should however not allow the youths  open the door to lawlessness or allow agents of destabilization plunge the nation into chaos and anarchy. 

He said this year alone, president Buhari had given the go ahead for the Nigerian Army and Airforce to employ 5,000 Nigerian youths, the NDLEA 15,000 youths and is empowering at least one person per the 774 local governments in the country

He described such measures as steps  that would help the youths in the long run and advised that it is better to support the government to conclude the process of reaching majority of the yours with better jobs and opportunities rather than lose it on the alter of populism.

“Some of these things take time to mature, but as far as I know the benefits are gradually trickling in and very soon, we shall be the better for it,” he stated.

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Operation Sahel Sanity: Army Arrest Bandits ,Recovers Arms Frees Kidnapped Victims

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Suspected bandits and other criminals specialized in killing and kidnapping Nigerians have been arrested by troops of the Operation Sahel Sanity, a component of the Nigerian Army operating in the North-West zone.

This was revealed by the acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Bernard Onywuko, in a statement on Friday.

SUSPECTED BANDIT BELLO IBRAHIM ARRESTED IN POSSESSION OF A PUMP ACTION RIFLE  AND 3 LIVE CATRIDGES AT DANSADAU ON 17 SEPTEMBER 2020
SUSPECTED BANDIT BELLO IBRAHIM ARRESTED IN POSSESSION OF A PUMP ACTION RIFLE AND 3 LIVE CATRIDGES AT DANSADAU ON 17 SEPTEMBER 2020

The statement said the troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY have stepped up their quest to rout remnants of bandits and other criminal elements in the North West zone of the country.

It says the gallant troops have relentlessly redoubled their efforts in this regard recording more successes against the bandits and their collaborators across the Theatre.

“On 12 September 2020, troops deployed at Dandume while on patrol rescued 2 young girls kidnapped by bandits at Dandume LGA in Katsina State. The girls were rescued after a hot pursuit by the troops which forced the bandits to abandon their victims escaping troops’ wrath by the skin of their teeth. The victims who were reportedly kidnapped on 18 August 2020 have been reunited with their families”.

MOTORCYCLES RECOVERED BY TROOPS FROM SUSPECTED BANDITS ALONG KAYAWA AXIS ON 13 SEPTEMBER 2020
MOTORCYCLES RECOVERED BY TROOPS FROM SUSPECTED BANDITS ALONG KAYAWA AXIS ON 13 SEPTEMBER 2020

According to the statement, on 13 September 2020, following credible information, troops deployed at Forward Operation Base Wuya recovered one AK-47 Rifle buried in a surgacane farm at Yarsabiya village in Anka LGA of Zamfara State. This prompted further search of the general area in anticipation of more similar recoveries. Relatedly, troops deployed at Moriki and Jangeru responded to a distress call and foiled a planned armed bandits attack on Mai-Zuma village in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State. The troops immediately mobilized and engaged the marauding bandits in a shoot out along Kayawa axis forcing the bandits to withdraw in disarray and in the process abandoned 3 motorcycles which were recovered by the gallant troops.

Similarly, on 16 September 2020, troops deployed at Magami acting on a tip off arrested one Mr Yaya Rabiu at Magami checkpoint. The suspect was identified by troops to be a member of a notorious bandit gang that recently attacked troops location at Ruwandawa-Kwankele village in Gusau LGA of Zamfara State. Additionally, troops at Dangulbi also acting on credible intelligence arrested a suspected bandit named Basharu in a green tinted Golf III wagon car. Suspect have been on wanted list of bandits terrorizing locals in the general area.

SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATOR IDRIS ISAH ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT YANKARA ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2020
SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATOR IDRIS ISAH ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT YANKARA ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2020

Furthermore, on 16 September 2020, troops on routine patrol encountered armed bandits at Baga Buzu in Zamfara State. The cowardly criminals engaged the troops from afar, but the troops responded with superior fire power forcing the bandits to withdraw in disarray into the nearby forest with gunshot injuries as traces of blood were seen on their escape route. Nevertheless, during exploitation, troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle, 2 motorcycles, and one empty AK 47 Rifle magazine abandoned by the escaping criminals. Similarly, troops on fighting patrol encountered and pursued unconfirmed number of bandits on motorcycles at Kaiga Malamai. During the incident, the bandits abandoned 3 motorcycles and fled into the bushes.

The Army General said on 16 September 2020, troops deployed in Faskari arrested a suspected bandits informant named Isah Indo while spying on troops location. The suspect claimed to be a native of Sabon Layi village in Faskari LGA, but investigation revealed that his claims were false as the villagers denied knowing him. Similarly, following credible information, troops deployed at Yankara arrested a suspected bandits collaborator named Idris Isah from Yampa village in Faskari LGA of Katsina State, who is reported to be engaged in illicit activities with bandits.

SUSPECTED BANDITS INFORMANT ISA INDO ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT FASKARI ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2020
SUSPECTED BANDITS INFORMANT ISA INDO ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT FASKARI ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2020

Additionally, on 17 September 2020, troops deployed in Faskari responding to a distress call rescued 8 kidnapped victims from suspected bandits at Fankama and Sabon Layi area. This was as a result of actionable information that bandits dressed in military camouflage uniforms were sighted with kidnapped victims, the troops responded quickly and made contact with the bandits forcing them to abandon the victims as they fled into the bushes. In the same vain, troops while on patrol at Chabas Chabas, swiftly responded to a distress call and rescued a Canter truck driver, 11 women and children who were on their way to Batsari Market but were blocked by suspected bandits along Shimfida – Gurbi road. Also on 17 September 2020 troops deployed at Forward Operation Base Dansadau arrested a suspected bandit named Bello Ibrahim on a motorcycle on his way to Dandalla village in Dansadau, Maru LGA of Zamfara state with one Pump Action rifle and 3 live cartridges carefully concealed in a bag. All arrested suspects are in custody understanding preliminary investigation and will soon be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting authorities for further action.

SUSPECTED BANDIT BASHARU ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT DANGULBI ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2020
SUSPECTED BANDIT BASHARU ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT DANGULBI ON 16 SEPTEMBER 2020

Consequently, the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY are commended for their continuous successes and their commitment to duty. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until Northwest zone is rid of all criminal elements. While the good people of the Northwest are once again assured of troops commitment to the safety of lives and property within the zone, they are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist them in the conduct of their operations.

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