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Deregulation: Obasanjo, Atiku Institutionalised National Rot, APC Tells Nigerians

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked Nigerians to ignore former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) elements who allegedly midwifed national rot.

The APC said it is baffling that the same political actors that midwifed and institutionalised the national rot, corruption, impunity and eroding of value systems are the same posing as voices on the way forward in the country’s national life.

In a statement signed Sunday in Abuja by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Yekini Nabena the party said while it is within the rights of these political actors to write “skewed letters, spew empty, hypocritical, tongue-in-cheek and two-faced economic magic models in line with their Dubai meeting strategies, this administration is walking the talk with verifiable projects and people-centred interventions that is uplifting Nigerians.

“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo could start with telling us where the electricity is despite $16billion he spent on the power sector.

“Obasanjo’s deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar should account for the privatisation exercise under his watch which saw national assets sold off to friends and cronies with no benefit to the country. Successive Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations can also start by accounting for the trillions stolen from our national coffers in the guise of a fraudulent fuel subsidy regime.

“These political actors probably only listen to their own voices because Nigerians have long stopped taking them seriously as they simply lack the antecedents and moral credentials to guide Nigeria and Nigerians to the path of prosperity and progress.

“Instead of the “‘do or die’ lingo they introduced to our electioneering, votes are beginning to count as our elections improves steadily. Their abandoned projects which constituted drainpipes on national resources are being completed by this administration. The brazen culture of impunity and corruption which they institutionalised is being replaced by strong and accountable systems. The culture of roundtripping and the rested subsidy regime in the petroleum sector has been replaced by a deregulated and accountable petroleum pricing template. Instead of plotting how to sell of national assets, particularly the NNPC to friends, this administration is reforming public sector operations to ensure optimised service delivery.

“We are gradually eating what we grow. Our national emergency health response has earned global accolades and recognition as displayed by our COVID-19 response. Our defence capacity to respond and contain emerging security challenges is now tested and proven. How did Nigeria achieve this? A strong, people-centred and focussed leadership which the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration provides.”

Reacting to the ongoing debate on the removal of fuel subsidy, APC said “genuine patriots, reputable groups and organizations who are making honest contributions on the deregulation of electricity and petrol prices already see the decision as inevitable and the way to go.

“As it stands, Nigeria will save as much as one trillion naira ($2.6 billion) following the deregulation of the petroleum sector, the Petroleum Minister of State Timipre Sylva has stated.

“Nigerians trust that the freed up cash will be accounted for and be judiciously invested to develop other critical areas such as infrastructure, health care, education among others.”

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Upon Femi Falana, The Blood Of The Innocent

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By Oni Johnson

Self-styled activist, Femi Falana (SAN), must be proud of what he has gifted Nigeria – a celebrity activist son, Falz, a key inciter of the #EndSARS protests that almost sent Nigeria back to the stone ages but for the timely intervention of the real patriot. This piece is however not about Falz, there would be another time to talk about the destabilization campaign unleashed on Nigeria by the community of bards, who at other time in history would have been starving. This piece is about Falana, the father, and the blood of the innocent dripping from his hands and trickling down the corners of his mouth like a vampire.

There is something unsettling about the way and manner the Senior Advocate has been persistent in demonizing the current administration. Not that Falana demonizing a government, any government, is a new thing. The concern here is that this same man would have been quoting legal tomes backwards had his one life ambition of becoming part of the government been met. Not everyone has forgotten that he was a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari until the position of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice went to another person. The Hell broke loose for this government since that mistake was made in the view of certain persons.

In the interventions that busybodies have made on the #EndSARS saga is distressing for the very reason that the premises of such exercise are faulty. The greatest fault being that people like Falana speak in absolute terms without recourse to what had transpired in the past and without regard for the impact that the decisions of now will have on the future. For instance, Falana – with celebrity activists like Aisha Yesufu, Deji Adeyanju, Omoyele Sowore, Reno Omokri and the hip-hop crowds of his son – simply ignored the decades of missteps by previous government and landed the entire blame on the incumbent administration. What this did was to incite the protesters against the government of the day, one would agree that government is a continuum but at what point should a balance have been struck to prevent the kind of chaos unleashed on the country?

All the panels investigating the violent protests and the associated looting must review the role played by past inciteful comments in throwing protesters into the frenzy of destruction they embarked on. Each day that the likes of Falana had penned venomous articles, granted toxic media interviews and threw shades at those in government was a building block in building the evil structure that almost ruined the country. Falana and his co-traveler did not engage in such activities in ignorance. What they did was systematic, a sustained campaign of incitement that could have let to only one outcome: an angered populace that egged to attack the government of the day and possibly illegally overthrew it through mob action.

Even after the protests began, at the innocuous stage when the exercise seemed justified, the expectation would have been for true statesmen and elders to take on mediatory roles. It would have counted for something if the elderly people that had been inciting the younger part of the population had urged caution, including the need to not engage in a long-drawn protest, which naturally has the vulnerability of being hijacked by criminals. No. That is not the Falana way. He continued to edge the protesters on.

Then the violence began. Still Falana did not relent, neither did he resort to the silence that would have been considered as befitting of his stature in view of his wholesale embrace of violence. He rather increased his verbal attack on the government and functionaries. If the other clout chasers are bereft of sense to stop inciting protesters, Falana, with his legal background should have known better. Instead, Falana, by his various utterances, TV appearances and public statements incited the youth.

The result? The Falana incited protesters went on a killing spree that resulted in several law enforcement personnel being killed by a mob that has been programmed to see itself as being on a vengeance mission against those in authority. The blood of the innocent is on Falana’s hands and as he continues to spew venom, the blood drips from the corner of his mouth.

There are those in government who have also failed to call Falana to order even when they have the responsibility to. The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbjo and political bigwig, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu are culpable in the inglorious murder of innocent Nigerians by not prevailing on their political charge, Falana.

Their failure to rein in their estranged associate could end up confirming conjectures that they are connected to the incitement of the mob to kill innocent Nigerians, especially the gruesome murder of police officers on lawful duty across several states of the country.

Given his penchant for throwing the International Criminal Court (ICC) in people’s faces when defend his terrorist Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) clients, it is time to make Falana appear before the Court at the Hague, not as counsel but as suspect on trial for instigating a pogrom against policemen and public office holders, and for putting the lives of all Nigerians at risk through the same incitement. I strongly recommend that the genuine human rights activists in the country rise up to this national challenge of dragging Falana before ICC at The Hague and his associates with him.

Johnson wrote this piece from Bariga, Lagos

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#EndSARS And The Professionalism Of The Nigerian Army

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By Nkechi Odoma

A lot of confusions have assailed Nigeria now over #EndSARS protests. Merchants of violence and bloodbath have taken control of parts of Nigeria in irrefutably dubious protests. Hidden retrogressive schemes have been hatched and re-enacted by various interests within the country. Surely, these demonstrations have become a mass exhumation and combination of satanic motives by groups, demonic interests, questionable personalities and regions in the country.

Most times, Nigerians fail to express their grievances against government, in a civil, lawful and orderly manner as permitted by the tenets of democracy operative in the country. But when Mr. President becomes constrained to deploy soldiers to restore abused public law and order, Nigerians again, make the Army fall- guys and brand them with all sorts of unproven violations of extant laws.

Quite truly, most of the people masquerading as protesters now, cannot convince anybody on why they are still demonstrating. It’s the extent of the pathetic poverty of the mind in most Nigerians, especially the youths who are now used as springboard to destabilize and destroy their country. And then the patrons are speaking in confusing tongues on the upheavals.

The voices of elder statesmen and former leaders of Nigeria who have brought the country to these doldrums over the decades hardly blend. In the day, they pretend decency, but in the night their guttural bewitching voices resonates with incitement of protesting youths.

Most worrisome, is the transmogrification of the #EndSARS protests into insane exploitation of national faultlines, such as religion, ethnicity, nepotism and regionalism. And it is being pulled with every might by the actors. The most surprising aspect of it is the blame mentality of Nigerians on President Muhammadu Buhari over the threats to national security and the breakdown of public law and order.

They exclude other leaders at lower rungs for the failings in Nigeria. Nonetheless vandalized shops, raided warehouses and targeted businesses of prominent politicians speak volumes. So far, none can point to any pin Buhari possesses as his corrupt possession while serving Nigeria.

It’s ironic that the same accusers of President Buhari’s apathy or dishonest claims of his neglect of the welfare of Nigerians in the guise of #EndSARS instigated breach of public peace are unwilling to allow him use his executive powers to restore public peace and order as the situation demands.

Two days ago, the BBC Hausa editor in Nigeria Aliyu Tanko wrote on the Lagos incidence of protesters/youths invading the palace of Oba of Lagos; “What began as a protest against the hated Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has become a conduit for the youth to vent their anger with the people who have been in charge of Nigeria for decades, and demand change.”

Deployment of federal forces to protect lives and property of citizens when protesters become violent is not alien to law books. America’s President Donald Trump also applied the same measures in the case of #BlackLivesMatter protests in America in the wake of police brutality as sparked by the killing of Pastor George Floyd.

It’s ridiculous for Nigerians to keep viewing every phenomenon or destructive development from personalized prisms or sentimental camps. None cares about national or collective interest. What is in vogue now in the country over the farcical #EndSARS protests now is the animation of emergency activists and aimless crusaders of social justice or emancipation.

The same quoted BBC report also stated; “While those who backed and came out in support of the #EndSARS movement were peaceful; another segment of the youth saw the protests as an opportunity.” Which Government anywhere in the world would allow these brazen acts of criminality in the pretext of protests?

The Lagos Lekki Toll Gate shootings is often projected by these clan of people as the manifestation of President Buhari’s “civilian dictatorship” and militarization of Nigeria. The Nigerian Army are baselessly held culprits by promoters of the #EndSARS protests. But no Nigerian has so far displayed a recorded video of the sad incident implicating soldiers in the line of duty in Lagos and Lekki Toll Gate shootings’ in particular. But the international community is being persuaded and encouraged to implicate soldiers.

Therefore, idlers and fake news merchants in Nigeria have found an engaging job of tainting the image of the Nigerian Army. But whereas some fake news activists want Nigerians and the world to believe that the Army killed people in Lekki, all the videos/ pictures on social media seen on the incident have not even remotely linked soldiers to the shootings and killings.

By now, some dubious persons and ICT experts might be trying as hard as possible to doctor or re-work the videos to implicate soldiers. But Nigerians and the international community are aware. There is no amount of blackmail or hatred on anyone that can submerge truth. It resurfaces someday and definitely.

It’s strange that some Nigerians deliberately downplay the reforms and innovations the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai has imposed on the Nigerian Army under his leadership. Before the Buhari Presidency, the Nigerian Army was a brute, uncultured, undisciplined, unpatriotic and unprofessional assemblage of people under this arm of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

Gen. Buratai had noticed it in the cause of his service. He has been part of the system from his youthful age. Everywhere Gen. Buratai has dispensed services to Nigeria, Africa and the globe, in leadership capacity, no one has ever accused him of human rights violations, until now and only at this time by Nigerians. Rather, he has earned accolades and priceless medals.

And when God availed him the opportunity to lead the Nigerian Army at the critical time of overwhelming insecurities, it was clear to him that he had to first, reposition this institution to rank among Africa and the world’s best. He has successfully done it, very strenuously, combining the reformation and repositioning of a degenerated force vis-à-vis battling the multiple insurgencies and insurrections in Nigeria perfectly.

Funnily, Gen. Buratai deserves no appreciation of some Nigerians because of the pursuit of partisan and selfish interests. Every day, some people sleep and wake up only plotting how they can unseat Gen. Buratai as COAS. The only reason is that he has refused to compromise professional standards to service the interests of devious Nigerian politicians.

But even in the current instance of the #EndSARS protests and the Lekki shootings and killings, the Nigerian Army displayed the same professionalism and discipline as has become their hallmark under the leadership of Gen. Buratai. They were attending to protesters as if it was a church service or business class of an air craft on air. Nigerians should search their consciences and speak truthfully to themselves.

Soldiers were deployed all over Lagos once the #EndSARS protests become violent and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu imposed a 24-hour curfew on Lagos. It was not Lekki area alone. Why is it that the soldiers so fervently accused of killings at Lekki were not accused of the same abuse of human rights violations in other parts of Lagos? Let Nigerians listen to the drums and lyrics, thereafter, take time to denote the message. Some persons are out to ensure certain leaders are not only vilified but crucified and persecuted. Gen. Buratai is one such target.

In spite of everything and all through the #EndSARS nuisance which became unreasonably bloody, Nigerians saw the massive display of professionalism by soldiers. It speaks a lot about the disciplined and professional leadership of the Nigerian Army. Kudos to Gen. Buaratai.

Odoma wrote this article from Asokoro, Abuja.

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Lekki Shooting: Nigerian Army Acted Within Rules Of Engagement, Professionalism Required – Coalition

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) says the Nigerian Army didn’t breach its rules of engagement at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos or anywhere in the country during the EndSARS protests. 

According to the coalition, the troops acted in its usual professional manner and have been agents of stabilization, instrumental to restoration of peace. 

The Coalition for Truth and Justice made this revelation in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Barrister Timothy Charles, on Wednesday, in Abuja. 

As a followup to the army’s statement on Tuesday, the CTJ said it carried out a preliminary investigation to ascertain the actual state of things. 

It said from the footages reviewed, the troops were captured firing blank rounds to the air that couldn’t have killed anyone. 

The coalition admitted that the sole confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll gate incident was as a result of blunt force trauma and not gunshot. 

With these and other “overwhelming proof”, the CTJ concluded that there was no massacre as being portrayed by “anarchists”. 

It, however, urged relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate key people among the protesters, adding that it is possible that they may have opened fire on their own members. 

Read full statement below:

The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ), after a careful review of available information, has reached the conclusion that the Nigerian Army did not breach its rules of engagement during the incidence at Lekki Toll Plaza and indeed any other part of Lagos state and the entire country in the course of the #EndSARS protests.

Contrary to the ongoing vilification campaign by pro-looters individuals and organizations, emerging facts rather suggest that the Nigerian Army has been an agent of stabilization that was instrumental to restoration of peace in many of the cities across the country with the curtailing of the violence that had threatened to spiral out of control. 

CTJ, in response to the statement issued by the Nigerian Army Tuesday night,  has carried out its preliminary investigations and far from what everyone had said, we studied the situation and came up with a clear understanding that the Nigerian Army did not breach its Rules of Engagement in all the instances claimed by propagandists. 

While soldiers were being accused of shooting into the crowd of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, it is interesting to note that every single video clip shared by the #EndSARS protesters depicted the soldiers as firing into the air. The loud sound of the gunshots in the videos indicated that what the soldiers were firing were blank rounds while the silver shell casings retrieved from the scene by the protesters further confirmed that the rounds were blank and couldn’t have killed anyone. 

We also noted that the bullets that the protesters allegedly claimed were extracted from the supposed remains of their killed colleagues did not show any deformation or denting as would be expected of projectiles that had made impact at high velocity. It is not likely that a bullet will hit someone and still retain its shape.

Furthermore, shooting 15 people dead as claimed by the #EndSARS protesters would have flooded the scene with anything upwards of 75 liters of human blood, which would have been visible for all to see on the morning of the following day. There was no such and there were no remains, except for the tenuous lie that the corpses were handed over to soldiers, something that turned out to be false since no mortuary has reported receiving the remains and the foreign partners of the protesters have not been able to come up with satellite images of freshly dug mass graves as they are used to alleging.  

What we were able to establish is that the one confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll Gate incident was from blunt force trauma and not gunshot. It is therefore trite for CTJ to point out that almost every single person that the cyber wing of the protest had trended as being killed at the toll gate have returned from the dead to refute news of their demise just as pictures from movie shoots that they attempted to use to discredit the Army have been exposed.  

It is pertinent to point out that the other jurisdictions that the protesters are comparing Nigeria to would not stand by idle while arsonists and anarchists make life unbearable for other people while also destroying national assets and looting everywhere. In the United States, there have been instances when the national guard was called in to assist the civil police in curbing extreme protests. In the United Kingdom, during the 2011 London Riots, 92% of persons surveyed were opened to the Army being brought in to curtail the destruction by protesters.  

Based on the insistence of the #EndSARS protesters that there was a massacre even in the absence of evidence and in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary, CTJ finds it pertinent to demand a thorough investigation of key people among the protesters since it is possible that they opened fire on their own members within the protest in order to malign the government by accusing the Army. This possibility is high because protesters had killed many police officers on the same day, set some ablaze and committed other atrocities while the military continued to exercise restraints. 

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