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Health Workers Suspend 7-Day Nationwide Warning Strike

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Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), have suspended their seven-day nationwide warning strike.

Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU National Chairman, made this known in a statement at the end of its expanded National Executive Council meeting on Sunday in Abuja.

Biobelemoye directed all members of the union to resume work by Sept. 21 and also await further directives.

Members of JOHESU and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) embarked on a seven-day warning strike to press on its demands from the Federal Government.

The union demands included disparity in the payment of hazard and inducement allowances to workers in the frontline containing the spread of COVID-19 among others.

Biobelemoye said:“ I bring fraternal greetings to you from the entire members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA).

“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) would come to an end midnight of today, Sept. 20.

“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.

“However, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.

“The next line of action would be decided in due course by the expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.”

He also alleged that rather than call JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute, the Federal Government resorted to intimidation and blackmail of the union leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.

He further said that JOHESU would continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector.

“Nigerians should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare service delivery.

“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, I hereby declare that the seven days warning strike is suspended.

“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 while awaiting further directives.

“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation and resilience during the seven days warning strike,” he said.

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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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Femi Falana And His Strange Mission In #EndSARS Shootings

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By Uche John Madu

Femi Falana is indeed a cantankerous character that thrives on controversies. This is understandable in the sense that he ekes his living as a lawyer by courting controversies in the media, thereby increasing his public relevance. Femi Falana is the typical individual that pretends to be on the side of the masses, but in truth, he exploits the masses to his advantage and also for pecuniary gains.
You reading must agree with me that the EndSARS campaign has again brought out the best in the typical Femi Falana, who would in his traditional manner, instigate and paint a picture of human rights lawyer and crusader to get briefs to further his law practice.
The history of Femi Falana is one that is laced with deceit and media grandstanding. Little wonder he talks like a parrot on almost all issues, even the ones he has little or no knowledge about.
I am indeed constrained to pen this article because the implication of allowing the likes of Femi Falana to continue to thrive in his business of deceit, would mean that one day we might wake and realize that we do not have a country anymore.
The EndSARS campaign and the ignoble role Femi Falana and his shadowy group have played in the festering of the crisis cannot be overemphasized. At some point, I viewed with absolute disbelief on how a man that claims to be a human rights lawyer and crusader would not have the courtesy to verify information at his disposal before making imprudent statements in the media.
The strange thing is that Femi Falana seems to be all-knowing and the number one defender of the masses of Nigeria. Yes, that is his public posturing, while in truth, he is such a garrulous individual that sees every opportunity as one to enrich himself. I am sure those that are close to him or have had reasons to have a business relationship with him would readily attest to the fact that with Femi Falana, all that glitters isn’t gold. He is indeed the Exploiter-in-Chief of the masses of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
And in a very typical manner, he saw the EndSARS protest as an avenue for him to enrich his pockets again and that is why he issues press statements per second, and the bulk of which are lacking in content but a deliberate ploy to crave the attention he desires to put himself in an advantaged position for negotiation with clients, government and other entities that fall for his bobby trap.
As strange as this might sound, Femi Falana has never been for the interest of Nigeria. Over the years, his actions and inactions are indicative of a man that can be easily bought over by a plate of porridge because of his insatiable greed. I won’t be shocked that those vested interests that wanted to use the EndSARS protest to destabilize Nigeria would have seen a willing tool in Femi Falana, hence his level of criticism of the efforts of the Nigerian military towards the restoration of law and order in the polity.
I am sure the Nigerian Army authorities would be wondering what it is Femi Falana wants to achieve in his scathing remarks against the military institution. The EndSARS protest presented once again the real Femi Falana where he went to town insisting that the Nigerian Army massacred peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
He went further through his shadowy group, the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond and threatened to drag the Nigerian Army to the International Criminal Court. To say Femi Falana has an ulterior motive would be an understatement. It is at best the height of a callous display by a lawyer of his standing that either by omission or commission neglected the importance of verifying facts before making a case or taking a stance on an issue of national concern.
Femi Falana’s action could also be likened to a situation where he makes an appearance in court and when asked to tender evidence to support his position on a matter, and he goes on to say that the evidence was that he dreamt about it. As funny as this might sound, that is the case of his submission with regards the massacre by soldiers of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tolgate incidence in Lagos.
I must state at this point that we no longer need to search too far before finding those who want Nigeria to keep boiling because he is quick to glorify fake news and anything capable of inciting the populace to take up arms and revolt against the constituted authorities and by extension the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is indeed a shame of phenomenal proportion and why Femi Falana must tender an unreserved apology to the body of benchers in Nigeria for bringing the noble profession to disrepute. Also, will he in good conscience apologize to the military and our patriotic troops?
Nigerians must also henceforth be circumspect with characters like Femi Falana now that the truth has been established that there was no massacre in Lagos, and anywhere in Nigeria. We must reawaken our sense of history to dissect Femi Falana’s trajectory since he attained the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2012.
I can bet that a lot would come to the open with regards to his quest for pecuniary gains and a unique modus operandi that promotes blackmail at the highest level, a trend he has continued to use to achieve his innate desires, not minding whose ox is gored.
I can only wonder what his next line of action would be, but I can bet that he has more mischief up his sleeves in the coming days and weeks and Nigerians should expect more from his chambers in his quest to see Nigeria in ruins. If not for anything, I know for certain that the day of reckoning is coming for Femi Falana should he continue in his ways. I wonder what he wants and what he intends to achieve in the long run. I won’t speculate. I can only urge Nigerians to watch as events unfold until the manifestation of the real motives of Femi Falana against Nigeria.

Madu is a public affairs analyst and wrote from Lagos.

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