By Charles Ibekwe
With the turbulence of #EndSARS protests gradually calming down in states rocked by the senseless riots in the pretext of protests by some Nigerian youths, a lot have been exposed. Nigerians now know the covert agenda of some leaders and senior citizens to destabilize the country, through clandestine sponsorship or encouragement of public anarchy and bloodshed.
While there is an undisputed national consensus that the reasons precipitating the supposedly peaceful #EndSARS protests were genuine, its conversion into criminal acts and violence were not in tandem with the spirit of democratic liberties of expressing grievances. Strangely, in spite of the obvious danger, expressed through violence, killings and destructions by protesters, the it was deducible that utterances of some highly placed Nigerians were crafted to rather embolden the incensed protesters in mayhem.
Often, Nigerians are reminded of the sanctity of human life. It is the duty of everyone to preserve and respect lives. God Himself frowns at shedding of innocent blood. And where it occurs, it behooves on leaders and other highly placed citizens to talk and act in a manner that would calm frayed nerves rather than inflame the acts of bloodshed.
But Nigeria’s self-acclaimed human rights Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana displayed highly irresponsible conduct throughout the duration of the #EndSARS protests. His utterances, threats to security agents and the Government in the face of the bloody protests bolstered the hoodlums, miscreants and criminals who hijacked the protests to now wantonly kill security agents and other innocent Nigerians.
There is no doubt that Femi Falana’s various utterances, TV appearances, interviews and public statements incited the youths. He thus demeaned his status at a time he would have observed restraint as a senior citizen.
And the instant reaction from the rioting youths was to forcefully seize security agents in the line of duty and murdered them in cold blood like animals. Policemen suffered the worse fate and one wondered which patriotic person could see the horror and the carnage, but still argue for the protection of the violators of human lives. But Falana did excitedly!
One can easily understand that Falana and family have considered instigation and incitement of public unrests as business. His wife, Mrs. Folake Falana and songster, Falz have been conscripted into this business. Therefore, it doesn’t matter to the Falanas whether the reasons for public unrests are genuine or when the legitimacy is lost as in the case of the #EndSARS protests in later days.
Consequently, days after the Federal Government of Nigeria responded speedily to some of the immediate demands of the #EndSARS protesters, Falana and his bogeys kept amplifying the fire. He encouraged the violent protesters by asserting that Government has merely scratched the problem on the surface and unprepared to respect the lawful rights of Nigerians. And in the age of social media activism, his messages circulated widely.
National security of Nigeria was on the verge of being completely compromised with the killing of security personnel and innocent Nigerians by the #EndSARS protesters. But Falana unconscionably took the incitement further under the banner of Alliance for Survival of Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), a body he chairs. He shamelessly challenged the decision of government to take the necessary steps as degenerative bloody protests demanded to restore the public security sanctity.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria mouthed endlessly indecorously and laughably that President Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), “… should not invite soldiers to resolve a purely democratic issue….” This message bolstered the #EndSARS protesters, and like ISWAP terrorists, they began to massively target security agents and the hapless ones were caught and murdered gruesomely. It was a clear message that Falana and coy acquiesced to the shedding of blood of the innocent.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is also culpable in the inglorious murder of Nigerians. His conversations or engagements with the public throughout the violent protests were in dissonance with the measures Government adopted to quell the mayhem, but rather, he cleverly incited the protesters.
On October 5, 2020, two days preceding the commencement of the #EndSARS protests and whilst the evil plots still smoldered in dark chambers, the Vice President confessed without any judicial probe and against established leadership protocols, SARS brutality against Nigerians. He gingered the intending protesters by saying “I am very concerned, in fact, very angry about what I see, happening to young men and women who are arrested, in some cases maimed or killed by men of the police force.”
The worse of it all, Prof. Osinbajo for political expediency hastily admitted the alleged shooting and killing of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in a tweet. By his early conclusions, he wittingly convicted Nigerian soldiers before trial, unlike a leader of his status. The posturing of Osinbajo on the matter could better be appreciated on recognition that the early propagandists of the alleged Lekki killings, including excited celebrities are no longer vacating public doubts with evidence to back up such claims.
Perhaps, the Vice President knew what transpired at Lekki better than eyewitness, like DJ Switch who is recounting the incident like recollections of a malnourished child with unpardonable distortions. And come to think of it, a judicial panel has just been constituted to probe the alleged Lekki shootings and killings. Deliberately, Osinbajo was hastily too flippant on such a sensitive matter unlike a leader.
Furthermore, the Vice President completely ignored consultation with Mr. President before making some of the inciting public statements. Nearly 10 days after the EndSARS protests turned bloodily violent, Osinbajo again tweeted on his verified Twitter handle; “Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorry.”
But Osinbajo knew, and as would later be admitted by President Buhari’s nationwide address that Government quickly responded to some of the immediate demands of the protesters. Government disbanded SARS on the fourth day of the protests (October 11, 2020), ordered arrest and prosecution of suspected culprits and a promise to carry out a total reform of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) which bows to time.
Regrettably, Osinbajo detached himself from the actions of Government in resolving the issues and preferred to push his private agenda on escalating the crisis. And his poster boy, Femi Falana immediately aligned with Osinbajo in the false claims that the Federal Government and other authorities “ought to have moved speedily to address the demands of the protesters.” It was unconcealed, both were pursuing a secret agenda and rather preferred the brutality of the #EndSARS protesters on innocent Nigerians and its continuation than abatement.
The Vice President worked in direct antithesis with Mr. President on the crisis. He never pretended to be a problem solver, but an aggravator. And even the shedding of blood of security personnel and innocent Nigerians could not prick his conscience to observe restraint.
The political leader of Southwest, and APC national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu believed to be the political pillar of Prof. Osinbajo and a close ally of Femi Falana was also passive. He refused to call the duo to order until very belatedly after enough damage had occurred. Tinubu is therefore vicariously complicit in the incitement and killings of the innocent, especially policemen, some of whom were burnt alive by protesters.
Tinubu maintained comfortable silence until a lecturer in the department of History and International Relations at the University of Ibadan, Prof. Alexander Adebisi punctured it. He accused Tinubu of sponsoring the protests to discredit the leadership of President Buhari.
The lecturer claimed, Tinubu felt his 2023 Presidential ambition was threatened, as the APC was unlikely to hand him its Presidential ticket. So, bankrolling the protests is meant to destabilize the country and rubbish achievements of the Buhari Presidency.
Therefore, it is time for Nigerian activists to rise up and critically assess the roles and influence of these prominent leaders in the shedding of blood of innocent Nigerians. Their direct and vicarious links to the mobsters who perpetrated these crimes against humanity is likely to qualify them as guests/accomplices in the accused box of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
Ibekwe is a human rights campaigner based in Enugu.
Troops Foil Boko Haram Attempts To Infiltrate Dikwa Town
The troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have decisively routed elements of Boko Haram Terrorists and their Islamic State of West Africa Province(ISWAP) counterpart who attempted to infiltrate and attack Dikwa town in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.
The terrorist groups who stormed the town in an unconfirmed number of gun trucks and motorcycles were visited with heavy bombardment and overwhelming firepower by troops of 81 Task Force Battalion with reinforcement from other formations of the Nigerian Army and aided by air support of Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
The terrorists attempted to invade the town to loot food items and other logistics having got wind of the recent food distribution to residents of the town by the state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum.
They came in their droves through the Marte axis but could not gain access to the town due to the combat readiness of troops who were positioned there.
The terrorists subsequently lost initiative as they were cut off completely following the recent successful recapture of Marte town by the gallant troops.
In desperation and to scare off residents from returning to their homes, they planted series of landmines on the roads which were also detected and successfully detonated by troops.
Consequently, the Army Headquarters wishes to debunk the unsubstantiated reports on social media suggesting that the terrorists attacked UN Base in BORNO, trapping 25 Aid Workers as published by some outlets.
Those false and sensational reports are clearly aimed at stirring up tension in the region and diminishing the glaring efforts and sacrifices of the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency.
The COAS, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, has commended the efforts of the gallant troops’ and the prompt response of the Air Task Force in providing air interdictions throughout the operation.
Apologise To Abia Gov Or Face Recall, Kogi West Youths Tell Adeyemi
A group called Concerned Kogi West Youths has called on the Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, to immediately apologise to Abia State governor, Victor Ikpeazu, over his uncomplimentary comment on the latter or face recall from the Senate.
A statement issued by the group and signed Mr Michael Oluwaseun Bolorunduro on Monday said Senator Adeyemi must apologise to the Abia governor and the people of Abia State within seven days or be ready for the consequence.
The youths, however, apologised on behalf of the Kogi West people to Governor Ikpeazu for the “behaviour” of Senator Adeyemi on the floor of the Senate during a debate on the Safe School Initiative agaisnt the backdrop of incessant attacks on schools by bandits in the North last week.
“We the concerned Kogi West Youth are writing to apologise for the behaviour of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, recently on the floor of the Hallowed Chamber.
“It took us this long to react or respond to his ungentlemanly attitude because the character trait that he displayed is alien to our culture in Kogi West. We tried to know reasons for such reactions and alas, we couldn’t find any justifiable and sensible reason for such.
“We, too, were personally shocked and offended by his actions and utterances which were a direct contravention of the values of dignity and good mannerism that we teach in our locality.
“We all know that emotions can get heated, but it does not excuse the language and behavior of our representative,” the group said.
They added that they as “wise constituents” have decided “to right the wrong of the malady and public show of shame as displayed by Senator Smart Adeyemi” to apologise and as well demand apology from Adeyemi.
“It is on this note that we demand that Senator Smart Adeyemi within seven days apologise at the same Hallowed Chamber of the Senate for his uncontrollable utterances against the governor and people of Abia State or face recal,” Bolorunduro declared.
COVID-19: Coalition Salutes FG, NPHCDA Overall Early Arrival Of Vaccine
With the expected arrival of coronavirus vaccines into the country on Tuesday, the National Coalition on Vaccine Awareness and Administration (NCVAA) has applauded the Federal Government and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The group, at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, noted that this is a big step in containing the rampaging contagion that has consumed millions across the world.
Nigeria will become the third West African country to benefit from the COVAX facility after Ghana and the Ivory Coast when it receives 3.92 million doses of the vaccine.
And the convener, Gabriel Agogo, speaking on behalf of the coalition, said Nigeria can not be left alone in the global immunisation against the disease, especially with the conspiracy theories and propaganda being peddled around.
He urged all Nigerians to become agents of this public awareness and actively partake in the immunization to protect ourselves, our families and the public health of the nation.
The NCVAA, however, called on all Nigerians irrespective of partisan, religious and ethnic affiliations to come out en mass to mobilize their families and friends for the Covid-19 vaccine administration as a way of totally defeating the spread of the coronavirus disease and saving humanity from its destruction.
Read the full statement below:
The leadership and members of the National Coalition on Vaccine Awareness and Administration (NCVAA) salutes and welcome all of you to this press conference. We also salute the courage and perseverance of Nigerians in the firm determination to fight Covid-19 to a standstill by observing the Government protocols to curtail its spread. Our case would have been worse, had Nigerians failed to imbibe self-discipline.
As all of you are aware, we have lost thousands of our brothers and sisters to the pandemic since it broke out in Wuhan, China in February 2020 and became a world health threat. And many more people infected by the virus are still hospitalized in different hospitals in the country. We prayerfully wish them a speedy recovery.
But the good news is that majority of Nigerians are uninfected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is this larger population of Nigerians free from the venom of the Covid-19 pandemic that our Government is more interested in insulating from the deadly disease. It is in this light that we have decided to create public awareness of the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine for immunization through this press conference and other necessary public enlightenment activities, to attract massive public awareness to it.
Therefore, we have decided to address Nigerians and draw their attention to the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country and the kick-start of the Covid-19 vaccine immunization exercise nation-wide. The vaccine is a proactive public health safety measure, which we believe will automatically arrest the spread of Covid-19 and put a halt to the other public inconveniences it causes if all of us avail ourselves to the immunization which is free of charge to everyone.
We wish to let all Nigerians know that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has acquired and taken possession of millions of dosages of the Covid-19 vaccine. It is a scientifically approved immunization vaccine, certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for onward worldwide circulation to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Nigeria cannot afford to be left out of this global trend. Nigerians should therefore emulate other very religious nations like Saudi Arabia, Rome, India, Australia, Sweden and a host of other countries worldwide which have accepted the Covid-19 vaccine and immunized their people with it. These countries have overcome the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of the intake of the Covid-19 vaccine. And with our collective resolve now, we shall also overcome it.
We find it imperative to emphasize this point because of the underground campaigns, conspiracy theories and propaganda peddled by perpetual anti-progressive forces in the country, who have aligned the Covid-19 vaccine to some unproven and barbaric death claims. There is no scintilla of truth in these negative assertions on the Covid-19 vaccine
Permit us to sound it loud and clear that the Covid-19 vaccine is approved by WHO, the global health body, after several scientific and clinical tests, before certifying it as safe for all humanity. So, in Nigerian, we must guide against repeating the same mistake which opposed the idea of launching a G5 network for telecoms in Nigeria. We are too enlightened to be deceived by those who wish us no good.
Nigeria is a very strategic country in the African continent, which cannot afford indifference or antipathy in the global fight against the deadly Covid-19 epidemic. NCVAA is aware of the campaigns of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the Covid-19 vaccine and has decided to add its voice to it. We expect all Nigerians to become agents of this public awareness and actively partake in the immunization to protect ourselves, our families and the public health of the nation.
NCVAA is hereby calling on all Nigerians irrespective of partisan, religious and ethnic affiliations to come out en mass to mobilize their families and friends for the Covid-19 vaccine administration as a way of totally defeating the spread of the coronavirus disease and saving humanity from its destruction. We must resolve today to victoriously conquer the Covid-19 pandemic, in the same manner, we defeated Ebola, bird flu, SARS which occurred years back.
The Covid-19 vaccine is advantageous in several ways. Socially, the immunization against Covid-19 will secure us against contracting the coronavirus disease and ensure greater chances of our freedom from other allied ailments which comes with the Coronavirus and restore our social and communal interactions.
The Covid-19 vaccine is not only capable of saving the lives of the entire humanity, but it can completely prevent hospitalizations’ and the mass deaths we have experienced in the past over Covid-19. It will save us from agonies and pains associated with it. All conspiracy’s theories against the vaccine should therefore be discarded.
Also, medical scientists and researchers who have painstakingly worked and developed the Covid-19 vaccine have attested to its nearly 100% effectiveness at preventing other related severe illnesses related to it, like the common cold amongst others. Taking the vaccine is akin to the popular African proverb which alludes to someone using one stone to kill two birds.
Furthermore, a general public immunization against Covid-19 nation-wide in Nigeria would ease the Government lockdowns and other disproportionate or stifling public health measures, which causes us varying disruptions in our everyday operations. This is why we have found it expedient to endorse the NPHCDA Campaigns. It is now a direct invitation to every Nigerian not only to take the vaccine but become the chief propagandists of this good message of redemption from the grip of Covid-19.
NCVAA profoundly thanks the Almighty God for His Grace upon us; we salute the medical scientists for their wisdom in developing the Covid-19 vaccine and finally, the FGN under President Buhari for securing the vaccines and their early delivery to us. It shows we have a Government and a leader who is sensitive to the public health of Nigerians. We immensely thank all of you.
Thank you all and journey mercies to your various destinations.
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