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Covid-19 Alliance, Crisis Merchants Escalated #EndSARS Protests to Chaos – Centre

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A special report by the Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management (CHRCM) has blamed Femi Falana-led Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond for the escalation of violence in the aftermath of the shooting at Lekki toll gate in Lagos State.

In the report signed by its special rapporteur, Dr Thomas Uzah, on Friday, the centre exonerated the Nigerian Army of any wrongdoing at Lekki or anywhere else in Nigeria.

The centre said it came to this conclusion after a detailed investigation and analysis of the chain of events that eventually led to the breakdown of law and order in Lagos and other parts of the country.

Among others, the report said Falana mobilised social media influencers to project the government as insensitive to the demands of the youths; mustered logistics for street protest and rallied celebrities through his musician son, Folarin Falana (Falz) to discredit the government’s efforts towards reforming the Police.

The report noted that fake news in the form of press statements and social media trends were deployed by Falana and his group to ensure that the protests gathered momentum despite the government’s assurances.

As part of its recommendations, the centre, however, called on relevant authorities to identify those individuals and groups that incited the people into resorting to acts of violence.

It also suggested that Falana should appear before an investigative panel of inquiry to give an account of the activities of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond.

Read full report below:

Introduction:
There has recently been an astronomical level of violence across the country, especially in Lagos state; from looting and destruction of public and private properties to social amenities and business concerns.

This indeed necessitated the imposition of a 24-hour curfew by the Lagos state government in a bid to bring the conflict in the state to a halt. Consequently, the Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management commissioned a special rapporteur to investigate the immediate cause of the escalation of violence in Lagos and other parts of the country.

The report looked extensively on the various conspiracy theories at play and indeed separated the facts from the falsehoods, as well as those individuals and groups whose actions and inactions were responsible for the escalation of violence.

The issues:

The peaceful protest by the youths demanding for the reform of the Nigerian Police Force was ostensibly hijacked by some thugs and hoodlums that went on rampage looting, maiming and killing innocent persons going about their normal businesses.

The crisis was further escalated by the activities of fake news merchants that utilized the social media space in propagating fibs that eventually heated the polity to boiling point.

It was also observed that the protest was hijacked from the moment the protesters refused to leave the streets even after the government had agreed to their five demands and initiated moves for dialogue, which was turned down and instead police formations and units became subject of attack, leading to deaths and injuries.

It was also observed that some individuals and organizations were discreetly propelling the youths to remain on the streets in defiance of the peace overtures made by the government at the federal and state levels.

Indeed groups such as The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, led by Femi Falana (SAN) prominently heated the polity in several ways that include but not limited to; mobilizing social media influencers to project the government as insensitive to the demands of the youths; mobilizing logistics for street protest; mobilizing celebrities through his musician son, Folarin Falana (Falz) to discredit the efforts of government towards reforming the Nigerian Police Force as well as a host of other despicable acts that includes inciting press statements and communique.

The Facts:

The Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management after a detailed investigation and analysis of the chain of events that eventually led to the breakdown of law and order in Lagos and other parts of the country identified that proponents of fake news indeed had a field day in ensuring that the protests gathered momentum.

The government of Nigeria as a matter of urgency and in response to the demands made by the youths directed the Inspector General of Police to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and begin the process of evaluating the mental and psychological state of operatives of the disbanded outfit, and consequently the training and retraining of these operatives before redeployment to other police units and formations.

The various state governments also instituted a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate cases of human rights violations by the Nigerian Police and the recommendation of appropriate sanctions to erring officers.

The various law enforcement agents deployed to maintain law and order utilized minimal force and only in extreme cases of excessive looting of public and private concerns and arson that force was exerted to restore law and order.

The Nigerian Army indeed rose to the occasion as the personnel deployed to various hotspots was able to restore law and order without the use of force as multiple pieces of evidence indicates that troops utilized persuasion skills rather than force as erroneously reported in the social media space and other traditional media news mediums.

The Lies:

It remains incomprehensible how a segment of the population would elect to spread outright falsehood in the country to encourage crime and criminality at the detriment of peace and unity.

The Lekki TollGate incident was one of the means that was latched on to escalate violence in Lagos state and other parts of the country. The Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management in its analysis of events indeed identified the ignoble role played by organizations such as The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, led by Femi Falana.

The organization indeed issued statements that were provoking and inciting, wherein it alleged that the government was not responding to the demands of the youths and that it was business as usual in the operations of the disbanded SARS unit.

The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond did instigate the protesters through statements credited to it on the pages of newspapers and other news dissemination channels. It was also observed that the organization had formed a strategic alliance with Sahara Reporters to indiscriminately disseminate information that is inaccurate and to heat the polity and discredit the efforts of government towards the restoration of law and order in the country.

The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 also made several attempts at painting a picture of plans by the government through the Nigerian Army to kill protesters on the street, which indirectly charged the already tensed atmosphere.

Conclusion:

The Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management as a result of this investigation concludes that indeed the immediate cause of the escalation of violence in Lagos state and other parts of the country were are a result of incitements by individuals and organizations. The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, as led by Femi Falana was notorious in this regard with the multiple press statements and releases that were either mischievously or intentionally placed in the media in a manner that suggests ulterior motives.

It must also be noted that the government lost the narrative when it failed to realize that the peaceful protest was being hijacked by some forces when mobs began to target police units and formations, as well as policemen and women on duty.

Recommendations:

The Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management as a result of the findings in this report makes the following recommendations:

That the government must identify those individuals and groups that incited the people into resorting to acts of violence

That the Femi Falana led Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond should be held liable for the escalation of violence in the country and for leading an uprising against the country and plunging the nation into a crisis of unimaginable proportion.

That Femi Falana should appear before an investigative panel of inquiry to give an account of the activities of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond.

That the government should trace the transactions of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond in the past one month towards ascertaining the level of complicity in the funding of the street protests across the country.

That the security agencies must begin the process of mopping up small and light weapons in circulation in parts of the country.

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Buratai, Other Former Service Chiefs Have Passed Test, Ready To Serve Foreign Missions – Nigeria First

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The Nigeria First movement has welcomed the confirmation of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd) and other immediate past service chiefs as ambassadors designate by the Senate. 

By their confirmation, the group noted the ex-COAS and his counterparts have passed the test, “unblemish in character and therefore fit to serve as heads of our foreign missions”. 

Th group made this known on Thursday in a press statement in Abuja signed by its president, Chief Philip Agbese. 

Owing to their trackrecord from a highly professional background, Agbese expressed optimism that they will deploy their wealth of knowledge and experience to bear on their new assignments.

He, however, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the diplomats are deployed to countries where their impact will be most felt.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for finding the former military chiefs worthy, Chief Agbese added that he should deploy them to countries with the needed military technology relevant to Nigeria’s current security situation which will help improve military cooperation between the two countries.

Read full statement below: 

On behalf of NIGERIA FIRST, May l commend the Senate for performing this important function. This is a patriotic act.

One of the important ingredients of democracy is the separation of powers.It is on this tripod of this power separation that good governance thrives. The confirmation exercise by the Senate is therefore, a confirmation that arms of the Nigerian government are working in the overall interest of national development.

Ambassadors are important in world affairs.

They represent and protect the interest and nationals of their states. They also initiate and facilitate strategic agreements ,treaties,conventions,promote information, trade and commerce, technology, friendly relations etc.Their negotiation skills and expertise are therefore significant in  meeting these functions.

Having been confirmed as Ambassadors,the next thing is posting to their respective states. By their confirmation, Lt. Gen TY Buratai (rtd) and others have passed the test as unblemish in character and therefore fit to serve as heads of our foreign missions. 

It’s instructive to note that these Nigerians have been called from highly professional backgrounds for this important assignment. We are optimistic that they will  deploy their wealth of knowledge and  experience to bear on their new ssignments 

We therefore call on the federal government to ensure that our diplomats are deployed to countries where their impact will be most felt. This can be done by  taking advantage of their background to decide which country each is posted to.

For instance, our immediate past service chiefs can be deployed to such countries where their military background becomes handy in negotiating military pacts  on behalf of our country more so that our dear country is passing through security challenges. As service chiefs,their involvement in the nation’s defence system must have placed them in a strategic position to further improve  our security architecture.

In view of their background, we are tempted to conclude that posting them to countries with  the needed military technology relevant to our  current security situation in the country will help improve military cooperation between the two countries.

This is why we passionately appeal that the background of the Ambassadors be used as a yardstick for their posting .This way,we will feel the impact of their representation.

Once again, we commend  the  Senate for performing this important assignment of their confirmation .

We also most humbly commend President Buhari for finding them worthy to serve as our representatives abroad .

Thanks and God bless you.

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Ambassadors Designate: Sowore Suffering From Failed Revolution Hangover – NICreL

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The New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICreL) says Omoyele Sowore’s attempt to incite Nigerians in the diaspora against the ambassadors designate shows that he is yet to recover from his failed insurrection bid.

The group, in a statement on Wednesday, said the former presidential aspirant is suffering from a waned revolution hangover, one that has impaired his capacity to process ideas, thoughts, utterances and actions expected of right-thinking members of the society.

According to the statement signed by its Executive Director, Rev Steven Onwu, the NICreL urged Nigerians in the Diaspora to ignore Sowore, whom it noted, is goading them to possibly violate the laws in their countries of domicile while he shuttles between New York and Nigeria extorting high ranking persons through blackmail.

The group further cautioned Nigerians abroad to avoid anything that would lead to their repatriation to Nigeria and eventually become hirelings and rented protesters for Sowore’s failed revolution.

While describing the former service heads as worthy ambassadors who served the nation meritoriously as military chiefs, the group urged Nigerians to actively flag and report Sowore’s inciteful post.

The NICreL, however, advised the RevolutionNow convener to voluntarily commit himself to a mental health facility especially now that mental health issues are gaining better recognition and improving attention in Nigeria.

Read the full statement below:

The New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICreL) has noted with disgust the attempt by failed revolutionist and pro-terrorists’ activists, Omoyele Sowore to incite Nigerians in the diaspora against the ambassadors designate recently confirmed by the Senate. We recognize that Sowore is suffering from failed revolution hangover, one that has greatly impaired his capacity to process ideas, thoughts, utterances and actions on the basis expected of right-thinking members of the society.

In a new low in Sowore’s rapid descent into the irresponsible, he wrote on his Facebook page that “Dear Nigerians in the Diaspora: If Tukur Buratai or any of the criminal former Buhari service chiefs is (are) sent to your domain anywhere in the world please chase them back to Nigeria in sustained protest! Remember they are only fit to be sent to the ICC in The Hague #BuhariMustGo #OccupyNigeria #RevolutionNow”

Ordinarily, knowing that Sowore is mentally and reality-challenged, efforts should not be dissipated replying to his rabidity against the ambassadors designate, who served the nation meritoriously as military chiefs. However, we are concerned that unwary Nigerians in the diaspora may be misled into heeding his criminal incitement, which would ultimately lead to such hapless persons being arrested for acting in the manner Sowore suggested and they will then be prosecuted, convicted, serve jail terms before being repatriated to Nigeria while the subjects of their misdirected anger continue to excel in their new roles.

Nigerians in the diaspora should note that Sowore is goading to possibly violate the laws in their countries of domicile while he shuttles between New York and Nigeria extorting high ranking persons through blackmail. Those in the diaspora would want to check the extant rules in their locations so that they will not be repatriated to Nigeria to become hirelings and rented protesters for Sowore’s failed revolution.

This common tout appears desperate in his bid to make other Nigerians into depressed persons as he has become after his serial attempts to overthrow the government of the day through mob action have failed repeatedly. He lost at the poll, his personae tainted the #OccupyNigeria movement, his devious nature truncated his #RevolutionNow movement and even protesters of under #EndSARS chased him away from their protests in Abuja because they know that he stains anything he touches with rot. So rotten is this entity that answers are yet to be found for what to his party’s campaign money in the 2019 Presidential Election he took part in.

NICreL is pleased to note that some of the comments on his inciteful post called him out as someone desperate to destroy Nigeria for reasons known to only him. We urge those who see through his evil plans to actively flag and report his posts as inciting violence so that Facebook and other social media platforms can treat those poisonous posts according to their community standards, which do not tolerate bad behaviour.

On the offline side, Nigerians must begin to educate each other on how there is nothing democratic about a Sowore, who refuses to acknowledge that the Senate exercised the powers bestowed on it by the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended). It is tragic that this maniac once, even as a comedian, aspired to the highest position in the land. The disdain he has shown for the National Assembly and his total lack of decorum for diplomatic relations is confirmation that the 38,000 plus people who voted for him in 2019 should be held in asylums because they must constitute a risk to the country to see anything worth redeeming in Sowore.

We urge Sowore, for whatever it worth, that it is time he gives serious thoughts to voluntarily committing himself to a mental health facility especially now that mental health issues are gaining better recognition and improving attention in Nigeria.

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Insecurity: Calls for Buhari’s resignation terrorists’ propaganda – Pro- Democracy group

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A Pro- Democracy group has described as a terrorists’ propaganda the calls in some quarters for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari over the state of insecurity in the nation.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), said the calls by some few individuals were apparently sponsored by terrorists, who are hell bent on making Nigeria ungovernable.

Recall that a coalition comprising 43 frontline civil society organisations and Femi Falana’s law firm have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign or be removed from office by the National Assembly if he cannot address the persistent insecurity in the country.

According to them, through the balancing, it will be demonstrated “that every part of Nigeria matters as sectional appointments appear to fuel sectional violence.”

Reacting, however, NDF in a statement by its Director, Paul Aliyu, said it has uncovered of a by some coalitions to facilitate further degeneration of the security situation in the country, which they will then use to launch a “Buhari Must Go” protest across the nation

The group, therefore, called on Nigerians and the international community to hold every single group and individual in the coalition responsible for any resulting degeneration in the security situation in the land.
Full text of the statement below.

Gentlemen of the press, you are aware that a coalition made of 43 groups has come out to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari steps down or be impeached by the National Assembly if he does not meet their five-point demand. The basis for this seditious demand is the security breaches in the country, which these groups are claiming that the president has not done anything about.

Without meaning top promote the propaganda that these elements have deployed against the nation, we will repeat their demands here just so we are able to specifically speak to them:

Provide political and moral leadership for the security crisis and ensure governmental actions are humane in tandem with Section 17 (2) ( C ) of the Constitution;
End impunity for abuse of power and sectionalism through his appointments by balancing the need for competence with the federal character principle. In this way, he will demonstrate that every part of Nigeria matters as sectional appointments appear to fuel sectional violence;

Take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state.
Mobilize our rich Nigerian assets to address the insecurity situation across the country and seek international cooperation to ramp up security assets.
Where the President fails to fulfil his constitutional duties as stated above, we demand he steps aside or the National Assembly initiates impeachment proceedings against him on grounds of gross misconduct as provided for in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Before proceeding to speak on these demands, we will first speak on the identify of those making them so that Nigerians can appreciate that they are being taken for a ride by a criminal gang that has remained dissatisfied from the moment their sources of slush and illicit funds were obstructed by the reforms birthed by President Muhammadu Buhari. The collation is an assortment of groups with several interests that have been packaged to appear as being in the best interest of Nigerians but in reality are a danger to the entire country:

The coalition is apparently led in part by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), whose head, Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani) is a board member of Amnesty International and Transparency International – two organizations that are obsessed with confirming Nigeria as a failed state. These are organizations that have invested much in supporting Boko Haram and just any terrorist organization. That can help create a sense of terror and insecurity. It is now apparent that the entire support that Amnesty International and Transparency International has been offering to terrorists was meant to culminate in their Nigeria asset, Rafsanjani, leading a charge to overthrow the government of President Buhari through a coup by the legislature, which he has infiltrated with CISLAC that has been gathering blackmail materials on federal lawmakers.

Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) is another of the NGOs that has over the past few years invested a lot of resources to de-market the government of the day by constantly raising false alarms based on unsubstantiated claims. Its strategy has been to distract the government from functioning using spurious litigation and court cases that have never been pursued to conclusion. What has become apparent now is that these series of court cases were intended to incapacitate the government so that the resulting inaction can be held against Mr. President.

Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE) and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) are NGO wings of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has continued to smart from the serial election losses that it suffered in the hands of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that produced President Buhari. It is understandable that these NGOs are now trying to get through a coup what their client could not win in free and fair elections.
BudgiT Foundation, another signatory to the illicit demands, should have been upfront in declaring that its cofounder, Oluseun Onigbinde, takes instructions from the arch-nemesis of the Buhari government, Oby Ezekwesili. It is another organization that has persistently seen no good in the government especially since Onigbinde discovered that he was not suitable for public office on account of his anti-Nigeria stance canvassed on his social media handles. It is no surprise that organizations like his were quick to jump on the impeach-Buhari wagon.
There is of course the terrorists-supporting Femi Falana Chamber, which has consistently been championing the course of groups that have been declared as terrorists. The legal defence so afforded to these group had made it possible for them to contribute to the lingering insecurity in the land. These are groups that are deployed to distract law enforcement of the military from focusing on major threats to the country.

The situation they created is now being used as justification to demand for President Buhari’s removal.
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria is a fanatical Niger-Delta front that hides under environmental issues to pursue separatist agenda. The list is replete with other groups that are closet separatists, whose interest is in exploiting the prevailing situation to provoke the emergence of micro-nations from Nigeria. Such groups are on the ride to achieve the separatist goals of their main body.

While we are surprised that the media attack dog for this coalition did not make the list of signatories, the presence of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Women In Media on the list is an alarm bell. It shows that these anti-Nigeria elements have infiltrated and possibly compromised the objectivity expected from the media. It speaks to the serial negative reporting that has been deployed against President Buhari with the implication that a lot of what we have been reading about the government is a reflection of what the anti-government coalition wants Nigerians and the world to perceive and not the reality.

From this snapshot of the collation that is seeking to further compromise Nigeria worse than it already did, it is apparent that their demand number 1, that President Buhari should “Provide political and moral leadership for the security crisis and ensure governmental actions are humane in tandem with Section 17 (2) ( C ) of the Constitution” is one that they are already working against. They have been persistent in distracting President Buhari in performing this very task and some of them actively sabotage whatever the country has achieved in this regard.

The second demand that Mr. President should “End impunity for abuse of power and sectionalism through his appointments by balancing the need for competence with the federal character principle. In this way, he will demonstrate that every part of Nigeria matters as sectional appointments appear to fuel sectional violence,” is a sad one. It confirms that the collation is singing from the hymn book of separatists who have been intolerant of other ethnic nationality. It is a demand that is meant to justify the drumbeats of war that have been coming from separatists. It is sad that a collation that is lying about looking out for Nigeria’s interest can be pitching citizens against each other on the basis of political appointments. This is a diss of the efforts of Mr. President in helping on daily basis to restore normalcy to the country.

The recent change of the security chiefs is a sign of a new strategy even though they will build on what the immediate chiefs have achieved. We therefore need to give the new services chiefs the needed time to study the situation and come up with their own strategy.

The collation further demanded that the president should “Take responsibility and end the persecution of the media and free speech both of which are foundations of a democratic state.” Unfortunately, this is the one place that collation has been unfair to Nigerians in that they are asking for a licence to act irresponsibly without consequences. They want a situation where some people, hiding under the media, can incite violence without being held accountable for their actions. They want extant legislation that govern responsible behaviour in information dissemination to be discarded so that they will be at liberty to deploy toxic propaganda to destabilise the Nigerian state.

While this group is asking for the president to “Mobilize our rich Nigerian assets to address the insecurity situation across the country and seek international cooperation to ramp up security assets,” they are doing the exact opposite in contributing to precipitate the security situation in the country. Mr President has been working hard to address the security situation while it is apparent that some people are out to jeopardise his efforts. Nigerians had been wondering who these people are, which makes it a good thing that this coalition has exposed itself as part of those that have been undermining the country’s security for their own selfish end.

Consequently, the collation’s demand that “Where the President fails to fulfil his constitutional duties as stated above, we demand he steps aside or the National Assembly initiates impeachment proceedings against him on grounds of gross misconduct as provided for in Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” is one that Nigerians should hold them accountable for. It is a subtle threat and an exposure of their plan to overthrow the government in any way possible.

The National Democratic Front (NDF) hereby alerts Nigerians to the uncovering of the plot by the coalition to facilitate further degeneration of the security situation in the country, which they will then use to launch a “Buhari Must Go” protest across the nation. We want Nigerians and the international community to hold every single group and individual in the coalition responsible for any resulting degeneration in the security situation in the land. We ask the law enforcement agencies to be at alert, especially with the discovery that the collation is reportedly working on multiple options for distablizing the country further in order to force the president out of office. This is a dangerous threat to our democracy and must not be allowed to evolve.

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