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Lekki Shooting: Activists Berate CNN Over Unprofessional, Biased Documentary, Say It Is Abuse Of Fair-Reportage

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The Coalition Against Fake News (CAFN) has lashed out at Cable News Network (CNN) over its report on the Lekki shooting in Lagos State.

According to the CAFN, the American television channel was unprofessional and biased with its reportage that alleged that troops of the Nigerian Army used live bullets during the EndSARS protests.

Comrade Finba Edmond, its Executive Converner, speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, said the report by CNN is only a mere rehash of the existing narrative that has been faulted by different independent bodies in Nigeria and across the world. 

According to the coalition, the video released on Wednesday was with the intent of misleading the general public, correlating an agenda bent on destabilizing Nigeria. 

The coalition, however, warned Nigerians as well as the international community about distractors envious of the considerable gains recorded in the country in all aspect of socio-economic life.  

It also urged Nigerians to come to terms with the realization that the nation is up against an “international conspiracy to derail and thwart our nascent democracy by sowing the seed of discord in the polity to cause a crisis of unimaginable proportion”. 

Read full statement below:

The Coalition Against Fake News is holding this press conference given the recent video released by the Cable News Network (CNN) on the incidence at the Lekki Tollgate during the EndSARS Protests.  

It is imperative that issues must be put in proper perspective for the generality of members of the public, and under no circumstance should Fake News be allowed to fester due to its negative consequences. 

It must be stated that indeed there is a sinister motive by some vested interests to destabilize Nigeria and these individuals and groups have been most ferocious in this enterprise not minding the socio-economic implication of their actions. 

Sadly, the CNN has ironically joined the bandwagon of fake news promoters with its recently released video alleging that soldiers used live bullets and fired into the crowd of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate. 

The Coalition Against Fake News sees the action of the CNN as a mere rehash of the existing narrative that has been faulted by different independent bodies in Nigeria with regards to what transpired at the Lekki Tollgate. 

What the CNN did was to tow the same line by aggregating videos that were already in circulation and introduced a slant that would give credence to the narrative that soldiers used live bullets and indeed deaths were recorded.

We are consequently constrained to believe that the introduction of the CNN into the issues at hand is as a result of the testimony of the Nigerian Army at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution which indeed out issues in proper perspectives. 

The Coalition Against Fake News as an independent group that has devoted substantial time and resources to research on a wide array of issues of public concern in Nigeria is appalled that the CNN would undertake to spread Fake News with impunity with regards to the EndSARS protest in Nigeria. 

The CNN not only attempted to turn the truth on its head, but it also delved into an area it has minimal understanding of the undercurrents and the subsequent escalation of violence that led to the destruction of properties as well as the loss of human lives.

It is also curious that the CNN report for inexplicable reasons elected to ignore the fact that the once peaceful protest was hijacked by some sponsored thugs and hoodlums that wreaked havoc through the burning of police stations in parts of Lagos state as well as the barbaric way police officers were murdered in cold blood under the guise of EndSARS protests.  

This is indeed an indication that there is a lot that meets the eyes with the EndSARS protest given the fact that as the dust is gradually settling, the CNN has so decided to recycle the issues that are being addressed at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution. 

It is our view that the recent video released by CNN is meant to serve the purpose of misleading the general public. It might not be farfetched if those vested interests that are bent on destabilizing Nigeria are the brain behind it. 

That the CNN elected to be so used as a tool for the weaponization of fake news against the Nigerian state and her citizenry is indeed despicable and should be condemned by all discerning individuals and groups. 

We wish to consequently inform all Nigerians as well as the international community that the recently released video by the CNN is indeed the handiwork of distractors that are envious of the considerable gains recorded in Nigeria in all aspect of our socio-economic life.  

Nigerians must as a result of this come to terms with the realization that Nigeria is up against an international conspiracy to derail and thwart our nascent democracy by sowing the seed of discord in the polity to cause a crisis of unimaginable proportion. 

It is also our considered opinion that the use of CNN to further their agenda against Nigeria is ultimately targeted at the Nigerian Army as an institution that has been protective of democracy in Nigeria. 

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the Nigerian Army is under constant and scathing attacks by individuals and groups with the ultimate aim of demeaning the efforts of the Nigerian Army so far in preserving the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as the entrenchment of our nascent democracy. 

The Coalition Against Fake News is using this medium to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to view the video by the CNN with a pinch of salt as multiple indicators suggest that it is sponsored against the interest of Nigeria. That the CNN has joined the fray of fake new merchants should give us a reason to be alarmed as the forces against Nigeria are more than we can imagine. 

The Coalition Against Fake News wishes to state in unequivocal terms that the involvement of the CNN has indeed raised a red flag that indeed our democracy is under a threat of unimaginable proportion and hence the need for Nigerians to be wary of fake news merchants.

We must, at this point come to terms with the reality on the ground and join hands with the government in addressing the threat posed by fake news merchants, else we might all have ourselves to blame.

The CNN has by this action indicated that it has a bitter agenda in Nigeria. A word is enough for the wise. 

I thank you all for taking out time to attend this press conference. The Coalition Against Fake News would continue to dissect issues of public concern in the overall interest of Nigeria. 

Thank you. 

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Group Holds Grand Rally In Support Of Buhari’s Administration 

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Some well-meaning Nigerians, under the aegis of National Rebirth Movement (NRM), on Tuesday, held a ‘grand rally’ at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. 

The group also pledged to defend the country’s unity amidst destabilisation attempts by “agents of darkness, coup plotters and foreign elements”.

In his address, National Coordinator, Augustine Richard Adie, said the rally is a strong message to those that do not wish Nigeria well in its quest for sustainable growth and development.

He noted that the grand plan is to discredit the giant strides of President Buhari before Nigerians and the international community. 

According to Adie, the current challenges faced in the country is a manifestation of a high level of disdain for the president for standing on the side of truth and the teeming Nigerian population. 

On behalf of the group, Adie expressed total support and absolute belief in the leadership style and strides of the president over the years .

The National Rebirth Movement, therefore, called on all Nigerians to extend their support to President Buhari, noting that the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct. 

It, however, assured that the evil plots against the nation and the president will fail if Nigerians come together. 

Read the full speech below: 

“Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey To serve our fatherland With love and strength and faith The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain to serve with heart and might one nation bound in freedom, peace and Unity.”  

Nigeria is indeed a great nation with good people. That we are all gathered here for this grand rally is a testament of absolute patriotism and an unflinching belief in the potentials of Nigeria as a country of great economic and social advantage on the African continent and the world at large. 

I can’t but warmly welcome you all in the spirit of one Nigeria where our hopes and aspirations are being translated into tangible realities under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. The National Rebirth Movement convoked this rally for the simple reason that Nigeria is going through a most trying period with the activities of those that have elected to stand the truth on its head, and therefore there arises the need for the reawakening of our consciousness to the threat posed to peace and unity by these agents of darkness that have been ferociously attacking the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.   

Please permit me to use this medium to commiserate with President Muhammadu Buhari and the good people of Nigeria over the death of over 40 citizens in Zarbamari in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and relatives, and it is our prayers that God comforts them and grant them the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss. 

This grand rally is meant to send a strong message to those that do not wish Nigeria well in its quest for sustainable growth and development. That we have congregated in our numbers is not for political purposes, but rather a coming together of patriotic Nigerians that are desirous of a Nigeria of our dreams where peace and unity shall reign supreme. 

It is no longer a secret that these are indeed trying times in Nigeria because there is a well-orchestrated campaign of calumny against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its efforts towards addressing the myriads of politically motivated challenges in the country. 

We must understand that the happenings in the country are not a function of ineffective leadership as they want us to believe, but rather the manifestation of a high level of disdain for President Muhammadu Buhari for standing on the side of truth and the teeming Nigerian population. 

Consequently, this grand rally is to show our support and absolute belief in the leadership style and strides of President Muhammadu Buhari over the years in his quest to make Nigeria a better and prosperous country that this generation and indeed the future generation of Nigerians would be proud of. 

This rally is also against coup plotters, agents of destabilization and foreign elements conspiring against Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, for we know that they desire that Nigeria disintegrates into chaos. But they won’t have their way for Nigerians are resolute to protect the country from these marauders. 

We know their ultimate game plan is to discredit the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari before Nigerians and the international community. They want to paint a picture of incompetence as a justification for their evil desire for a change of government through unorthodox means such as the fuelling of violence across the country. 

In all of these, we wondered what percentages of the Nigerian population are against President Muhammadu Buhari and what is the percentage that is in support of President Muhammadu Buhari. We realized that it was only a minute percentage that is against the leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari and this disapproval is for selfish reasons and not in the overall interest of the country. 

They are all out to rubbish the many gains of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration by instigating and promoting insecurity across the country. They are also out to ensure that the country remains ungovernable by all means necessary, not minding whose ox is gored. 

The National Rebirth Movement is at the forefront of this grand rally to impress it upon those that are against the unity of Nigeria that indeed the country is behind President Muhammadu Buhari come rain and come shine. And our gathering here for the grand rally indeed buttresses it. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has done excellently well in the past six years, and the only responsibility we owe him is to continue to extend our support to his administration as it weathers through the myriads of challenges in the country.  

We must not sit and watch while some wicked and selfish individuals that parade themselves as democrats and with the active support of some external forces destroy our country. They have come under various nomenclatures in recent times. However, we are convinced that their plots against Nigeria will fail as usual.

The National Rebirth Movement calls on all Nigerians to extend their support to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct. As such, we must do all within our means to ensure that all those that have conspired and ganged up against the unity of the country are put to shame. 

The time is indeed now because enough is enough for all of those that do not mean well for the country. For we are resolute in this demand to ensure that peace and unity shall be the lot of Nigeria for Nigeria is a nation bound in freedom peace and unity. 

It is also our desire that the God of creation, should direct our noble cause, to guide our leader’s right and help our youth the truth to know in love and honesty to grow And living just and true great lofty heights attained to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

Therefore I say we must pledge to Nigeria our country to be faithful, loyal and honest. To serve Nigeria with all our strength to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory so help us, God. Amen. 

Thank you all, and God bless Nigeria.

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#EndSARS: Situation Report Decries Human Rights Abuses By Protesters, Hoodlums

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The Civil Situation Room has called for an immediate suspension of the #EndSARS protests across the country over human rights abuses. 

The situation room, consisting of over 100 human rights groups said the protests have taken a violent twist in recent days, infringing on the rights of other citizens and entrenching criminal activities.

Protests demanding an end to Police brutality entered its 12th day on Monday despite the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and subsequent formation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). 

In the last couple of days, the exercise has become fierce, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Benin. 

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, coordinator of the Situation Room on #EndSARS Comrade Adamu Kabir Matazu said protesters are now involved in abuses, depriving people of their lives. 

He, however, urged leaders of thought all over the world to prevail on the #EndSARS protesters to respect the rights of other citizens.

Comrade Kabir also urged the Federal Government to “change its approach of allowing some people run riot simply because they are hiding under the identity of youth to protest”. 

He said the FG must step in to bring order and sanity to stop the protesters from interfering with the ordinary citizens and preventing people from going about their legitimate businesses.   

Read full statement below:

Gentlemen of the press, we are pleased to welcome you to this press conference which is called to address issues arising from #EndSARS protests. You will recall that when the incidents of police brutality first became topical and Nigerians decided to protest against it all of us joined without hesitation. At the start of these protests everyone was focused on issues while highlighting the need to call operatives of SARS unit to order with the demand that the unit must be scrapped. 

It was reassuring that the federal government and the Nigeria Police Force were responsive by immediately scrapping SARS. Further agitation from protesters saw to it that the government agreed to a five-point demand from protesters. These demands were geared towards wholesomely reforming the police. From the way we see it the demands that were tabled included items that should be dealt with immediately, on this short term, on the midterm, and long term. 

As outlined, we realize that it will take time for each set of demands to be implemented depending on whether it’s something that will be done immediately or something that will cover a period of months or years. The logic is that protesters will then allow the government time to implement these demanded changes. 

This perhaps informed the decision of some people to drop out of the protest because they want the government to have time to respond to the things that they have asked for. This does not in any way negate the rights of those who decided that they will continue to protest in fact we seem that they now moved beyond the demand for police reform to include other things, some of them are even asking for the sack of the government, which was not something that was originally on the table. 

What this means is that serious minded people returned to their legitimate businesses and activities while waiting to see how the government implement the changes that they have demanded. From the way we look at it, this has made those who are still protesting to change their tactics by doing things to force others to become part of the protest. We now see them increasingly blocking roads in a way that prevents people from getting to their workplaces, from getting to their places of business, and even in some instances from accessing lifesaving treatment. 

In Abuja for instance, protesters obstructed the airport road, knowing that it is a major access for people traveling out of the city and heading to the airport to catch their flights. A particularly sad outcome from this was the case of the woman reportedly in labor, who died because she could not get to the hospital for lifesaving intervention. In the same city, there are reported incidents of motorists getting their vehicles smashed in by the unruly protesters. In Osun state, there was the sad incident of protesters attacking the state governor, they then went on rampage and burnt down a mall in the state capital. 

In Benin City, Edo state: Protesters broke into two  prisons  and set free inmates that include hardened criminals, killed two police officers and set numerous properties on fire . They also set up bonfires, obstructed free flow of traffic and serially manhandled security operatives.

Ibadan, Oyo State: protesters obstructed the road and forced people to trek long distances while those going about their legitimate business were harassed endlessly. Lives of innocent citizens have also been lost in this state. 

Lagos is also lockdown from the protesters, who made harassment of those not supporting their protests a standard modus operandi.

In other cases, the information we are getting is that protesters are randomly shooting at people, killing them, and depriving them of their lives apparently in their bid to frame law enforcement agencies to be  responsible for killing protesters. This perverted strategy is intended to make the government appear as being repressive and the law enforcement agencies as engaging in human rights abuses. 
 
In reality, it is the protesters that are now involved in abuses. They are the ones who obstruct people from having free access to move around, they are the ones who prevent people from seeking their daily livelihood, they are the ones beating people up, they are the ones destroy people’s property and they are the ones depriving people of their lives, Where are the ones hacking into people’s digital accounts and making publishing private information of public office holders and government employees thereby depriving people of their right to privacy. 

We the coalition of civil society groups numbering over 100 are therefore saying that #EndSARS protesters must stop the growing cases of human rights abuses that are being recorded at their protests. We cannot be campaigning against right abuses and then become guilty of things that we are against. 

We like to conclude this briefing by stating that: we are calling on leaders of thought all over the world to prevail on #EndSARS protesters to respect the rights of other citizens. 

We further demand that they prevail on the government to change its approach of allowing some people run riot simply because they are hiding under the identity of youth to protest. The government must step in to bring order and sanity to the protests whilst the protesters continued to interfere with the ordinary citizens and stopping people from going about their legitimate businesses is unfair, inhuman and unacceptable. We call on the international community, the US Ambassadors to Nigeria, British High Commissioner to Nigeria and all men of good conscience to call the errant members of the protests to order.

We fear that these innocent citizens will be forced to defend themselves if nothing is urgently done. 

Thank you and God bless you all.

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APC States Consider 6 Months Maternity Leave, Exclusive Breastfeeding

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States controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have proposed to implement six months maternity leave as well as exclusive breastfeeding in a move to promote a framework for promoting child nutrition.

The proposal was contained in a communique issued Thursday in Abuja at the end of a virtual meeting of Secretaries to State Governments of APC-controlled states held under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).

The meeting which had as its theme, ‘Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Maternal & Child Nutrition Promotion in APC States’, had the overarching objective of identifying salient and common initiatives of Maternal and Child Nutrition that can be replicated across all the APC-controlled States.

Co-Chairman of PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee, governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state declared the meeting open, while governor Mohammed Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa state, declared it close.

In the communique signed by Alhaji Adamu Fanini and Prof. Danladi Atu, SSGs of Jigawa and Plateau states respectively, participants said “in view of the importance of parental support for children at birth and the health of the nursing parents, the meeting recommended that APC controlled states should prioritise implementation of 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for women.

“The meeting observed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the growth and general health of a child and therefore recommended that APC controlled states should encourage and support women to practice six months exclusive breastfeeding for children from birth.”

The meeting equally noted the importance of information and how it affects the attitudes of citizens towards issues of nutrition. It therefore urged APC-controlled states to design a special communication strategy to raise public awareness on malnutrition and its consequences.

“The meeting observed that there is no institutional framework for the implementation of programmes on food and nutrition in some states and therefore resolved that APC controlled states should set up State Committees on Food and Nutrition to relate with all FG programmes on Food and Nutrition and coordinate PGF’s implementation framework on child Nutrition in APC controlled state.

“The meeting equally encouraged each APC controlled state to continually give Status Report on what currently obtains in their state with a view to creating a template that reflects the current status of each APC state on Child Nutrition and each SGS should nominate the focal person for their state to relate with the PGF Secretariat on the implementation”, the communique stated further.

The meeting also adopted the PGF Secretariat’s proposal for follow up meetings with Commissioners of Health, Education and Agriculture of APC controlled States in order to develop sectoral work plans for the implementation of the approved framework on “Promoting Child Nutrition in APC states, Challenges and Opportunities for Action.”

The meeting held following the Progressive Governors’ approval of the framework which was recommended by the 9th Meeting of Secretaries to Governments of APC Controlled States held in April 2020.

The meeting had reviewed the current status of child and maternal nutrition in APC states and considered implementation proposal by the PGF Secretariat.

Participants therefore agreed to continually share information, ideas and knowledge through its quarterly meetings and the PGF Secretariat to promote synergy across member-States and facilitate greater cooperation for uniform or common policy initiatives geared towards sustainable development.

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