A Nigerian comedian who said he survived coronavirus has urged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to postpone the ongoing National Identification Number registration exercise.
Ace comedian and actor, Atunyota Akpobome better known as Ali Baba, on Friday said government should postpone the exercise in order to curb the spread of coronavirus infection amid the second wave of the pandemic.
According to him, whatever purpose the government wants to achieve with the exercise could be achieved later after the pandemic had subsided.
Ali Baba spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH.
The comedian, who said he recovered from COVID-19 recently, added that no government official paid him to share his Covid battle experience in a video posted on his verified Instagram page.
He stressed that Covid is real but many Nigerians do not believe in its existence in the country because of a trust deficit on the part of the government.
Ali Baba said, “Believability of information from the government is at the lowest ebb right now, especially with the cases of the palliatives that were hidden when people were hungry. Government has not really been in the good books of believability.
“Then to crown it all, in the face of this second wave, you tell people to do National Identification Number registration and people are packing themselves in places. The number of people that are going to catch Covid and become victims of Covid from going to register will be higher than people who go to the beach or people who throw parties.
“So, you can’t, on one hand, say, Covid is real, maintain social distancing and on the other hand, you say, people have to go and queue for the (NIN) registration.
“There are ways we can technologically deal with these things. Information technology has gotten to the point that we really do not need to go to a particular point to register.
“It is not now that there is a pandemic that you should insist on that kind of thing. Let the pandemic be over. Whatever it is can be done later. Whatever purpose you want to achieve can be achieved later.
“It is important that people are considered first. But when you say people should start registering for NIN, it means that you are endangering the people.”
It was earlier reported that workers of the National Identity Management Commission, on Thursday, began an indefinite strike leaving thousands of NIN applicants stranded all over the country.
The workers said the strike had become necessary due to the exposure of staff to COVID-19 risks, lack of personal protective equipment, irregularities in promotion and poor funding.
The Federal Government through the Nigerian Communication Commission had ordered telecommunications companies to deactivate telephone lines of subscribers who failed to link their phones to their National Identity Number.
The government also said telcos subscribers with NIN have January 19 as deadline to link their NIN with their SIM cards while subscribers without NIN have until February 9 to do so.
Capitol Hill Has Exposed Amnesty International, Falana, Others Hypocrisy Against Nigerian Military – Group
The invasion of the United States’ Capitol by pro-Trump protesters has exposed the hypocrisy of Amnesty International, Femi Falana and others in the forefront of the EndSARS movement against the Nigerian military.
This was the submission of the March4Nigeria Movement in reaction to the violent attack of December 6 at the U.S Congress aimed to overturn the presidential election.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Richard Augustine Adie, on Thursday, the group wondered why AI, Falana, Omoyele Sowore, Aisha Yesufu and others have suddenly gone mute after troops were deployed to forestall law and order in the Capitol.
Adie recalled that these group had criticised the military for doing the same in Nigeria despite more wreckage, arson and killings.
According to Adie, the Capitol invasion shows that it isn’t unlawful for the government to deploy troops when the other agencies have been overwhelmed in a situation that requires urgent action.
The group, however, advised the activists and all the EndSARS protesters that the country will no “longer tolerate their madness as the government lives up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property”.
It also warned those who want to destabilise Nigeria that a tall task awaits as they will be met with “Citizens’ Soldiers” who will address their madness on the streets of Abuja without hesitation.
Read the full statement below:
The so called international human rights and civil rights groups and their leaders in Nigeria are not sincere.
During the Anti-SARS protests which rocked major cities and towns in Nigeria last October, these so called civil rights activists and groups frowned at the deployment of troops to quell the violent riots which had claimed the lives of innocent persons and some security agents.
To people like Lagos based lawyer, Femi Falana, online publisher, Omoyele Sowore, BBOG campaigner, Aisha Yesufu, Amnesty International and the rest, it did not matter that people were being killed and multi million dollar edifices and other facilities were being burned while economic activities were grounded.
The only evil they saw was when the government deployed troops to disperse the mob who have overpowered other security agents and restore normalcy.
Then, it was common to hear from the tribe of these activists, that in saner climes like the US and UK, the government would not send troops in such circumstances, but would have invited the rioters to negotiate ways of discontinuing the protests.
Falana even described the mobilization of troops to contain the excesses of the hooligans who had taken to the streets and were burning public property as illegal saying it is oppressive and despotic.
When the Nigerian army announced its plan to carry out operation “CROCODILE SMILE V1” from 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020, the civil rights groups misinterpreted the action and said it was targeted at the EndSARS protesters even when the army explained that it is a yearly exercise that is pre-planned regardless of what is going on in the country.
Said Falana, “The so- called Crocodile Smile VI exercise should be shelved as it cannot be justified under the Armed Forces Act.”
Amnesty International on it’s part says it has been investigating alleged rights violations by Nigerian forces and disapproved of the deployment of troops saying it would rather that the police be strengthened to handle such matters.
The Nigeria Centre for Liberty, led by one Ariyo Dare, also complained about the measures taken by the government to restore normalcy in Lagos.
But the hypocrisy of these activists have been exposed with the recent invasion of Capitol hill by supporters of President Donald Trump in part of an insurrection aimed at shutting down Congress as it formalized President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
The insurrection, just like the EndSARS protests led to several deaths including that of a Capitol Hill police officer, after the pro-Trump mob overwhelmed security lines at the Capitol.
As the hoodlums broke into the complex, the US Government immediately mobilised a quick-reaction force assembled by the Defense Department which moved against the rioters. The Force was stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and authorized for use by acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller.
It was also established that the Pentagon also approved the use of 154 members of the National Guard at the Capitol who were sworn in to work with Capitol Police.
The combined forces were able to arrest people suspected of involvement in the breach and through that, brought the situation under control. It has been reported that more arrests are expected as investigators scrutinize photographs, videos and social media posts to identify the protesters while the F.B.I. has received more than 40,000 tips, including photos and videos of suspects.
To forestall further breaches, the Pentagon is even moving ahead to review agents who will be a part of the security detail for the Jan. 20 inauguration to ensure security.
From these, the Nigerian activists should know that Nigerians have now realised that there’s nothing wrong for a government to take an action that would ensure the safety of citizens and prevent chaos.
Nigerians now know better how their government should handle any security threat and that what matters is the overall interest of the country.
They know what constitutes unpatriotic actd and that it is not unlawful for the government to deploy troops when the other agencies have been overwhelmed in a situation that requires urgent action.
In the past, the civilian government of President Shehu Shagari had deployed troops to quell the Maitatsine riot in Kano when the police were overwhelmed.
The deployment of troops in the US, serves as warning to people like Falana, Sowore and the rest who would rather the country goes up in flames.
These activists and all the endsARS protesters should note that Nigeria and Nigerians will no longer tolerate their madness as the government lives up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property.
Those who want to destabilize Nigeria will from now on have a tall task as they will be met with Citizens’ Soldiers who will address their madness on the streets of Abuja without hesitation.
Centre To UK House Of Lords: Attaching Religion To Insecurity Crisis In Nigeria For Any Sanction Will Harm Humanity
The Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) has warned the House of Lords in the United Kingdom against attaching religion to Nigeria’s security challenges, as any sanction would do the country more harm than good.
The centre, which gave the warning in a press conference on Wednesday, in Abuja, also advised the British parliamentarians to be properly guided in their assessment, noting that any wrong move could lead to a crisis of unimaginable proportion.
In his address, special rapporteur, Professor Peter Maidoki rubbished the call by some lawmakers for sanction on Nigeria over an “erroneous report of the rising number of killings of Christians by terrorists and state actors”.
According to Prof Maidoki, it is wrong to reduce security threats in Nigeria to the fault lines of religion.
The special rapporteur noted that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and his service chiefs have made the most impact in addressing the country’s security challenges and it is unfair to even mutter the idea of sanction.
Prof Maidoki added that both Christians and Muslims have been at the receiving end of the crisis in northern Nigeria.
The CISS, however, advised the House of Lords not to play into the hands of the terrorists based on the ignorance expressed in its report.
The centre further demanded that the lower chamber of the UK’s parliament treats the letter calling for sanctions on Nigeria in a similar manner the world rejected the invasion of the US Capitol.
Instead of such sanction, the CISS urged the parliamentarians and the entire world to join hands with Nigeria to stamp out terrorism.
Read the full statement below:
You are aware that some members of United Kingdom House of Lords have called on the UK Government to apply sanctions on Nigeria based on an erroneous report of the rising number of killings of Christians by terrorists and state actors in Nigeria.
The call, which was contained in a letter to Dominic Raab, MP, UK’s Foreign Secretary, House of Commons, London, was signed by David Patrick Paul Alton, the Lord Alton of Liverpool, a Liberal Democratic member of UK Parliament; Caroline Annex Cox, a cross-bench member of the UK House of Lords; and others but most remarkably, the former Nigeria President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
We had thought that since one of our own is involved in writing the letter, that at least the UK parliamentarians would be properly guided in their assessment of the security situation in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case as we have seen traces of partisanship and deliberate attempts to twist facts to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.
The petitioners, rather than be objective in their analysis, reduced the entire Boko Haram terrorism and other criminal activities by armed groups to a religious conflict.
They also alleged cases of human rights abuses against a particular faith by the armed groups and state actors.
While it is true that more needs to be done about the security situation in Nigeria, it is definitely misleading to reduce the challenges to the fault lines of religion and to accuse the Nigerian military of either collusion or inaction or perpetrating human rights abuses.
The most uncharitable is to use such baseless allegations as a basis to call for sanctions against Nigeria.
This is most unfair because if there is an administration that has given the issue of security a deserved attention, it is the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Since May 2015 when the Buhari administration was inaugurated, it has taken bold steps to curb terrorism, insurgency and other crimes in the country hence cannot at all, be accused of sleeping on the matter.
Within the last year, the Nigerian military has neutralised over 2,000 terrorists across the northern part of the country, arrested over a hundred of their members and informants and destroyed their weapons and operational facilities.
This is in addition to major feats it recorded in the previous years which have restored normalcy to most parts of the region.
Nigerian troops, for instance, have entered the base of the terrorists at Sambisa Forest and captured their centre, called Camp Zero.
The troops have also recaptured territories seized y terrorists including 20 local governments spread across the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and brought them back to Nigeria.
They have retaken captured military bases in Bama, Monguno and Gwoza as well as recapturing territories captured by the terrorists while the efforts of the military have made it impossible for the insurgents to launch further attacks on communities.
Added to that, Nigeria’s annual military expenditure has grown from $1.8bn in 2016 to $2.1bn by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate of 3.73%, according to a report by Strategic Defence Intelligence.
To boost its preparedness and resolve to flush out the terrorists, the Nigerian Army last year purchased more equipment including the Chinese Rotary Wing AVIC AV500 drone to carry out ISR missions at medium altitude, carry out strikes and stay airborne for nine hours while fighting terrorists.
The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai at a time, even relocated to the centres of the conflict and stayed in the trenches with troops until substantial damages were inflicted on the ranks of the terrorists.
The battle was so fierce against the terrorists that the leader of the Boko Haram terrorists, Abubakar Shekau was heard weeping in an audiotape about how his men have been subdued by Nigerian forces and had even considered surrendering.
For a government that has taken these steps and has made it a priority to defeat terrorism, it is most unfair for anyone to contemplate taking sanctions against them.
We recall that it was similar gestures based probably on such misleading reports that led the US government and other nations to stop selling weapons to Nigeria during the past administration which gave the insurgents an upper hand in the fight and enhanced their recruitment drive.
But the impression given by this letter is that the Nigerian Government is not doing anything about exterminating the problem.
We do not want the UK to be misled by the current report into believing that the Nigerian government is either lax about the situation or supporting the insurgents.
This is far from the truth.
THE RELIGIOUS CARD
The most misleading aspect of the letter is the claim that the attacks are purely religious and targeted at only Christians.
The letter reads in part: ‘’We write following the publication of a new report by Nigerian human rights group`, Intersociety (December 14, 2020, Intersociety, an estimated 34,400 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since 2009 – including 17,000 by Boko Haram (and its splinter groups) and 15,500 by Fulani militia.”
We ask, what is the total number of people that have died as a result of terrorism in Nigeria since 2009 that only Christians would be up to 34,400.
We, therefore, a state without fear of contradiction that the report is not only misleading but is an attempt to incite the people against religious lines.
While some terrorists have tried to use primordial fault lines to instigate a large scale crisis in the country, it is wrong to conclude that the victims of the crises have been only Christians.
Attacks in the northern states and the Middle Belt have been visited on all persons in those areas irrespective of religious beliefs or ethnicity.
In fact, the demographics of the affected areas, indicate that non-Christians have been more at the receiving end of such atrocities like killings, rape, abductions, arson etc by the terrorists.
The areas worse affected by the attacks in the Northeast include the Northern and central parts of Borno State which are populated mainly by Muslims.
Same with the other parts of the Northeast like Yobe and Adamawa States.
In the Northwest, all the areas affected like Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina with the probable exception of Kaduna State are almost hundred per cent Muslims.
Even in the Middle Belt states, the crisis cannot be termed religious as people of different faith in states like Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue have suffered similar fates.
It is also not true that Nigerian security forces have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The Nigerian Army has conducted itself most professionally by always observing the rules on engagement.
The chief of Army Staff to check the few reported cases even set up a desk for civilians to report cases of abuse and since then there have been no reports of human rights violations.
We, therefore, consider the call for sanction against Nigeria based on these inexact and misleading reports as callous and unacceptable.
such calls aim to further polarise the people of the country and set them up against each other on religious lines which is exactly what the insurgents have been praying for.
The UK Government should not be based on the ignorance expressed in this report play into the hands of the terrorists.
We have seen how a young UK parliamentarian goofed when he said a former Nigerian Head of State stole the Central Bank.
This is one of such faux pax that should not be allowed to stand.
We demand that the same manner the world rebuffed the UK parliamentarian for getting his facts twisted should be applied here.
Furthermore, we demand that the manner the world treated the invasion of US Capitol as despicable, should be the same way it treats this letter as it tends to violate the right of the people of Nigeria to be protected by its government and armed forces.
We call on all to join hands with Nigeria and the rest of the world to stamp out terrorism.
Sagay: No Restriction Stopping Tinubu From Contesting Presidency In 2023
Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), renowned professor of law and civil rights activist, on Monday, said it was the turn of southerners to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023 in order to preserve the unity of the country and ensure justice and fairness.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent, Sagay, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), also said there was an informal zoning agreement which the party must honour in selecting the presidential flag bearer for the 2023 general elections.
According to him, even though the agreement was not written, the founders of the APC agreed that the presidency would move to the South after the North had completed two terms of eight years.
Sagay also said President Buhari shouldn’t be the one to determine his successor or come out openly to declare support for any of the aspirants, but only support his favoured aspirant with his vote.
“He (Buhari) shouldn’t be the one to determine who will be his successor. There is a process in the APC such as primaries.
“Also in the APC, there is informal zoning. They did not write the agreement down but everybody agreed that after a northerner has spent two terms in office, a southerner will be nominated by the APC as the presidential candidate.
“So, it is the turn of southerners to compete for nomination. The northerners would have completed their turn by 2023.This is just to ensure that there is unity, equity, and no zone takes the other for a fool”.
“So, my belief is that the president is going to ensure that the candidate will be a southerner. He may support a candidate with his vote but I don’t think it will be proper for him to come out to say ‘this is the man I want to succeed me’.The aspirants, who are southerners, should be given a level playing field to contest for votes from people who will vote at the primaries.”
Also speaking on the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national leader, Sagay said nothing bars the former Lagos State governor from contesting for the highest political office in the land.
“Definitely, he (Tinubu) is free to contest. He is a potential presidential candidate with quite a number of others. Yes, there is no restriction or obstruction stopping him from contesting if he wants to,” he said.
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