Ike A. Offorhttp://therepublicannews.netThe editor is a clinical researcher and scientist by education, entrepreneur, stock trader and author. A prolific writer, who enjoys writing and has some manuscripts waiting for publication. He is also a motivational speaker and social and political activist, helping to empower the youths on various social and political issues. He has very keen interest in politics and governance. He could rightfully be described as a republican.
Senior officials of the United States Government on Thursday met with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and expressed displeasure over the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll plaza on Tuesday.
The US also demanded that the soldiers behind the shootings must be brought to book.
The Spokesperson for the State Department, Morgan Ortagus, said in a statement that the officials were led by Counselor of the US State Department, Ulrich Brechbühl.
Others at the meeting include: Assistant Secretary Robert Destro and Assistant Secretary Denise Natali.
The officials, according to the statement, raised concerns over the ongoing violence in Nigeria as well as human rights violations and human trafficking.
The statement read in part, “Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbühl met with Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo today in Abuja, Nigeria as part of a previously scheduled delegation, which included Assistant Secretary Robert Destro and Assistant Secretary Denise Natali, to raise US concerns about ongoing violence in Nigeria, human rights, religious freedom, and trafficking in persons, and to hear from senior Nigerian government officials how they are addressing those issues.
“The counselor expressed the US condemnation of the use of excessive force by military forces that fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos. He expressed condolences to the victims of these shootings and urged the government of Nigeria to abide by its commitment to hold those responsible accountable under the law.”
According to the statement, Osinbajo as well as the counselor noted that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are essential human rights and core democratic principles.
“Counselor Brechbühl and Vice President Osinbajo emphasised the importance of US and Nigerian collaboration on common goals of improving security cooperation and strengthening economic partnership to foster mutual prosperity,” the statement read.
The Nigerian Army had on Wednesday denied that soldiers were at the toll plaza despite video evidence showing soldiers shooting.
The long awaited address from Muhammadu Buhari has finally been delivered and not live like many expected. And it started with a warning to the protesters and many Nigerians seem to be dissatisfied.
Below is the address:
ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE ENDSARS PROTESTS, 22ND OCTOBER, 2020
It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.
I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well – intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.
The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.
As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.
All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.
The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.
On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:
a. paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small – and medium – enterprises, b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission, c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders.
These are in addition to many other initiatives such as; a. Farmermoni, b. Tradermoni, c. Marketmoni, d. N-Power, e. N-Tech and f. N-Agro.
No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.
With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force. The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.
In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.
Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected.
But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.
To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements.
In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.
For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.
I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.
And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect. Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.
I would like to thank those state Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint. I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.
This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.
Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. The papal thumbs-up came midway through the film that delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality and the people most affected by discrimination.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.
The Jesuit priest who has been at the forefront in seeking to build bridges with gay people in the church, the Rev. James Martin, praised the pope’s comments as “a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBT people.”
“The Pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws,” Martin said in a statement.
Catholic Church teaching holds that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” A 2003 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office stated that the church’s respect for gay people “cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.” That document was signed by the then-prefect of the office, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI and Francis’ predecessor.
Patrick Hornbeck, a professor of theology at Fordham University, said on CBSN that he didn’t expect to see church teaching change anytime soon because of Francis’ endorsement of civil unions.
“What the pope has done today in these comments is he’s given a permission slip to Catholics and to Catholic leaders who want to take that extra step, who want to be pastoral, as he’s been, in affirming LGBT people and their families and their loves, and that’s no small thing,” Hornbeck said. “We have to remember that there are places all around the world where to be gay is to be thrown out of your family, where it’s to be beaten, where to be trans is to take your life in your hands, and so the pope’s statements, I think, will have an important effect and need to be celebrated that way.”
One of the main characters in the documentary is Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse whom Francis initially discredited during a 2018 visit to Chile.
Cruz, who is gay, said that during his first meetings with the pope in May 2018 after they patched things up, Francis assured him that God made Cruz gay. Cruz tells his own story in snippets throughout the film, chronicling both Francis’ evolution on understanding sexual abuse as well as to document the pope’s views on gay people.
Director Evgeny Afineevsky had remarkable access to cardinals, the Vatican television archives and the pope himself. He said he negotiated his way in through persistence and deliveries of Argentine mate tea and Alfajores cookies that he got to the pope via some well-connected Argentines in Rome.
“Listen, when you are in the Vatican, the only way to achieve something is to break the rule and then to say, ‘I’m sorry,'” Afineevsky said in an interview ahead of the premiere.
The director worked official and unofficial channels starting in early 2018 and ended up so close to Francis by the end of the project that he showed the pope the movie on his iPad in August. The two recently exchanged Yom Kippur greetings; Afineevsky is a Russian-born Jew now based in Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Afineevsky’s 48th birthday, the director said Francis presented him with a birthday cake during a private meeting at the Vatican.
But “Francesco” is more than a biopic about the pope.
Wim Wenders did that in the 2018 film “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. “Francesco,” is more a visual survey of the world’s crises and tragedies, with audio from the pope providing possible ways to solve them.
Afineevsky, who was nominated for an Oscar for his 2015 documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” traveled the world to film his pope movie: The settings include Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh where Myanmar’s Rohingya sought refuge; the U.S.-Mexico border; and Francis’ native Argentina.
“The film tells the story of the pope by reversing the cameras,” said Vatican communications director Paolo Ruffini, who was one of Afineevsky’s closest Vatican-based collaborators on the film.
Ruffini said that when Afineevsky first approached him about a documentary, he tried to tamp down his hopes for interviewing the pope. “I told him it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said.
But Ruffini gave him some advice: names of people who had been impacted by the pope, even after just a brief meeting. Afineevsky found them: the refugees Francis met with on some of his foreign trips, prisoners he blessed, and some of the gay people to whom he has ministered.
“I told him that many of those encounters had certainly been filmed by the Vatican cameras, and that there he would find a veritable gold mine of stories that told a story,” Ruffini said. “He would be able to tell story of the pope through the eyes of all and not just his own.”
Francis’ outreach to gay people dates to his first foreign trip in 2013, when he uttered the now-famous words “Who am I to judge,” when asked during an airborne news conference returning home from Rio de Janeiro about a purportedly gay priest.
Since then, he has ministered to gay people and transsexual prostitutes and welcomed people in gay partnerships into his inner circle. One of them was his former student, Yayo Grassi, who along with his partner visited Francis at the Vatican’s Washington, D.C., embassy during the pope’s 2015 visit to the U.S.
The Vatican publicized that encounter, making video and photos of it available, after Francis was ambushed during that same visit by his then-ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who invited the anti-same-sex marriage activist Kim Davis to meet with the pope.
News of the Davis audience made headlines at the time and was viewed by conservatives as a papal stamp of approval for Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The Vatican, however, vigorously sought to downplay it, with the Vatican spokesman saying the meeting by no means indicated Francis’ support for her or her position on same-sex marriage.
However, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was fervently opposed to same-sex marriage when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. Then, he launched what gay activists remember as a “war of God” against Argentina’s move to approve same-sex marriage.
The pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, said at the time of his 2013 election that Bergoglio was politically wise enough to know the church couldn’t win a straight-on fight against same-sex marriage. Instead, Rubin said, Bergoglio urged his fellow bishops to lobby for same-sex civil unions instead.
It wasn’t until Bergoglio’s proposal was shot down by the conservative bishops’ conference that Bergoglio publicly declared his opposition, and the church lost the issue altogether.
Francis, in the new documentary, confirms Rubin’s account of what transpired. Of his belief in the need for legislation to protect gay people living in civil relationships, he said: “I stood up for that.”
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization of LGBT Catholics, praised Francis’ comments as a “historic” shift for a church that has long been seen as persecuting gay people.
“At the same time, we urge Pope Francis to apply the same kind of reasoning to recognize and bless these same unions of love and support within the Catholic Church, too,” he said in a statement.
However, more conservative commentators sought to play down Francis’ words and said that while secular civil unions are one thing, a church blessing of them is quite another.
In a tweet, conservative U.S. author and commentator Ryan Anderson noted that he and some of his colleagues had gone on record a decade ago saying they would support federal civil unions for any two adults who commit to sharing domestic responsibilities. Such an arrangement, Anderson said, would leave churches the option of refusing to recognize these unions as marriage.
Irate youths on Wednesday set ablaze the family home of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Omididun Street, throwing stones at the house.
Sanwo-Olu had imposed a curfew on the state due to the #EndSARS protests. Soldiers were subsequently called in and eyewitnesses claimed seven persons, mostly youths, died in the attack.
Eyewitnesses told The PUNCH that one of the youths holding a jerry can of petrol was seen soaking the house in petrol but was quickly stopped by residents for fear that the fire could spread uncontrollably.
Moments after, however, the youths succeeded in burning down the house.
The eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Around 7.45am, angry youths gathered around Sanwo-Olu’s family home on Omididun Street, Lagos Island, throwing stones and shattering glasses.
“One of the youths poured petrol on the building but was immediately prevented from setting it ablaze because the fire could spread and lead to loss of lives.
“However, the youths soon gathered again and burnt down the house. The fire is currently spreading but firefighters have arrived at the scene.”
It was learnt that policemen attached to the Adeniji Adele Police Station had raced to the scene in a bid to quell the violence. (Punch)
Violence that rocked #EndSARS protests across the country worsened on Tuesday with 43 protesters and six policemen losing their lives.
Protesters calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the country since October 8.
However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja.
The hoodlums, who have been attacking protesters in Abuja, became emboldened on Tuesday, when they killed six protesters at Waru, Wumba and Kubuwa
27 protesters, two policemen killed in Lagos
In Lagos alone, no fewer than 29 people, including two policemen, were killed when the police shot protesters in different parts of the state.
In Mushin, 17 people lost their lives during a clash involving hoodlums and policemen attached to the Olosan Division.
The PUNCH gathered that the hoodlums, who reportedly barricaded the Oduwoye Junction in Mushin, denied the Divisional Police Officer, Olosan Division and some policemen, access to the route to a destination in the area.
In the process, it was learnt that there was a confrontation between the hoodlums and the policemen who reportedly retreated to their base.
However, tragedy struck when the policemen, reportedly led by the DPO, reinforced to the Oduwoye Junction and started releasing bullets into the air to scare away the hoodlums.
An eyewitness, who gave his name simply as Ashimiu, said when the hoodlums refused to leave the road, in a bid to disperse them, the policemen allegedly released some bullets into the crowd, adding that no fewer than 17 people had been reported dead.
He said, “People were at Oduwoye Junction in Mushin around 12.30pm and blocked the road but when the DPO of the Olosan Police Station and his team wanted to drive through the blocked route, they were denied access. This, however, led to confrontation, so they went back to their base.
“A few minutes after, the policemen, led by the DPO, reinforced to the blocked location and started shooting in the air to scare them away from the road. But when they realised that the people were unmoved, they released bullets into the crowd and more than 17 people were killed. Many people also sustained grievous bullet wounds, some of whom were rushed to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
“I have personally seen seven corpses; three corpses at Atewolara Junction, two corpses at Way Street, opposite Oando Filing Station, and two corpses at Oduwoye Junction, opposite the market. Soldiers are in the area to douse the tension and some of the corpses were evacuated by them, while some other corpses were taken away by the families of the victims.”
Two policemen, three protesters killed as hoodlums burn police stations in Lagos
Five persons, including two policemen and three #EndSARS protesters, were also killed during a clash involving policemen attached to Orile Police Division and some protesters in the Orile area of the state.
The PUNCH gathered that the protesters were chanting #EndSARS at the station when the DPO, Orile Division and her policemen allegedly opened fire at the protesters, killing three persons in the process.
Enraged by the development, it was learnt that a clash occurred between the protesters, including hoodlums, and policemen attached to the division and during the attack, the Orile Police Station was set ablaze.
One Bolaji, who witnessed the incident, accused the police of pulling the trigger that killed three of the protesters, adding that two stations were burnt due to the incident.
He said, “Around 9am, when the protesters got to the Orile Police Station, they were chanting #EndSARS and that they don’t want the Divisional Police Officer, popularly known as Iya Rainbow, to head the station again. There was a confrontation between the DPO and the people at the station.
“Annoyed by the development, the people clashed with the policemen and they went to get petrol and set the station ablaze. When the people at Pako area got to know that someone has been shot dead at Orile, it propelled them to burn the station at Pako. The military personnel have brought normalcy in the area. I witnessed everything when the police opened fire, the people dispersed and it was that opportunity that the DPO used in escaping.”
It was learnt that while three protesters were shot head by the police, two policemen died in a reprisal.
However, one Ugo Njoku, who chronicled the Orile attack on Whatsapp, gave the total number of deaths recorded to be five, adding that “DPO ordered police officers to shoot directly at the protesters. Three people fall dead while several others sustained injuries and are rushed to hospital…The two officers killed are the trigger-happy policemen that shot at the protesters.”
Blackout in Lekki tollgate as soldiers shoot seven protesters dead, many injured
In another development in the Lekki area of the state, armed soldiers allegedly shot sporadically at the #EndSARS protesters, killing no fewer than seven persons in the process.
Many protesters were said to have sustained bullet wounds as a result of the attack that suddenly came just after the billboard on the tollgate and the streetlights around the premises were switched off. It was learnt that the CCTV was also disconnected.
A video recorded by an eyewitness, which was reposted on Instablog9ja, indicated that seven protesters were killed during the attack.
“They have killed more than seven people that I have seen with my eyes. They were killed with real bullets and not even rubber bullets,” the recorder of the footage said.
Prior to the blackout, it was learnt that two soldiers were at the tollgate from the Lekki axis to pledge their support for the protest by the #EndSARS campaigners.
Few minutes after the soldiers came, it was learnt that there was a sudden blackout as a group of armed soldiers advancing from the Ozumba Mbadiwe axis started shooting sporadically into the air and at the protesters.
An eyewitness, Yekini Adedeji, said all the protesters around the tollgate scampered for safety, adding that the soldiers had taken over the premises.
“The soldiers are shooting sporadically, they put off the street light and the billboard to make the place to be in total darkness. They started shooting up but they shot at the protesters as well and I have seen two people that have sustained bullet wounds.
“At first, when the soldiers started shooting, the protesters summoned courage and refused to move. So, they sat on the floor and raised up their flag but along the line, two of the protesters were shot and people started running. There are no protesters at the tollgate and the soldiers have taken over the tollgate. I saw the soldiers myself
Two killed, many injured as hoodlums clash in Ketu
In another development, two people were killed during a clash involving Ikosi Boys and Market Boys in the Ketu area of Lagos State on Monday.
As at 8am on Tuesday, The PUNCH saw the hoodlums attacking one another with bottles, stones and other harmful objects around the pedestrian bridge, close to the police station in Ketu.
Motorists and commuters were stranded as vehicular movements were on hold due to the crisis that reportedly started on Monday evening.
It was gathered that the boys were protesting when an altercation reportedly broke out amongst them around 6pm.
The altercation was said to have degenerated into a crisis that sent shivers down the spines of residents and business owners in the area.
Footage of a video trending online showed three victims lying on the street in a pool of their blood.
As seen in the footage, the skull of two of the victims had been broken as their brains were scattered on the street. One of the victims was also seen gasping for breath due to the injuries he sustained during the clash.
People were also seen in the footage lamenting and mourning the circumstances surrounding the death of the victims.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi said, “A fight happened in Ketu but we are not aware that there was any mortality. No death was known to the police.”
Six killed, many injured as hoodlums clash Ikorodu
In another development, no fewer than six persons were killed in the Ogolonto and Garage area of Ikorodu, Lagos.
In Ogolonto, it was learnt that the clash happened after a member of the National Union of Road Transport Worker, purchased a piece of land and settled the wrong people.
An eyewitness, who identified himself simply as Adesegun, said during the fight, the boys burgled peoples’ shops, stopped a truck loaded with bottles, which they used in attacking themselves.
He said, “Ogolonto Boys and Idiroko Boys were involved in the clash, and what happened was that one of the leaders of the NURTW Ikorodu settled some people with N2m after purchasing land and made the announcement during the protest. That was when the fight started and about three people were killed on Saturday but the fight started on Friday. The fight was amongst the union members but it turned into a street fight and lots of people were injured.”
It was gathered that three people died in the incident.
In a similar development, three persons were killed during another clash involving hoodlums and cultists in the Garage and Benson areas of Ikorodu.
An eyewitness, Biodun Agbabiaka, said, “On Tuesday, some people had to volunteer themselves to be on the lookout for people robbing members of the public of their valuables after the protest and that was how it turned into a territorial clash, involving cult members.
“As I speak to you, two persons were killed at Garage and one person was killed at Benson and the protesters are not among those that were killed.”
Many policemen have been killed – Lagos Police PRO
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said “It is quite unfortunate that most of our formations have been attacked, our men have been attacked and as I speak with you, many of our men have been killed but I cannot give a precise account of those that have been killed now.
“Most of our formations have been set ablaze and some of our properties destroyed. Two patrol vehicles have been burnt in Ojo Division, Ilemba Hausa is under siege as I speak with you, Amukoko and Orile Divisions are burnt, Cele outpost under Ajegunle has been burnt, Ajeromi Ifelodun Secretariat has been burnt and we are still hearing that they still want to attack policemen going about their lawful duties.”
Two policemen, three others feared killed in Oyo
Hoodlums cashed in on the #EndsSARS protest in the Ojoo area of Ibadan on Tuesday and burnt down the police station in the area.
Our correspondents learnt that five persons, including two policemen, were killed during the attack which happened at 1pm.
The police also confirmed that some of its AK-47 rifles were stolen by the hoodlums, who invaded the place and burnt it down.
One of our correspondents, who visited the scene of the incident at 6:30pm observed that the police station and three vehicles were completely razed down.
Trouble started in the morning as early as 9am when some of the youths blocked the Ojoo end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The barricade caused gridlock forcing some motorists to turn back to seek alternative routes while those who could not use this got stuck on the road.
The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Joe Enwonwu, confirmed the killing of two policemen and said two were missing in a statement issued by the Police a Public Relations Officer, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi.
Hoodlums kill Ogun customs officer
In Ogun State, hoodlums, who hijacked the protest on Tuesday killed an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command I , and injured another during an attack on Customs men along Owode-Idiroko road in Ogun State.
The PUNCH gathered that residents of the border communities seized the opportunity of the ongoing protest to demand an end to the incessant killings by operatives of the NSC.
An eyewitness said the youth invaded the patrol base and attacked the NCS officers, with sticks, and dangerous weapons, killing one and injuring another.
The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Hammed Oloyede confirmed the incident in an interview with one of our correspondents.
Hoodlums kill four in Kano
In Sabon Gari area of the Kano metropolis, eyewitnesses said four people were killed when hoodlums attacked #EndSARS protesters.
A security guard at one of the motor spare parts shops at France Road in Sabon Gari told The PUNCH that the protest which started peacefully at noon, turned violent when some hoodlums attacked the protesters.
The security guard said, “The protest was initially peaceful, but when the hoodlums came they killed four people and injured many others.”
It was also gathered that the hoodlums looted shops and burnt a car on the Aba road, off Ibo road in Sabon Gari.
Also, the hoodlums invaded St Thomas’ Catholic Church, on Airport road, ransacked and broke the glass windows.
The police said they were not aware of any killing. At a press conference later on Tuesday, the state Police Commissioner Mr Habu Sani, confirmed that no fewer than seven vehicles were burnt.
He, however, said that the situation had since been brought under control.
Two killed in Benin
In Edo State, youths and hoodlums in Benin defied the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government and clashed with policemen.
During a clash at Santana Market on the Sapele Road, two people were shot dead by the police trying to disperse protesters.
Despite the curfew, youths took over strategic positions on the Ekenwan Road chanting anti-government slogans.
There were protests also in Auchi as youths regrouped at the popular Jattu Junction, allowing only motorists on essential duties passage.
Hoodlums killed two police officers in Abia – PPRO
As of the time of sending this report, the situation in Aba, the Abia State capital was still tense.
Angry youths attacked and set ablaze a police station located along Umuoba road axis of Ogbor Hill.
Also attacked was another police station; Eziama Police Division located near the popular Bata junction along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway.
When contacted the state Public Relations Officer, PPRO Geoffrey Ogbonna said at Aba, two police officers were killed on Tuesday. He said that he was not aware of the killing of any protester.
The protests in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, became violent when policemen at SARS office shot live bullets while youths were protesting.
Hundreds of youths, who had taken the protest to the disbanded SARS office, expressed dismay that police operatives were still there despite the disbandment of the outfit.
Although, the youth retreated due to the indiscriminate shooting to scare them, they continued chorusing ‘End SARS, END SARS until they were advised by their leaders to leave the area.
When contacted, the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, said the office was not operational but that policemen were only deployed there to protect the facility from being attacked following what was going on in other parts of the country.
Armed thugs in ‘government vehicles’ attack #EndSARS protesters
In Abuja, armed thugs conveyed in what appeared to be black government Sports Utility Vehicles with concealed number plates were seen attacking #EndSARS protesters in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja on Tuesday.
In a video that has gone viral on social media, some of the thugs are seen jumping into a black Prado driven by a man in suit on Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent Wuse 2.
The vehicle is seen reversing unto Hospital Avenue and then the doors are flung open while thugs wielding stones and sticks run riot.
Another vehicle, which is a black Range Rover, soon joins the thugs while four buses filled with thugs parked on the roadside as more thugs alight from the buses.
There were unconfirmed reports that the thugs were coordinated by an official of the Department of State Services attached to a top government official.
However, the DSS in a statement by its Spokesman, Peter Afunaya, denied the allegation, adding that the agency could not identify any of the persons in the videos.
Afunaya asked members of the public to ignore such rumours as the agency could not engage in such a dishonourable act.
IG deploys riot policemen nationwide as violence escalates
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Tuesday, ordered the deployment of riot policemen nationwide to protect lives and property.
The IG also deployed operatives to strengthen the security around custodial facilities nationwide.
The IG in his directive ordered the commissioners of police in the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT to identify and isolate law-breakers from peaceful protesters, and immediately arrest and diligently prosecute such perpetrators of violence in their respective commands.
The force spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement titled, ‘Attacks on police facilities, others: IG orders deployment of anti-riot police officers,’ also disclosed that 12 suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack on two custodial facilities and a police station in Edo State, on Monday.
Five rifles allegedly stolen from the police station were also recovered.
It enjoined the members of the public to avail the force with useful information that can lead to the re-arrest of the fleeing inmates, unlawfully released from the correctional facilities.
Giving an update on the attack by hoodlums at Apo, Abuja, on Monday, in which 15 vehicles were torched and 14 others vandalised, and the second wave of violence at Waru and Wumba communities on Tuesday, the FCT police spokesperson, ASP Mariam Yusuf, said the command had restored calm in the areas.
Eyewitnesses said two people were killed each in Waru, Wumba and Kubuwa.
NBA, AfBA threaten international criminal proceedings
The Nigerian Bar Association and Africa Bar Association have threatened international criminal proceedings against the Federal Government over the shooting of unarmed protesters by security agencies.
The NBA, in a statement by its President, Olumide Akpata, described the shooting of the unarmed protesters are reckless and lawless, while demanding that the military high command “immediately identify and name the officers involved in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws.”
In the same vein, the AfBA, in a statement by its President, Hannibal Uwaifo, vowed to “immediately file formal criminal complaints before appropriate international bodies to open an international inquiry into the irresponsible behaviour of the Nigerian Government masquerading as a democracy.” (Punch)
The president of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, has said that the North will go to war if, according to him, the southern region of Nigeria tries to remove president Muhammadu Buhari from government using the ongoing nationwide and international #EndSARS protest launched spontaneously by the Nigerian youths against police killings, police brutality, bad governance and other pressing issues.
According to him, the whole protest is to shortchange the north from completing their tenure in government leadership.
While speaking with journalists in Minna, Shettima claimed that the Southern region of Nigeria is trying to shortchange the north which, according to him, was what happened after the death of Yar-adua, the late Ex-Prsident of northern extraction.
He claimed the north is primed for war should Buhari be kicked out of government for bad governance that has become the reality on the country since the administration came onboard.
According to him, “Since 1999, the south has been cheating us as regards to the office of the president.
“When Obasanjo was the President, nobody disturbed him until after his complete eight years in office.
“Immediately our brother took over, they went against him until he died. Instead of using another Northerner to complete his tenure, they forced Jonathan on us.
“Now our brother Buhari is in power again, they are using everything against him forgetting that we still have 8 years after his tenure to equal that of Jonathan and Obasanjo.
“The point is that we the Northerners are not going to allow it. We will go to war if the protesters ever demand for Buhari to resign or an end of Nigeria like some of them are doing in Anambra State.”
It would be recalled that millions of Nigerians as well as those in the Diaspora have taken to the streets under the #endsars protests to condemn the incessant killings of the youths by the police. They are also demanding for good governance among several other demands.
The protests have gained international attention as well as support and solidarity, with many foreigners endorsing the protests.
Although the police have effected a swift reform of the system, the efforts have been rejected by the protesters who have said that the moves are inadequate.
Several hundreds of youths, on Thursday, stormed the streets of major cities in the North, including Kaduna, Gombe, Kano and Bauchi, in protest against the spate of kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry in the region.
With the hashtag, #EndInsecurrityNow, the protesters asked the Federal Government to redeployed personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad to the North to combat insecurity in the region.
The protest was organised by the Coalition of Northern Groups, which said it was against the harassment, intimidation and killing of Nigerians by the disbanded SARS.
The coalition, however, argued that the region’s challenges were not that of SARS but insecurity in the form of banditry, insurgency and other related crimes.
The protesters hit the streets of Kaduna around 9.30am and marched through the Muhammadu Buhari Way, Ali Akilu Road and Luggard Hall to the state House of Assembly Complex.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as, ‘The North is Bleeding’, ‘Stop the Killings in the North’, ‘End Boko Haram Now’, ‘End Banditry Now’, ‘Empower SWAT to End Insecurity’, ‘All Lives Matter’, and ‘Stop Rape Now’, among others.
The Speaker, state House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani, sent the House Committee Chairman on Information, Ahmed Tanimu, to address the protesters.
The leader of the protesters and Kaduna State Coordinator of the CNG, Sa’ad Bako, said the youth were merely protesting the unending killing, kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry and terrorism in the region.
He said the group respect the rights of those protesting against SARS.
However, in Bauchi, the CNG accused the #EndSARS campaigners of having selfish motives in their continued protest against police brutality.
They wondered why the #EndSARS protesters were still on the streets when the government and the police authority had granted their request by disbanding the special police unit.
The protesters disrupted free flow of traffic in and out of the Government House.
Members of the group expressed displeasure that no government official was on ground to address them after standing at the gate for close to an hour.
The Secretary of the CNG, Abdulkadir Alkassim, described the #EndSARS protests going on in parts of the country as “regional protests.”
Another leader of the group, Bello Aminu, said that the CNG was different from the #EndSARS because they were demanding an end to insecurity rather than scraping of any police unit.
In Niger State, the group said the government should find ways curtailing insecurity in the northern part of the country.
Addressing journalists in Minna, the group said in spite of the abundant mineral resources in the North-Central region, vices like kidnapping, banditry and other forms of criminality were thriving there.
The Coordinator of the group, Abubakar Mohammed, urged the state government to wake up to its responsibility and put adequate security in place in the troubled areas to save the inhabitants.
Hoodlums attack #EndInSecurityNow protesters in Kano
Suspected hoodlums, on Thursday, in Kano attacked members of the CNG, who came out to protest against the prevailing insecurity in the northern part of the country.
The protesters were attacked along Bayero University Kano old campus road by Kofar Famfo in the Kano metropolis.
The campaigners, who planned to start the protest at Gidan Dan Asabe along the Zoo Road, later changed the venue to the BUK Road.
Speaking to journalists after the disruption of the protest, the Convener, Dr Muhammad Bello-Nawaila, alleged that no fewer than 40 of the members sustained injuries from the attack carried out some 500 metres from take off point of the protest in the Kabuga area.
He said what surprised them most was that the protesters got security backing with two police patrol vehicles in front and two at the back.
Bello-Nawaila added that the group would continue with the protest until the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) listens to their call.
Gombe youths want end to banditry
The Chairman of the CNG in Gombe State, Ibrahim Mohammed, urged the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle security challenges in the northern region.
He stated, “Banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram terrorism, rape and major security threats should be ended in the region.
“People at the villages can’t go to the farm as a result of the activities of bandits. We know that the security personnel are doing their best, but we are not satisfied with the current security situation in the northern region.”
Mohammed stated these during a protest at the Pantami Stadium, Minna, where he stated that the group was not for or against the SARS disbandment currently trending in the southern region. (Punch)
The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has said it would begin non-stop protests against the wave of insecurity in the Northern region on Thursday.
The plan, according to the group, aimed at drawing the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the 19 northern states governors to the plight of the region.
CNG said the ineptitude and an apparent failure of elected and appointed leaders from the North to either protect the lives and property of northerners or address the myriad distresses the region faced had pushed them to the wall.
Explaining that the government has failed woefully in many fronts, the group argued that the authorities appear bent on sustaining the hikes in electricity tariffs.
According to the CNG, it also appears President Buhari and the governors are not keen on resolving the lingering dispute with the university lecturers.
The CNG noted that it was no longer an exaggeration that the security situation in the country and in particular in the North had deteriorated, while the authorities did not deem it fit to extend the swift spirit deployed against FSARS into security the North.
The group told the President point blank that he has abandoned hundreds of thousands of people in northern communities exposed to insurgents and bandits’ attack.
It, therefore, urged the citizens (northerners), who would participate in the peaceful protest to conduct themselves peacefully, while urging the government to respect their rights to protest.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the spokesman of CNG, Abdulazeez Suleiman, said, “The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has followed developments around the bold and necessary steps taken by Nigerian citizens to call attention to Police brutality, the deteriorating national security and other pressing concerns.
“The CNG notes the appreciative progression of the citizens’ action that climaxed with government’s swift response to one of the concerns raised with the scrapping of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, and its immediate replacement with Special Weapon And Tactics Team (SWAT)
“In the unfolding scenario, the CNG hereby inevitably arrives at the following observations and inferences:
“That while the southern elected and appointed leaders and representatives are quick to identify with their people at the time of need, their counterparts from the North, including the President, the Senate President, Senators, Rep members, governors, state legislators and other government appointees would rather abandon the hundreds of thousands of people in northern communities exposed to crime, lawlessness and insecurity in the hands of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, rapists rustlers, and other violent criminals without any form of protection.
“That it is contradictory that despite several protests and pleas northerners have made, the authorities never deemed it fit to extend the swift spirit deployed against FSARS into securing the North, or addressing the myriad distresses faced by northerners.
“That the authorities appear bent on sustainig the harsh, unacceptable regime of exploitative hikes in electricity tariffs for which the North shall bear the brunt more than other parts of the country.
“That the federal government appears not keen on resolving the lingering dispute with the Academic Staff Union to enable the recommencement of university education.”
“In the light of the foregone observations, the CNG has no other option but to direct the extension of the protests to all northern states, commencing from Thursday, October 15, 2020.
“By this, all CNG state chapters and student wings are mandated to resume the mobilization of responsible sections of the civil society, NGOs, women groups, professional associations, artisans and concerned parents in their respective states for the continuation of our protests started in Katsina state in June.”
CNG will lead the protest to: “Demand the federal government to immediately declare a state of emergency on security and take practical steps to end all manifestations of insecurity in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country.
“Demand thorough reorientation of the entire police force and its empowerment by way of additional personnel, modern training and adequate equiptment to be able to reclaim its universal internal security function. .
“Mount pressure on leaders to show real commitment to protecting lives of citizens, ending the prolonged closure of our universities, reconsidering hiked commodity prices, reducing youth unemployment, and checking the rise in poverty level.
“Publicly condemn and pass a vote of no confidence on those office holders and elected leaders who have abandoned the bulk of northerners to the mercy of a vicious insurgency, destructive banditry, rape and sexual assaults, violent communal clashes amidst mounting poverty and entrenched fear of widespread kidnappings for ransom.
“To declare the agreement reached by labour with the government on new electricity tariff unacceptable and demand the immediate, unconditional reversal to the old rates.”
Suleiman noted that while CNG welcomed the creation of the SWAT to replace SARS, it urged the government to expedite action in improving the professionalism of the personnel drafted into SWAT