CNN has criticized the Lagos State government’s security camera footage of the Lekki toll gate shooting, saying “the Lagos State government’s security camera footage did not capture everything” and queried why “surveillance video from the evening does not provide a more complete picture.”
The international media organisation had last week released an investigative report that alleged that the Nigerian army used live bullets on protesters during its intervention in the #EndSARS protest at Lekki tollgate in Lagos state.
In its latest report, the media outfit said “the footage corroborates the timings CNN reported for the gunshots fired by the army. It also shows soldiers approaching protesters and firing shots.”
CNN said it obtained a copy of the CCTV footage ahead of the Justice Doris Okuwobi Lagos judicial panel’s sitting on Saturday which was set up to investigate cases of brutality by members of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) and other police abuses. as well as the Lekki shooting incident.
“What is perhaps most notable is what’s missing, at 6:47 p.m., the moment when CNN has video of the army appearing to fire directly at protesters, the surveillance camera pans away from the area.
“The surveillance camera pans left and tilts up before reframing and struggling for focus. It is unclear if the camera pans away deliberately or whether the pan away is a poor choice by the CCTV operator,” CNN’s latest report read.
The Lekki Concession Company (LCC), the firm that operates the toll gate had previously testified before the panel and said its staff were sent home before an evening curfew, and also said the cameras at the tollgate stopped recording from 8 pm on October 20.
CNN also accused Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, the Commander of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army of providing contradicting testimonies to the judicial panel.
“For the protection of the force, we carried live bullets in case they were attacked. But the soldiers who formed the firing team, who fired as you could see in the video […] carried magazines charged with blank ammunition,” General Taiwo said.
On Monday, the Nigerian government called out CNN in a petition demanding an “immediate and exhaustive investigation” into its report on the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate to determine its authenticity.
The country’s Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed also warned that the government reserved the right to prevent CNN from “aggravating the #EndSARS crises with unprofessional, irresponsible reporting” that could set the country on fire.
Northern Elders Forum, NEF, have said they were aware of alleged attempts by some politicians interested in contesting the 2023 presidential election to weaken the North on many fronts in the aftermath of #EndSARS protest.
The Forum also said it had credible information about an alleged plan to force restructuring on the North under the guise of ending the agitation against bad governance in the country.
NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement on Wednesday night, said that the North was capable of identifying and protecting its own interests, and would neither be blackmailed nor intimidated into accepting restructuring as a means to higher standards of justice, better security, and progress for all Nigerians.
He said, “The Forum is aware of attempts to weaken the North by interests that believe that this is their only path to success in the 2023 elections.
“These interests should know that the North will neither be blackmailed nor intimidated, and we are quite capable of identifying and protecting our own interests.
“Some of these interests seek to exploit our plural nature and deepen what they see as divisions. They will fail, because northerners know that what unites us is a lot stronger than what divides us.
“Others create the impression that the North is opposed to the country being restructured along lines that will improve the quality of our union, ensure higher standards of justice, better security and progress for all Nigerians. These too will fail.
“The North is ready to discuss all elements of our co-existence, but will not be stampeded into submitting to other interests who feel uncomfortable with a strong and united North, or blackmailing us to adopt their versions of our future.”
NEF also said it was disappointed that last week’s meeting in Kaduna by Northern Governors, high-level federal government officials and traditional rulers barely made mention of the insecurity of communities within the region The elders said the focus of the meeting on the potential for abuse of social media platforms and the possibility of hoodlums hijacking the #EndSARS protest in many cities of the south was uncalled for.
Baba-Ahmed said, “That meeting missed a historic opportunity to acknowledge that northern communities are in dire need of improved security, and to give firm and specific assurances that our leaders care about northern lives and will take steps to protect us.
“We took particular note of the pivotal roles of governors and traditional rulers at that meeting, leaders who are thoroughly familiar with daily assaults by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers on northerners.
“These are leaders who should have understood the high hopes which northerners attached to a meeting of that nature in Kaduna, and they should understand that the impression left by that meeting and the frenzy of activities in parts of the south involving some northern leaders to show sympathy for damage from hoodlums leaves only one conclusion in the mind of northerners: northern lives do not matter.”
The Forum noted the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to improve engagements with northern leaders, and hoped that these will not be public relations stunts in place of real efforts aimed at improving the security of the region.
“The Forum advises the President and Governors to engage a broad spectrum of leaders, elders and the young in the North to contribute to an appreciation of the dangers which our communities live with on a daily basis, and enlist them as partners in the search for solutions,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Northern elders paid tribute to its Director-General, Dr Yima Sen, who died recently, describing his services to the Forum as invaluable.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), responsible for the incorporation of organisations and businesses in Nigeria, has announced the cancellation of the registration of Enough is Enough, a business organisation linked to one of the leaders of the #EndSARS protest.
“Further to cancellation of the Business Name registration “Enough is Enough BN 2210728”, the Corporate Affairs Commission wishes to inform the public that the proprietors of the cancelled Business name are: OPAYEMI ADAMOLEKUN and BISOLA EDUN,” the CAC wrote Wednesday afternoon.
“The name was cancelled based on the provisions of section 579 (2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).” Ms Adamolekun, an activist, is the head of a non-governmental organisation, EiE, and is believed to be, alongside the NGO, the main target of the CAC.
The EiE, also called Enough is Enough Nigeria, began operations in January 2011 but was formally registered in July 2012. The organisation has advocated against human rights violations in the past and actively participated in the #EndSARS protest against police brutality and the excesses of its Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The CAC first announced its decision on Tuesday. In a couple of tweets on Tuesday evening, the CAC announced the de-registration of the business, with immediate effect, stating that the name is deceptive. “Based on the provisions of Section 579 (2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, (CAMA), the Corporate Affairs Commission has cancelled the registration of the Business name “Enough is Enough BN 2210728” with immediate effect.”
The above section provides, amongst others, that the commission has the power to cancel the registration of a Business Name where the name is “deceptive or objectionable.” According to the government agency, EiE was registered in 2012 to engage in General Contracts, Sales of Sport Equipment/Promotion but has “deviated from its main objectives over the course of time.”
“Consequently, the Commission has removed it from its database and advised the proprietors to surrender the certificate earlier issued to them,” the statement read. The CAC, however, showed no evidence that the Enough is Enough business deviated from its registration purpose.
Separate registration Checks by PREMIUM TIMES, however, show that the deregistered business was registered separately from the EiE. The business cancelled has the registration certificate number (RC) 2210728 and was registered on June 4, 2012, while the NGO was registered as a company limited by guarantee and has its RC as 1047750 and was registered a month later. The EiE clarified its status in a tweet. The human rights organisation said it was registered as “The EiE Project Ltd/Gte” with RC 1047750 as against what was circulated by CAC. “A big thank you to those who have reached out & spoken up for us!” the organisation wrote on Twitter, attaching its certificate.
Discrepancies Although the CAC has before now notified the public about organisations with erroneous registration, this is the first time it is sharing the details across its social media platforms. Also, the Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new media, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted about the de-registration, suggesting it was something supported or being monitored by the presidency.
“The CAC Nigeria has cancelled the registration of the Business Name ‘Enough is Enough’ with immediate effect. The EiE which was registered in 2012 to engage in General Contracts, Sales of Sport Equipment deviated from its main objectives over the cause of time, the CAC tweeted,” Mr Ahmad on Twitter.
However, checks revealed that the commission may have used a repealed law to deregister the organisation. The CAC referenced section 579(2) of the old Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 (and its amendments), which has been repealed by section 869(1) of the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, which was signed by the President on 7 August 2020. The new law came into force on that day. “Subject to the provision of this section, the Companies and Allied Matters (Amendment) Act 1990, the Companies and Allied Matters (Amendment) Act, 1991, the Companies and Allied Matten (Amendment Act, 1992 are, on the commencement of this Act, repealed,” the new law says.
Nonetheless, when contacted for clarification, Laraba Shuaibu, the spokesperson of the CAC she said she is not aware of the de-registration of any company. “I’m not aware of it,” she said via telephone.
Clampdown? The de-registration comes at a time the federal government has taken repressive actions against protesters and promoters of the #EndSARS campaign. Recently, the passport of a lawyer, Modupe Odele, was seized by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), preventing her from travelling abroad. It was returned days after the service said it has concluded its investigations. Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) obtained an ex parte order to freeze the accounts of 20 individuals and an organisation linked to the #EndSARS campaign.
According to details of the order obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the request, filed by the apex bank on October 20, was granted by Ahmed Mohammed, a judge. The court order was addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank. Amongst those affected are Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Gatefield Nigeria Limited, owners of Gatefield, an advocacy group that supported the media coverage of the protest by providing funds to journalists, had its Access Bank account frozen.
In addition, several persons have been illegally detained by the police in Lagos, Osun and the FCT without trial. These actions have, however, been largely condemned by activists and legal experts across the country. (Premium Times)
Controversies have trailed the ex parte order obtained by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze the accounts of 20 individuals and an organisation linked to the #EndSARS campaign.
Many Nigerians especially youths have taken to social media to condemn the move by the apex bank.
Also, youth representatives at the Lagos judicial panel, who had expressed outrage decided to boycott their participation at the sitting on Saturday.
Rinu Oduala, a member of the panel is said to have been affected. The Lagos Judicial Panel adjourned its sitting till November 14th because members could not form a quorum.
The Nation had earlier reported that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja authorised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters with immediate effect.
The accounts are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
According to details of the order obtained by The Nation, the request, filed by the apex bank on October 20, was granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
Amongst those affected are Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.
One of the EndSARS promoters whose account got frozen, Adegoke Pamilerin said, “My account has been frozen for over 2 weeks. Apparently CBN froze my account before they got a court order. Nigeria My Country, where the big and mighty do as they wish”
The Nation learnt that the court directed the banks to freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as Exhibit A and all other bank accounts of the defendants and respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Many have condemned the move, describing it as an attempt to incite a second wave of #EndSARS protests across the country.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the deployment of all legitimate force against riotous and violent protests to protect lives and property of citizens.
Popular TV host, Frank Edoho, @frankedoho tweeted, “So this useless government is freezing the account of #EndSARS protesters. Young people came out peacefully to implore the leaders to terminate a section of the police responsible for murders and their response is to freeze accounts? This government contains old fools.”
Also, PDP Candidate for Lagos East Senatorial District, Babatunde Gbadamosi said, “Freezing the accounts of organisers of a peaceful protest is ECONOMIC TERRORISM by the CBN. Does Godwin Emefiele sanction the brutality of SARS?”
Activist Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong said, “Free advice to #EndSARS protesters whose bank accounts have been frozen: Before you go to court or take any legal action, apply for and obtain the CTC of the ex-parte motion with the affidavit and other processes filed by the CBN Governor.
@EiENigeria said, “The Nigerian government wants us, when faced with official actions with which we disagree, to obey and submit without daring to object. Case in view: seizure of passports, freezing of accounts by CBN, continued arrests of #EndSARS protesters, blame game, etc. #EnoughIsEnough”
Investigative journalist, @fisayosoyombo said, “The freezing of @Gatefieldco’s Journalism Fund account by @myaccessbank & Godwin Emefiele’s @cenbank is a disguised attack on press freedom. Because they funded journalists to cover police brutality stories? Did Gatefield start supporting public-interest journalism yesterday?… CBN has now become so idle that it’s most pressing mandate is chasing the court for an order to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a company that supported the #EndSARS movement. But ask them to strengthen the naira against the dollar and it’s mission impossible!
@ayosogunro said, “With every passing day, there is more reason for #EndSARS protest. Along with the original issues, now we protest against: #LekkiMassacre and #oyingbomassacre, freezing of protester’s bank accounts, seizing of protester’s passports, the unconstitutional ban on protests.
The Presidency has said those who allowed the recent #EndSARS protests to degenerate into the destruction of lives and properties in the country must account for their actions.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), made this known on Sunday while featuring on Channels Television’s programme, Sunday Politics.
The PUNCH had reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria froze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS champions while another promoter of the movement, Modupe Odele, was prevented from travelling last week and had her passport seized by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
When asked whether his principal was aware of the development, Shehu said the buck stops at the table of the President, noting that the protesters must face the law.
He said, “This country has only one president and has only one constitution. President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for his government. The buck stops on his table.
“We are a country governed by law. There is a constitution —under section 33— that clearly defines the rights of citizens to freely protest in a peaceful way but where a peaceful protest turns into riot, violence and looting, there is a law and order duty to be performed.
“Everyone witnessed the massive looting of public and private properties particularly in Lagos, Calabar, Plateau, Taraba and some other states, even the FCT.
“Now, the laws of the country must be allowed to decide, to rule on wrongdoing on the part of anybody.
“I am not particular about any celebrity or promoter but this country has been harmed enormously and people should be prepared to account for what they did.”
He added that some politicians who promoted the #EndSARS demonstrations including those of the Peoples Democratic Party should “publicly denounce” the attendant destruction caused by the protest.
• CBN places ‘post no debit’ restriction on pharmacist’s account
• Lawyer accuses Nigeria Immigration Service of stopping her trip abroad
• Federal Government’s panel gets 160 petitions, begins sitting today
By Eniola Akinkuotu and Adelani Adepegba
There were strong indications on Tuesday that the Federal Government had begun a clampdown on promoters of #EndSARS protests by freezing their bank accounts.
Some #EndSARS promoters, who spoke separately to The PUNCH, said their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria had directed that their accounts should be frozen.
Last months, youths calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police protested for two weeks in major cities of the country.
On Tuesday, some promoters of the protests said their accounts had been frozen for the past two weeks.
The CBN, according to multiple complaints received by The PUNCH, reportedly instructed banks to place a ‘Post No Debit’ restriction on the accounts.
The banks, it was learnt, were able to implement the directive by tracking the ‘narration’ of transactions.
Bank transactions that included the narration #EndSARS or End SARS were immediately flagged while such accounts receiving funds were frozen.
Speaking to The PUNCH, a pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, said his account with Access Bank marked 003397XXXX had remained frozen since October 15.
According to him, when he learnt of the development, he went to the bank to find out the reason for it. Israel said he was informed by a bank officer that the directive came from the apex bank.
He said, “I am in charge of End SARS medical team in Port Harcourt and we had people donating for medical supplies, food, water, ambulance services and these donations were made directly into my account and of course these donations had End SARS descriptions so I think that was how they were able to flag my account. I noticed that on October 15, I was trying to make a debit transaction on my account and noticed that there was a restriction.
“So, I called the bank and I was told that there was indeed a restriction but I should go to any branch near me and when I did so, the branch manager sent a mail to the branch where I opened the account. The response to the mail was that there was a directive from the CBN to restrict the account.
“The lady was surprised and even asked me if I had any issue with the CBN and I responded that if I had any issue with the CBN, I wouldn’t be in the bank in the first place, I would be on the run. I asked what could be done and she gave me no answer. She had to show me the mail on her computer which I read. It was directly from the CBN and it read, ‘Place this account on PND.”
When asked if others had similar problems, Israel said, “I know many persons that have this same challenge.”
Israel said the money in the frozen account was a substantial sum.
Another #EndSARS protester told one of our correspondents that she had not been able to access her account and had been informed that it was frozen.
She, however, wished to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised by the government.
One of the promoters of the #EndSARS movement, Feyikemi Abudu, also confirmed in a tweet that the accounts of several persons involved in the protests had been frozen.
The acting Spokesman for the CBN, Abdulmumin Isa, who was first contacted last week on the telephone, asked the correspondent to give him some time.
However, after one week of waiting, Isa had yet to provide any information on the matter.
The Spokesman for Access Bank, Abdul Imoyo, said he could not make comments on individual accounts of customers for confidentiality reasons.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service on Monday prevented a promoter of the #EndSARS movement, Modupe Odele, from travelling.
Although the NIS officers did not disclose the reason for their action, it is believed that the action was taken because of her alleged role in the #EndSARS protests.
Odele, had through her Twitter handle, @Mochievous, mobilised her 219,000 followers during the protests.
She had also ensured that free legal aid was given to persons who were unjustly arrested during the demonstrations.
Confirming the development in a newsletter sent out on Monday, the lawyer said she was on her way to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday when she was accosted by immigration officers.
She wrote, “For my birthday, I had planned a trip to the Maldives. It was really for a break as the events of the last three weeks have exhausted my mind and body in a way I have never been exhausted in my life.
“I went to the airport, passed through immigration, and while I was putting my bags through the body and baggage scanner, the immigration officer who had previously cleared me, called me back. He told me he had orders from above to detain me.
“Okay, at this point I’m like excuse me, my flight is in an hour. On what grounds are you detaining me?” He didn’t respond. Instead, he goes to his computer where he typed in my name, and something that looked like a ‘wanted poster’ popped up on the portal.
“He blocked my view so I couldn’t see most of it but I saw some of it. And it read something like – ‘This person is under investigation by XYZ Intelligence Agency. If seen, they should be apprehended on sight.’”
Odele said she was detained while her passport was seized by the officers and she was made to miss her flight.
The Spokesman for the NIS, Sunday James, said he did not have any information on the matter but promised to find out.
There were reports that the Federal Government had begun going after notable persons in the #EndSARS protests and had placed some of them on a ‘no fly list.’
However, the Federal Ministry of Interior denied the allegation, saying it did not generate any ‘no fly list.”
Buhari displaying traits of a dictator – #EndSARS protesters
Reacting to the reported freezing of bank accounts belonging to supporters of the campaign, the #EndSARS protesters said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was simply displaying the traits of a dictator.
A member of the group, Dayo Ariyo-Atoye, in an interview with The PUNCH, said it was unfortunate that Buhari’s regime would take extrajudicial measures to curtail the #EndSARS campaign.
He stated, “What we have seen is worrisome and totally condemnable and unfortunate. It is not impossible that this government can take an illegal measure to curtail the #EndSARS campaign, especially now that the northern irredentists are calling for a crackdown on social media and free speech.
“So, it is not unexpected that this government can do it. As a military head of state, General Buhari did it. As a civilian, he is also showing the same traits of military dictatorship.”
On what the #EndSARS movement would do, Ariyo-Atoye said his group would request foreign governments to repatriate the families of all government officials living abroad.
“If the government has compiled names of protesters to stop them from leaving the country in violation of their rights, we may compile the names of their family members in foreign countries and seek visa ban for the leaders. We would write to the foreign governments to repatriate their family members living abroad,” he stated.
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.
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)