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Political Campaigns Won’t Stop NASS’ Work – Saraki Assures

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President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Monday, assured Nigerians that legislative duties in the National Assembly would not be abandoned relegated to the background in view of the commencement of the 2019 electioneering campaigns.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, in Abuja, said while responding to comments by the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, who visited him at the National Assembly.

Saraki said, “It is very important to emphasise that as far as we are concerned, we will follow through on the key Bills. We will continue to work on these Bills because they are priorities to the 8th National Assembly – these are Bills that were initiated by the legislative arm of government.

“For example, the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) has never gotten this far in its history. However, both Chambers of the National Assembly worked very hard to come up with a unified position and sent it to the Executive.

Unfortunately, it came back with some minor issues that we feel should not have affected the progress of the Bill. These were issues that could have been easily addressed.

“The two arms of government must see that the most important thing is for us to get the PIGB going because it has a lot of impact on the industry in terms of transparency, accountability and ensuring that the revenues of the petroleum sector are well managed.

“As you know, we have also gone far with the fiscal and host community components of the Bill, because it came about as a result of constant engagement with stakeholders in the industry. However, with this setback by the Executive, this has slowed down the process a little,” the Senate President said.

Speaking on the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the Police Reform Bill, Saraki said that the CAMA Bill was only waiting for the Concurrence Committee of both Houses of the National Assembly to finish its work, while the Police Reform Bill would soon be subjected to Public Hearing.

“I am hopeful that the CAMA will soon pass in the House of Representatives too. On the Police Reform Bill, we are hoping to have a public hearing very soon. As you know, this reform Bill came about as an immediate response by parliament to the increased reports of insecurity across the country.

“We took the decision to evaluate the security situation in the country, particularly the police, to see how best we could make the institution more effective and efficient. Unfortunately, as we work towards these reforms of the police, I must be honest, many of the actions of the police are seen to be quite partisan.

“We are hoping that the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs will set the ball rolling on this immediately. It is important that the Executive too must see the importance of this Bill so that we can work together and improve the efficiency and the level of Police performance,” Saraki said.

On the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Bill, Saraki stated that the Bill would soon be on its way to the President for assent; while emphasising that he was still hopeful that the Gender Bill would be passed before the end of the 8th Assembly.

“On the Electoral Bill, we have passed that and sent it to the Executive. We have addressed all the concerns raised by Mr President because we believe that that Bill is important to improve the quality of our elections and our electoral process. We want an electoral process that will make our elections more credible. Therefore, I hope that the interest of the country should be the determining factor in the decision to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“Despite the fact that campaigns have started, all these important Bills will still receive the desired attention from us to ensure that government does not suffer and we can still make the lives of all Nigerians better,” the President of the Senate stated.

Earlier, the Acting British High Commissioner had advised against relegating legislative duties to the background with the onset of campaigns for the 2019 general elections in the country.

“There are quite a number of Bills in which we have key interests because we firmly believe that these Bills are in the interest of the Nigerian people both in terms of their rights and in terms of their opportunities for economic development,” Thompson said.

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*Lekki Shooting: Nigerian Army acted within rules of engagement, professionalism required – Coalition*

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) says the Nigerian Army didn’t breach its rules of engagement at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos or anywhere in the country during the EndSARS protests. 

According to the coalition, the troops acted in its usual professional manner and have been agents of stabilization, instrumental to restoration of peace. 

The Coalition for Truth and Justice made this revelation in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Barrister Timothy Charles, on Wednesday, in Abuja. 

As a followup to the army’s statement on Tuesday, the CTJ said it carried out a preliminary investigation to ascertain the actual state of things. 

It said from the footages reviewed, the troops were captured firing blank rounds to the air that couldn’t have killed anyone. 

The coalition admitted that the sole confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll gate incident was as a result of blunt force trauma and not gunshot. 

With these and other “overwhelming proof”, the CTJ concluded that there was no massacre as being portrayed by “anarchists”. 

It, however, urged relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate key people among the protesters, adding that it is possible that they may have opened fire on their own members. 

Read full statement below:

The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ), after a careful review of available information, has reached the conclusion that the Nigerian Army did not breach its rules of engagement during the incidence at Lekki Toll Plaza and indeed any other part of Lagos state and the entire country in the course of the #EndSARS protests.

Contrary to the ongoing vilification campaign by pro-looters individuals and organizations, emerging facts rather suggest that the Nigerian Army has been an agent of stabilization that was instrumental to restoration of peace in many of the cities across the country with the curtailing of the violence that had threatened to spiral out of control. 

CTJ, in response to the statement issued by the Nigerian Army Tuesday night,  has carried out its preliminary investigations and far from what everyone had said, we studied the situation and came up with a clear understanding that the Nigerian Army did not breach its Rules of Engagement in all the instances claimed by propagandists. 

While soldiers were being accused of shooting into the crowd of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, it is interesting to note that every single video clip shared by the #EndSARS protesters depicted the soldiers as firing into the air. The loud sound of the gunshots in the videos indicated that what the soldiers were firing were blank rounds while the silver shell casings retrieved from the scene by the protesters further confirmed that the rounds were blank and couldn’t have killed anyone. 

We also noted that the bullets that the protesters allegedly claimed were extracted from the supposed remains of their killed colleagues did not show any deformation or denting as would be expected of projectiles that had made impact at high velocity. It is not likely that a bullet will hit someone and still retain its shape.

Furthermore, shooting 15 people dead as claimed by the #EndSARS protesters would have flooded the scene with anything upwards of 75 liters of human blood, which would have been visible for all to see on the morning of the following day. There was no such and there were no remains, except for the tenuous lie that the corpses were handed over to soldiers, something that turned out to be false since no mortuary has reported receiving the remains and the foreign partners of the protesters have not been able to come up with satellite images of freshly dug mass graves as they are used to alleging.  

What we were able to establish is that the one confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll Gate incident was from blunt force trauma and not gunshot. It is therefore trite for CTJ to point out that almost every single person that the cyber wing of the protest had trended as being killed at the toll gate have returned from the dead to refute news of their demise just as pictures from movie shoots that they attempted to use to discredit the Army have been exposed.  

It is pertinent to point out that the other jurisdictions that the protesters are comparing Nigeria to would not stand by idle while arsonists and anarchists make life unbearable for other people while also destroying national assets and looting everywhere. In the United States, there have been instances when the national guard was called in to assist the civil police in curbing extreme protests. In the United Kingdom, during the 2011 London Riots, 92% of persons surveyed were opened to the Army being brought in to curtail the destruction by protesters.  

Based on the insistence of the #EndSARS protesters that there was a massacre even in the absence of evidence and in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary, CTJ finds it pertinent to demand a thorough investigation of key people among the protesters since it is possible that they opened fire on their own members within the protest in order to malign the government by accusing the Army. This possibility is high because protesters had killed many police officers on the same day, set some ablaze and committed other atrocities while the military continued to exercise restraints. 

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*Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management*

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A special report by the Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management on the immediate cause of the escalation of violence across the country in the aftermath of the Lekki Tollgate incident in Lagos State

Introduction: 

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

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

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

The issues:

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

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

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

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

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

The Facts: 

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

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

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

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

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

The Lies: 

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: 

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

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

Recommendations: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed: 
Dr Thomas Uzah, 
Special Rapporteur.

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Army Degrade Bandits, Records Success

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9 suspected bandit collaborators arrested at Sabon Garin Dan Ali General area in Danmusa LGA of Katsina State on 24 September 2020

The Nigeria Army has revealed that the Northwest region is beginning to witness stability and normalcy leading to massive resumption of farming and socioeconomic activities in the zone.

This is in line with the Army’s mandate to completely rid the North West zone of the country of armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and incessant killings of innocent citizens.

AHMADU RUFAI SUSPECTED  BANDIT LOGISTICS SUPPLIER ARRESTED BY TROOOS ON 27 SEPTEMBER 2020.

AHMADU RUFAI SUSPECTED BANDIT LOGISTICS SUPPLIER ARRESTED BY TROOOS ON 27 SEPTEMBER 2020.


According to Ag Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY have intensified operational activities in the theatre of operation during the period under review which has led to the degradation of the bandits and their activities to the barest minimum as indicative by the successes recorded.

” These gains are gradually bringing stability and normalcy back to the zone as evident by the massive resumption of farming and socio-economic activities”.

4 SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATORS ARRESTED AT TUDU VILLAGE IN KANKARA LGA OF KATSINA STATE ON 4 OCTOBER 2020.

4 SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATORS ARRESTED AT TUDU VILLAGE IN KANKARA LGA OF KATSINA STATE ON 4 OCTOBER 2020.


He said it is important to note that the tremendous successes achieved since the commencement of the operation could not have been possible without the sacrifice, commitment and gallantry exhibited by the professionally and responsive soldiers of the Nigerian Army some of whom have paid the supreme price in the course of their professional calling.

Onyeuko stated that gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY within this period carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes, day and night patrols denying bandits and other criminal elements any respite.

 SUSPECTED BANDITS LOGISTICS SUPPLIER LAWAL SALISU ARRESTED AT DAN ALI VILLAGE ON 15 OCTOBER 20


SUSPECTED BANDITS LOGISTICS SUPPLIER LAWAL SALISU ARRESTED AT DAN ALI VILLAGE ON 15 OCTOBER 20


Also numerous farm and highway patrols were carried out within Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi and Zamfara States thus boosting the confidence of the locals as well as commuters in carrying out their daily activities without hindrance.

These operations, he said have most importantly led to the rescue of kidnapped victims, neutralization of bandits, arrest of several bandits informants and collaborators, recovery and return of rustled cattle to their bona-fide owners.

SUSPECTED RUSTLED CATTLE MARKETERS ARRESTED AT DANDUME ON 18 OCTOBER 20

SUSPECTED RUSTLED CATTLE MARKETERS ARRESTED AT DANDUME ON 18 OCTOBER 20


Furthermore, “there were recoveries of large cache of arms and ammunitions as well as other dangerous weapons. Similarly, numerous captured bandits motorcycles and Bandits hideouts were destroyed by the gallant troops. Equally, a number of bandits logistics network have been smashed leading to the arrest of some of the syndicate members within the period”, he added.

That so far, in all the operations conducted between 4 September -25 October 2020, 38 armed bandits were neutralized while 93 suspected bandits logistics suppliers and collaborators were arrested. Relatedly, 30 Dane guns, 941 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition and 5 live cartridges were captured during various encounters with troops.

SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATOR AMINU WADA ARRESTED AT DAN ALI VILLAGE ON 16 OCTOBER 20

SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATOR AMINU WADA ARRESTED AT DAN ALI VILLAGE ON 16 OCTOBER 20


Also, a total of 131 cows, 154 sheep/rams and 1 camel were recovered. In all the search and rescue operations carried out, 108 kidnapped victims were rescued, 90 bandits informants and collaborators, 3 rustled cattle marketers and 12 bandits logistics suppliers were arrested. Also, a total of 10 bandit’s camps and their logistics bases were destroyed by troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY. Relatedly 47 bandits attacks and 31 kidnap incidents were foiled by the troops.

He stressed that the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY have continued to dominate all the hitherto volatile areas with confidence building patrols, ambushes and clearance operations to deny the bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action.

SUSPECTED BANDITS INFORMANT ISHAU SAMAILA ARRESTED AT DAN ALI VILLAGE ON 16 OCTOBER 20

SUSPECTED BANDITS INFORMANT ISHAU SAMAILA ARRESTED AT DAN ALI VILLAGE ON 16 OCTOBER 20


“Consequently, the troops are hereby commended for their gallantry, sacrifices and successes achieved so far. They are also urged not to rest on their oars but build on the achievements recorded so far.

The people of the North West zone are also appreciated for their continued cooperation in providing credible information for the success of the operation.

They are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that would aid the desired goal of the operation. They are further reassured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to restore total peace in the zone and indeed the entire country”.

 SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATOR SHUAIBU ILIYA ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT BAKAN VILLAGE ON 18 OCTOBER 20


SUSPECTED BANDITS COLLABORATOR SHUAIBU ILIYA ARRESTED BY TROOPS AT BAKAN VILLAGE ON 18 OCTOBER 20


The Nigeria Army also thank the press family both within and beyond the zone, “your patriotic and professional zeal towards this noble course is highly commendable and appreciated. We wish to further extend our hands of partnarship to make our great country a better and safer environment”.

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