Good Governance and Accountability Monitors Group has called for the arrest and prosecution of the Chairman of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Ladi Balogun.
The group in a statement issued Tuesday in Abuja by its Coordinator, Opeolumi Adeniyi and Secretary, Isaiah Moses, alleged that the chairman allowed his bank to be a platform that is used in aiding and abetting corruption especially in our banking sector.
The group’s demand was necessitated by revelations in the ongoing investigation of the embattled former anti corruption czar, Ibrahim Magu of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), where the bank was caught in the middle of shoddy transaction.
The Executive officer of the First City Monument Bank, Ahmed Nuru, during his appearance before the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential panel, said his bank ‘mistakenly paid the sum of #473m into the account of pastor Omale’.
The group said the fact that somebody of the position of Ibrahim Magu, who before his disgraceful fall, was head of the nation’s anti-corruption agency can be found wanting for financial malfeasance, speaks volumes.
“As Nigerians and stakeholders in the drive to rescue our beloved country from the precipice it is being pushed into, we are worried that Mr. Ladi Balogun would shamelessly and without considerations to the fight against corruption, expose the FCMB to such ridicule and then claim that his bank mistakenly credited an account with such humungous amount of money and, only realized after four years that such an amount was paid into the wrong account.
“We are therefore, compelled to demand from the Nigerian Government; especially the Presidency that it compels Mr. Ahmed Nuru that he provides answers to these questions.
“Who provided the account details that the said #573m (five hundred and seventy three million) was paid into and, who approved the transaction?
“Who was the officer that verified the account?
“Is Ladi Balogun telling Nigerians that his bank did not carry out internal and external audit of its accounts and banks since 2016?
“Why did it take Ladi Balogun and his board, four years to realize that his organization credited a wrong account with such a huge sum?
“Whose bank account was the amount debited and how is it that the owner of the said account failed to notice such a huge withdrawal and transaction?
“Is this not a self-indictment of the management of the capabilities of the Ladi Balogun owned FCMB that it is involved in money laundering and financial crimes?”
The group further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the banking sector by ensuring that funds are protected.
He should immediately direct the EFCC, NFIU, DSS to instigate an immediate probe of Mr. Ahmed Nuru.
“We also call on both Houses of the National Assembly; the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately, on resumption hold a Public Hearing to look into this criminality against the collective well-being of Nigerians as it affects the sacredness of our financial institutions that have now been turned into a conduit pipe for the laundering of our resources, the Ladi Balogun run FCMB.
“Also, the Minority Leaders in both Houses of the NASS should, as a matter of national emergency, ensure that this financial sleaze by the FCMB, under the eyes of Ladi Balogun is thoroughly investigated and all those involved and found culpable, be prosecuted immediately.”
*Lekki Shooting: Nigerian Army acted within rules of engagement, professionalism required – Coalition*
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.
*Centre for Human Rights and Crisis Management*
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
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr Thomas Uzah,
Army Degrade Bandits, Records Success
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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”.
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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