A civil society group, the Citizens Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI) has called on the Federal Government to restrain the excessive powers of the Chairman, Governing Board of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Alhaji Ibrahim Gwarzo. This is informed by the fact that CWAI discovered that Alhaji Ibrahim is unilaterally running the institute of government as his private property. In addition, he has appropriated all the tools of governance and administration to himself by administering FIIRO as a Military Administrator (MILAD). He takes no orders, instructions or initiatives from the supervisory ministry – the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
CWAI discovered to its dismay that, Alhaji Ibrahim Gwarzo has changed the signatories to the accounts of FIIRO and keeps on bragging to the ears of anyone that cares to listen, that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha is his godfather and mentor. As such, he can do anything legally or illegally and nothing will happen to him so long as Mustapha remains the SGF. CWAI gathered from reliable sources at FIIRO that Gwarzo has bragged in notable places and in the institute that as long as Boss Mustapha remains the SGF, his (Gwarzo’s) sins at FIIRO are covered and he remains untouchable.
It will be recalled that Dr Chima Igwe, the suspended Acting DG has not been reinstated despite clearance from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the Independent Corrupt Practices (and Other Related Offences) Commission (ICPC) and other governmental organizations. Though the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology ordered for his reinstatement since May 2020, this directive has not been carried out. This lacuna has given the Chairman unfitted access to the treasury of the institute for unethical contract awards and commissioning. He has wilfully delayed the reinstatement of Dr Igwe as Ag DG of FIIRO in the past few months, due to this delay, a lot of insider dealings have overtaken the foremost institute.
In a press release signed by the Executive Secretary of Citizens Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI), Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, CWAI wondered what must have kept the governing board of FIIRO from reinstating the Ag. DG after the Ministry had given the directive to the Chairman of the board and after the orchestrated investigation carried out had declared his innocence to all allegations.
While it is public knowledge that the grand standing of Gwarzo is linked to his senatorial ambition in Kano State, trying to show his people he has the muscle to thwart the efforts of the management at FIIRO as a result of his perceived closeness to the SGF.
CWAI insists that Nigerians are aware that it was the office of the SGF that brought about a stop to the arbitrary sacking of the Directors-General of MDAs by Ministers of the Federal Republic through the enactment and description of the extant laws and rules but the same SGF is now seen as aiding and abetting the sins of Alh Ibrahim Gwarzo at FIIRO to the detriment of the institute in particular and Nigerians in general.
CWAI therefore calls on the SGF to reign his power on the FIIRO governing board to stop forthwith all the shenanigans and unethical practices, contract racketeering that are on-going at FIIRO. CWAI is of the view that the friction of the governing council was clear and insisting that “among the many functions listed therein, none empowers the board/council to even oversee the daily running of the affairs of the institute, as being witnessed under the current board headed by Gwarzo.”
CWAI therefore calls on the Presidency, the Minister and Board of Science and Technology to look into this issue dispassionately and thoroughly and call the Alh Ibrahim Gwarzo-led governing board to order and prevail on the cabal at FIIRO to reinstate Dr Chima Igwe as Acting Director-General and stop all the unethical practices going on.
In conclusion, CWAI warns that if this step is further delayed, the organization will be forced to seek redress in the courts of law.
*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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