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AESID Urges EFCC, ICPC, Others to Probe Palliative Sharing in Ebonyi

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A diaspora group, Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID) has called for caution in the spending of resources by the Ebonyi state government, even as it called on anti-graft agencies to monitor closely the sharing of another Covid-19 palliative in the state.

The group specifically called on the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to come to the rescue of the state.

In a statement signed Tuesday by its President (Worldwide) Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, the association expressed disappointment on the way the current administration in Ebonyi continued to manage what it described as scarce resources in the state.

The group claimed it has information that the state government is about to spend another N4 billion as ‘Second phase palliative’ to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“AESID therefore call on the relevant anti-graft agencies whose mandates include monitoring and forestalling of financial crimes to beam its light very brightly on the Ebonyi state government to uncover, expose this obvious plot to swindle the poor State of its scarce resources in the guise of palliatives. The Ebonyi State government should be brought to book to also account for the various sums ordinarily meant for the development of the State which has officially been reported to the anti-graft agencies as having been diverted.

“We at AESID are quite disturbed about the way and manner the Ebonyi state government has continued to mismanage the scare resources of our poor state without any scintilla of accountability. We hold this view because the Umahi-led administration to the best of our knowledge is yet to give any account of an earlier approval of N4bn it made in July this year which it had christened ‘palliatives for Ebonyians.’

“Of course, we still recall the hues and cries of the Ebonyi poor masses over the extremely bizarre food items which included few sachets of noodles shared to just a hand-few of particularly party loyalists in the guise of palliatives after a very protracted period by the government. As a non-interest group whose mandate remains to continue to hold state actors accountable, AESID is calling on the Ebonyi state government to halt the proposed plan to lavish another whooping N4bn under the façade of COVID-19 palliatives.

“Rather, the government should first of all account for its management of the earlier sum approved and released as palliatives. It should show accountability by detailing the masses with how same was expended. We say so because of our vehement suspicion that the COVID-19 has since its outbreak in the country become for Governor Umahi and indeed some other Nigerian leaders a huge business and the most unsuspecting means to loot and divert lean resources accruing to the States they govern.

“Otherwise, how can Ebonyi state that never recorded more COVID-19 cases than states like Lagos claim to have now proposed to spend over N8bn? What kind of palliatives would take away over N4bn from the coffers of a government with lean allocation like that of our dear Ebonyi state? There is actually nothing less to suspect except to conclude that this is not just another hoax but another masterfully-designed plot by the Governor Umahi administration to siphon Ebonyi’s poor treasury!

Again we may wish to ask: Why is Umahi focusing only on projects and contracts that would enrich only him and his family without paying attention to genuine human empowerment programmes for our state which is rated as the poverty capital of Southern Nigeria?

“Why has he allowed rural roads that are completely impassable for local farmers to concentrate on mere cosmetics and artificial monuments that add no reasonable value to the lives and economic well-being of the average Ebonyian?

“What achievements can the Umahi administration truly boast of in the critical Education and Health sectors in Ebonyi state? What about attracting firms interested in operating in the State that can offer the teeming unemployed population job opportunities? This platform therefore urge the Ebonyi State government to reverse itself and not tow this path of ignominy by wasting resources in the guise of palliatives.”

The group, however assured the people of Ebonyi “that we shall continue to do all within the ambits of the law, the principles of fairness, equity and natural justice to protect and defend their interests at all times even as they pass through this difficult era of deceptions, lies and vicious propaganda.”

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International Human Rights Group Vows to Drag Promoters of Fake News, ‘DJ Switch’ to ICC Hague

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The International Human Rights Protection Forum (IHRPF) has threatened to drag disc jockey, Obianuju Udeh, popularly known as ‘DJ Switch’ to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over misleading reports on the #EndSARS protests in Lekki toll gate on Tuesday.

The humanitarian group, with headquarters in Florida, United States, said Obianuju’s claims could have triggered genocide and war crimes in Nigeria.

The IHRPF made this known in a statement signed by its legal adviser, Barrister Janet Ihezie.

DJ Switch alleged to have witnessed and streamed as armed gunmen fired shots at #EndSARS protesters.

However, the disc jockey who according to reports claimed over 70 persons died from the incident backtracked recently, saying at least 15 casualties were recorded.

And IHRPF said DJ Switch must apologise to the government and citizens of Nigeria for misleading key decision-makers across the globe.

Failure to do so, the group said it won’t hesitate within the next seven days to drag the disc jockey to ICC, Hague, Netherlands for peddling fake news capable of throwing the country into a state of anarchy.

According to the human rights group, Obianuju and her likes were sponsored by desperate politicians seeking to illegitimately overthrow the government.

The group, however, called on the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Canada and other international partners in progress to stand by Nigeria at this difficult moment.

Read the full statement below:

The attention of International Human Rights Protection Forum (IHRPF) with headquarters at Florida, USA has been drawn to attempt by one self acclaimed Nigerian celebrity Obianuju Catherine Udeh otherwise known as DJ Switch to trigger genocide and war crimes in Nigeria through publication of misleading reports following the violent #EndSARS protest at the Lekki Toll Gate that degenerated into something close to anarchy in Lagos State on Tuesday, 20th October, 2020 evening hours after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu imposed a dusk to dawn curfew.

In what we obviously perceive as a teleguided narrative, DJ Switch was found to be speaking from both sides of her mouth when she granted interview to Premium Times on 23rd October, 2020 alleging that armed soldiers and police officers shot at her and other #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate killing at least a total of 15 people. DJ Switch claimed in a video posted on social media that she and some other survivors of the alleged shootings carried dead bodies of the 15 protesters to the feet of the soldiers, who “threw the bodies into their vans”. To add insult to injury, DJ Switch went ahead to display some bullet shells which she claimed were recovered from the scene of the shootings. We are at a loss as to why DJ Switch could tell a bare-faced lie to Nigerians and the international community that the military killed 15 protesters while bodies of victims could not be found.

In their usual antagonistic tendency to rubbish the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on human right protection issues Amnesty International was quick to posit, albeit without any credible evidence, that at least 12 people were killed on Tuesday, 20th October, 2020 at both Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate just to support the lies told by DJ Switch. With the emergence of conflicting picture of what actually transpired at Lekki Toll Gate, IHRPF feels that DJ Switch and her co-peddlers of fake news should as a matter of urgency apologize to the government as well as citizens of Nigeria concerning how they have misled key decision-makers across the globe.

Granted that some lives and valuable properties may have been lost in Lagos State following the violence that erupted after the #EndSARS protest, it would be uncalled for if not bad for individuals no matter how highly placed to fan the embers of mischief targeted at inciting the general public against the military or other security agencies who have over the years done everything possible to keep Nigeria together as one sovereign and indivisible nation. That the Governor of Lagos State came out to openly confirm that there was no death resulting from the so called Lekki Massacre should have been enough reason why the likes of DJ Switch need to take caution in their use of foul languages. We find it rather appalling that the Federal Government of Nigeria was subjected to unwarranted criticism across the globe due to a well coordinated campaign of fake news in the past few days.

Whilst we empathize with families of those who lost beloved ones and business ventures since the #EndSARS protest began, we wish to fully identify with the genuine demand that the Nigeria Police Force be reformed immediately in order to win back the confidence of citizens that Nigeria is a truly safe and democratic country. Being that as it may, IHRPF in line with its mandate to give voice to the voiceless people in the society shall not hesitate within the next 7 days to drag DJ Switch to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands if she does not desist from peddling fake news capable of throwing Nigeria into a state of anarchy, thereby giving room for the commission of genocide and war crimes against the civilian population and military forces alike by enemies who had always wanted to divide Nigeria for their selfish political gains. It is obvious that politicians who could not come to power using the ballot are behind funding of the #EndSARS protest, which later degenerated into a violent attempt to dislodge the legitimate government of Nigeria contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013. We submit that the utterances and actions of DJ Switch as stated herein are not only criminal but “widespread” and “systematic” within the meaning of Article 7 (1) of the Rome Statute for which the ICC can urgently open an investigation.

On a final note, IHRPF calls on the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Canada and other international partners in progress to stand by Nigeria at this difficult moment as the country strives earnestly to deliver the dividends of democracy to her people in an atmosphere devoid of violence, criminality and sabotage.

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#EndSARS: Nigerian Youths Urged to Quit Violence, Appreciate PMB’s Magnanimity

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The Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) has urged youths in the country to quit the #EndSARS violence and embrace the generous and kind-heartedness of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a town hall meeting with the theme: ‘Consensus Building for National Unity, Peace, Cohesion and Confidence in the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,’ in Abuja on Saturday, CALSER said the youths succeeded in driving home their demands and got the attention of the president, but using violence as a means of protests became unfortunate .

According to Princess Ajibola, now is time for fellow youths to celebrate this remarkable feat achieved through the “instrumentality of our voices”.

Ajibola statement adds that ” We must not fail to admit that indeed the agitations were genuine, as the youths didn’t act outside the constitutional rights of freedom of association and expression as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

“To think that the youths drove home their demands in a more peaceful manner is indicative of the fact that we are all burning with a passion to succeed. This much was evident in the oneness of our voices and the determination with which the peaceful protests were conducted.

“To say we have achieved success would be an understatement. We have made a very valid point that has elicited a great response from the government that resulted in the disbandment of the notorious SARS by the Inspector General of Police.

“The government has also gone further to institute processes towards the compensation of the victims of the viciousness of SARS on the bulk of Nigerian youth’s across the country. This is a great victory for the teeming youths in the country. The March4Nigeria Town Hall Meeting should serve as the avenue for us to roll out the drums in celebration for this remarkable feat that we have achieved through the instrumentality of our voices”.

Ajibola on behalf of CALSER, however, appealed to the youths to leave now the ovation is loudest.

She noted that, ” we must not allow some unscrupulous elements to take undue advantage to perpetrate violence in the country, adding that the recent events in the country indicate so”.

She further called on the youths to appreciate the noble efforts of President Buhari who according to the centre has proven to be a father figure to all.

“President Muhammadu Buhari deserves all the commendation for the promptness with which he acceded to our demands. He has proven that he is a true democrat that is receptive to ideas towards making Nigeria great,” she said.

“I make bold to say that in the history of democratic governance in Nigeria, there hasn’t been a president that has tremendous regards and respect for the teeming youths of our great country since he assumed leadership of the country in 2015.

“We must realize that our voices have been heard and the various steps taken by the government is quite commendable. I know for a fact that overtures are being made for the street protests to continue all in a bid to discredit the government.

“I want to use this medium to state in unequivocal terms that indeed the youths of Nigeria have demonstrated capacity to drive home our points and to bring the government to accept our demands.

“This was made possible by the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari for standing as a father at all times, and for displaying acts of tremendous respect for the youths of our great country”.

The statement further stated that the March4Ngeria town hall meeting should indeed be used to send a strong message to those that are against the peace and progress of Nigeria that we are one indivisible and robust constituency that is bounded in love and honesty for peace to grow.

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Odi Leaders to Obasanjo: You’re Not Qualify to Comment on Lekki Shooting

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Some leaders in Odi community of Bayelsa state under the aegis of Concerned Citizens of Odi have berated former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his recent comments on the shooting incident in Lekki.

The community leaders said the former president is not in a situation to speak on the activities of a military invasion.

The group was reacting to the Odi massacre which was carried out on November 20, 1999, by the Nigerian military on the predominantly Ijaw town of Odi in Bayelsa state.

The attack under the Obasanjo administration came in the context of an ongoing conflict in the Niger Delta over indigenous rights to oil resources and environmental protection.

Obasanjo recently made comments on the Lekki shooting incident.

But a statement signed by several Odi leaders including the community’s women leader; Ebimoweni Kemepade, deputy king of Odi; Chief Prenus Ogboin, the Youth president Ikposuoyeski Inemike and CDC chairman, Odi, Goddey Niweigha, among others, demanded an unreserved apology from the former president.

Part of the statement read: “The trauma that Odi went through under President Obasanjo is still fresh in living memory.

“The Nigerian Army moved in tanks, the Nigerian Navy moved in warships and the Nigerian Air Force was overheads.

“All the force of the Nigerian federation was unleashed on the sleepy and unarmed rural community of Odi. All because some young people dared to ask for their rights. It was a time no one in Odi wishes to recall.

“Definitely, there are some lectures that ‘Professor’ Obasanjo may not be qualified to deliver, especially a lecture on how to disperse a peaceful protest without violence.’’

The group stated that Obasanjo owes the people of Odi an unreserved apology, adding that his recent comments are like adding salt to injury on their people.

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