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#EndSARS: Situation Report Decries Human Rights Abuses By Protesters, Hoodlums

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The Civil Situation Room has called for an immediate suspension of the #EndSARS protests across the country over human rights abuses. 

The situation room, consisting of over 100 human rights groups said the protests have taken a violent twist in recent days, infringing on the rights of other citizens and entrenching criminal activities.

Protests demanding an end to Police brutality entered its 12th day on Monday despite the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and subsequent formation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). 

In the last couple of days, the exercise has become fierce, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Benin. 

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, coordinator of the Situation Room on #EndSARS Comrade Adamu Kabir Matazu said protesters are now involved in abuses, depriving people of their lives. 

He, however, urged leaders of thought all over the world to prevail on the #EndSARS protesters to respect the rights of other citizens.

Comrade Kabir also urged the Federal Government to “change its approach of allowing some people run riot simply because they are hiding under the identity of youth to protest”. 

He said the FG must step in to bring order and sanity to stop the protesters from interfering with the ordinary citizens and preventing people from going about their legitimate businesses.   

Read full statement below:

Gentlemen of the press, we are pleased to welcome you to this press conference which is called to address issues arising from #EndSARS protests. You will recall that when the incidents of police brutality first became topical and Nigerians decided to protest against it all of us joined without hesitation. At the start of these protests everyone was focused on issues while highlighting the need to call operatives of SARS unit to order with the demand that the unit must be scrapped. 

It was reassuring that the federal government and the Nigeria Police Force were responsive by immediately scrapping SARS. Further agitation from protesters saw to it that the government agreed to a five-point demand from protesters. These demands were geared towards wholesomely reforming the police. From the way we see it the demands that were tabled included items that should be dealt with immediately, on this short term, on the midterm, and long term. 

As outlined, we realize that it will take time for each set of demands to be implemented depending on whether it’s something that will be done immediately or something that will cover a period of months or years. The logic is that protesters will then allow the government time to implement these demanded changes. 

This perhaps informed the decision of some people to drop out of the protest because they want the government to have time to respond to the things that they have asked for. This does not in any way negate the rights of those who decided that they will continue to protest in fact we seem that they now moved beyond the demand for police reform to include other things, some of them are even asking for the sack of the government, which was not something that was originally on the table. 

What this means is that serious minded people returned to their legitimate businesses and activities while waiting to see how the government implement the changes that they have demanded. From the way we look at it, this has made those who are still protesting to change their tactics by doing things to force others to become part of the protest. We now see them increasingly blocking roads in a way that prevents people from getting to their workplaces, from getting to their places of business, and even in some instances from accessing lifesaving treatment. 

In Abuja for instance, protesters obstructed the airport road, knowing that it is a major access for people traveling out of the city and heading to the airport to catch their flights. A particularly sad outcome from this was the case of the woman reportedly in labor, who died because she could not get to the hospital for lifesaving intervention. In the same city, there are reported incidents of motorists getting their vehicles smashed in by the unruly protesters. In Osun state, there was the sad incident of protesters attacking the state governor, they then went on rampage and burnt down a mall in the state capital. 

In Benin City, Edo state: Protesters broke into two  prisons  and set free inmates that include hardened criminals, killed two police officers and set numerous properties on fire . They also set up bonfires, obstructed free flow of traffic and serially manhandled security operatives.

Ibadan, Oyo State: protesters obstructed the road and forced people to trek long distances while those going about their legitimate business were harassed endlessly. Lives of innocent citizens have also been lost in this state. 

Lagos is also lockdown from the protesters, who made harassment of those not supporting their protests a standard modus operandi.

In other cases, the information we are getting is that protesters are randomly shooting at people, killing them, and depriving them of their lives apparently in their bid to frame law enforcement agencies to be  responsible for killing protesters. This perverted strategy is intended to make the government appear as being repressive and the law enforcement agencies as engaging in human rights abuses. 
 
In reality, it is the protesters that are now involved in abuses. They are the ones who obstruct people from having free access to move around, they are the ones who prevent people from seeking their daily livelihood, they are the ones beating people up, they are the ones destroy people’s property and they are the ones depriving people of their lives, Where are the ones hacking into people’s digital accounts and making publishing private information of public office holders and government employees thereby depriving people of their right to privacy. 

We the coalition of civil society groups numbering over 100 are therefore saying that #EndSARS protesters must stop the growing cases of human rights abuses that are being recorded at their protests. We cannot be campaigning against right abuses and then become guilty of things that we are against. 

We like to conclude this briefing by stating that: we are calling on leaders of thought all over the world to prevail on #EndSARS protesters to respect the rights of other citizens. 

We further demand that they prevail on the government to change its approach of allowing some people run riot simply because they are hiding under the identity of youth to protest. The government must step in to bring order and sanity to the protests whilst the protesters continued to interfere with the ordinary citizens and stopping people from going about their legitimate businesses is unfair, inhuman and unacceptable. We call on the international community, the US Ambassadors to Nigeria, British High Commissioner to Nigeria and all men of good conscience to call the errant members of the protests to order.

We fear that these innocent citizens will be forced to defend themselves if nothing is urgently done. 

Thank you and God bless you all.

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Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji

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Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.

This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.

AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.

A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.

“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.

The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.

Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.

“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.

“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.

The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.

He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.

According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.

“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”

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$1bn Arms Procurement: Clear Your Name Now, Coalition Charges Defence Minister

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The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) has called on the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, to clear his name from the controversial purchase of security equipment.

The group noted that Magashi must explain how his ministry expended the $1billion approved by the Federal Government in April 2018.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, national coordinator, Timothy Charles, described the minister’s silence as “unholy” and an “embarrassment” to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Charles said the group is alarmed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim is carrying out acts to shield the minister.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, therefore, advised the COAS to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

The group also urged all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the minister comes out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

While absorbing the former service chiefs of any involvement, the Coalition for Truth and Justice added that Magashi must come clean for Nigerians to take the FG more seriously in its quest to address the security challenges in the country.

Read the full statement below:

The Coalition for Truth and Justice, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria dedicated to the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria, welcomes you all to this important press conference that is intended to address some of the pertinent issues that have surrounded the $1 billion released for the purchase of arms in the prosecution of the war against terrorism and other acts of criminalities across the country.

We must agree that these issues are of great importance to the well-being of the country at large, given the country’s security challenges in recent times as well as the government’s efforts in addressing these challenges.

It is common knowledge that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had in April 2018 approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian Defence authorities for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.

Thus, it is pertinent to state that since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, arms purchases have been domiciled with the Ministry of Defence and not individual services as erroneously projected in the public space.

It is also succinct to state that the Honorable Minister of Defence, who is in charge of the Ministry of Defence, should provide answers to questions surrounding arms purchase in the country. It is thus despicable that there has been some well-orchestrated attempt by some vested interest to divert attention from the Minister of Defence.

We are constrained to add that the statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, during his appearance before the House of Representatives is diversionary and an indication that he is carrying out the whims and caprices of the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice views the recent happenings as a sad development in the sense that as a high ranking officer of the Nigerian Army and one who is conversant with the operational procedures in the Nigerian Military would elect to feign ignorance to an issue as sensitive as arms purchase in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in the country.

We are aware that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for arms purchases and the unholy silence of the Honorable Minister of Defence in this regard leaves many questions unanswered. This is also an embarrassment of unimaginable proportion to the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the Honourable Minister of Defence cannot articulate a response to the questions surrounding the monies meant for arms purchase.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice uses this medium to call on the Honorable Minister to come out clear by providing the much-needed information surrounding the $1billion released to purchase arms.

If this is not the case, we then wonder why the Honorable Minister of Defence has elected to play to the gallery in a case as sensitive as this. More alarming is that the Chief of Army Staff has been carrying out acts that aim to shield the Honorable Minister of Defence.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice frowns at such display and wishes to advise the Chief of Army Staff to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

We are constrained to add that if the Chief of Army Staff who has barely spent months in office would not be bold enough to call a spade a spade, we are afraid that his ability to lead the prestigious Nigerian Army is indeed questionable.

It is also curious that the Chief of Army Staff could ask that the past service chief be invited to answer questions on arms procurement during their tenures. This is indeed an anomaly that all well-meaning Nigerians must resist.

This also goes to the Honorable Minister of Defence, who, by his actions, has displayed that he does not have a grasp of the operational strategies of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is our considered opinion that the Honorable Minister of Defence must, as a matter of necessity and urgency, provide the general public details on how the $1billion was expended under his watch in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

The Coalition for Truth and Justice calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the Honorable Minister of Defence come out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.

Therefore, it would be inexcusable for the Honorable Minister of Defence to continue to shy away from his responsibilities by pushing a distractive narrative in the public space. And not until this is done, the government’s seriousness in the prosecution of the war against terrorism would always be called to question.

The general public must also be aware that the former service chiefs were never involved in arms procurement and must do good to ignore the well-orchestrated campaign in this regard. Consequently, the Honorable Minister of Defence must come out to clear the air if we are indeed serious in addressing the security challenges in the country.

This is the position of the Coalition for Truth and Justice as critical stakeholders in the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria.

We thank you for your time and charge all present to take this message to their various constituencies.

God bless Nigeria.

God bless the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

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UK Group Task Ibomites to Support Their Leaders

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The people of Akwa-Ibom state have been urged to celebrate their own rather than castigating leaders who have sacrificed for the development of their region.

The president General, Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi made this declaration in a statement on Thursday in London.

According to him, the people of Akwa-Ibom should see themselves as a region in Nigeria that are lucky to have a leader like the former governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio now minister of Niger Delta.

He said, “People of Akwa-Ibom state should learn to celebrate what they have. For any reason whatsoever, Sen. Godswill Akpabio is a palm tree, an iroko which is known by every native and international farmer”.

“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, Governor, Senator, now a minister of Niger Delta, he performed excellently and still have outstanding performance among his minister counterparts. So, why attack him?”.

Uyi said assessing Akpabio’s political journey so far, one will not be wrong to call Akpabio a successful politician because of his antecedents.

“If not for anything else, he puts Akwa-Ibom state in the Guinness book of record. The state or region is currently enjoying what Akpabio left on the ground”.

“Global Peace Movement International UK is saying clearly that the future of Nigeria is in Akwa-Ibom”.

Dr. Uyi said Akpabio’s progressive portfolio has added a label (GSM) to his personality. The label GSM stands for: Governor (G), Senator (S) and Minister (M).

“His starling performance can not be compared to any in the history of democracy in Nigeria and in Akwa-Ibom state since the creation of the state”.

Uyi further stated that Akpabio has long transcended state or regional barriers. “His sole motivation has been raising the standards of living of Nigerians, promoting the good image of the country and empowering ordinary citizens of Nigeria to not only pursue their dreams but more importantly in providing them with the means to achieve these dreams”.

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