The National Democratic Front (NDF) says the #EndSARS protesters and opposition politicians are using fake news to discredit the Nigerian military.
The NDF raised this alarm in a press statement signed by its Secretary-General Bolaji Abdulkadir on Friday.
According to the group, the protesters are to be blamed for the growing spate of violence and attacks on law enforcement agents across the country having incited Nigerians with fake news.
In a bid to push their agenda, it said the Nigerian Army have been accused of atrocities it did not commit while its personnel are called out in public over incidents they know nothing about.
Worse still, the NDF said the international community are made to believe these falsehoods, especially as it is being sold to them by some supposed celebrities-turned activists.
The National Democratic Front, however, appealed to Nigerians to be more vigilant than ever and begin to subject multimedia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp to basic fact-checking while also interrogating whatever vested interests on mainstream media.
It also urged the Army to expand the cyber component of its Exercise Crocodile Smile VI to counter fake news, including identifying offending sites for clean-up.
Read full statement below:
The National Democratic Front (NDF) is compelled to raise the alarm over the industrial scale weaponization and deployment of fake news by #EndSARS protesters and the opposition against the Nigerian Military.
It is most tragic that at a time when citizens of the country should have been coordinated to pursue the dire reform being championed by true patriots, unsuspecting Nigerians are being conscripted into undermining their country in response because they are being manipulated by the #EndSARS protesters. The incitement of the citizens through fake news is responsible for their growing confrontation with law enforcement and the consequent orgy of arson that is being witnessed in several cities of the country.
In the days since the #EndSARS protests begun, organizations, individual and even families have not been spared with the Nigerian Army being accused of atrocities it did not commit while its personnel are being called out in public over incidents, they know nothing about. In the vilest form of fake news even, there have been instances where the family photographs of unrelated persons are being shared and tagged as those of military personnel that have engaged in human rights abuses.
We have similarly recorded instances in which videos or photographic records of incidents dating back several months or even years are being shared as if they occurred in the last couple of days during the #EndSARS protests just as events that occurred in other African countries are presented as taking place in Nigeria. Accident victims are presented as a casualty of military intervention in the protests while celebrities who were having private moments in their private spaces were reported dead by protest leaders simply to provoke Nigerians into supporting their protests.
Even more worrisome is how the #EndSARS protesters have mainstreamed fake news by feeding international outlets like CNN with lies and then sending their members as talking heads to appear on news shows on such broadcasts outlets to bestow an appearance of facts on the lies they are telling. Some celebrity activists have been recruited for this purpose and they go the extra of leveraging social media like Twitter and Instagram to further promote their lies.
The National Democratic Front, therefore, appeals to Nigerians to be more intellectually vigilant than they have ever been since the campaign of fake news directed at the country will not relent but will rather intensify as the protesters run out of ideas in their bid to cause the worst outrage yet. Nigerians must begin to subject multimedia shared to them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp to basic fact-checking while also learning to interrogate whatever vested interests a mainstream media and even indigenous media outlet may have because the age of media objectivity is gone.
We urge the Nigerian Army to expand the cyber component of its Exercise Crocodile Smile VI to counter fake news, including identifying offending sites for clean-up. It should create a fact-checking site that Nigerians run to when they have to verify that the contents they are being fed are genuine.
Our charge to the protesters and the opposition is not to worsen their entanglement by resorting to fake news since they would easily be exposed as scams and fraud when Nigerians realize they have been taken for a ride by the initial information that the protesters, opposition and activists shared initially. They must therefore stop the use of fake news for attention-grabbing.
We Won’t Allow Hijab In Kwara Mission Schools, CAN Insists
The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kwara State has insisted that it will not allow its pupils to wear hijab, despite the Kwara State Government’s directive that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools should wear hijab.
The state government, last week, said it had approved wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.
It also said the 10 Christian mission schools closed down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.
However, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not agree to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, alleging that they were surprised that the government was trying to make a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.
CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”
Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.
The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.
The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.
The ECWA church leaders, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total takeover of our schools by the government.”
Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He argued that the government was aware that Christian Religious Knowledge teachers were not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students was not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools.
“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.
Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.
Dada argued that the state government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.
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“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.
“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.
“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.
“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”
Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.
In a related development, Chairman, Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, said the union was not part of the hijab crisis currently going on in the state.
The NUT Chairman, Adewara, told reporters, “The hijab matter is basically an issue between the government, the Muslim parents and the owners of these schools, regardless that such schools are grant-aided by the government. The NUT is not involved because this is not a matter bordering on teachers’ rights.”
My Ex-Wife Lied Against Me, She Is An Adulterer —Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has said his ex-wife, Precious Chikwendu, lied against him, adding that he didn’t beat her at any point in time during their relationship.
Fani-Kayode also alleged that Chikwendu was an adulterer who tried to seduce his friends while he was in detention.
The former beauty pageant had accused her ex-husband of beating her up at several times including when she was pregnant.
The ex-wife further accused Fani-Kayode of confining her to a hospital when she attempted to escape.
Chikwendu subsequently demanded for full custody of their four sons.
The former beauty queen made the allegations in an affidavit she deposed to in support of an originating motion brought pursuant to Section 69 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003.
But in a statement by his Media Consultant, Oladimeji Olaiya, the ex-minister described all the allegations as “lies and falsehood”.
The statement was titled, ‘Press statement on the vile and baseless allegations of Precious Chikwendu against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’.
It partly read, “The statement of claim and affidavit that was filed in court by one Precious Chikwendu against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode is filled with lies and falsehood.
“Not one thing that she has alleged there is true. She is a pathological liar and a slanderer and we intend to prove this in court.
“We believe that the children’s lives would be in danger if they are with her and we shall prove this in court.
“Neither is it true that she was ever beaten by Chief Fani-Kayode or anyone else in his staff and security team, either when she was pregnant or not pregnant and it is not true that she was subjected to any form of physical or mental abuse from them.”
The statement also noted that Chikwendu walked out of the marriage despite pleas and entreaties.
“She walked out on her own saying she was hearing voices even when the entire household was begging her to stay and she abandoned her husband and four young children to meet other men outside.
“After she finished having her fun Chief Fani-Kayode refused to let her back into his and resolved to keep her out of his life. This is the best decision he has made in the last 7 years.”
Fani-Kayode also accused his ex-wife of adultery, saying, “Chikwendu’s only pastime was to post pictures and words on Instagram and sleep with men outside.
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“She also tried to seduce a number of Chief Fani-Kayode’s friends when he was in detention and extort money from them.”
Though Chikwendu demanded the full custody of her four sons, Fani-Kayode said the children’s lives would be endangered if left in her care.
“On one occasion she beat her first son so badly that his face swelled up like a football and he had to be rushed to the hospital where she admitted to her offence to the doctor. We have pictures of his damaged and badly swollen face.
“His crime was that he had called one of his 3 nannies “mummy” and this angered Chikwendu who then flew into an uncontrollable rage and punched him in the face in front of 7 nannies.
“On a separate occassion in front of three Pastors she also beat one of the triplets mercilessly simply because he had dared to cry during prayers. Again we have evidence of this and the Pastors and nannies will testify,” the statement added.
“We urge members of the public to wait until the truth is revealed about Chikwendu, her mental and physical abuse of her own children, her mental illness, her numerous attempts to murder Chief Fani-Kayode and his four children, her adulterous ways, her unfathomable cruelty, her gold-digging ways, her violence and so much more before they make up their minds,” it concluded.
Firm Donates COVID-19 Safety Kits To Ekiti Govt
A private firm, Wemmy Industries Limited on Friday, donated facemasks and other COVID-19 safety item to Ekiti State Government to curb the spread of the virus.
The items included 108 cartons of disposable surgical facemasks and 72 cartons of antiseptic hand wipes.
Mr John Egbedofo, Southwest Regional Manager of the firm said that the donation was in fulfillment of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Egbedofo added that the focus was to contribute to efforts at curtailing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
He said the gesture would also be extended to severe medical facilities in the state including the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital in Ado Ekiti, Specialist hospitals in Ikole Ekiti and Ikere Ekiti.
Also to benefit are Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti and Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti.
Receiving the items on behalf of the government in Ado-Ekiti, the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Oyebanji Filani, said the medical consumables and personal protective equipment would assist in tackling communicable diseases.
Filani appreciated the company for the gesture and assured that the items would be used judiciously towards achieving the desired results.
He solicited the continued support of more corporate bodies, NGOs and individual philanthropists towards improving the lot of the people.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Akinjide Akinleye, described the donation as laudable and worthy of emulation by similar business outfits.
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