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#EndSARS Protests: Patriotic Elders Rally Support For Buhari, Say Nigeria Must Come First Before Other Interests

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The Patriotic Elders Council (PEC) have thrown their weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the country comes first before other interests.

The group’s backing, contained in a statement signed by Alhaji Ari Gwaska on Friday, follows public reactions that trailed the EndSARS protests across the country.

Recall that some governors had expressed maximum support for President Buhari amidst pressure from Nigerians and the international community.

The Northern States Governors’ Forum called on all Nigerians to resist what they described as enemies of the nation by supporting the president

And according to PEC, the arson, crime and violent dimension that accompanied the mass action is “condemnable, absurd and unacceptable to every sane and sensible Nigerian”.

The group said, ” there is no need to set the country on fire because the interests of a few elites are endangered or in jeopardy”.

The PEC further said elder statesmen such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo cheering the youths towards the path of destruction will face judgement someday.

The patriotic elders noted that youths are the emblem of the strength of any country and a symbol of its heritage.

The group, however, urged them to maintain total loyalty to Nigeria; protect and defend their only country as it is their only worthy asset.

Read the full statement below:

The ugly dimension of the on-going #EndSARS protests in some parts of the country over the unlawful acts of the Nigeria Police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) should disturb every patriotic Nigerian. We acknowledge the intricate abuses and unprofessional conducts of SARS over the years, precipitating the protests.

The Patriotic Elders Council (PEC) also immensely appreciates the endurance of Nigerians, particularly youths who constitute the bulk of our agile population, worse hit by the unlawful acts of Police brutality and extrajudicial killings as signposted by SARS operatives.  Nigerians deserve empathy and the anger is justified. We align with President Muhammadu Buhari and the youths that there is every need to address the abnormalities, restructure and reform the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) entirely.

By it, in the last few days, President Buhari has taken active steps in this direction in the wake of the #EndSARS to assuage the protesters and Nigerians in respect to the demands placed before the government. These include the immediate disbandment of SARS, the dismissal and commencement of prosecution of suspected erring SARS operatives and a directive to State Governors to constitute Judicial Panels of Inquiry for aggrieved Nigerians to make submissions of the rights abuses by SARS officials, with a promise to restructure and reform the NPF immediately.

However, despite these measures, the #EndSARS protests have refused to abate and unfortunately have become violent and bloody, especially in some Southern states. The killings, arsons, destructions, breach of the public peace, law and order, the brigandage and carnages have posed a serious threat to national cohesion and security.

The metamorphosis of the #EndSARS protests into areas alien and incompatible with the original reasons instigating the protests signifies a bad omen. It shows some vested political interests are sponsoring and fueling the mayhem in the country for devious reasons to achieve ulterior motives.

Nigeria generally has been volatile in the period preceding the 2019 general elections, and we all know, some non-state actors secretly plotted to inflict heavy violence and bloodshed on Nigerians. But God averted the doomsday and President Buhari acted proactively to maintain public peace, safety and security throughout the conduct of the elections.

We are conscious of the fact that some political actors defeated in the general elections have nursed a permanent grudge against the victors. It is also undeniable that several underground failed plots have been orchestrated by some political undertakers to make Nigeria ungovernable. It is stating the obvious.

Therefore, the transmutation of #EndSARS protests into violence and bloodshed, in apparent abuse of democratic liberties is gleaned from this prism. And the refusal of the protesters to listen to the voice of reason, in preference for killings and destructions of public and private assets of Nigerians have a strong cord to the existing disenchantments by unjustifiably disgruntled elements in the country.

There is no need to set the country on fire because the interests of a few elites are endangered or in jeopardy. The happenings in the country now are condemnable, absurd and unacceptable to every sane and sensible Nigerian. The fire we have ignited in the country and on ourselves cannot be left for government alone to extinguish. It is our collective responsibility to calm frayed nerves, right the perceived wrongs and ensure peace and security returns to our country.

This is not the right time to sit on the fence, make public inflammatory and inciting statements to embolden the protesters, hoodlums, hooligans and criminal elements to cause more harm and destructions. It smacks of beating the drums of war which will do no one any good. At such trying times, people look unto leaders, serving or past for direction and solace.

To this end, we find the public statements credited to former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other elder statemen reckless, inciting and wayward. We are particularly piqued at Obasanjo’s irreligious fabrication of lies against President Buhari by accusing it of neglecting the youths, which has led to the agitations. Buhari is a youth-friendly President and there is abundant evidence everywhere in the various subsisting national youth empowerment schemes in the country.

Nothing can be so dishonest as that claim by a former Nigerian leader like Obasanjo.  If Nigeria has found itself at the crossroads now because of massive youth unemployment and frustrations, Obasanjo is a major culprit. When he served, the ex-President dubiously sold all public companies, industries and national assets to himself and cronies. He callously squandered Nigeria’s treasures and mortgaged the future.  It is uncharitable for the same leader to berate President Buhari who is struggling very hard to re-fix Nigeria and repair the destructions he caused while in office. To now incite protesting youths with such reckless and callous comments is an indication of a mockery of the same compatriots he feigns to speak for their interest. Obasanjo has the reputation of a spoiler and destroyer, but tacitly seeking to bolster youths to compromise national security is very unpatriotic and senseless.

Elder statesmen like Obasanjo and his likes, who are delightfully cheering the youths towards the path of destruction will face God’s judgement someday. And we believe the verdict would be harsh and history can never forgive them.

The incensed elders calling for war should have a rethink. And youths persuaded and goaded into destructive acts against their country and people should remember, they have no other country than Nigeria. PEC makes bold to reiterate that no nation survives a civil war twice. Nigerian youths must rise above the instincts of self-destruction.

PEC calls on protesting youths to sheathe the sword and embrace dialogue at all levels. We are pleading with our children to quit the streets. Youths are the emblem of the strength of any country and a symbol of its heritage.

Therefore, Nigerian youths must maintain total loyalty to Nigeria; protect and defend their only country.  It is their only worthy asset. War can never be a substitute for peace or any magnitude of frustration.  Those who are out to destroy Nigeria will be put to shame.

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American University Denies Appointing Ganduje Visiting Professor

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An American university has denied appointing the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, as a visiting professor. PREMIUM TIMES reports.

The East Carolina University (ECU) said the letter Mr Ganduje got from a member of its faculty was unauthorised by the appropriate officials. The university stated its official stance in a letter sent to the Kano governor.

The spokesperson of the governor, Abba Anwar, told journalists in Kano on Tuesday that the governor’s appointment was contained in a letter sent to him by the school through Victor Mbarika, a lecturer of International Center for IT and Development at East Carolina University College of Business on November 30.

The university confirmed that Mr Mbarika was its faculty member but said he had no authority to make such appointment. Mr Ganduje was said to have been selected due to his “accomplishment in good governance and genuine investment in human capital development.”

The governor’s spokesperson also quoted the letter as saying that “Ganduje’s choice is a depiction of close monitoring of his achievements as a governor in the last couple of years. Which eventually earned him global recognition and commendation.”

“You have been a source of motivation to the Nigerian youths both at home and in the diaspora at large. We are amazed at your accomplishments both as the Executive Governor of Kano State, Nigeria; Fellow, National Association of Educational Administration and Planning, Nigeria; and your investment in Human Capital Development.

“Looking at your academic, administrative, and overall leadership record in Nigeria and Africa, you fit perfectly in East Carolina University’s goal to remain a leading research and teaching institution in the United States and beyond”, the statement quoted the letter as saying.

PREMIUM TIMES in an email sent to the university on Thursday asked if the institution did indeed appoint Mr Ganduje despite being caught on video in 2018 accepting bribe.

In response to the email, the university attached the letter it sent to Mr Ganduje. The letter was signed by its Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, B. Grant Hayes.

“It has been brought to my attention that you received a letter from a faculty member dated November 30, 2020, that appeared to offer an unpaid appointment in the “International Center for IT and Development” at East Carolina University College of Business.

“I must inform you that the letter you received from Dr. Victor Mbarika, on November 30, 2020 does not convey an authorized offer of appointment or establish any position of scholar or professor at East Carolina University (“ECU”). Only the Chancellor, myself, or another official identified in ECU’s published statement on Delegation of Contracting Authority for the Division of Academic Affairs may authorize or sign appointment letters under which faculty are employed. Dr. Mbarika is not such an official,” the official told Mr Ganduje.

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Pro-Northern Group Cautions Shekarau Against Running Errands For Coupists

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The Northern Patriotic Assembly (NPA) has warned former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, to desist from running errands for coupists with his statements on national security and the service chiefs.

In a statement signed by its Director of Press, Muhammadu Adamu, on Thursday, the group said Shekerau’s remarks is “despicable and might be a manifestation of one of the many smear campaigns intended to discredit the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in addressing the security threats in the country”.

Like his contemporaries, the Northern Patriotic Assembly said the Senator representing Kano Central doesn’t have the interest of the nation at heart; only playing to the gallery.

The group, therefore, warned the lawmaker to forthwith quit the politics and equally cease making unguarded and illogical statements that insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.

The NPA, however, challenged Shekarau to swear by the Holy Koran that he is not aware that the recent attacks by Boko Haram in Borno State are not the handiwork of politicians.

Read full statement below:

The Northern Patriotic Assembly views the statement by Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator representing Kano Central in the National Assembly wherein he stated that President Muhammadu is breaking the law by keeping the Service Chiefs as an act of political grandstanding and lacking in any form of objectivity.

It is indeed a statement of the fact that Senator Ibrahim Shekarau has elected to speak from an uninformed perspective and blinded by his hatred for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for very obvious reasons.

The Northern Patriotic Assembly is consequently taken aback that as a former governor, minister and now Senator, Ibrahim Shekarau should have been more enlightened and conversant with the powers of the Commander-in-Chief with regards to the tenure of Service Chiefs in the country.

We also wish to state that Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s statement is despicable and might be a manifestation of one of the many smear campaigns intended to discredit the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in addressing the security threats in the country which has assumed a politically dangerous dimension.

It is our firm belief that Senator Ibrahim Shekarau is not only out to discredit the present administration, but also to cause an unholy distraction towards giving leeway for his political associates to have their way in their puerile attempt to effect a change of government by all means.

Senator Ibrahim Shekarau just like his contemporaries has been playing to the gallery on an issue as severe as the security of lives in the country which by and large is of no interest to them because it is no longer business as usual in running the affairs of the country.

The Northern Patriotic Assembly wishes to use this medium to caution Senator Ibrahim Shekarau to desist from the puerile attempt at playing to the gallery by making unguarded and illogical statements that insult the sensibilities of Nigerians from all walks of life. He hasn’t challenged the law in court, and as a lawmaker, he is not known to have made any new law on the tenure of service chiefs in the country.

He should stop playing politics with the security of Nigerians and face the reality which is the fact that indeed the spate of insecurity in the country is as a result of the desperation by politicians to cause disaffection in the polity through the covert sponsorship of violence across the country.

The Northern Patriotic Assembly states in unequivocal terms that Senator Ibrahim Shekarau cannot feign ignorance to the fact that spate of killings in the country is politically motivated.

We consequently challenge Senator Ibrahim Shekarau to swear by the Holy Koran that he is not aware that the recent attacks by Boko Haram in Borno State are not the handiwork of politicians.

At this point, it is our considered opinion that Senator Ibrahim Shakarau should be circumspect in his public conduct and be guided by the fact that as a former governor, minister and now Senator, he is sufficiently aware of the noble efforts of the present administration in addressing the security threats in the country.

He should also do himself well to read about the tenure of Service Chiefs, which is expressly stated in the Harmonized Conditions of Service that permits the Service Chiefs to remain in office at the discretion of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Senator Ibrahim Shekarau must not take his ignorance too far as these are indeed trying times in the country with the spate of politically motivated killings and other acts of criminalities. It consequently behoves on him to quit playing to the gallery in the interest of peace and tranquillity.

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Insurgency: Northern Elders Express Solidarity With Buhari

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The Northern Elders’ Council (NEC) has expressed solidarity with President Muhammadu Buhari and expressed confidence in his ability to effectively halt the remnants of terrorists in the country following the killing of farmworkers in Borno State.

The group, in a statement signed by its Assistant General Secretary, Dr Adama Kabiru, on Wednesday, described the killing as “barbaric, repulsive, inexcusable, depraved and deserving of the harshest consequences possible”.

The NEC said persons or groups gloating over the sad incident as a way of deriding President Buhari is tacitly encouraging Boko Haram to kill more.

According to the council, the sad incident should instead serve as a wake-up call to all relevant stakeholders irrespective of pecuniary differences to support the military.

The group, however, urged the international community to support Nigeria in way of cutting off the terrorists’ access to funding and arms.

The NEC further appealed to countries that have placed an embargo on the sales of arms to Nigeria to have a rethink.

Read the full statement below:

The Northern Elders’ Council (NEC) is urging that the Boko Haram terrorists responsible for killing scores of farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State must not go unpunished for their abhorrent crime against humanity. The specific individuals that carried out the attack should be identified and dealt with while the campaign to exterminate the terrorist group should be escalated. This is even as we sympathize with the families of the bereaved, President Muhammadu Buhari and the entire nation.

We condemn the killing of these innocent farmers, who were only out to earn their livelihood, in the strongest terms as barbaric, repulsive, inexcusable, depraved and deserving of the harshest consequences possible. The punishment for this crime should be made particularly stiff given the fact that the terrorists possibly targeted the farmers to precipitate a food crisis.

The council regrets that the terrorists and their enablers committed the atrocious murder despite all of Mr President’s sacrifices and that of the Nigerian military by exploiting the political atmosphere in Borno State to inflict pains on humanity.

The killing of the farmers should now prompt an alignment among all stakeholders irrespective of pecuniary differences. Those sitting on the fence in the anti-terror war must now take a stand in the interest of humanity while those who that usually make justification for the crimes committed by Boko Haram terrorists should now know that it is them against the civilized world that holds the sanctity of human life dear.

We appeal to those currently trying to squeeze political capital out of this tragedy to have a rethink because it is appalling for anyone to be callous to the point of using the death of innocent persons at the hands of terrorists as means of gaining political traction. Anyone gloating over the murder as a way of deriding President Buhari is tacitly encouraging Boko Haram to kill more people, which unfortunately is what a worrying number of persons have been doing.

NEC is certain that the death of these farmers will trigger actions that guarantee that days of the terrorists are numbered, and this singular wicked and dastardly act is one they will pay the highest price possible for. Nigerians should help ensure this by furnishing the military and security agencies with timely information that will lead to successful military operations against Boko Haram fighters.

We, therefore, urge Mr President to give the command for the Nigerian military to unleash on Boko Haram and any of its known affiliates while the intelligence community is also mandated to fish out terrorists’ enablers to cut off the financial, propaganda and intelligence they receive from their supporters. Resources should be prioritized to scale up the operations to rid northeast Nigeria and the entire  Lake Chad Basin of terrorism.

The international community must at this point shake off their indifference, particularly countries whose foreign policy drive had contributed to the rise of extremism and terrorism. They should support Nigeria by assisting in cutting off the terrorists’ access to funding and arms. Those countries that have refused to sell arms to Nigeria must at this stage have a rethink especially when it has become crystal clear that their subtle embargoes on arms sales to Nigeria were premised on false reporting by NGOs that covertly work to advance the cause of the terrorists.

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