Some well-meaning Nigerians, under the aegis of March4Nigeria, say some purported EndSARS protesters are mobilising hoodlums to wreak havoc in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos.
According to the group, these extremist elements will relaunch violent uprisings under the guise that their members are being hounded.
The group said they will also blame the routine law enforcement process, freezing of accounts and the placement of some persons of interest on a no-fly-list.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Lagos, National Secretary, Comrade Onimisi Bello said funds for the exercise has already been laundered online using cryptocurrencies.
The March4Nigeria, however, condemned the move to incite Nigerians back to the streets, as it could jeopardize the Federal Government’s proposed police reform.
While calling on parents to guide their children against being used as agents of destruction, the group urged security agencies to use all necessary force to protect the law-abiding citizens.
Read the full speech below:
Gentlemen of the press, you will recall that Nigerians took to the streets to protest against police brutality as typified by the activities of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protests were peaceful, and Nigerians tabled five-point demands that the Federal Government promptly accepted, which gave rise to the concept of 5for5. Part of the government’s response was the termination of the infamous SARS.
These protests were christened “#EndSARS” consistent with the demand for an end to SARS. When the protests continued even after the government has liquidated SARS and accepted the demands, some of us became worried as we had expected, logically, that there would be a retreat from the picket lines to allow the government to implement the agreed changes.
We soon found out that the protests have been hijacked by selfish and dangerous interests. It became obvious that these elements were paying celebrities, commercial activists and clout chasers to incite Nigerians on social media. The same elements hired thugs and hoodlums to disrupt the same protests they were mobilising people to be part of.
The intentions of these elements for the protests soon became obvious as they proceeded to shut down major roads and public infrastructure. They reportedly precipitated the Lekki Toll Gate incident to justify the industrial scale arson and looting that they unleashed on the country. Several major businesses will take years to recover from this attack many smaller businesses will never recover.
Upon the discovery of the insidious plan of the element, the patriots among us called a halt on protests and began the March4Nigeria movement. We shifted focus to holding the government accountable for implementing the 5for5 demands. We believe that more can be achieved through dialogue and continuous engagement as opposed to destructive confrontation.
The dangerous elements that attacked Nigeria have retained the #EndSARS label even when SARS has been terminated. This is why #March4Nigeria distanced itself from what is now #EndSARS movement. It has no relationship or connection whatsoever with the original protest against police brutality, high handedness, abuse of human rights and extra-judicial execution.
We have now uncovered plans by these extremist elements to relaunch violent protests under the brand #EndSARS to undermine the Nigerian state. The excuse they will use for these fresh rounds of protests is to allege that their members are being hounded. Specifically, they will cite the routine law enforcement process, the freezing of accounts linked to crime and the placement of some persons of interest on a no-fly-list, as the basis to spark off these violent protests.
An early indication of this plot is the withdrawal of their representatives from the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry citing the aforesaid law enforcement processes. This move by the #EndSARS elements is to undermine the panel on one hand while inciting people to rush back to protesting based on sentiments.
There has also been an escalation of inciteful social media posts to draw Nigerians back to the streets while the hoodlums that were used for arson have again been placed on standby. Funding for the payment of the hoodlums has been laundered online using cryptocurrencies that have been converted to foreign currencies, transferred to unanimous accounts and the money is being converted to Naira and held in cash to evade scrutiny of law enforcement agencies.
Furthermore, the #EndSARS protesters have reportedly drawn up a list of government and private assets and businesses to destroy to spark reprisals that will then snowball into a tit-for-tat all-out war along ethnic or sectarian lines.
What we have been made to understand is that these people will prioritize Lagos and Abuja for their provocative protests and attacks. Abuja is being targeted to cause the country the maximum international and diplomatic embarrassment since the international media focus on the city in their coverage. Lagos is being targeted as part of a strategy to crumble Nigeria’s economy on one hand and to cause ethno-sectarian strife there on the other hand because of its cosmopolitan nature. The protests will equally be launched in other states with a plot to commit further arson and looting to intensify the assault on Nigeria’s economy.
#March4Nigeria condemns the plan to incite Nigerians back to the streets under any guise as this will directly interfere with what we are expecting from the Federal Government in terms of reform. The organic timeline of three months during which we want to put the government to the test will be impacted since any distraction caused by having to manage protests will hurt the long-term feasibility of the changes we have demanded from government. The focus should be on pressuring the government to perform and not distracting the entire country.
Given what the country experienced when the #EndSARS protests were hijacked by these same persons, #March4Nigeria calls on all security agencies to use all necessary force to protect the law-abiding citizens of the country, including pre-emptively taking the ringleaders of this destructive clique into custody until they no longer pose any threat to the rest of us. They are not genuine protesters just as their agitation has lost legitimacy with the carnage and murderous campaign they launched against the country.
We urge parents to warn their children and wards not to be used by agents of darkness to carry out looting of properties, burning of police stations and killing of innocent Nigerians in the name of #EndSARS. They should impress on the young people that there are laws in Nigeria and the law is either on one’s side or against one, depending on what choices the individual makes.
We equally call on the international community and NGOs to caution those in contact with them to desist from plunging Nigeria into any crisis. Affiliation or interaction with the international community should not be misconstrued as a licence to commit crimes and kill law enforcement agents without consequences.
#March4Nigeria urges state governments to review their crisis response plans in other to be responsive in deploying mitigating measures to counter the national meltdown being planned by these extreme people.
It is our fervent prayer that those who had supported the extremist elements of the #EndSARS protests in error will now retrace their steps and withdraw support from them and also point the way in how to neutralize the threat they pose to other Nigerians. To continue supporting the movement when it has exposed the direction of its long-term plan will be a great disservice to the nation.
Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji
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.”
$1bn Arms Procurement: Clear Your Name Now, Coalition Charges Defence Minister
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.
UK Group Task Ibomites to Support Their Leaders
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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