The March4Nigeria movement has urged Nigerians and the international community to disregard CNN’s report on the Lekki shooting in Lagos, noting that it is targeted at demonising the Nigerian military.
The group said after a careful scrutiny of the report, it concluded that CNN has joined campaign of calumny against the Nigerian government as well as the military.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Director of Publicity, Deborah Ndace said CNN was irresponsible with its report, following an already existing narrative that was in the public domain.
The March4Nigeria movement, however, demanded an unreserved apology from the American news channel to the federal government, the Nigerian Army as well as the Nigerian people.
While calling on Nigerians to ignore CNN, the group urged the international community to question its credibility as an organisation for engaging in acts that are divisive and promote violence.
Read full statement below:
You are all welcome to this press conference meant to put issues in proper perspectives with regards to the recently released report by the Cable News Network (CNN) with regards to the involvement of the Nigerian Army in the EndSARS protest at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.
We wish to state that after careful scrutiny of the report, it was identified that it was indeed an attempt to demonize the Nigerian Army whose only offence was standing on the side of democracy by averting what was clearly a coup attempt at our nascent democracy.
The CNN in its report was tactically evasive in addressing the issues, but instead, it elected to tow the dishonorable path of making wild goose allegations against the Nigerian Army without the necessary facts to back their claims.
The March4Nigeria is not only alarmed that an organization that has built a reputation of responsible journalism over decades would throw caution into the wind in furtherance of the agenda of a select few at the detriment of millions of people that rely on it for news reportage across the globe.
The focus of the CNN on Nigeria is not a coincidence, but rather a well-orchestrated plot by some very powerful interest hell-bent on truncating the democratic experience in Nigeria and to give international credence to their nefarious plot, the likes of the CNN was coopted to lead this campaign of calumny against the government of Nigeria, as well as the Nigerian Military.
This is nothing short of irresponsible journalism that can only be perpetuated by a leading proponent of Fake News in the United States of America attempting to expand its antics to the African continent.
It was expected that CNN would stay true to the tenets of journalism by undertaking a thorough investigation. Instead, it relied on an already existing narrative that has already been in the public domain and gotten stale.
It is also despicable that a news medium such as the CNN would put out such half-truths with the ultimate aim of escalating issues that have received the required response from the government and other critical stakeholders in the country.
In the light of the above, the March4Nigeria is stating in unequivocal terms that the report by the CNN is indeed malicious and a great disservice to the journalism profession in all ramifications.
We are consequently aligning with the position of the federal government in demanding an unreserved apology from the CNN to the federal government, the Nigerian Army as well as the Nigerian people whose sensibilities have been insulted by the highly lopsided report.
We also wish to remind the proprietors of the CNN that Nigeria is not by any stretch of the imagination the United States of America where it has consistently attacked the administration of President Donald Trump.
The importance of the CNN tendering an unreserved apology is to correct the wrong its report has had on the psyche of members of the unsuspecting general public in Nigeria and outside the shores of Nigeria.
We are also using this medium to call on the international community to question the credibility of the CNN as an organization for engaging in acts that are divisive and promote violence as exemplified in its report on the EndSARS protest in Nigeria.
Nigerians must also be aware that the CNN is indeed acting the script of some vested interest that have been targeting our nascent democracy without success. Nigerians must, as a matter of necessity, come in one accord to condemn the CNN report in its totality.
The implication of allowing the CNN to get away with this treatise on Nigeria is that more ferocious attacks would be launched against our democracy and critical institutions such as the Nigerian Army, which would be our greatest undoing.
The exigency of time requires all hands to be on the deck in the interest of peace and sustainable development. We must not sit and watch while the likes of the CNN demonize and rubbish the efforts of the government and the Nigerian Army in the restoration of law and order in Nigeria.
Thank you all.
Fulani Will Always Revenge Injustice, Says El-Rufai
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says the Fulani tribe will always take revenge whenever they suffer injustice.
He, however, said they accept their fate whenever they are convicted of a crime. El-Rufai said this on Thursday during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group.
The governor was asked to clarify his tweet in 2012 wherein he said, “Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani, takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”El-Rufai had been asked why he made the comment and if the Igbo would be justified to take revenge on other Nigerians that killed them during the Biafran war.
In his response, the governor said, “If a Fulani man dies in war, it is different. If a Fulani man is arrested by the authorities and convicted, it is not an issue. What the Fulani never forgets is when he is innocently targeted and killed and the authorities do nothing. He will never forget and he will come back for revenge. This is it.
“So, it is better to understand the context given the context of what I tweeted which had to do with an issue in Plateau State in 2012. I hope you get the context. So, it is not that Fulani will never forget. Anyone that goes through pain and sorrow either forgets or doesn’t forget but when it is extrajudicial, when it is extra-official, the attitude is completely different.
“This is the context in which Fulani never forgets. It is not in every context. As I said, I lost relations during the war. It doesn’t mean I still hold a grudge. We’ve moved past that.”
Buhari Probes N165.32bn Unremitted Operating Surplus by NPA
The President, Muhammadu Buhari , is probing alleged non-remittance of about N165bn operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by the Nigerian Ports Authority.
There are indications that the development may not be unconnected to the recent suspension of the Managing Director of the agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman.
Documents sighted on Friday showed that the government figured out discrepancies in the remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA to the Consolidated Revenue Fund for two consecutive years under the leadership of Bala-Usman.
Findings indicated that a total of about N73.61bn (N56.3bn in 2017 and N17.31bn in 2018) realised within the two-year period was not remitted to the CRF as expected by the government, although the suspended NPA boss provided explanations to the contrary.
Also, the Federal Ministry of Transportation in a May 4, 2021 letter to the President claimed that the NPA failed to remit N165.32bn to the CRF from 2016 to 2020 and called for an investigation and audit of the financial accounts of the authority
But in a letter, with reference MD/17/MF/VOL-XX/541, dated May 5, 2021 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Bala-Usman said the NPA was aware of Buhari’s approval for the Federal Ministry of Transportation to conduct an audit of the accounts of the NPA and its remittances to the CRF.
The letter was entitled, “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Funds account by the Nigerian Ports Authority.”
In the letter, she explained that the audited financial statements of the NPA provided operating surpluses in 2017 and 2018 that were contrary to what were arrived at by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.
The letter read in part, “Audited financial statements of the authority for the period 2017 and 2018 provides operating surpluses of N76.782bn and N71.480bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively as contrary to the sums of N133.084bn and N88.79bn arrived at by your office from the budgetary submission.”
The letter stated that the presidential approval for the audit of the NPA accounts arose from a correspondence between the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation where the budget office conveyed to the FMoT an observed shortfall of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.
Bala-Usman said, “We wish to state that the authority’s basis for arriving at the operating surplus on which basis the amount due for remittance to the CFR is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as amended.
“It is further based on the statutory mandate Part 1, S.3(1) (b) &(d) whereby the FRC issued a template for the computation of operating surplus for the purpose of calculating amount due for remittance to the CRF.
“Accordingly, the figures so provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which basis they arrived at the shortfall are derived from submission of budgetary provision not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit of the authority’s financial statements.”
She argued that in line with the template issued by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the accessible operating surplus of the authority stood at N51.09bn and N42.51bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
“This amount will give rise to a remittance due to the CFR in the sum of N40.873bn and N34.065bn representing 80 per cent of the surpluses for the year 2017 and 2018 respectively.
“Accordingly, the authority consequently made a remittance of N42.415bn and N33.969bn for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively for the full amount required as remittance for the period.”
On remittances for 2019 — 2020, the suspended MD said the audit of the 2019 financial statement had been completed and awaiting consideration of the authority’s board at which point the final figures for the 2019 operating surplus would be determined for consequent computation of the amount due for remittance to the CFR.
“But thus far, the authority has made a remittance of N31.683bn for the 2019 remittance. The sum of N51.049bn has also thus far been remitted for 2020, while awaiting the audited financial statement to determine the final amount required for both 2019 and 2020 at which point the authority will make the payment of the balance as required,” Bala-Usman noted.
She stated that based on the above, the authority wished to clarify that the computation of its remittances to the CFR were concluded from audited financial statements using the template forwarded to the authority from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and not budgetary provision.
“The authority has remitted the full amount due to it to CFR for the periods 2017 and 2018 arising from the operating surplus derived from the audited financial statement for the period totaling N76.384bn as evidenced in attached treasury receipts,” Bala-Usman said.
She added, “The authority has remitted a total of N 82.687bn for the periods 2019 and 2020 pending the audit of the financial statement at which point the amount so computed arising from the value of the operating surplus in the audited financial statement will be remitted to the CFR.”
She said the NPA wished to request the Chief of Staff and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation who were the statutorily custodian of status of payment to the CRF to provide clarification on the above so as to establish the true position of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.
Parents of Abducted Kaduna Students Protest at National Assembly
Parents of the abducted students of the College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Kaduna State have occupied the National Assembly complex, Abuja, in protest.
The protesters which include members of the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution are lamenting over what they described as the negligence of the state and Federal Government in securing the release of the children.
They chanted songs of solidarity and displayed placards demanding prompt rescue of the students.
“Education is our right! Safety is our right! Freedom is our right!, Free Afaka 29! ” the parents and students chanted as they marched to the National Assembly.
The protesters joined by the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and Deji Adeyanju had earlier gathered at the Unity Fountain before proceeding to the National Assembly complex.
The main entrance of the National Assembly was however manned by security agents who denied the protesters entrance.
On 11th March, 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State were abducted from their hostels by bandits dressed in military uniform.
Ten of the students were released in two batches of five each but 29 others have remained in captivity.
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