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What Else Does Falana Want? – By Mohammed Jega




Lagos based lawyer, Femi Falana lives in a cage. He has like the character, Malone, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s science fiction, The Lost World, who realising he had lost his fiancee to another man, gave up on trying to make meaning out of civilisation and chose to go back to the jungle.

Like Malone, Falana, who delude in the deception of a vacuos label of a civil rights defender, had not always abode in his present habitat. He only moved there after losing out a coveted prize.

Falana started inhabiting a grotto only in 2015, when his name got missing from the list of ministerial nominees President Muhammadu Buhari was supposed to have sent to the Senate for screening.

Obviously expecting a reward for his inconsequential but self acclaimed support to the APC in the build up to the 2015 General election, the Lagos based lawyer had assumed wrongly that his opaque outbursts and discombobulated gibberish were enough to cast him in the mould of a progressive and had to be compensated for his loquaciousness.

When that didn’t happen, definitely due to the confirmation through various screenings that his alignment with the Progressives prior to the 2015 election were mere pretences that were only surface deep, the man who was expecting to be sent to the justice ministry lost his cool and since then detested everything that civilisation stood for and changed his address metaphorically to start living in a cave.

By doing that, Falana fitted the character of the person Mehmet Murat Ilddan in his poem ‘If,’ counseled, when he said, “If you’re after the truth, leave your cage.” But it was obvious that Falana is not after the truth hence refused to leave the cage.

Rather than take the counsel and leave the dark crevices for light, truth and justice, Falana prefers to position himself in the dour of lies thereby travelling farther from civilisation.

The beef, from the benefit of hindsight, is what made him to take up the brief of a religious sect that has constantly been harassing its neighbours, incessantly refusing to obey the laws of the land and was operating as a state within a state in Nigeria.

After failing woefully to prove anything against the Nigerian State over the clash between the Nigerian Army and the sect after several court processes, Falana has refused to heed the call by Ilddan but like a squirrel in a hole prefers to dig deeper to cover himself with dust only to confirm the words of Liba Bray that, “If you stay in your little cave, that’s one less fighter on the side of fair.”

Falana has been one less of a fighter on the side of fair as he has continued in ways that portray him as being on the path of legal recidivism by taking up unpatriotic and illogical briefs.

The latest is the setting up of a so called independent panel of inquiry on alleged SARS brutality and human rights violations during the EndSARS protests by Falana and his friends at a time the Lagos State Government which is empowered by law to do so has done so and has gone far with that task and is about concluding sitting after taking evidence from various parties.

Falana claims he is leading a coalition of some 80 civil society groups, including the country’s leading labour movements to hear afresh cases on human rights violations and is calling for complaints of human rights violations by police, military and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.

He claimed the ‘Citizen Panel’ is open to all Nigerians, including the media and that it will employ best global practices to unravel the misery encountered by many victims of SARS and that it would employ litigation where necessary to enforce justice, which may include compensation for victims.

The whole idea shows how far a man who lusts after relevance can go to get back at an administration whose only fault is doing everything right but has refused to do as he wished.

Otherwise as a lawyer, Falana understands very well that two ‘ courts ‘cannot sit on the same matter at the same time.

Everyone is aware that the Lagos State Government did the most responsible thing by setting up a panel of inquiry into alleged claims of SARS brutality and that it is doing a good job of it by hearing from every side.

This, ordinarily should have demonstrated to every responsible person that the government is desirous of establishing the truth in order to ensure justice to all concerned including the accused.

So far, the panel has heard from virtually all the parties including the alleged victims and even the security agencies.

But because Falana and co have come to realise that their lies are being gradually exposed, they could not wait for the legally constituted panel to conclude sittings before they rushed to set up a parallel body just to introduce chaos and unleash a regime of disorder in the process.

The question is, how could there be an independent body of inquiry by whatever guise or name sitting at the same time with that of the government on similar cases?

What is the aim of this body and what does it intend to achieve if the intention is not to pervert justice and twist facts towards a premidated aim?

From all indications, it is clear that Falana and his co-travellers, having lost the gravitas to sustain their lies and innuendos at the legally constituted panel, now want to make mockery of the entire judicial system by setting up a kangaroo body that has no place in the statutes.

Falana and his friends want to be the accusers and the judges in their own case thereby denying other citizens especially the security agents who were brutally murdered and their flesh eaten by some of the protesters justice.

They want to have a platform to hide the truth about what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate to the world by projecting only a DJ Switch kind of infantile narrative which escalates between fiction and mischief claiming at a point that 74 people were shot and later 17 with no evidence to show other than a painted flag.

They want to suppress the damage done by some of these sponsored criminals who ran amok and destroyed private and public property worth billions of naira who also stole from both the government and private individuals.

The fact is that Falana knows he has no case to prove so the only way to cover the eyes of Lady Justice is this bringandage he is trying to introduce.

But because he is being sponsored like the hoodlums that destroyed public and private property in the name of protests he must be seen to be doing something.

For a start, the claim of leading over 80 groups in this futile attempt to thwart the course of justice is a lie.

Falana’s campaign from reliable sources has been rebuffed by reputable lawyers and he is virtually alone with only a sprinkle of hangers on egdging him on.

The Lagos based lawyer does not know that as he tries to play a fast one on the public, some of the people he is working with, who have been shortchanged financially in the deal, have started singing and have confirmed that substantial amounts in hard currencies have been provided to sponsors the panel just to cause confusion in the polity due to their selfish ambitions.

The word is already out in the streets that some hooded ‘military men’ would be brought to appear at the Falana ‘Panel’ to give damaging reports about respected state institutions and security agencies which would be covered by the CNN all in the bid to achieve this selfish aim. The aim, some of the insiders have also confessed is to put together these junk for possible presentation at the ICC.

Falana and his co-travellers forget that evidence is never contrived and that all the histrionics they are introducing to the legal process would expose them as unfortunate mercenaries who for filthy lucre would sacrifice patriotism and nation building for self comfort. It was the Greek philosopher, Plato who once wrote that the cave is a bit cold and someone coming out of it should be welcomed. It is high time Falana takes the advice and comes out of his cave.

Jega wrote this piece from 19 Balewa street, Bauchi.

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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.”

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$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.

Thank you.

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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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