A circuit of prominent Nigerian activists appears to have missed out on as much as $10 million bumper deal meant to come their way from global rights monitoring group, Amnesty International following the prompt rescue of the 314 schoolboys, who were abducted by gunmen from their school in Kankara, Katsina State.
The abduction of the schoolboys gunmen initially thought to be bandits, and at some later point, Boko Haram terrorists had drawn international concerns sparking fears that a repeat of a similar but more unfortunate incident in Chibok, Borno state, in which 112 of schoolgirls abducted from their school by Boko Haram terrorists are yet to be reunited with their families was in the making.
The Nigerian government, however, turned things around for good by orchestrating the freedom and release of the children unharmed. The Nigerian Army’s Operation Sahel Sanity cordoned off the gunmen holding the schoolboys and effectively ended what could have potentially turned out to be a harrowing experience for the teenage boys as they were all freed unhurt in that operation.
Our correspondent reliable gathered that Amnesty International had positioned to exploit the recent Kankara incident same way it did with Chibok Girls, using prominent anti-government activists to discredit the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari by highlighting how the abductions happened on his watch. The fallout from the abduction of the Chibok Girls was widely believed to have contributed to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss at the 2015 polls.
A source familiar with the plot disclosed that Amnesty, which has been accused of pursuing an agenda to destabilise Nigeria, had warehoused $10 million to mobilize local activists to design and implement “series of engagement on the Kankara Boys incident” which is reportedly a code phrase for widespread protests and campaign of propaganda directed against the government.
Activists reportedly on the list to benefit from the $10 million “sweetener” are Femi Falana, Aisha Yesufu, Ahmad Salkida, Deji Adeyanju, Oby Ezekwesili, Shehu Sani amongst others while they were in turn expected to draw in newly identified names from the #EndSARS protests to give the ensuing protests “an organic feel”.
According to the source, who crave anonymity over fear of a backlash, “Amnesty International was to pay the money to a company outside Nigeria on Friday. Unfortunately, the Federal Government successfully achieved the release of the boys after the military stepped in and made it impossible for the bandits to move out of the area where they were keeping the boys.
“They (activists) may not be directly connected to it but the video in which the boys were told to say they were abducted by Boko Haram was meant to give the activists more leverage to harass the government by claiming that the military has further lost grip of the country to Boko Haram, which would, in turn, enable Amnesty International to attribute series of events in the north-west of Nigeria to the military. Things could have gotten really ugly,” the source who claimed to have brokered the similar deal for a female among the activists stated.
Hints of the $10 million budget for advancing the anti-Nigeria agenda had triggered a flurry of activities among the activists as they jostled to set the narrative for what was nationally feared would end up a tragedy. They had created hashtags that were meant to make trend the abductions on social media similar to what they did with #BringBackOurGirls. #KankaraBoys #KankaraStudents and #BringBackOurBoys were thrown up and were already trending before the boys were rescued by the military.
Senator Shehu Sani, @ShehuSani, wrote, “The Friday night attacks in Kankara town Katsina state and the reported kidnappings of students of the Government Secondary School by bandits is another tragedy in the season of woes. Until the (sic) these bandits are tackled and crushed, the problem will not fizzle out.”
Oby Ezekwesili, @obydzeks, said “What exactly is the grossly incompetent and coldly indifferent @NGRPresident @MBuhari really doing in Katsina State while disconsolate parents of 333 #KankaraBoys cry their eyes out? Does the President know more than we are being told about the whereabouts of those students?”
Even after the students were freed from captivity, there was last-minute push on the part of some of the activists who reportedly told Amnesty International that they can still use the incident to do some damage. It was however unclear if the organization bought this argument or if it went ahead to disburse part of the funds since the basis on which it was to be spent has been overtaken by events.
The activists nonetheless continued their attacks on government while twisting preventive steps being taken to keep other students safe out of context. Aisha Yesufu @AishaYesufu for instance jubilantly said “The reasons Boko Haram gave us for abducting #KankaraStudents was so western education should be stopped. Schools are being closed. They won! When will Nigeria government go after Boko Haram terrorists?”
Her assertion is consistent with what Amnesty International had declared a clear four days before. The international NGO had rushed to credit Boko Haram for the abduction of the schoolboys, which further cement claims by some organizations that the rights group was running propaganda to present the terrorist group as stronger than it actually is. Its statement, titled “Nigeria: Education under attack in the north” went as far as validating an erroneous claim that more than 500 students were abducted when in reality the 314 that were rescued were the only ones abducted in the ugly incident.
Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, had said “These children are abducted in serious risk of being harmed and being forced to become child soldiers. Nigerian authorities must take all measures to return them to safety, along with all children currently under the custody of Boko Haram.”
The activists have now reportedly raised a team to pressure Ojigho into persuading Amnesty International’s London headquarters that the funds can be channeled into executing projects that will deliver results and would be similar in impact too if the abducted schoolboys had not regained their freedom.
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.”
Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Jordan, Ibrahim Mohammed,(1st left) the Managing Director Ministry of Tourism and Antiquiies, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, (middle) Executive Secretary NCPC, Yakubu Pam (right) during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan recently
Coalition Warns Anti-Vaxxers, Urges Nigerians To Disregard Fake News Of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects
The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy has urged Nigerians to treat reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca jab as fake news, noting that some elements are out to frustrate the ongoing vaccination exercise.
This follows the claim of blood vomit by a woman in Kaduna after allegedly being administered the vaccine.
While the state government has vowed to investigate the report, the National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy said the assertion is the handiwork of anti-vaxxers.
In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Samson Abu, on Saturday, the group, though, admitted potential side effects from the jab, added that some persons are out to sow fear in the minds of Nigerians.
Abu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to disregard all fake news pertaining to the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, the supposed victim is an isolated case yet to be proven by any expert.
The group, however, urged Nigerians to continue to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them
Read the full statement below:
The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy is appalled by the deployment of fake news by anti-vaccine elements in Nigeria in their bid to scare and discourage people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is meant to protect against the Corona Virus and save lives.
The fake news, published with the headline “Woman vomits blood after taking COVID-19 vaccine” is a disingenuous attempt at creating a deepfake given the effort that was made to create the impression that one Hannatu Tanko was rushed to Gwamna Awan General Hospital in Kaduna State because she started vomiting blood after receiving the vaccine.
Interestingly, the same script was published by several blogs and a few undiscerning news sites without the publishers carrying out the necessary checks and without speaking with experts on what could have led to the woman’s condition.
The fake news also created the impression that there is coercion in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine whereas people are voluntarily accepting the jab owing to their knowledge of how it protects one from catching the deadly virus. Such a desperate act could have only resulted from people that are keen on seeing the pandemic decimate humanity.
With more than half a million so far vaccinated, even if the account of the woman experiencing reactions to the vaccine were correct, the case would be an isolated one and the fact that sources claimed the woman is recovering confirms that the vaccine is safe while any unintended effect would be at worst temporary. We, therefore, find it unacceptable that the isolated and unproven instance is now being used by purveyors of fake news and anti-Vaxxers to discourage Nigerians from taking the vaccine. This is a huge disservice and unacceptable.
For the avoidance of doubts, experts’ views are required to confirm that what a person experiences after taking the jab is related to the vaccine. To do this, the experts would have ruled out that the symptoms exhibited by such are not caused by other underlying factors that coincidentally flared up at about the same time the person took their vaccine.
The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy consequently warn detractors and anti-vaxxers in Nigeria that they have a responsibility to society to desist from sowing fear in the mind of the people especially when it is apparent that the fake news they are spreading has all the potential to hurt more people than save them.
We appeal to Nigerians to disregard all fake news about the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and only based their decision to accept the jab or not on sound science, which would make them appreciate the benefits it offers. Nigerians, who truly value their wellbeing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, should make it a personal responsibility to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them.
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