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Lekki Shootings: Global Amnesty, CSOs Storm Panel With Lorries Of Evidence, Want Celebrities, International NGOs Punished For Spreading Fake News

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Some human rights groups have approached the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution with pieces of evidence indicting several Nigerian celebrities and international non-governmental organisations for inciting violence through fake news.

According to the groups, these Nigerians and NGOs must be punished for their gross misinformation which triggered the near-breakdown of law and order that accompanied the EndSARS protests, particularly in Lagos.

The Global Amnesty Watch (GAW) made this known on Monday in a detailed memorandum to the Registrar, Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on the #ENDSARS protests and subsequent escalation of violence across the country.

The memorandum was signed by Abdulmalik Alfa, Werigbelegha Zinake, Linda Etafia and Sadiq Abdullahi on behalf of International Human Rights Protection Forum (IHRPF), Centre for Human Rights Advancement in Nigeria (CHRAN), Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) and Make Nigeria Better Initiative (MNBI) respectively.

In its submission, the groups reasoned that the kind of donations the protests garnered confirms vested interests propagated by celebrities to cause anarchy.

” The EndSARS protest across the country is assumed in many quarters to be without a leadership structure. While this position has been canvassed in numerous quarters, however, there seems to be a link with regards to the provision of logistic support to the protesters across the country. It is instructive to state that the EndSARS protest was funded from a well-concealed network that raised over N75 Million from donations from individuals in Nigerian and outside the shores of the country through a group called The Feminist Coalition,” the memorandum read in part.

“Distinguished Chairman and Members of the Panel, let it be stated here that Global Amnesty Watch agrees with the position of the government that indeed some vested interest used the EndSARS protests to advance a cause that would have led to anarchy in Nigeria. This is on the heels that the victims of the violence are both public and private concerns, as highlighted by the Lagos State Government”.

The GAW noted that the continuation of the protest despite the government’s sincerity further proves that there was a premeditated plot to wreak havoc.

“The Global Amnesty Watch views these initiatives by the government as laudable and with intent to see to the end of the peaceful protest by the youths. Consequently and given the steps taken by the government, the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution to the issues at stake were conducive and ought to have been embraced. Sadly, this was not the case as the protest continued until it was hijacked by thugs and hoodlums that went on a rampage destroying properties and committing other despicable acts that brought socio-economic activities to a halt in the country,” the 63-page document revealed.

“We state in unequivocal terms that the continuation of the protest that eventually led to the escalation of violence was indeed premeditated and most likely sponsored with the ultimate aim of causing anarchy in Nigeria. It is instructive to note that some group of individuals undermined the peace initiatives introduced by the government towards finding a lasting solution by the continuous instigation of youths through the social media platforms”.

The GAW fingered musician, Folarin Falana aka Falz, disc jockey, DJ Switch, Feminist Coalition, Burna Boy, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Nnamdi Kanu to be at the forefront of this campaign to destroy the nation with fake news.

On the involvement of the Nigerian Military, the groups said it was in the overall best interest of the nation which averted an imminent collapse.

The memorandum added, “the Nigerian Army managed the EndSARS protest that was fast leading into anarchy in the country. Global Amnesty Watch wishes to frantically reiterate that but for the intervention of the Nigerian Army, the country would have erupted in flames with the violence that was witnessed in Lagos and other parts of the country.

“It must be noted that the involvement of the Nigerian Military in Internal Security Operations has been constant reoccurrences in the Nigerian polity and from all indices, law and order were restored in such instances. The EndSARS protest is one of such instances that indeed brought to the fore the strategic importance of the Nigerian Military in Internal Security Operations in the country in instances where the civil police are overwhelmed.

“It must also be stated that the involvement of the Nigerian Military in such operations are governed by extant laws with regards to the rules of engagement which expressly states that no officer or soldier must be found aiding or abetting any act of arson, vandalism or unprofessional conduct coming from the citizens. Troops are rather duty-bound to intervene in any situation to avoid a breakdown in peace, stability or order of an area where they are deployed. The Global Amnesty Watch uses this opportunity to commend various acts of bravery and professionalism displayed by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in the restoration of law and order in Lagos state as well as other parts of the country”.

According to GAW, the ability of troops to engage protesters in the most civil manner and without the use of force of any kind quelled the tension.

The groups expressed disappointment with the ongoing campaign of calumny against the troops by another set of celebrities led by Femi Falana, Genevieve Nnaji and Kemi Olulonyo.

The Global Amnesty Watch in its final analysis, however, called on the panel to compensate state actors; prosecute instigators; ban international NGOs; demand apology from fake news merchants as well as sanction broadcast houses.

In all, it absolved the military of any wrongdoing at Lekki toll gate, Lagos or anywhere in the country

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Lekki Shooting: Activists Berate CNN Over Unprofessional, Biased Documentary, Say It Is Abuse Of Fair-Reportage

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The Coalition Against Fake News (CAFN) has lashed out at Cable News Network (CNN) over its report on the Lekki shooting in Lagos State.

According to the CAFN, the American television channel was unprofessional and biased with its reportage that alleged that troops of the Nigerian Army used live bullets during the EndSARS protests.

Comrade Finba Edmond, its Executive Converner, speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, said the report by CNN is only a mere rehash of the existing narrative that has been faulted by different independent bodies in Nigeria and across the world.

According to the coalition, the video released on Wednesday was with the intent of misleading the general public, correlating an agenda bent on destabilizing Nigeria.

The coalition, however, warned Nigerians as well as the international community about distractors envious of the considerable gains recorded in the country in all aspect of socio-economic life.

It also urged Nigerians to come to terms with the realization that the nation is up against an “international conspiracy to derail and thwart our nascent democracy by sowing the seed of discord in the polity to cause a crisis of unimaginable proportion”.

Read full statement below:

The Coalition Against Fake News is holding this press conference given the recent video released by the Cable News Network (CNN) on the incidence at the Lekki Tollgate during the EndSARS Protests.

It is imperative that issues must be put in proper perspective for the generality of members of the public, and under no circumstance should Fake News be allowed to fester due to its negative consequences.

It must be stated that indeed there is a sinister motive by some vested interests to destabilize Nigeria and these individuals and groups have been most ferocious in this enterprise not minding the socio-economic implication of their actions.

Sadly, the CNN has ironically joined the bandwagon of fake news promoters with its recently released video alleging that soldiers used live bullets and fired into the crowd of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.

The Coalition Against Fake News sees the action of the CNN as a mere rehash of the existing narrative that has been faulted by different independent bodies in Nigeria with regards to what transpired at the Lekki Tollgate.

What the CNN did was to tow the same line by aggregating videos that were already in circulation and introduced a slant that would give credence to the narrative that soldiers used live bullets and indeed deaths were recorded.

We are consequently constrained to believe that the introduction of the CNN into the issues at hand is as a result of the testimony of the Nigerian Army at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution which indeed out issues in proper perspectives.

The Coalition Against Fake News as an independent group that has devoted substantial time and resources to research on a wide array of issues of public concern in Nigeria is appalled that the CNN would undertake to spread Fake News with impunity with regards to the EndSARS protest in Nigeria.

The CNN not only attempted to turn the truth on its head, but it also delved into an area it has minimal understanding of the undercurrents and the subsequent escalation of violence that led to the destruction of properties as well as the loss of human lives.

It is also curious that the CNN report for inexplicable reasons elected to ignore the fact that the once peaceful protest was hijacked by some sponsored thugs and hoodlums that wreaked havoc through the burning of police stations in parts of Lagos state as well as the barbaric way police officers were murdered in cold blood under the guise of EndSARS protests.

This is indeed an indication that there is a lot that meets the eyes with the EndSARS protest given the fact that as the dust is gradually settling, the CNN has so decided to recycle the issues that are being addressed at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution.

It is our view that the recent video released by CNN is meant to serve the purpose of misleading the general public. It might not be farfetched if those vested interests that are bent on destabilizing Nigeria are the brain behind it.

That the CNN elected to be so used as a tool for the weaponization of fake news against the Nigerian state and her citizenry is indeed despicable and should be condemned by all discerning individuals and groups.

We wish to consequently inform all Nigerians as well as the international community that the recently released video by the CNN is indeed the handiwork of distractors that are envious of the considerable gains recorded in Nigeria in all aspect of our socio-economic life.

Nigerians must as a result of this come to terms with the realization that Nigeria is up against an international conspiracy to derail and thwart our nascent democracy by sowing the seed of discord in the polity to cause a crisis of unimaginable proportion.

It is also our considered opinion that the use of CNN to further their agenda against Nigeria is ultimately targeted at the Nigerian Army as an institution that has been protective of democracy in Nigeria.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the Nigerian Army is under constant and scathing attacks by individuals and groups with the ultimate aim of demeaning the efforts of the Nigerian Army so far in preserving the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as the entrenchment of our nascent democracy.

The Coalition Against Fake News is using this medium to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to view the video by the CNN with a pinch of salt as multiple indicators suggest that it is sponsored against the interest of Nigeria. That the CNN has joined the fray of fake new merchants should give us a reason to be alarmed as the forces against Nigeria are more than we can imagine.

The Coalition Against Fake News wishes to state in unequivocal terms that the involvement of the CNN has indeed raised a red flag that indeed our democracy is under a threat of unimaginable proportion and hence the need for Nigerians to be wary of fake news merchants.

We must, at this point come to terms with the reality on the ground and join hands with the government in addressing the threat posed by fake news merchants, else we might all have ourselves to blame.

The CNN has by this action indicated that it has a bitter agenda in Nigeria. A word is enough for the wise.

I thank you all for taking out time to attend this press conference. The Coalition Against Fake News would continue to dissect issues of public concern in the overall interest of Nigeria.

Thank you.

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#EndSARS: Group Drags Femi Falana To ICC For Instigating War Crimes In Nigeria

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Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana, will face criminal charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly instigating war crimes in Nigeria, triggering the killing of innocent citizens, wanton destruction of properties and other heinous crimes against humanity during and after the EndSARS protests.

The criminal complaint, dated 4th November 2020, was addressed to the Office of Madame Fatou Bensouda, The Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC) and filed by Joseph Nwaegbu, Esq. a Senior Associate of Pathfind Attorneys on behalf of Make Nigeria Better Initiative (MNBI).

The criminal court has since acknowledged receipt and if found guilty, the self-styled human rights activist would cough out $2billion.

This, according to the complainant, would be used as punitive damages for causing the death, injury and maiming of several citizens as well as wanton destruction of public and private properties between 3rd till 21st October 2020.

According to a reply signed by the Head of Information and Evidence Unit of the ICC, Mark P. Dillon, the communication has entered the Registry of the Court and will be considered accordingly with the procedure and Rome Statute of the ICC.

”On the recent #EndSARS Protests which turned violent across the country, we beg to submit that the role played by Mr Falana before, during and after what observers described as the mother of all protests in Nigeria is not only ignoble but criminal”, the group said.

The group accused the Lagos lawyer of spreading fake news to further incite the youths in the country against the government which killings and destructions of properties.

”We have seen how the type of incitement spearheaded by Mr Falana worked in Rwanda and other parts of the world and the resultant effect was genocide. In the case of Nigeria, the misguided youths who acted based on Falana’s posture, character and utterances employed crude methods to illegally murder about 22 (Twenty Two)  police officers in cold blood during the #EndSARS Protests that lasted between the period 3rd October 2020 till 21st October 2020. We strongly believe that Mr Falana is a highly placed Nigerian citizen, senior lawyer and politician that without the timely intervention of the ICC he will get away with justice in this case.

”At Oyigbo Police Station in Lagos alone, a total of 3 (Three) police officers were killed and roasted like Christmas goats with their facilities destroyed”, he said.

The group said it has attached sensitive pieces of evidence on the allegations raised to drive home their argument that Mr Femi Falana, SAN, ought to be prosecuted and sanctioned.

In the criminal complaint, the complainant listed policemen killed and government property destroyed as casualties of the protest which lasted for about three weeks.

”Despite the killing of innocent citizens and security agents alike with reckless abandon in the aftermath of the #EndSARS Protest, MNBI believes that it is rather reprehensible, appalling and criminal for Falana SAN to keep publishing in some online platforms from 25th October 2020 till this moment to trivialized the damage caused to innocent citizens in Nigeria. We submit that this again should form a basis why he is liable for investigation and subsequent punishment by this Honourable Courting the last hope of common men worldwide,” MNBI added.

”It is our further submission that what Falana is doing gives room for suspicion that another brand of the terrorist group may be created to hide under the cover of “human rights activists” whilst sustaining the evils alreadybedevillingg our people through the activities of the disbanded Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Boko Haram and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

”We therefore, urge that the unrepentant Femi Falana SAN who has decided to permanently pitch himself against humanity in Nigeria be investigated, arrested and made to face the full wrath of international criminal law irrespective of his status, wealth or connection.

”Overall, we submit that prima facie cases of instigating violent protests that led to the killing of innocent citizens, wanton destruction of properties and other heinous crimes against humanity have been established against Femi Falana SAN vide this Criminal Complaint for which the ICC can investigate, prosecute and mete out appropriate sanctions to him”.

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2021: Bagudu Pledges More Dividends of Democracy, Amidst Challenges

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Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has pledged to sustain the provision of the direly needed dividends to the people of the state, amidst some formidable challenges.

The Governor said that, the APC-led administration in the state has a social contract with the electorate that is well on course .

The Governor further vowed that,both the Federal, Kebbi and LGs in the state will sustin their ongoing efforts to uplift the living standard of people, with the available dwindling resources.

Bagudu disclosed all these, Thursday ,in Birnin Kebbi, at the 2021 Town Hall meeting that brainstormed on the 2020 Budget Performance, as well as how to ensure a robust 2021 budget implementation .

He soberly recalled that, the implementation of the budget of the outgoing year was truncated by some unforeseen events, most especially COVID-19 and the devastating flood.

Bagudu said that, the state was implementing the 2020 budget, when for instance in mid March it successfully hosted the Yauri Regatta and the Argungu Fishing Festival, after a decade.

The Governor however noted that, the Coronavirus pandemic made matters to turn for the worst and negatively took a toll on the world economy, including that of Nigeria and Kebbi state.

According to him, the budget was revised down , while expenditures were scaled down, just as governments took various measures in response to the pandemic.

The Governor happily averred that, Nigeria and Kebbi still fared better sequel to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as efforts made by his administration.

Bagudu further lamented that, the obnoxious situation was aggravated by the recent devastating flood, the worst since 2010.

” It left in its wake, serious devastation of farmlands, houses, infrastructure, displacement of communities and a lot of effects on the economy.

” However, with the combined efforts of the three tiers of government and the communities, we are getting back on our feet and the state will bounce back,” Bagudu, added.

The Governor also hinted how the myriad of security challenges were affecting the economy, although he expressed optimism that, the ongoing efforts by the three tiers of government and the security agencies, the ugly situation was on the verge of being surmounted .

Bagudu also vowed not leave any stone unturned to ensure that, the implementation of the 2021 budget was robust and successful, in spite of all the duanting challenges.

He promised to sustain all the state government’s programme and policies, while efforts will be sustained to facilitate those of the Federal Government and the various Development Partners .

Civil Society Organizations, Development Partners, such as Oxfam, IHP, Labour Unions, Civil servants, religious leaders and traditional rulers all graced the program and delivered their heart warming goodwll messages, commending Governor Bagudu for giving them the rare opportunity to make their inputs in the budget, through the Town Hall meeting.

The Magajin Rafin Gwandu, Barrister Sambo Aliyu, who represented the Emir of Gwandu, commended the Governor for organizing the event
, saying that, the town hall meeting for the 2021 budget was an indication of good governance and spirit of diligent service to people.

He said that, convening the Town Hall meeting on the budget by the Governor would go along way in doing away with postulations and insinuations .

A Cross section of other people who made contributions, asked questions or comments, as well as advised the State Government to evolve tangible ways of generating internally generated revenues.

This, they opined, was in order to further improve the education and other sectors in the state.

Zara’u Ahmad, from Kungiyar Tallafin Mata Initiative, particularly implored the Board of Internal Revenue, to make formidable efforts to generate more revenues to the state.

On his part, Muhammad Muhammad Gulma, from Kebbi Civil Society Forum and Ibrahim Ngaski, stressed the need for the Government to give education more attention, including the improvement of schools infrastructure across the state.

Nazifi Umar, a physically challenged person, requested the Government to make provisions on health and education for people with special needs in the state.

The State APC Chairman, Arc. Bala Sani Kangiwa, recommended a holistic approach to improve internally generated revenue that would enhance infrastructural development and social wellbeing of the people.

Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government, Babale Umar Yauri, welcomed all participants to the 2021 Town Hall meeting .

Yauri reiterated the unwavering commitment of Kebbi State Government, under the able leadership of Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, to run an open, transparent and people- oriented Government.

The Commissioner, Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Abba Sani Kalgo and his Permanent Secretary, Hajiya Aishatu Usman gave a rundown of the 2020 and 2021 budgets.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Hajiya Aishatu Usman, gave an overview of the 2020 budget performance, while the Commissioner, Alhaji Abba Sani Kalgo, gave highlights of the 2021 budget to the audience.

Other highlights of the 2021 Budget Town Hall Meeting included presentation of Community Development Plans from Danko Wasagu,Jega and Birnin Kebbi Local Government Areas, anchored by the Commissioner, Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Abba Sani Kalgo

The Kebbi State Deputy Governor, retired Col. Samaila Yombe Dabai, thanked all the participants on behalf of the Governor and Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning for sacrificing their valuable time in attending the meeting.

He expressed optimsm that all their inputs would go a long way in building a formidable People’s Budget, that would take Kebbi to greater heights.

Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers and other Heads of Government Parastatals were at hand to respond to questions and offer more clarifications on Government Programs and projects.

 

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