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Fake Drugs: NAFDAC Blacklists Indian Firm, Delists Pinnacle’s Ciprofloxacin 500mg [LEADERSHIP]

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has blacklisted Mars Remedies PVT Limited, India for the manufacture of falsified Ciprofloxacin Tablets BP 500mg (NAFDAC REG. NO C4-0498) for Pinnacle Health Pharmaceutical Ltd, 16/18. Nuru Oniwo Street, Surulere, Lagos.

Director-general of NAFDAC, Prof Moji Adeyeye, in a statement yesterday, said, “ln view of the unprofessional practice, the Agency states that all products manufactured by the Mars Remedies PVT LTD, 635, GIDC Estate Waghodia, Vadodara, Gujurat, India, will not be allowed into Nigeria with immediate effect.”

In a letter dated October 9, 2020 addressed to the managing director of Mars Remedies PVT Limited, and titled; “Notice of blacklisting as a manufacturer of substandard and falsified medicines”, Adeyeye, reiterated the Agency’s position of zero tolerance for substandard and falsified medicines preponderance in Nigeria in fulfillment of the regulatory obligation of safeguarding the health of the nation.

According to the DG, “In violation of NAFDAC extant laws and regulations, the company illegally manufactured different formulations of Ciprofloxacin tablets instead of the approved formulation for export to Nigeria.

“The variation in the formulation of the Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets, which may impact on the product quality and shelf –life, was not approved by NAFDAC before the changes were made. This constitutes a violation of the NAFDAC Act.”

She noted with dismay that the company had displayed a flagrant disregard for compliance with global standards necessary to assure the production of quality assured products. “Therefore the company has been blacklisted accordingly,” she said in the statement.

Adeyeye therefore warned all manufacturers and importers of medicines to adhere strictly to the conditions for which their products were registered by NAFDAC or face similar sanctions.

 

FG, States Count Losses As Looting Of Warehouses Hits FCT, Others

Fresh facts have emerged from different parts of the country that an unquantifiable amount of money and assets running into trillions of Naira have been lost across the states to the protracted #EndSARS protest that rocked different parts of the country.

LEADERSHIP checks showed that the massive destruction of public and privately owned assets, unbridled looting of corporate organizations and individuals witnessed across the country has dragged the affected state governments backwards in terms of development.

This is even as hoodlums looted three warehouses in Abuja and in several states.

In Lagos State, the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday revealed that the reconstruction of Lagos State turned into a war zone in the wake of the #EndSARS protest would gulp a whooping N1trillion.

The Speaker spoke when he led a delegation of lawmakers from the House of Representatives along with South West governors and ministers from the region to pay a solidarity visit to Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, over the deaths and wanton destruction of properties during #EndSARS protests in the state.

Noting that the mystery behind Lagos arsons must be unraveled, Gbajabiamila said, ‘’The governor was just telling me now that it is going to take about a trillion Naira to rebuild Lagos. That makes my heart heavy, and I asked the governor how much is the year’s budget, and he said, it is about a trillion naira. That will cover salary, overheads, capital, growth, development, and now you are forced to look for a trillion naira to rebuild and compensate. You can see we are going backward in reverse. We must always think of consequences for unforeseen and intended and unintended actions. I encourage the young people to let us sit at the table.’’

The Southwest governors led by its chairman, Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, as well as the ministers who embarked on inspection tours of the devastating incidents at various scenes, commiserated with those that loss their lives and properties in the coordinated arsons on public assets and private properties.

Speaking on behalf of the governors, Akeredolu appealed to the youths to suspend the protests, saying the Igbos should disregard the threat to vacate Lagos.

He said, “The governors of the South West States of Nigeria wish to solidarise with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, on the unfortunate occurrences of the past few days in Lagos State, which have impacted, negatively, on the whole Region. It is disquieting, to assert the least, that a protest widely acclaimed as peaceful and purpose-driven has been hijacked by some people, ostensibly to execute a destructive design.

“You will recall that the Inspector General of Police issued an order disbanding the special unit formerly known as Special Anti-Robbery Unit (SARS) in the wake of the protests across the country. It is also on record that the president and state governors responded positively to the demands of the agitators. A decision was reached at the National Economic Council meeting held on the 16m October, 2020, that all States should set up a judicial panel of inquiry over violation of people’s rights and Incidence of police brutality. This has been complied with.

“Recent development leaves us with no other option than to believe that there may have been other reasons for the continued protests, well -coordinated and funded. The spread of fake news and videos, which followed an allegation of shooting by some soldiers with heavy casualty figures at the Lekki Toll Gate, Victoria Island, Lagos, is primarily the purpose of our visit.

“We commiserate with the families of victims of violence across Lagos State and slain Policemen. We pray that the Almighty grant them the fortitude to bear these avoidable losses. We also note, with much pain and sadness, the vast and spreading destruction of property belonging to notable individuals and vestiges of our collective patrimony and pride.

‘’We commiserate with His Royal Majesty, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, on the sacrilege committed at his palace and condemn in no unmistakable terms the vile attack on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and destruction of businesses where it is believed he has interest, TVC, THE NATION.

“We are deeply concerned about the facilities and people’s investments that have been burnt. We are worried that despite the unfortunate incident in Lekki, there is no definitive statement from the military.

“We want to insist on full investigation to ascertain on what actually occurred. The conflagration has been deployed by deliberate mass destruction.

“The damage done to the oldest court in the country is horrendous and other places”.

NECO Postpones Ongoing Internal SSCE Exams Indefinitely

The Governing Board of the National Examinations Council (NECO) at its

Special Meeting has postponed indefinitely the ongoing Senior

Secondary Certificate Examinations SSCE

A statement yesterday in Minna by Azeez Sani , Head, of Information

and Public Relations Division of the council said the decision was

reached at the meeting held on Thursday, 22nd October, 2020.

According to him ” Arising from that meeting, the Governing Board

resolved that the 2020 SSCE(Internal) be postponed indefinitely in

view of the current security challenges, occasioned by the ENDSARS

protests, which disrupted the smooth conduct of the examinations in

some parts of the country”.

The statement explained that “In making this decision, the Board noted

that due to these security challenges: Some state governments imposed

curfew and closed schools in order to safeguard lives and property”;

“In the circumstances, it has become difficult for the Council to move

examination materials across the country; Students in the affected

locations were unable to sit for the papers already scheduled in the

examination time table” the statement explained further.

Ma’am Sani in the statement disclosed that “The Governing Board

further resolved, that when normalcy returns, the Council will

continue with the conduct of the examinations in all States”.

While regretting any inconveniences this postponement may cause all

stakeholders,he said the Council has taken this decision in order to

maintain the integrity and security of its examination procedures for

seamless conduct of the Council’s examination.

 

Wife Cuts Off Husband’s Manhood For Impregnating Another Lady [LEADSHIP]

Tragedy struck on Sunday in Taraba state as a middle-aged woman

reportedly cut off her husband’s manhood for impregnating another

woman.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the man identified as Babangida popularly

known as Bangis who is in his early 30s suffered severe injuries on his genitals after his wife attempted to cut off his penis.

The incident happened in Appawa community, a suburb of Lau Local

Government of Taraba state at about 12: 15am in the early hours of

Sunday when Bangis was asleep.

A community source who is also a neighbour to the victim, said Bangis

went to the market and after a hectic day of sales, he was tired and slept off.

“In the dawn of the morning, the wife cut the manhood because he impregnated another woman. He fought back and collected the knife from

her but she also injured herself in the process.

“The neighbours heard screaming and shouting in the house and they

rushed to their house to see the sad incident,” the source said.

When asked why she made attempts to cut off her husband’s manhood, the

woman replied: “The Bible says we should cut off anything that can

make one to sin.”

Bangis was taken to a private hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, findings show that Bangis is yet to have a child with the woman .

 

 

Police go after looters, 483 arrested in Lagos, Plateau, Anambra, others [PUNCH]

The police on Sunday ordered their officers and men to go after those who were looting private and government establishments under the guise of #EndSARS protests.

Police commands in Akwa Ibom, Osun, Plateau, Kano and Anambra states in separate interviews with The PUNCH, said they had stepped up efforts to arrest  suspected looters.

Already, no fewer than 483 suspected looters have been arrested in Lagos,  Akwa Ibom, Osun, Anambra, Kano and Plateau states.

Peaceful protests by youths calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force turned violent on Tuesday when soldiers shot peaceful protesters in Lekki, Lagos.

Policemen and thugs also attacked protesters across the country. Police stations, government buildings and vehicles have been vandalised  by thugs.

On Friday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said no  fewer than 69 people died in the protests.

Since Thursday last week, looters, have been attacking stores, where COVID-19 palliatives were  kept,  as well as residents of politicians in Oyo, Plateau and Akwa Ibom states.

Kano police command arrests 40 looters – PPRO

But on Sunday,  the police said they had begun clampdown on the looters.

No fewer than 40 persons have been  arrested in connection with the looting  at the  Sabon Gari area of the Fagge Local Government Area  of Kano State on Tuesday.

The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, Abdullahi Haruna, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH in Kano on Sunday.

He said the looters were apprehended in various parts of Sabon Gari with the exhibits (looted  goods), which were  with the police.

“Over 40 suspects were arrested  and they were apprehended with the exhibits (the goods they stole from their victims).

Recall that some miscreants,  who hijacked the #EndSARS protests, looted the multi-million naira Galaxy Mall at Sabon Gari, Kano on Tuesday.

In Akwa Ibom State, the  Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, said that the command had arrested 10 suspected looters and recovered stolen goods estimated at several millions of naira, following Thursday’s looting of private and government establishments in the state

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Sunday,  through the command’s Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, the police commissioner said, “Officers have been mobilised to every nook and cranny of the state” to fish out the looters.

Over 80 suspects arrested in Osun – Police

Also, the  Osun State Police Command on Sunday said over 80 suspects had been arrested across the state in connection with the attack and looting of government and many privately-owned establishments in the state.

The spokesperson for the command, Yemisi Opalola, in a chat told The PUNCH that the police  had also recovered some of the items looted in some parts of the state on Saturday.

Opalola also said the command had already sent its men after perpetrators of the looting and urged those in custody of the looted items to return them.

“If they fail to do so, we will fish them out. Already, over 80 people are in our custody in connection with the crime. We have also recovered some of the looted items,” Opalola said.

Earlier on Sunday,   no fewer than 30 suspects, who were arrested in connection with the looting of government and some privately owned property in some parts of the state on Saturday,  were paraded.

Some of the suspects were apprehended by youth volunteers in the  Ogo Oluwa area of Osogbo after government had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state to stem the rising violence.

Showing  the suspects to journalists  on Sunday in Osogbo,  the Special Adviser to Osun State Governor on Security, Abiodun Ige, warned that the government would not condone any act of lawlessness.

She said, “The government condemns looting and destruction of property by hoodlums in some parts of the state. These suspects would be handed over to the police.”

 

Lekki tollgate killings have complicated matters for me – Tinubu [PUNCH]

The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said the #EndSARS protest, and its fallout, including the shooting of the peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate by soldiers, has “complicated matters” for him.

Tinubu lamented that he was first accused of sponsoring the #EndSARS protest, then later accused of sending soldiers to shoot at the protesters at the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday night to disperse them.

He said his political enemies falsely claimed that he sent soldiers to the tollgate because he has financial interest in the tollgate and he was losing revenue due to the prolonged protest.

He, however, described the claims as “complete and terrible lie,” saying they were being sponsored by his political enemies to pit him against the state and the Federal Government.

In a statement on Sunday titled, ‘The #EndSARS protests: A fundamental lesson in democratic governance,’ Tinubu stressed that he neither have investment in the Lekki tollgate nor sent soldiers to disperse the protesters but admitted that “I am, indeed, a promoter and financial investor in The Nation newspaper and TVC.”

He said he got prior information that facilities of both The Nation newspaper and TVC were going to be attacked by “certain malevolent elements” hiding under #EndSARS protests, yet he did not send soldiers or policemen there to prevent the attack, because he didn’t want anyone to die.

“There is no rationale that can adequately explain why I would order soldiers to repel peaceful protesters from the tollgate, where I have no financial interest, yet, choose to do nothing to protect my investments in The Nation and TVC,” Tinubu said.

He said the attacks on TVC and The Nation newspaper were carried out by the “hirelings” of his political enemies.

Tinubu said,  “The present situation clearly does nothing to profit me politically or otherwise. It has complicated matters for me because many people now wrongfully blame me for a violent incident in which I played no part. Still, I stand strongly behind the people of Nigeria and affirm their right to protest peacefully.

“Along with all well-meaning, patriotic Nigerians, I want to see an end to all forms of institutionalised brutality and I shall do my utmost to see that this humane objective is realised.”

 

Renegotiate Nigeria, imbalance producing sorrow, poverty – Danjuma, others [PUNCH]

The National Christian Elders Forum, being piloted by a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), and other statesmen, has demanded that Nigeria should be renegotiated.

The NCEF also said the #EndSARS protests in the country was mismanaged by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), because the army was released against unarmed protesters in the country.

While demanding that whoever authorised the deployment of troops to face the protesting youths should be court-marshalled for murder, the organisation said the government should take advantage of the protests rejecting police brutality to introduce state police.

These were contained in a resolution after an emergency meeting of the group on Thursday, which was made available on Sunday by the NCEF Secretary, Bosun Emmanuel.

The resolution titled, ‘#EndSARS – It is time to renegotiate Nigeria,’ read partly, “It is time to re-negotiate Nigeria. The time is ripe for Nigeria to be re-negotiated. The political imbalance in the country has produced nothing but sorrow, poverty, and death for Nigerians. The unjust and sectional political structure left behind by the British colonialists is no longer sustainable.”

Speaking on the protests, the group said, “NCEF wishes to express great sorrow at the recent events in the country which commenced with nationwide protests against the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and climaxed in the death of some of the unarmed protesters, security personnel, and mindless destruction of properties. All the lives lost are Nigerian and there was no need for any of them to have died.

“There must be full National Assembly inquiry into the causes of death and destruction that trailed the peaceful #EndSARS protests…. The government must be fully investigated for the role played by security agents in transporting, and supervising vandals and thugs to attack the protesters

“The prison breaks and widespread arson should be diligently investigated as there are allegations of government complicity to discredit the protest.

“The current situation was mishandled by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari because the army was released against unarmed protesters in Nigeria. Whoever authorised the deployment of troops to face the protesting youths should be court-marshalled for murder.

“It is curious that a government that claimed it negotiated with terrorists and integrated them into the military could not negotiate with unarmed protesters but chose to shoot them. This double standard that is characteristic of the Buhari administration is condemnable.

“As the country mourns the death of the protesters, the security personnel, as well as other people who died as collateral damages, NCEF appeals to the youths to suspend any further public protest. The point has been made that though Nigerians are tolerant and patient, they are not docile.

“The government should take advantage of the protests rejecting police brutality to introduce state police. This is the appropriate step under the circumstances to ensure adequate and effective security nationwide and henceforth localise any case of police excesses to the states.

“The failure of government to declare state police at this point should be interpreted to imply that a centrally controlled police is desired by the government in order to continue to provide state cover for marauding Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram.”

 

My dogs were caged as hoodlums looted my house – Senator [PUNCH]

THE lawmaker representing Oyo-Central Senatorial District, Senator Teslim Folarin, said his dogs were ‘caged’ when hoodlums stormed his Ibadan residence on Saturday to cart away several items such as motorcycles, freezers, generators and grinding machines that he claimed were meant for the empowerment of his constituents.

Folarin, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, said this during a chat on Instagram Live with Ovation Chief Executive Officer, Dele Momodu, on Sunday.

The senator said he received a phone call that his home located in a private estate had come under attack.

He said, “They (the items) were meant for empowerment in December. And so, I got a call that some hoodlums were trying to break into my house. I was totally surprised because it is a gated residence. I also have dogs there which were unfortunately caged at the time.

“And so, the first thing they did was to put a call through to the police but the police were not interested. They said if they come to the residence and someone gets killed, they would run into problems again, and so, they didn’t come.

“So, we didn’t get help from anybody. They overpowered my security guard, stormed the premises and what I suspect is that a lot of people were going about their business, but when they saw people grabbing motorcycles, grabbing generators and all sorts, some just went in and grabbed also and left.”

Folarin said most of the items were purchased by him and his friends in the private sector.

The senator added, “They were just in a rush; I wanted to give it to them. I do it every time. Recall that I did the same during the COVID-19 pandemic when I got friends to donate trailers of rice because I don’t have that sort of money, but I have friends who can help.

“It was meant to be for empowerment of people because we know how difficult things are. The whole idea was to help people out. Unfortunately, they were in a hurry and broke in and took everything; very unfortunate!”

When asked if the looting across the nation wasn’t caused by the failure of politicians, Folarin said it would be unfair to blame the current crop of politicians, adding that it was a generational problem.

 

#EndSARS protest a fundamental lesson in democratic governance [THE NATION]

I heavily grieve for those who have lost their lives or been injured during the period of these protests. My deepest sympathies go to their families and loved ones for none should have been made to pay such a dear price. My career as an active politician spans nearly three decades. In that time, I have seen many things as Nigeria has struggled, sometimes against itself, to undertake the often painful yet inexorable push toward democratic government accountable to, and protective of, the people.

Through this journey, I have traversed the landscape of human experience. Having been as a political prisoner during our struggle for democracy but also having the singular honour of serving this state and its people as governor, I have known highs and lows, seen both the good and the bad of things.

But the events of the past few days have been extraordinary in a most dire sense. Only time will tell if we have the collective wisdom and requisite compassion to learn the proper lessons from these events that we may yet steer toward a better, more just Nigeria. Despite the tumult we now see, I believe with all my heart that we will meet the current challenge.

Here, let me directly address the sharp point aimed against me. I have been falsely accused of ordering the reported deployment of soldiers against peaceful protesters that took place at Lekki on 20 October 2020. This allegation is a complete and terrible lie. I did not order this or any assault against anybody. I would never want such a vile thing to happen nor did I have any prior knowledge about this sad event. It is my firm belief that no one should be harassed, injured or possibly killed for doing what they have the constitutional right to do in making their contribution to a better, more equitable society.

‘Foulest of lies’

As a political figure, I am accustomed to people attributing to me all manner of indiscretions of which I have no knowledge and in which I played no role. I have usually ignored such falsities as the cost of being in the public eye.

This time, it is different. The allegation now levied against me is that I called on soldiers to kill my own people. This allegation is the foulest of lies.

The use of strong force against any peaceful protesters is indefensible, completely outside the norms of a democratic society and progressive political culture to which I aspire and have devoted my public life. That people were angered by the reports of violence and death is acutely understandable.

Understandably outraged, people sought to hold someone accountable. For various reasons, I became the most available scapegoat. Some people don’t like me because they believe the false rumours uttered about me over the years. Some maligned my name because they hide ulterior motives and harbour unrequited political scores they intend to settle.

A week ago, such people tried to bring enmity between me and the state and federal governments by contending I was sponsoring the protests. When that did not work, they then sought to sow enmity between me and the people by saying I ordered soldiers to quash the very same protests they first accused me of organising.

My opponents have every right to oppose me politically but let them have the courage to do so in the open, above board and to employ facts not evil fiction in their efforts against me. They have no right to slander and defame anyone with the terrible and vile fabrications now cast at my feet.

Those who have decided to hate me will hate me regardless of the truth. Again, they have the right to think as they may and I am not troubled by their unfounded animus. Today, I speak not to them. I leave them to the workings of their own conscience.

Today, I speak to those who believe in the importance of and want to know the truth.

‘I don’t own toll gate’

The slander aimed at me is based on the untruth that I own the toll gate concession. The hate mongers prevaricate that I ordered the Lekki assault because the protests had caused me to lose money due to the interruption of toll gate activity.

Minus this alleged ownership, the slander employed against me falls to the ground as a heavy untruth. I ask people to thoroughly investigate the matter of my alleged ownership of the toll gate. By seeking facts, instead of being swayed by gossip, you will find I have no ownership interest or involvement in the toll gate. Having no business interests in the operation, my income remains unchanged whether one or 100,000 vehicles pass through that gate.

At the bottom, the toll gate is a public asset. Given what has happened, I would like to propose to the government that the toll gate be left closed for an indefinite period. If it is reopened, revenues should be donated to the confirmed victims of the Lekki attack as well as to other identifiable victims of police brutality in Lagos. Let government use the money to compensate and take care of those who have lost life or limb in the struggle for all citizens to go about the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of life without fear of undue harassment at this or that checkpoint.

On the other hand, I am, indeed, a promoter and financial investor in The Nation newspaper and TVC. It was widely known and circulated through social media that certain malevolent elements were going to take advantage of the situation to attack The Nation newspaper facilities and TVC in Lagos.

The attackers came. Both facilities were significantly damaged. Although equipped with prior notice of the imminent trespass, I did not call anyone to seek or request for the army or police to deploy let alone attack, kill, or injure those who razed and vandalised these properties. I did not want any bloodshed. These elements, mostly hirelings of my political opponents, wreaked their havoc and destroyed those buildings and facilities and I thank God that the employees of these two media institutions managed to escape largely unharmed.

There is a deeper truth involved here. Burned buildings and damaged equipment can be rebuilt or replaced. There is no adequate substitute for the loss of even a single human life. I am not one to encourage violence. I abhor it. Thus I did nothing that might endanger lives, even the lives of those who destroyed my properties.

 ‘Allegations lack logic’

Now, those who claim I ordered violence in Lekki must face the sheer illogic of their assertions. There is no rationale that can adequately explain why I would order soldiers to repel peaceful protesters from the toll gate where I have no financial interest, yet, choose to do nothing to protect my investments in The Nation and TVC.

Why would I be so moved as to instigate the army to attack peaceful, law-abiding people at the toll gate where I have no pecuniary stake, yet lift not a single finger to stop hired miscreants bent on setting fire to these important media investments?

The allegations against me make no sense because they are untrue. They are parented by those seeking to stoke and manipulate the people’s anger in order to advance political objectives that have nothing to do with the subject matter of the protests.

The good and creative people of Lagos have worked hard over the years to build it into the dynamic economic and cultural focal point it has become. Lagos has enjoyed over two decades of sustained, uninterrupted growth. No other place in Nigeria can stake that claim. Some people are unhappy with this. They seek to tear down what we have worked hard to build that they may reshape Lagos to fit their own more destructive image. Such people have taken advantage of the current situation and of the public’s passions to set in motion a plan the people would never support if they only knew what the destructive schemers actually had in mind.

Not only lives have been lost in Lagos and throughout Nigeria, but livelihoods have also been impaired. I have seen the destruction to businesses, shops and homes.

I empathise with those who have lost their businesses and residences through no fault of their own but because hurtful, destructive misanthropes took it upon themselves to use this moment to disguise their efforts to destroy and upend the prosperity and hope so many of us took so many years to build. This is not what the genuine protesters wanted and no one should blame them for this destruction. In this tense situation, we must be careful not to rush to conclusions and to make sure we ascertain the true facts that we not be deceived toward rash action that may prove to be against our own interests.

This is particularly true regarding the Lekki incident. Various players will promulgate different casualty numbers. At this moment, no conclusive figure has been ascertained. Although an investigation has been launched by the governor, a totally accurate picture of the events may never be known. I for one refuse to engage in futile speculation regarding the possible number of casualties for such talk misses the vital point that we all must recognise.

We strive for a more compassionate, progressive society. Thus, we must do more than measure injustice by the number of dead or wounded. Injustice is injustice regardless of the number of victims from whom blood is drawn.

Amend terms of military deployment’

Based on the facts that come out of a thorough investigation, the government may need to amend the terms of engagement for the deployment of military forces in instances of mostly peaceful civil disobedience and protests. Although one of our nation’s most respected institutions, the military is not adequately equipped and trained to deal with such situations. It is placing a burden on the military they are ill-suited to carry.

Moreover, the time has come to take the necessary legal actions to allow for the creation of state police and the recruitment and training of many more police officers. Such state-created forces should be based on the modern tenets of community policing and optimal relations and cooperation with local communities.

Measures such as these are needed to cure present gaps in how military and law enforcement treat the general public. These proposals are important and they do not hamstring proper law enforcement and security operations. We know there are criminal elements in society primed to harm people and seize property. We expect this of criminals. What is not expected is that people will be brutalized and scarred by those commissioned to protect and serve them. This anomaly must end.

Given all that has happened, I must stress the great theme that underlies this entire situation so that it is not obscured and its proper societal impact lost. The right to protest is more than integral to the democratic setting; It transcends any form of government. The following thought may seem incongruous – but the right to protest exists only where orderly society exists.

Because of my strong belief in the right to protest and my adherence to democratic ideals, I was among those who actively protested the annulment of the June 12 election. I eagerly joined and sometimes led multitudes who took to the streets to protest the singular injustice of that historic moment. We demanded the establishment of a new democracy in Nigeria. Those protests are a part of the reason we have democracy in Nigeria today. They laid the foundation for the youth today to protest and to call to the fore their grievances whenever our social or political institutions fail them in a material way.

Thus, I cannot wax nostalgic about pro-democracy protests of the 1990s yet castigate those who today protest against any form of institutionalised brutality.

No democratically minded person can fault those who protest in this regard. No society, even the most democratic, is perfect. All nations suffer lapses that cause even their most respected institutions to fall short of their better ideals. However, our imperfection does not preclude improvement or reform.

We must constantly put our institutions and government to the test that we may reshape ourselves into a better nation constantly improving the manner in which it treats its citizens. If we do not commit ourselves in this way, democracy may not long be ours. We must be frank in recognising our societal ills as well as resolute in curing them. Sometimes progress comes one election at a time. Sometimes, one protest at a time.

It must stand as a maxim for any compassionate, sane society that innocent people should not die or be injured at the hands of law enforcement. Enough blood has been spilled; enough pain has been felt.

Yes, some in the police have lost their way by distorting their helpful mission into its opposite. This gross malpractice by a tainted minority must stop so that the bulk of good police officers may do their job properly, with the support and thanks of a grateful community. This cooperative, productive embrace between the people and their genuine police protectors cannot occur as long as some in uniform continue to serially abuse fellow Nigerians.

In this regard, I must say that the steps thus far taken by the government are constructive. SARS has been ended and further reform has been promised with tangible steps taken in that direction. However, much more needs to be done for there is valid evidence of recurrent brutality and violence. Indeed, this is why the protests began in the first instance.

We are in a complex situation where almost every step has political overtones. Among the protesters, there are many people who do not politically support either the state or federal governments.

However, this should not be a determinative factor in how one views the protests. We must not allow subjective politics to taint our view of what is right when it comes to the exercise of the fundamental civil liberties that we should all hold dear. Partisan narrowness cannot be allowed to redefine our core precepts of justice and human rights. This matter transcends daily politics. It goes to the of our constitutional arrangement and love of the people. While others may play politics with this issue, those who care about the nation dare not.

 

Condemnation trails looting of private, public properties [THE NATION]

The burning and looting of public and private properties continued on Sunday. The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) and a coalition of 200 civil society organisations (CSOs) frowned at the development.

The elders and CSOs, who faulted the killings of protesters by the military during the #EndSARS protest, also frowned at the burning and looting of private and public infrastructures in Adamawa, Plateau, Kogi, Bauchi, calling on security agencies to immediately arrest and prosecute perpetrators of the heinous acts.

NCEF pleaded with National Assembly to as a matter of urgency begin probe of the killings during the protests.

NCEF appealed to the youths to suspend any further public protest, adding that the “point has been made that though Nigerians are tolerant and patient, they are not docile”.

“Any government that seeks to take Nigerians for granted does so at its own peril,” the elders said.

“That Civil Liberties Organisations and affected individuals should engage in litigation over the unnecessary display of aggression by the government against the peaceful protesters. The Nigerian Bar Association should render public service to Nigerians by arranging Lawyers to represent, pro bono, those who desire to utilize legal means to seek redress,” the NCEF said.

The coalition of CSOs spoke in a statement signed by its convener, Coalition of Human Rights Advocates (COHURA), Dr. Banjo Ayodele; Mrs. Ngozi Okocha for Conference of Africa Mothers Forum (COAMOF); Dr. Zainab Alkali for Justice and Equity Network (JUEGN) and Festus Igbokwe for Justice And people’s Network (JUPENE).

They appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the security forces to decisively restore law and order, expressing fears that any delayed action could take the country to a state of anarchy.

“We wish to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately restore law and order in Nigeria,” they said in the statement.

The coalition also called on governors to immediately begin engagement of youths in town-hall meetings on peace in their various states.

Youths cart away food items in Adamawa warehouse

Hundreds of youth on Sunday morning broke into a large warehouse in Adamawa State and carted away the food items stored there.

Governor Ahmadu Fintiri imposed a curfew on the state, starting 3p.m. on Sunday.

Videos posted by witnesses first showed the youths advancing towards the warehouse and security operatives forming a cordon over the warehouse and asking the youths to stay off.

The warehouse is at Kwarnawaya, a community by the Yola-Numan Road, near Yola, the state capital.

A subsequent video showed the youths in their hundreds getting past the security operatives and succeeding in throwing the gate of the warehouse open and entering to help themselves to available food items.

The break-in, which occurred as many residents were in church yesterday morning, came as the first #EndSARS related violence in Adamawa State.

The state seemed to be quite aloof to the whole thing, especially after a trickle of youths who attempted a protest match were dispersed by the police a little over a week ago.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Adamawa State, DSP Suleiman Nguroje, said the police had mobilised officers and men to the place.

Fintiri said the incidents had forced him to take quick steps to avoid escalation.

The governor, who mentioned four instances when his government distributed palliative items to the people since the COVID-19 pandemic started, announced that the government was to again start the process of distributing available items today.

“In view of the above, I have declared and imposed an indefinite dawn to dusk curfew throughout the state beginning from 3 o’clock Sunday the 25th of October 2020,” he said.

 

Victims of #EndSARS protests will get justice, Buhari assures [THE NATION]

Victims of the #EndSARS protests would get justice, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured.

Those who lost loved ones and properties in the mayhem that trailed the protests would also be served justice, the President said.

He urged Nigerians to maintain peace and order to avoid the dire consequences of vandalism on economy.

“Looting and vandalism will hurt trade and investment growth in our country – both large and small industries, as well as our hardworking people in the informal sectors of the economy,” the President said.

The justice system, he said, serves recompense to all who have killed, raped, robbed, committed arson and other forms of criminalities in the last few days.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu, the President Buhari explained why he had refrained from speaking on the Lekki Toll Gate incident because of the ongoing investigations.

According to him, he wanted all facts to have been assembled before making any comments.

He stressed the importance of the police and other security agencies to move everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.

The President, however, expressed his full support for the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State government.

He expressed optimism that the panel, billed to begin sitting today, will assist the nation in giving justice to peaceful protesters who lost their lives, security operatives who were murdered and property owners, whose assets were vandalised and looted.

Buhari appealed to Nigerians to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of government and the wheel of justice turn against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.

He reiterated that that peace, brotherhood, and inter-communal harmony remain central to “our ethos”, urging Nigerians “not to turn against one another in hate.”

The President assured that his administration would not relent in working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of our unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives have been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He warned that resort to widespread attacks and the organised looting and plundering of public and private property in many states are inimical to public good and stand condemned.

 

The Lekki shooting and attack on media houses [SUN]

The nationwide EndSARS protests turned bloody last week with the gruesome killing of peaceful protesters by armed security operatives at the Lekki tollgate area of Lagos. The dastardly incident was in response to the #EndSARS protests that engulfed the entire country since October 8, 2020. The shooting was reminiscent of the Beijing’s Tiananmen Square incident of 1989 when Chinese military rolled out tanks and massacred hundreds of peaceful protesters, mostly students demanding democratic reforms.

It was this intervention by troops that drew the unfortunate reaction of some hoodlums in Lagos and elsewhere which led to the attack on some media houses, such as the Television Continental (TVC), the Nation newspapers, Channels Television and Lagos Television head offices in Lagos. The hoodlums also set ablaze some public and private property and even invaded some Nigerian Correctional Centres, wreaking havoc and releasing some prisoners.

We strongly condemn the action of security agents and the attack on public and private properties, especially media houses, by hoodlums. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen.Tukur Buratai, had announced special military exercise codenamed Operation Crocodile Smile VI as the protests raged. Then, about 7pm on what has come to be known as Black Tuesday, the floodlights and display boards at the tollgate were switched off.  That was a few hours after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State imposed 24-hour curfew on the state. As the protesters sang the National Anthem and waved the Nigerian Flag, the shooting took place and left some dead and others injured.

The killing of peaceful protesters is callous, atrocious and sad. There were reports that about 49 people died as a result of the protests and killings by security agents. Governor Sanwo-Olu initially claimed there was no death from the Lekki shooting, but later admitted that one person died.  Global Rights Group, Amnesty International, said about 12 people died from the shooting at Lekki tollgate and Alausa areas of Lagos.

The killing of protesters diminishes our value as human beings. The use of brutal force on protesters is heinous and uncalled for. The control of protesters is usually the duty of the police and not soldiers. And the police can only use tear gas or water cannons to disperse the crowd. Despite reported evidence, the military has denied involvement in the Lekki killings, saying soldiers were not at the scene.

Nevertheless, Nigerians had expected President Muhammadu to address them and calm the situation. It was not until two days after the Lekki shooting that the President addressed the nation. Rather than calm frayed nerves, his speech inflamed more passions. The President did not make any reference to the shooting incident in Lekki most especially. He also failed to make promises that would reassure his citizens, especially the youths.

 

EndSARS: Afenifere denies sending quit notice to Igbo in Yoruba land [SUN]

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has declared that it did not send quit notice to Igbo living in any part of Yorubaland.

The group said all Nigerians have the right to live in any part of the country as provided by the 1999 constitution.

A viral video on the social media gave the impression that the group has given quit notice to Igbo living in all parts of Yorubaland.

But, leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, in a statement he personally signed debunked the video, saying it did not emanate from Afenifere.

Fasoranti said the group has nothing to do with person or group of people who released the video on the social media.

He, therefore, disowned  the alleged eviction notice and urged the Igbo to continue to live peacefully wherever they are.

While urging Nigerians to embrace peace, he called for harmonious relationship among the various ethnic groups in the country.

Similarly,  the South-East Governors’ Forum has assured Nigerians from other ethnic groups of their safety in Igboland.

Its chairman Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi, gave the assurance, yesterday, when he inspecting properties damaged by hoodlums at Okposi and Uburu communities of Ohaozara LGA of Ebonyi in the wake of the #EndSARS protests across the country.

He said he had spoken with leaders from all the geopolitical zones and assured them of their citizens’ safety.

 

EndSARS losses may send economy into tailspin –Experts warn [SUN]

In a country where infrastructure deficit is put at $102 billion, while only two per cent or less of its $459 billion GDP is actually going into infrastructure development, the carnage and destruction of  both private and public properties last week may eventually plunge the nation into tailspin.

This is a warning from both international and local experts while assessing the level of damage and economic loss to the citizenry.

For instance, the Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) African Department,  Mr. Abebe Aemro Selassie, said the civil unrest in Lagos, which contributes significantly to Nigeria’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP), could have a negative consequence on the economy.

IMF had on Tuesday reversed Nigeria’s economy growth projection to -4.3 per cent in 2020 from its earlier projection of -5.4 percent. The IMF also projected that Nigeria’s economy would grow by 1.7 per cent in 2021 from its projected decline of -4.3 percent.

That projection did not envisage the massive destruction of federal, state and private sector infrastructures by EndSARS protesters across the country.

Responding to questions during the virtual IMF press conference on the regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa, Thursday, at the ongoing annual meetings of the IMF/World Bank in Washington DC, Selassie, called for timely resolution of the crisis to prevent the economy, which is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, from slipping further into a t ailspin.

His words: “Are we concerned? We are always concerned when we see protests, particularly ones that are difficult like the one in Nigeria at the moment,  and we hope that there would be a satisfactory resolution there.”

Reviewing the economic loss due to the unrest, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said the economy lost N700 billion in 12 days.

Its President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje , in a statement last Monday said the protests have crippled economic activities in the country due to disruptions, blockades and barricades around major cities and interstate highways.

She stated: “The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry is, however, concerned about the negative impact that the protracted nature of the EndSars protests has on business activities across the country. Over the past 12 days, economic activities have been crippled in most parts of the country and has been particularly profound in the urban areas. The Nigerian economy has suffered an estimated N700 billion loss in the past 12 days.”

In the same vein, the management of Primero Transport Services (PTS) Ltd., an operator of bus rapid transit (BRT), Lagos, reported to have lost 63 buses to aeson when its bus terminals in some parts of Lagos were attacked, said it lost N100 million in six days to the #EndSARS protests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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