President Donald Trump said Monday he no longer opposes government aid for Joe Biden’s transition team in his closest statement yet to finally conceding he lost the US election.
Trump’s tweet that the General Services Administration should “do what needs to be done” came after the agency’s head, Emily Murphy, said she was releasing the long-delayed assistance.
Trump has spent the last three weeks since the November 3 election claiming without any evidence that Biden’s convincing victory was the result of fraud. Murphy, who denies acting under political pressure, has refused until now to release the standard package of aid that her agency manages to Biden’s incoming team.
Biden’s team welcomed the decision, saying in a statement it will provide the incoming administration “with the resources and support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”
“Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track. This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies.”
The decision frees up millions of dollars in financing to support the transition, as well as formally allows Biden to coordinate with current government officials.
Murphy, who had faced harsh criticism over her previous refusal to act, said in her letter to Biden obtained by various US news outlets that “contrary to media reports and insinuations, my decision was not made out of fear or favoritism.”
The step by her GSA is usually a routine one following a US presidential election, but Trump’s continuing efforts to overturn the results of the vote and refusal to concede have complicated the process.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned Ukrainian Para powerlifter Anton Kriukov for a further period of 18 months after violating the terms of his sanction.
The athlete was found to have violated the prohibition of participation during ineligibility pursuant to IPC Anti-Doping Code Article 10.12.3.
In 2018, Kriukov received a two-year sanction after returning an adverse analytical finding at the Mexico City 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships. The athlete violated the terms of his sanction by competing at the 2019 Ukrainian Para Powerlifting Cup held from 6-8 December 2019 in Dnipro, Ukraine, during his period of Ineligibility, which ran until 21 January 2020.
As a result of the violation, Kriukov received a further 18-month period of Ineligibility from 22 January 2020 to 21 July 2021.
The IPC is reminding all athletes or other persons currently declared Ineligible of the terms of the prohibition against participation during Ineligibility set out in Article 10.12.1 of the IPC Anti-Doping Code.
As a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), the IPC remains committed to a doping-free sporting environment at all levels. The IPC has established the IPC Anti-Doping Code in compliance with the general principles of the WADC, including the WADC International Standards, expecting that, in the spirit of sport, it will lead the fight against doping in sport for athletes with an impairment.
A brave soldier paid the supreme price when troops of Operation Sahel Sanity battled bandits, killing three of them and rescuing three nursing mothers along with their infants in Katsina State.
The incident occurred on Thursday when troops, responding to a distress call about the activities of bandits at Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of the state, engaged the criminals in a gunbattle, a statement by the military said on Sunday.
Bandits had attacked the village around 5:30 am on motorcycles, killing several persons in the village.
The troops, however, repelled the attack, killing three of the bandits and forcing the others to flee with many of them believed to have sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds, the statement by the Acting Director of Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko said.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, three women and their infants, earlier kidnapped by the bandits, were rescued from the criminals,” he added.
According to him, two additional bodies of bandits were discovered along their withdrawal route.
The operation had a sad note to it as he announced that one brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the battle.
After repelling the attack, troops have remained in the village, and the surrounding areas to prevent further attack and track down the fleeing bandits.
When contacted by phone, the Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in Katsina, SP Isah Gambo, told Channels Television that 17 people were killed by the bandits in all. Four of them were members of the vigilante group and 12 were members of the village.
According to him, the remote nature of the village had an impact on the response to the attack, which he said was a reprisal.
“Because the place is a remote area and not motorable, before the arrival of the police, the bandits had killed 12 villagers, wounded about five of them. They equally set some houses ablaze in order to revenge the killing of their people because, last week, they came to the village but it didn’t go well as the villagers really dealt with them,” he said.
In the initial attack, the villagers also killed about three of the bandits and action which infuriated the marauding bandits.
“When they regrouped, they came with over 200 of them on motorbikes in possession of dangerous weapons including General Purpose Machine Guns as well as AK-47 Rifles shooting sporadically,” he said.
“The DPO alerted his counterparts from the military operation Sahel Sanity but before they could reach there, the Bandits have already escaped, they followed through cattle routes. So they alerted the people in Faskari to block them. The DPO and the military blocked that place but because of their numbers, they overpowered the security personnel there as a result of which one of the sister security agents, not police lost his life and four members of the vigilante were also killed in Faskari Local Government Area.”
He said the Air Force also sent an aircraft to the village in response to the attack and it helped in the chase after the fleeing bandits with more of them believed to have been killed by the military while fleeing. According to Gambo, security personnel are combing the forest with a view to intercepting the bandits of recovering the corpses of those of them that were killed by the Air Force.
Brigadier General Onyeuko in his statement on Sunday also provided an update on an operation carried out two days earlier and he commended the troops in the region generally for their efforts.
He said, “Relatedly, on 27 October 2020, troops deployed at Dan Ali village acting on reliable Information arrested two suspected bandits collaborators namely Samaila Usman and Idi Bello. The suspects are in our custody undergoing interrogations before handing them over to appropriate prosecuting authorities.”
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are commended for the successes achieved and their commitment. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is rid of all criminal activities.
“Additionally, the good people of the Northwest are once more assured of the troops’ commitment to the safety of lives and properties within the zone. They are also encouraged to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of their operations.”
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and 261 concerned Nigerians, civil society organisations, and media groups have filed a lawsuit against the National Broadcasting Commission [NBC] and Minister of Information and Culture Mr Lai Mohammed over the fines the commission imposed on Channels Television, AIT and Arise TV for their coverage of the EndSARS protests in the country.
A fine of N3million slammed on each of the broadcasters by NBC last week sparked outrage and criticism with many calling for it to be withdrawn.
SERAP and the 261 others concerned about it are now asking the court to “declare arbitrary, illegal, and unconstitutional the N9m fines imposed on Channels, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests, and to stop the NBC from collecting the money”.
In a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, on Sunday, SERAP said the co-plaintiffs in the suit are 255 concerned Nigerians; Premium Times Services Limited; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; HEDA Resource Centre; International Centre for Investigative Reporting; African Centre for Media and Information Literacy; and Media Rights Agenda.
The acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, who is joined in the suit as Defendant, had last week announced fines of N9 million on Channels, AIT, and Arise TV for purported “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests across the country.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued among other things that “Section (2)(n) of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code are oppressive, and clearly inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations”.
“If the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed are allowed to continue to use these oppressive provisions against independent media in the guise of performing their statutory duties, the end result will be authoritarianism and denial of freedom and liberty,” they warned.
Read the full statement below:
#EndSARS: SERAP, 261 others sue NBC, want court to overturn N9m fines on Channels, AIT, Arise TV
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), 261 concerned Nigerians, civil society and media groups have filed a lawsuit against the National Broadcasting Commission [NBC] and Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, asking the court to “declare arbitrary, illegal, and unconstitutional the N9m fines imposed on Channels, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests, and to stop the NBC from collecting the money.”
The co-plaintiffs in the suit are 255 concerned Nigerians; Premium Times Services Limited; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; HEDA Resource Centre; International Centre for Investigative Reporting; African Centre for Media and Information Literacy; and Media Rights Agenda.
The acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, who is joined in the suit as Defendant, had last week announced fines of N9 million on Channels, AIT, and Arise TV for purported “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests across the country.
But in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1436/2020 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Plaintiffs are seeking: “an order setting aside the arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional fines of N9 million and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Channels, AIT and Arise TV, and on any other radio/television stations simply for carrying out their professional and constitutional duties.”
The Plaintiffs are arguing that: “Section (2)(n) of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code are oppressive, and clearly inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations. If the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed are allowed to continue to use these oppressive provisions against independent media in the guise of performing their statutory duties, the end result will be authoritarianism and denial of freedom and liberty.”
According to the Plaintiffs: “The NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed have consistently used broadcasting codes to suppress the watchdog roles of independent media, and to violate Nigerians’ human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, to disseminate and receive information, and hold their government and public officials to account.”
The Plaintiffs said: “The action by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional, as it is contrary to section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified. Their action is apparently aimed to clampdown on media freedom and Nigerians’ human rights.”
The Plaintiffs are also seeking “an order setting aside the fine of N5 million and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM Lagos, simply for carrying out its professional and constitutional duties.”
The suit filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs by their lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Adelanke Aremo and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “A fine is a criminal sanction and only the court is empowered by the Constitution to impose it. Fine imposed by regulatory agencies like the NBC without recourse to the courts is illegal, unconstitutional and offends the sacred principles of natural justice and fairness.”
“It is the duty of the government to allow the legal and judicial powers of the state to function properly. Imposing any fine whatsoever without due process of law is arbitrary, as it contravenes the principles of nemo judex in causa sua which literally means one cannot be a judge in his own cause and audi alteram partem which literally means no one should be condemned unheard.”
“The NBC, being a regulatory body, is not empowered by law to act as the prosecutor and the judge; all at the same time. We humbly urge the court to set aside the unlawful and unconstitutional fines imposed on independent media houses, and to uphold the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution, Nigerians’ human rights, media freedom, and the rule of law.”
“The Constitution is the grundnorm and the fundamental law of the land. All other laws including the NBC Act and any associated codes take their hierarchy from the provisions of the Constitution.”
The Plaintiffs are also seeking the following reliefs:
A DECLARATION that section 2[n] of the NBC Act and Broadcasting Code used by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed to impose fines, sanctions and any other penalties on television, radio and on-line broadcast stations and media houses are draconian, inconsistent, and incompatible with the right to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom guaranteed under sections 22 and 39 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 [as amended], Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
A DECLARATION that the action of the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed in relying on section 2[n] of the NBC Act and Broadcasting Code to unilaterally impose punishments such as fines and other sanctions on television, radio and on-line broadcast stations and media houses without recourse to the court violates sections 6 & [b] and 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999;
A DECLARATION that section 2[n] of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code, being inconsistent and incompatible with sections 22, 36, and 39 of the Constitution of Nigeria, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are null and void to the extent of their inconsistency and incompatibility;
A DECLARATION that the fine of N3m each imposed on Channels, AIT, and Arise TV by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed for their coverage of the #ENDSARS protests violates the right to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom guaranteed under sections 22 and 39 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and therefore null and void;
A DECLARATION that the fine of N3m each imposed by NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Channels, AIT and Arise TV for their coverage of the #ENDSARS protests without giving the affected media houses the opportunity to respond to the allegations leveled against them and recourse to the court violates sections 6 & [b] and 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and therefore null and void;
A DECLARATION that the action by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed to unilaterally impose the fine of N5m on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM without giving the radio station the opportunity to respond to the allegations leveled against it violates the right to fair hearing, enshrined in section 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, and therefore null and void;
AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed from imposing fines or doing anything whatsoever to harass Channels, AIT, and Arise TV and any other radio and television broadcast stations, in violation of the section 6 & [b], 22, 36, and 39 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, Article 9 of the African Charter of the on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
Kolawole Oluwadare SERAP Deputy Director 1/11/2020 Lagos, Nigeria
The League Management Company has approved 13 stadiums across the country for the upcoming 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.
The certification process is part of the broader club licensing regime, and the LMC explained that the 13 approved grounds met minimum requirements to host games.
Another 11 were recommended for varying degrees of upgrade and repair works before they can be certified.
The 13 approved grounds include Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos; Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo; Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin; Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba; and Okigwe Township Stadium.
Others that met the certification requirements are Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi; Gombe Township Stadium, Pantami; Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi; Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna; Enyimba International Stadium, Aba; Muhammad Dikko Stadium, Katsina; and Ilorin Township Stadium, Ilorin.
Listed for upgrade and repair works are 11 stadiums but Umuahia Township Stadium and Dutse Township Stadium were recommended for complete re-modeling and re-construction.
The rest were listed as requiring repairs varying from relaying of new synthetic grass, regressing, provision of floodlights, television camera platforms, and upgrade of changing rooms as well as provision of additional exit and entry gates among others basic requirements.
They are Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, Agege Stadium, Akure Township Stadium, Warri Township Stadium, New Jos Township Stadium, and Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
The rest are Lafia Township Stadium, Ifeanyi Ubah Stadium, Nnewi, and Fufure Stadium, Yola which will be inspected for certification after construction work has been completed.
The League Management Company has communicated the development to the clubs in a memo that reads:
“In line with the CAF Circular of July 26, 2020, on stadium infrastructure among others, which was forwarded to you and the need to meet up with the requirements of high-quality television production by our new partners, the LMC has reviewed various reports submitted on the state of our stadia across the country”.
It further explained that the inspected stadiums have been categorised into two; A and B with Category A representing those that have been approved to host NPFL matches for the season having met the minimum requirements while Category B includes those requiring upgrades.
“We have made notes on the areas/repairs needed to be done before recertification”, the memo stated.
Clubs whose home or preferred grounds have been recommended for upgrade would have to choose from any of the certified grounds if they are unable to complete the upgrade before the commencement of the season.
It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.
2. I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well-intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
3. On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.
4. The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.
5. As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
6. On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
7. Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
8. The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.
9. All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.
10. The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.
11. On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
12. Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society.These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:
a. paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small – and medium – enterprises,
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission,
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders.
13. These are in addition to many other initiatives such as;
e. N-Tech and
14. No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.
15. With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force. The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.
16. In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.
17. Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
18. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
19. We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected.
20. But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.
21. To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements.
22. In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.
23. For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.
24. I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.
25. And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect. Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.
26. I would like to thank those state Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint. I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.
27. This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.
Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We are responsible and patriotic Nigerians who have watched with serious concern the unfolding crisis threatening to engulf our nation. This has followed the recent protests by Nigerian youth across the country, against widespread police brutality, endemic corruption, and bad governance. We are non-partisan actors who believe in the union of our people through the maintenance of democratic order founded on the rule of law. We believe in the freedom of all Nigerians to exercise the rights guaranteed in our constitution, including freedom of speech, the right to participate in peaceful protest and in processions without harassment or intimidation from any person or authority.
The developments of the last weeks culminated in a deadly attack on peaceful protestors, which from available evidence appears to be by agents of our government on 20th October 2020 present one of the most serious crisis in our nation’s history. At the root of these protests by our youth is bad governance, and lack of accountability. Currently, 65% of Nigerians are young persons under 35 years of age. Majority do not feel that Nigeria works for them or supports their interests or aspirations. They have been victims of police brutality and extortion all their lives and collectively decided the situation was no longer acceptable. It was on that basis that they began the EndSARS protests to end police brutality and ultimately to defend their basic rights, including the fundamental right to life. From all accounts, their protests were peaceful, and disciplined. They were focused on defending the rule of law and good governance, on many occasions symbolically raising the national flag or singing the national anthem.
The response of the Government to these protests has been largely slow, unconvincing, and half-hearted. By formally accepting the youth’s demand to end 2 SARS but immediately announcing it would be replaced with SWAT, that did not demonstrate good faith. This has happened several times previously when our youth had protested police brutality and extortion. With no credible response and with no basis for trust in the willingness of their government to address their real grievances, they continued their protests.
There are widespread allegations and some available evidence would appear to support this, that agents of government or other affiliated political actors sought to break the legitimate protests by the youth through sponsoring or promoting thugs to attack the protestors and damage properties which were then attributed to the youth protestors. Some evidence also suggests that there are attempts to delegitimise the protests by seeking to divide and rule the youth through ethnic and religious manipulation. This makes the situation very dangerous for the country. This divisive and cynical approach, if established, portends great danger to the nation and is unacceptable.
A cynical and brutal response, to the protests by the government or its agencies will only succeed in taking the agency of these protests from the hands of concerned, peaceful, orderly protesters for the rule of law and delivering our streets to the hoodlums and arsonists as is currently unfolding.
With over one hundred million people living in extreme poverty, Nigeria cannot afford to tread the path of exacerbating ethnic and religious divides which can only lead to anarchy. Any response from the government agencies or indeed any group, that suggests this, must be condemned strongly.
On Tuesday 20th October 2020, the nation was rudely shocked by what appears to be a premeditated violent crackdown on the protestors thereby significantly escalating the volatile situation. Earlier on that day, the Lagos State Government had declared a 24-hour curfew which would take effect from 4 pm. According to 3 reports, as the deadline was not practical, the state government extended the time for compliance to 9 pm. However, before the reviewed curfew time, armed men in the uniform of the Nigerian military were deployed to the protest site at Lekki toll gate in Lagos. Available evidence suggests that they did not order the crowd to disperse and they did not engage in non-lethal crowd dispersal action, but rather opened live ammunition on the defenseless assembled youth, some of whom were reportedly killed or wounded. This attack on unarmed protesters holding the nation’s flag and singing the national anthem will go down in infamy and will be engraved in the minds of Nigerians as one of the worst abuses of its own citizenship.
No Nation can survive a war between its security agencies and its youth, and it is to avert this prospect that we make this intervention and recommend the following urgent action.
Having carefully observed and followed these unfolding events, and to halt our descent into further break down of law and order, we call for urgent steps to be taken by all concerned.
1. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate urgent steps to address the widening trust deficit between the Government and the President on the one hand, and the Nigerian youth and its people on the other. To move forward, the President must take decisive action to close the trust deficit by:
a. Identifying and arresting immediately the persons that gave instruction for soldiers to shoot protesting youth at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20th October 2020
b. Institute an urgent independent inquiry on: (i) the events at Lekki toll gate leading to the use of live ammunition on the protestors and (ii) the apparent use of sponsored thugs or hoodlums by security operatives to infiltrate and break the peaceful protests. All those identified to be responsible for this must be held to account and prosecuted.
c. Take immediate remedial action as spelt out in the youth Charter of Demands (which they term 5For5 Demands) including the immediate release of all arrested protestors, justice and compensation for the families of victims, and an independent body to oversee the prosecution of guilty officers.
d. Address the Nation with concrete plan of implementation of the modalities and timelines for police reform.
e. Respond positively to the consensus opinion that the heads of the security agencies have performed poorly and should be relieved of office.
f. Announce urgent steps to address perennial insecurity and killings in the country particularly in the North-East and North-West. g. Finally, develop a clear workplan for the implementation of the governance reform programmes for which well-meaning Nigerians have been demanding.
2. We commend our youth who have been courageous and patriotic in their demands for the protection of their rights and for a better 5 Nigeria. We urge that all Nigerians support these demands which have been without any ethnic or religious coloration.
3. We urge the protestors to remain law-abiding and patriotic and not to engage in any intimidation or harassment of ordinary citizens or engage in any form of violence. We appeal to parties and stakeholders to work for speedy resolution of the crisis.
4. We strongly condemn the wanton destruction of properties, killings and maiming of innocent citizens and ethnicization by rioters and hoodlums trying to ignite a religious or ethnic conflict and call on ALL Nigerians to remain calm and avoid retaliation or taking the law into their hands.
ISSUED THIS 22ND DAY OF OCTOBER, 2020
Signed By the Underlisted:
1. Dr. Olisa Agbakoba OON, SAN 2. Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim 3. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka 4. Prof. Attahiru Muhammadu Jega OFR 5. Funke Adekoya, SAN 6. Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo 7. Mr. Femi Falana SAN 8. Rev Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi SAN 6 9. Prof. Auwalu H. Yadudu 10. Mal. Yusuf Ali SAN 11.Dr. Chris Kwaja 12.Mr. Chino Edmund Obiagwu SAN 13.Father George Ehusani 14.Mr. John Odah 15.Prof. Mohammed Tabiu, SAN 16.Mal. Kabiru Yusuf 17.Cmrd. Salisu Nuhu Mohammed 18.Mr. Ledum Mitee 19.Ms Ngozi Iwere 20.Ene Obi 21.Ms Amina Salisu 22.Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed 23.Dayo Olayide 24.Danlami Nmodu 25.Mallam Hamza Ibrahim 26.Prof. Ukachukwu A. Awuzie 27.Dr, Peter Ozo-Eson 28.Dr. Dipo Fashina 7 29.Dr. Udo Jude 30.Ms Idayat Hassan 31.Abubakar Sokoto Mohammed 32.Prpf. G.G. Darah 33.Prof. Adele Jinadu 34.Prof. Rufai Alkali 35.Hon. Rima Shawulu 36. 36. Dr. Innocent Chukwuma 37.Dr. Kole Shettima 38. Adeyemi Candide-Johnson SAN 39.Mal. Y.Z. Yau 40.Prof. Pat Utomi 41.A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said the Federal Government will get justice for #EndSARS protesters who were shot and killed by soldiers in Lekki.
“I spoke to some of those in hospital. The pain of these terrible events is palpable in our towns and cities, and some losses are irreplaceable, but we can and will get justice for all of them. I stand with Lagos & all other affected states in these trying times,” he said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.
He described the shooting, which has sparked global outrage and fury, as terrible and commiserated with those who lost loved ones.
“My heart goes out to all the victims of the Lekki shootings, and also the policemen and all other men and women who lost their lives in the past few days in different parts of Lagos and other states,” he said.
The Vice-President prayed for the nation never to experience “a repeat of these tragedies.”
I spoke to some of those in hospital. The pain of these terrible events is palpable in our towns and cities, and some losses are irreplaceable, but we can and will get justice for all of them. I stand with Lagos & all other affected states in these trying times.
On Tuesday evening, two weeks into the #EndSARS protests, soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State, hours after the State Government had imposed a curfew on the country’s commercial nerve centre.
The military has denied being involved in the shooting, despite accounts by witnesses and videos showing soldiers at the venue shooting sporadically.
The attack led to the death of some protesters while at least 28 others were confirmed injured. Witnesses said the casualty figures were much more than that.
Many world and national leaders have condemned the attack and called for thorough investigations.
Several others have blasted the government and military authorities and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take responsibility as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces and address the nation, among other things.
In reaction to the shooting, angry youths took to the streets in several parts of Lagos, setting buildings, vehicles and more ablaze demanding decisive action and accountability for the attack.
A presidential panel on Tuesday approved the demands of #SARSMUSEND protesters, including halting the use of force against protesters and the unconditional release of arrested citizens.
The five-point demands of the protesters were okayed at a forum convened by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the National Human Rights Commission, with stakeholders, a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said.
It was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry, and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting read in part “The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
The communiqué was signed by the Inspector-General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu.
Tuesday’s decision comes on the back of continued protests across the country, despite the dissolution of SARS by the IGP on Sunday.
Beyond agreeing to the demands of the protesters, the forum said the dissolution of SARS presented an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further noted that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force,” the communique said.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.”
Part of the demands of the protesters was an investigation into human rights violations against SARS operatives, including killings, and the brutalisation of protesters.
This was also addressed in the communique.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police,” it said.
“The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.”
It also addressed calls for the retraining of SARS operatives before they are redeployed, saying, “The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment.”
“The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity, and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications, and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya (Segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.
Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting.
Read the full statement by Mr Adesina below:
RELEASE PRESIDENTIAL PANEL ON POLICE REFORMS SWINGS INTO ACTION, OKAYS 5-POINT DEMAND OF PROTESTERS
Following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and immediate response to yearnings of citizens, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with stakeholders, agreeing to meet demands, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
The meeting, organized by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.
A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.
“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.
Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.
Femi Adesina Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) October 13, 2020
Mr Rotimi Akeredolu has been re-elected as Governor of Ondo State on the back of a campaign in which he promised to provide composed and focused leadership marked by economic growth and improved security for people in the state.
The incumbent governor, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, swept to victory by winning 15 of the 18 local governments.
Governor Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress got 292,830 votes, while Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party and Mr Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party came second and third in the election with 195,791 and 69,127 votes, respectively.
“Having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, I hereby declare Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu of the APC as the winner, and he is hereby returned elected,” Chief Returning Officer for the election, Professor Olayinka said.
Professor Olayinka, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, announced the winner on Sunday at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Akure, which doubles as the final collation centre.
It is the second time the governor is defeating the PDP candidate. In 2016, Akeredolu, with Ajayi as his running mate, defeated Jegede to win his first term as governor. Ajayi fell out with Akeredolu and chose to go against his boss this time around.
Residents of the state came out on Saturday, across 3,009 polling units of 203 electoral wards/ registration areas in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state, to choose their leader for the next four years.
The poll, the second major election to be conducted since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was preceded by a dramatic campaign featuring 17 political parties and their candidates, all racing for the top political office in the south-western state.
Up to 11 contenders pulled out of the race in favour of other candidates just in the final days of the campaign with the trio of Akeredolu, Jegede and Ajayi emerging as the leading contenders.
Ajayi’s conflict with Governor Akeredolu was one of the intriguing issues that provided drama in the months preceding the election in the state.
After surviving an attempt by the State Assembly to impeach him, the deputy governor dumped the APC for the PDP. But after failing to secure the PDP’s governorship ticket, he joined the ZLP – the platform on which he contested.
Governor Akeredolu’s first tenure as governor will expire on February 23, 2021, with victory in the bag, he is on course to govern the state for another four years.
In the coming hours and days, it is expected that the opposition parties that fielded candidates in the poll will make their position on the outcome known.
Under the Nigerian Constitution, the outcome of a governorship election can be contested at the Election Petitions Tribunal and should aggrieved parties be dissatisfied, they can proceed to the Court of Appeal.
Any party who is still not satisfied with the decision of the appellate court is at liberty to approach the Supreme Court, which has the final say.
The organised labour has suspended its strike scheduled for today (Monday) after a meeting between labour leaders and the Federal Government.
This was contained in a communique read by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, after a technical session that started late on Sunday and lasted till the early hours of Monday morning.
The decision to suspend the strike followed an agreement reached between both parties and averts a nationwide strike which would have grounded economic activities in the country.
Organized labour, however, stressed that the strike was suspended not called off and it could be recalled if the government doesn’t hold up its end of the deal made at this meeting in the next two weeks.
As part of the agreement, the Federal Government will suspend the electricity price tariff hike and has set up a committee to look into what the labour minister described as conflicting field reports justifying the hike in electricity tariff.
The suspension of the electricity tariff hike will be for a two-week period during which the committee will conduct its investigations and submit its report.
The committee is to be headed by Dr Ngige, but he will be represented by the Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo.
Based on the agreement, the new price of fuel will, however, remain in place but the government promised to do more to improve local refining capacity, rehabilitate Nigeria’s refineries and pursue the CNG alternative aggressively by for instance providing CNG mass transit buses across the country.
Dr Ngige decried the stifled growth in Nigeria’s downstream sector and the dire circumstances faced by the government which he claims is the justification for fuel subsidy removal.
Below is a communique containing the agreements reached the meeting which began by 7 pm on Sunday and lasted till the early hours of Monday, September 28.
On his part, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba welcomed the dialogue with the government and the resolutions reached.
He confirmed that the planned strike has been suspended and is looking forward to the palliatives promised by the government to Nigerians during the meeting.
The palliatives are meant to cushion the effect of the fuel price increase.
Sunday’s meeting was held in the banquet hall of State House in Abuja.
It was attended by the NLC President Ayuba Wabba, President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Quadri Olaleye and other members of organised labour, while the government’s team included the Minister of Labour Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of State for Labour Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Silva, Minister of Information Lai Mohammed and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha.
The minister of State for Power Mr Jeddy Agba was also in attendance.
FG’s policies bringing hardship to Nigerian
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on Sunday insisted that it will carry on with its proposed strike action, arguing that the increase in electricity tariff and removal of petrol subsidy is bringing hardship on Nigerians.
This resolve was taken following a closed-door meeting between the NLC and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.
Mr Gbajabiamila had met with representatives of Organised Labour at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, in an attempt to mediate and broker an amicable solution to the impasse between Organised Labour and the Federal Government (FG).
Briefing journalists after the meeting, NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the proposed strike by the union will proceed unless the FG addresses the issues.
Reacting to the court order restraining the NLC from downing tools, Mr Wabba said the organization has not been served with the order and cannot speak on it.
He, however, noted that there is a judgement of a Federal High court stopping the increase of electricity tariff which the FG has refused to obey.
According to the NLC President, the proposed strike would only fail to hold if the govt makes a u-turn before 12 midnight on Sunday.
Labour cannot go on a strike in good conscience
At the brief before the closed-door meeting on Sunday, Mr Gbajabiamila said Labour cannot go on a strike in good conscience as the consequences will be dire on Nigerians who will feel the hardship caused by the industrial action.
He stated that the House of Representatives shares the same thoughts and philosophy with the NLC as regards the plight of workers and the House of Reps championed the cause of free electricity and had advised that the hike in tariff be put in effect from 2021.
Nevertheless, the Speaker said he worries about the consequences of the strike and what will be achieved at the end.
Do not join Labour strike
On Saturday, September 26, the Federal Government warned civil servants against participating in the planned nationwide strike called by the organised Labour.
In a statement, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, asked civil servants to be at work, saying the government is engaging with the union officials over the issue.
“Accordingly, all officers on grade level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.
“Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers are, therefore, enjoined to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned officers and ensure strict compliance,” the statement partly read.
This communique comes a day after the FG obtained a fresh order barring the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.
Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja issued the restraining order following an ex-parte application by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Though a court order was granted against its industrial action, the NLC went on to ask its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest.
In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.
Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7 am also.
Ahead of the threat by the NLC to resort to an industrial action to force the Federal Government to rescind its decision to hike oil and electricity prices in the country, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held an emergency meeting.
Arising from the meeting, the governors cautioned the NLC against the planned strike, arguing that any plan to down tools will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why threats of a strike?
The NLC’s threat to go on a strike is hinged on seven pertinent issues, including, the recent hike in fuel price, increase in electricity tariff, non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, alleged corruption in government agencies, loss of jobs across industries, high cost of living and, businesses not booming in the light of the effects of COVID-19.
In March 2020, Nigerians were somewhat elated when a crash in crude oil prices within the international market saw the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) move from N145 to about N125 per litre.
There was more joy when in May, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced a new pump price band to between N121.50 to N123.50 per litre for petrol.
However, this joy was shortlived as towards the end of May and tapering into September, the price for fuel began to rise drastically until it ended up becoming 151.56 Naira per litre, though there are several reports that Nigerians are in various states are paying as much as 161 Naira per litre.
In a similar vein, Nigerians in September began to pay new electricity tariffs with more than a hundred per cent increase.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) suddenly increased electricity tariff from 30.23 Naira for one kwh (kilowatt unit of energy per hour) to as much as 62.33 Naira per kwh.
NERC said the new electricity charges ‘Service Reflective Tariff’ would work in such a way that people pay more for the more hours they enjoy power supply.
According to the regulatory body, with this new tariff plan, people who use light for 12 hours and above get to pay between 80% and over 100% more but the increase will not affect the poor who use light for fewer hours.
It is with regards to these new policies and other pressing economic issues that the NLC threatened to carry out a nationwide strike.
The government, however, says that the recent increase in electricity and fuel prices will benefit ordinary Nigerians in the long-run.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, argues that despite the increase, Nigerians still pay less for fuel, compared to neighbouring countries.
He further notes that the hike in electricity tariffs will lead to increased quality in the supply of power, adding that the government cannot sustain its subsidy to both sectors.