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LEKKI TOLL PLAZA: CNN FACES TEST OF INTEGRITY BY SAMUEL OMOJOYE

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LEKKI TOLL PLAZA: CNN FACES TEST OF INTEGRITY– The morning after the night when protesters at Lekki toll gate were supposedly massacred by the Nigerian Army, the BBC News hour programme interviewed Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu around 6am on whether he invited the army and who gave orders that unarmed protesters be shot.
The governor confirmed that he invited the army but that they were supposed to arrive later than the time they came. Did he order the shooting of protesters? “I am not the C-in-C,” he said, adding that the army does not take orders from him. He was then asked if he knew who the people that did the shooting were and he replied, “from the videos I’ve seen, it was the army”.
Sanwo-Olu, RMD, Kunle Afolayan, Ashiru, Tunde Okewale, Tokunbo Wahab, Sujimoto, Others for Aristocrat Institute and Flagship Store Opening

Later at a press briefing, apparently after having some intel, the Governor announced that there were no fatalities. Note also that the army had already tweeted “fake news” earlier in the day when the social media was awash with videos of soldiers in an armoured tank, shooting sporadically in a direction and scores of videos of bodies with body parts littering the ground had been spread as victims of Lekki massacre.

A certain DJ Switch has released several videos, one LIVE, in which she claims that the military were killing protesters and that a lot of people had died and they were trying to remove a bullet from  one person’s leg. She was relaying these events, but not showing a single footage of the most important videos, A. Of dead bodies, B. Of the soldiers shooting at people, C. Of blood stain on the floor, D. Of the process/procedure when the bullet was removed, E. When soldiers were carrying the bodies, F. When DJ Switch and her people were carrying bodies and dumping them in front of the soldiers (as she claimed). Rather, she was verbalising the narrative she wanted to drive even though that was not what was happening. Then her second video showed her talking to a friend and, all of a sudden, she started running and asking imaginary people to bend down and hold their flags. His friend on then said “daaaamn” after which he covered his face as if he had just witnessed something gruesome. That, no doubt, was mere acting and a bad one at that. DJ Switch gave an impression that the army or police were still shooting protesters at Lekki even in the morning. Then she said “they shot all night”. Then she did another video where she apologised for not being online for some time. She then proceeded to reminisce about the fateful night and, at that point, she started to address the issue of numbers.
Fashola’s eureka moment at Lekki tollgate By Tunde Odesola
It was then the death toll of over 80 suddenly reduced to 12. She also claimed that the DJ Switch account which posted over 80 deaths was a fake account and not hers. Really? I am damn sure that if the digital footprint and registered details of that account were searched, they will show that it’s her account, but away from that, she started to narrate her ordeal and how the police fired teargas and described it like “Cotonou pepper”. Someone who has just been traumatised and witnessed a carnage a few days earlier making jokes about pepper? Body language experts have analysed that her behaviour is not commensurate with that of a victim of trauma and her description of how she carried and deposited bodies at the feet of soldiers defies logic. It is fight or flight. Soldiers opening fire and you taking bodies to them seem a drama taken too far; it is highly unlikely.
Fashola’s eureka moment at Lekki tollgate By Tunde Odesola

Now let’s go to the facts. Till today, there are no relatives who have come forward that their family members are missing. A woman in London claimed her son was killed at the Lekki Toll Plaza, but it turned out that she was lying. He died in a motorcycle accident. Also pictures that were touted as victims of the Lekki massacre turned out to be pictures of people who had died in separate circumstances – one from a bike accident and the other a stab wound victim. Those found in the hospitals who got injured from Lekki were as a result of stampede, and the injuries ranged from broken bones, cuts, bruises and slash wounds. No record of death as a result of gunshot wounds from the Army’s weapons, but the social media was awash with people in hospital, who claimed that they were shot by soldiers at the toll plaza.

In reality, there was chaos in nearby Ajah-Badore where gangs were fighting. Some policemen and many innocent citizens died. To make matters worse, because of the  lie by DJ Switch about a massacre, a lot of angry protesters came out of their homes and in their bid to retaliate by killing police officers or burning police stations, many people got shot by policemen and a lot of lives were lost.  DJ Switch, who was seemingly defiant in the eyes of death, now suddenly disappeared, rather than bring her evidence to the commission of enquiry to help this investigation. Now she’s trying to seek asylum under the guise of running for her life, but when she was confronted with gunshots by the army, she didn’t run away? Isn’t that a cue to show that this woman is an anarchist or a pathological liar? She was probably trying to trend or perhaps there is a more sinister angle into this.

Regarding the shameful way some media houses covered this story, NBC has to keep an eye on such media houses, who have a responsibility to show that they are worthy of their licences. Many of them showed unverified social media footages as “live”, thereby misleading the audience. One newspaper wrote a piece titled “Sanwo-Olu finally admits inviting the military”. At no time did Governor Sanwo-Olu deny inviting the military. He said the military does not take orders from him. It was his interview with Becky Anderson on CNN (days after speaking with the BBC where he confirmed that he sought military help, following the anarchy that had seized many parts of the state) that people saw and decided the governor “finally admitted”. I suppose this is the same report that the army read for them to have said they were not happy the Governor denied inviting them.

CNN, unprofessionally, did a package in which it attached social media videos to what could have been an educational piece of journalism. A satellite image showed the army leaving their base in two pick-up vans. It showed them fire into the sky, but sadly the unverified social media videos attached to that package ruined it. It reeks of prejudice and bias. CNN is desperate to show that the Nigerian government massacred young people and, sadly, they neglected their ethos. There was an image of an old man in native attire covered in blood. That man must have a relative somewhere.  Did the soldiers take his body away? If he is dead, who was he? He must have friends or family members.

One important question to ask is why the satellite image which showed the army drive to the toll gate couldn’t show the army picking up bodies or dropping them somewhere. There should be an image showing people on the floor, dead as a result of a massacre. Some observers have said that the Federal Government should not have confronted CNN. I disagree. What Nigeria has done through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is within its rights. CNN has a duty to investigate its reports thoroughly and present such reports with facts and figures, not mere eyewitness accounts and doubtful social media videos that have failed the simple test of integrity. CNN must substantiate its claims, not repeating the offence.

Omojoye wrote in from Palmgroove, Lagos.

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Corruption: The Paradox of George Orwell’s Animal Farm in Nigeria

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Confusion as EFCC names ex-Kogi Gov in amended corruption allegations perpetrated before he became Governor

 

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

 

 

A proclamation by the pigs that control the government in the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell has reared its ugly head. The sentence is a comment on the hypocrisy of governments that proclaim the absolute equality of their citizens, but give power and privileges to a small elite. This nauseating development has come to fruition in one of the most discussed issues in our dear nation Nigeria where the Kano State High Court has ruled that the trial of the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, and others accused of bribery and misappropriation will continue even in their absence.

The Kano State Government, on Thursday, arraigned immediate-past governor Abdullahi Ganduje, his wife, Hafsat, son, Umar and six others for alleged $413,000 and N1.38bn bribery. The defendants, who were absent from court, were arraigned in absentia.

The Governor Abba Yusuf-led government had since April filed the charges against Ganduje and others, but efforts to serve them the charges had proved abortive. At the previous hearing on June 5, the prosecution obtained an order to serve the charges on them by substituted means, through newspaper publication.

The Kano State Government assembled 15 witnesses to testify against the defendants, immediate-past governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, his wife Hafsat Umar; Abubakar Bawuro; Umar Abdullahi Umar; Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash Properties Limited, Safari Textiles Limited, and Lasage General Enterprises Limited to face eight counts of alleged bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of funds amounting to billions of naira. During the last hearing on April 29, 2024, the court was set to rule on a motion for substituted service, but the defendants had not yet been served.

The charges span a series of alleged corrupt activities. Ganduje was accused of receiving $200,000 from a contractor in exchange for government contracts between January 2016 and February 2017. The second charge claims he collected an additional $213,000 as a kickback from the Kantin Kwari textile market-remodelling project.

Ruling days back, Justice Amina Adamu-Aliyu dismissed the state government’s application for a bench warrant against the defendants.

“The trial of the defendants continues even in their absence,” she stated.

It is imperative to provide jurisprudential insights herein, as the court had previously, on June 5, granted an order to serve Ganduje and the other defendants through substituted service.

The prosecution counsel, Adeola Adedipe (SAN) informed the court that the defendants had been served, and an affidavit of service was filed on June 6.

He noted, “My lord, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th respondents are not in court nor represented, only the 6th respondent”.

Adedipe requested the court to enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the absent defendants, citing section 278(1)(2) of the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2019.

“The court should enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendants who refused to answer the complaint in the charge,” Adedipe argued.

He also urged the court to issue a bench warrant of arrest pursuant to Section 388 of the Kano State ACJL, stressing, “The essence of an arrest warrant is for the sanctity and urgency of the court because an order has been made for the defendants to appear before it and they refused”.

However, counsel for the 6th respondent, Nureini Jimoh (SAN) contended that service had not been properly affected on his client.

“We filed a notice of preliminary objection on the competency of the entire charge. The court does not have constitutional power on any of the count charges,” Jimoh stated.

He also mentioned that an application for a stay of execution had been filed before the Court of Appeal, “restraining the prosecution from publishing any charges against the 6th respondent”.

Jimoh urged the court to dismiss the prosecution’s application for a warrant of arrest and to refrain from entering a plea of not guilty on behalf of the 6th respondent.

Justice Adamu-Aliyu has adjourned the case until October 23 and 24 for the hearing of the preliminary objection and the main charge.

This development portends grave danger in the scheme of affairs with questions begging for an answer that is the ruling party helmsman immune to scrutiny and forensic investigations by the anti-corruption body, EFCC? In hindsight, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf pontificated in public domain that his predecessor, Ganduje has a case to answer as his government will stop at nothing to bring him and his co-travellers to book over his eight-year’s tenure characterized by corruption.

It’s beyond beggar’s belief that such an infringement has been swept under the carpet, as a similar case that involves the immediate-past Kogi State governor; Yahaya Bello is hugging the headlines indefinitely. The confluence sub national entity stated earlier in public domain that GYB has no case to answer, but the EFCC states that reverse is the case.

The Governor in his reaction regretted that Ganduje who was supposed to cover his face in shame over cases of corruption and political violence hanging around his neck shamelessly spoke about non-existent failure in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) led government in the state.

According to the statement, “Governor Yusuf insisted that Ganduje presided over two unproductive tenures characterised with, inability to cater for the needs of Kano’s population and nepotism.

“Our eight months in office has remarkably outweighed Ganduje’s eight wasted years of political caricature and maladministration by all standards,” Governor Yusuf stated.

He advised the acting National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the immediate-past Governor of the state, Abdullah Umar Ganduje to rather buckle up in defence of his battered image at the court, instead of further exposing his impunity on the media space.

Furthermore, to gain helicopter oversight on this thorny issue that’s a sore thumb that constitutes leprous fingers was highlighted by Muhuyi Magaji, chairman of the Kano state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCCAC), where he stated inter alia that the agency has traced N51.3 billion allegedly diverted by Abdullahi Ganduje, former governor of the state.

Magaji spoke during an interview on Arise TV. He said the funds traced by the anti-corruption commission were half of the over N100 billion meant for LGs in the state.

“The monies were channeled to different local government accounts. They then met with local government staff to create false expenditure with a payment voucher and then diverted the money through a third party,” he said.

“We traced a lot of the diverted funds to various individual accounts at the single market and subsequently took the money in cash to the state government house with someone stationed with a counting machine.”

The trajectory where ignominious allegations that involve perceived associates of the ruling party and levers of power are overlooked, while entities in the bad books of the system are subjected to vice like grip treatment leaves a sour taste in the mouth that could be equated to dystopian locomotion in a democracy.

Ayoola Ajanaku is a Communications and Advocacy Specialist based in Lagos, Nigeria….

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OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

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OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That Ogun state government has asked illegal occupants in its Forest Reserves at Area J3 in Ijebu-East Local Government Area, to vacate and desist from habit of selling government lands.

 

 

 

 

OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

 

 

 

 

Commissioner for Forestry, Engr. Taiwo Oludotun made this known during a fact-finding visit to the reserved, saying individual or group that has no legitimate business in the forest would not be allowed to stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engr. Oludotun, who emphasised the need to protect all government forest reserves against criminality perpetrated by unscrupulous elements, noted that the present administration would continue to ensure safety and proper management of the reserves.

 

 

 

 

 

OGUN ORDERS ILLEGAL OCCUPANTS OUT OF FOREST RESERVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘’Ogun State government will not fold its arms and allow people who do not have business in this reserve to stay. Those harbouring criminals should desist as government is ready to take drastic action against any culprit’’, he warned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Commissioner, said identity cards and other means of identification would henceforth be made compulsory for legitimate occupants, directing Forestry officials to take data of people living in the area including gender, occupation, state origin, among others, and forward it to the headquarters, within a shortest possible time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in his remarks, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Timothy Olatunji urged Baales in the area to protect the reserves by sustaining tree planting all through the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He said farmers in the reserve were permitted to plant cassava, maize and other food crops, noting that such agricultural practices should not be done at the detriment of trees that were planted, promising government’s assistance in seedlings provision to achieve the goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responding, representative of Baales in the area, Chief Adewale Aderinwale, appreciated the Commissioner and the management team for the visit, assuring them of their cooperation at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highpoint of the visit was symbolic tree planting exercise carried out by the Commissioner, Permanent Secretary and the management staff at Aba Ekiti in the area.

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Leadership of Students’ Unions Across University,Poly, Colleges Begin Protest July 29th

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Leadership of Students’ Unions Across University,Poly, Colleges Begin Protest July 29th

 

*MEMO TO ALL STUDENTS, STUDENTS’ UNIONS, STUDENT ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS COVERING NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES, POLYTECHNICS AND COLLEGES OF EDUCATION*
 The leadership of the National Association of University Students (NAUS), with the leadership of the National Association of Polytechnic Students(NAPS), and the National Association Nigerian of College of Education Students (NANCES), extends sincere greetings to Nigerian Students covering the aforementioned bodies, as well as, its affiliated associations across the country.
The purpose of this Memo is to prepare the minds of Nigerian students across tertiary institutions in the country, on the collective decision made by the leadership of the aforementioned associations, after due and painstaking consultations on the way forward for Nigerian Students.
The present economic quagmire occasioned by the rising cost of living, hike in cost of commodities , hike in petroleum price, hike in electricity tarriff, insecurity, poor funding of our institutions which presently affects more than 80% of the population in the country, is felt most by young Nigerians studying for various academic qualifications across tertiary institutions.
This development has led to poor socioeconomic welfare for students, a loss of interest in academic activities and a fall in grades, an increase in crimes and criminality, and an increase in violence on campuses and their environs.
Furthermore, the inability of federal, state and local governments to provide adequate immediate and long-term palliatives, especially for Nigerian Students, to cushion the effect of the high cost of living, is rather disappointing and also raises the alarm of the student movement in the country, of a seeming lack of initiatives and ideas on the most effective approach to sustainable economic recovery and growth.
Hence, the trio of NAUS, NAPS and NANCES, representing the voices of millions of Nigerian students emphatically condemns the lackadaisical attitude of the Government and declares a National Day Of Protest For Nigerian Students starting from Monday, July 29th, 2024 till further notice having communicated the government through various means including media but nothing has been done.
This protest is to serve a way of exercising our right and driving home our demands to the Federal and state governments, to influence innovation, conceptualization and implementation of plans for the alleviation of the hardship suffered by Nigerian students.
More directly, the trio of NAUS, NAPS AND NANCES frowns at the I don’t care attitude or the government towards reducing the current hardship been undergone by all of us especially the students which  contributes to the impoverishment of Nigerian Students.
The Leadership of NAUS, NAPS AND NANCES therefore urges all Nigerian students to prepare for the National Day of Protest coming up from the 29th of July, 2024.
With this notice, Student union officials are enjoined to be in touch with their respective associations for updates on the Protest, as security agencies will also been put on notice.
Leadership of Students' Unions Across University,Poly, Colleges Begin Protest July 29th
Aluta Continua, Justa Costa,  Victoria Ascerta.
Signed :
Comr. Obaji U. Marshal
National President, NAUS
Amb. Shuaib Ishaka Yahaya.
Senate President, NAUS
Comrade Ridwan Opeyemi Munirudeen,
National President, NAPS
Comrade Adeniji Boluwaji Temitope
 Senate President, NAPS
Amb. Comr. Eegunjobi Samuel Oluwaseun
National President, NANCES
SEN. KUR ISAAC USHAHEMBA
Senate President, NANCES

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