President Muhammadu Buhari has broken his silence on the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, a few days after he addressed the nation on the widespread violence and unrest that marred the protests.
While avoiding to get into any debate until all facts were established, the president vowed to ensure justice for the peaceful protesters who lost their lives.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who issued the statement on Sunday on behalf of the president, explained that he decided not to speak on the shooting incident until he had access to all the facts.
He also promised that property and business owners affected by the arson across the country would get justice.
The president appealed to people all over the country to maintain peace and brotherhood as the machinery of the government and the wheel of justice turned against the perpetrators of murder, arson, stealing, rape, assault and malicious damage to public and private property.
He has also asked parents and guardians not to encourage their children and wards to partake in the ongoing nationwide looting, and destruction of property.
The president, in the statement, said, “Families must turn back children who bring home unaccounted goods; in the same way, wives must ask their husbands to return looted items brought home.’’
He advised that peace, brotherhood and inter-communal harmony are central to Nigeria’s ethos, and urged everyone not to turn against one another in hate.
He said it was important that the police and other security agencies moved everywhere to restore calm and normalcy as quickly as possible.
Buhari said his administration was working hard through many pragmatic ways to reduce the hardship of the millions of unemployed, poor citizens and those whose lives had been thrown into disarray by the harsh economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president said, “A government that has launched a massive crackdown on corruption, brought in strong laws for a decisive battle against corruption, pursues loot recovery at home and abroad, and taken strong decisions against those who thought they were above the law, will not fold its arms when an otherwise legitimate and peaceful protest is turning into free-for-all vandalism and looting.
“While the administration has, for its part, blocked so many means of looting public money in a war against corruption, it is the expectation that all civil authorities, community, and religious leaders in the country must rise against the organized looting and plunder we are witnessing in parts of the country.
“What is more, is that criminal actions as we have so far witnessed can weaken and erode the confidence of our people and that of foreign businesses in investing in the 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.
“These incidents do not reflect well on any society. They are wrong and condemnable and should not be supported by reasonable members of society.”
According to the statement, President Buhari commended the decision of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to prosecute 229 suspects arrested by the police for allegedly using the #EndSARS protest to destroy and loot public and private property.
The President pointed out that his administration had taken note of the grievances of the people. He said, “We have heard you loud and clear,” while stressing that “the violence must stop.”
President Buhari also condemned hate messages and eviction notices to ethnic and religious groups, asking Nigerians to take pride in the fact that our diverse people have been living with one another in harmony for ages.
He said the right of all citizens to live and work in any part of the country is a constitutional right, which will be defended by the government.
FG petitions CNN over investigative report on Lekki shooting, threatens action
The Federal Government has petitioned CNN over its alleged bias report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
The Federal Government has written a petition to the US-based Cable News Network (CNN), demanding an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting, to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.
The government berated CNN for its investigative report on the #EndSARS protest in Lekki area of Lagos, pointing out that the media outfit breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.
In the petition written by the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia; the government said that if the international media organization does not carry out its demand, it will take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from making the #EndSARS crisis worse.
According to a report from Punch, the government’s letter dated November 23, 2020, is titled “Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement”.
The letter reads: “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.”
“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue. It is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.
“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story that makes a reader draw the reporter’s desired conclusion.”
What you should know
It can be recalled that CNN in its investigative report broadcasted on November 18, disclosed that the Nigerian army allegedly fired live ammunition directly at unarmed protesters, who peacefully assembled at the Lekki Tollgate during the #EndSARS protests. While confirming some deaths, CNN said it spoke with over 100 protesters and family members, but didn’t speak to any government official.
In response to the Federal Government’s criticism of the report, which it described as a blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work, CNN insisted that it was standing by its report.
#EndSARS: Insurance firms can seek refund after indemnifying victims – MD, NICON Insurance
NICON MD has stated that it is possible for the insurance firms to be compensated by the FG after victims have been indemnified.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICON Insurance Limited, Mr. Muhammadu Bagudu Hussaini, has advised Insurance firms to maximize certain provisions in the constitution that guarantees their refund after compensating victims of the recent #EndSARS protest, opining that it is possible for the insurance firms to be compensated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He made the disclosure during an interview with the Daily Trust, where he decried the high level of losses encountered during the protest and the imminent high claims on insurance firms, which if care is not taken, might affect liquidity in the system.
Mr. Hussaini stated that the government has the machinery to pay the insurance companies without recourse to treasury, but he was quick to point out that it is a dormant machinery.
What they are saying
Elucidating his points, Mr. Hussaini said: “There will be a large volume of claims which the insurance industry would have to pay. I have no doubt about the capacity of the insurance industry to meet its obligations on claims that may arise from the destruction across the country.
“However, two issues would arise because the context of the claims are huge and would come in at the same time. There will be no spread, thus this will impact the finances of the underwriters and may destabilize their finances.
“What happened was as a result of breakdown of law and order. Section 14 (2b) of the Nigerian Constitution vests the duty of guaranteeing security and providing for the welfare of the citizens in the hands of government – the executive precisely. I will look at the damages from the protest as a failure of the government to provide security and welfare for the citizens.
“The section says the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Thus, insurance companies have a subrogation right – the right to recover from the government their funds after they pay the claims arising from the destruction.
“Therefore, I advise the insurance companies to pay their claims and seek refund on the basis of Section 14 (2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
EndSARS protests: British parliament to sanction request against Nigeria on Monday
The British Parliament will consider a petition demanding the British government applies sanctions against the Nigerian Government for alleged human rights violations.
The British Parliament has disclosed that it will consider a petition by some groups and individuals, asking that it should apply sanctions against the Nigerian Government and officials for alleged human rights violations during the #EndSARS protest and Lekki shooting incident.
The parliament also claimed that the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate gave rise to the outbreak of violence and is waiting for the outcome of investigations by the federal and state governments into reports of police brutality and extra-judicial killings.
This disclosure was made by the parliament, in a response to a petition signed by over 220,118 individuals in the United Kingdom, requesting the UK Government to sanction Nigeria for alleged violations of human rights.
The response was signed by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and obtained from the official website of the parliament – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/554150.
The reply from the parliament partly reads, “The UK Government is deeply concerned by violence during recent protests in Nigeria, which tragically claimed lives. Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected.”
“Parliament will debate this petition on November 23, 2020. You will be able to watch online on the UK Parliament YouTube channel. On July 6, the British Government established the Global Human Rights sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.
“The Foreign Secretary set out in full the scope of the UK’s new Global Human Rights sanctions regime. He announced the first tranche of designations, as well as the Government’s approach to future designations.
“This sanctions regime will give the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses. The sanctions regime is not intended to target individual countries.
“It will allow for sanctions to be imposed on individuals and entities involved in serious human rights violations or abuses around the world.
“We will continue to consider potential designations under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime. It is a longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. The UK Government will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review,” the parliament said in its reply.
The response pointed out the different interventions that the British government had made as part of the efforts to draw the attention of the Federal Government to cases of human rights violation during the #EndSARS protest.
The parliament asked the British government to look at the possibility of imposing new sanctions that allow individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted.
To impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses during the protests.
It said the Foreign Secretary issued a statement on October 21 calling for an end to the violence and for the Nigerian Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by its security forces and hold those responsible to account.
It can be recalled that there were petitions against the Nigerian government and public officials by Nigerians at the UK parliament over human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests.
They called for the implementation of sanctions that would allow individuals and entities that violate human rights to be targeted.