The Federal Government has said that security agencies are ready to stop another version of the #EndSARS protests at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the announcement, yesterday, said any protest to block the toll gate would not be tolerated.
According to the minister, protests are constitutionally allowed only in designated places but not toll gates.
The protesters planned to reconvene in the Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday for another protest.
The minister said, “However, any further resort to violence in the name of #EndSARS will not be tolerated this time.
“The security agents are ready for any eventuality. A situation in which six soldiers and 37 policemen were murdered in cold blood by hoodlums will not repeat itself.
“The attack, looting and razing of 269 private and public property will not happen again. The killing of 57 civilians will not be re-enacted.
“No government anywhere will allow a repeat of the kind of destruction, killing and maiming wrought by the hijackers of #EndSARS protests last year.
“After all, only one policeman – (plus four others) – was killed in the invasion of the US Capitol in January, yet the FBI has continued to hunt down and prosecute the perpetrators. No life is more important than the other.”
Mohammed warned those planning the protest to shelve it.
He said intelligence report indicated that some of those planners are not in Nigeria.
He added, “We therefore strongly warn those who are planning to re-occupy Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday to desist.
“We know that many of those who have been loudest on social media in advertising the plan to reconvene in Lagos on Saturday are not even in Nigeria.
“They are elsewhere around the world fanning the embers of violence and inciting gullible people back home. No one should fall for their antics,” he added.
Meanwhile, the #OccupyLekkiTollgate organisers said they are undaunted by efforts by threats by security operatives and the government to stop the fresh protest.
According to the organisers, the cause of the planned protest is beyond the ruling of the Lagos State Judicial Panel probing alleged killings of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
They noted that the ban on cryptocurrency accounts among other reasons triggered their action.
They gave the reasons in a press statement made available to our correspondent titled, ‘EndSARS Season 2; Why we will #OccupyLekkiTollGate on Saturday – Campaigners’, yesterday.
They added that not even a counter-protest under the aegis of #DefendLagos will stop them.
The statement read, “After committing genocide by killing scores of people who were peacefully protesting at Lekki Tollgate and other parts of Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu and other oppressors want to spit on the dead and dance on the blood of the innocent by reopening the yahoo gate to be collecting their blood money as again.
“We say NO! We are undaunted! We will be occupying Lekki Tollgate again starting from Saturday February 13. We urge all well-meaning Nigerians to storm back all the barricades as our rulers have shown that they can never change. Since the #EndSARS, they are yet to effect any of the promises. Police brutality is still raging and SARS is still operating.
“Despite overwhelming and highly compelling evidence showing how several protesters were shot by the military, no single military personnel has been brought to book.
“Deaths have been established and many victims of the Lekki shootings have surfaced, yet neither the victims nor families of our deceased colleagues have got justice.
“After close to five months of sitting, the judicial panel meant to inquire into the Lekki massacre has refused to deliver justice to victims of the massacre most of whom have either lost their limbs due to gun wounds or have become deceased.
“Government has refused to provide employment for young people, yet they went ahead to ban the most promising source of income of young people; cryptocurrency.”
“Nigerians are extremely poorer and yet the cost of food is on the high side with increased cost of electricity that only produces darkness. Petrol price is being increased as marketers want it at #190 per litre.
“Nigerians are no longer secured in any part of the country; when they are not being harassed or extrajudicially murdered by police, they are being kidnapped, maimed, and killed by bandits.
“Today, the life of cows has become more valuable than those of Nigerians even as our streets and communities have fallen to the rule of kidnappers and bandits. The Nigerian government now negotiates and enriches terrorists and bandits while chasing after, arresting, shooting and killing protesters.
“It is to this end that we call on you all to come out enmasse to demand not just justice for victims and fallen heroes of the October 20 killings but that all involved in this heinous criminality be brought to book. Come out to demand the right to life and to exist in a country that respects our rights as citizens, abhors police brutality/extrajudicial killings, provides us with security, decent jobs with good wages and other such socio-economic rights that come with being a citizen.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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