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#EndSARS: Too much anger, hunger in the land – Govs

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said on Sunday that he and his colleagues are worried about the discontent,…

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said on Sunday that he and his colleagues are worried about the discontent, hunger, and anger in the country.

Fayemi, however, expressed the governors’ readiness to work with other stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the issues.

The governor spoke at a Special Thanksgiving Mass held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Ado Ekiti as part of activities to mark the second anniversary of his administration in office.

Also, the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye called for a ceasefire on the part of the protesters to allow the federal government to take action on their demands.

Fayemi said, “There is a lot of anger in the land, there is a lot of hunger in the land, pent-up emotion. There is disillusion in the land. As a young man who spent much time in the barricades protesting bad governance, I can understand what is going on now.

“I and my colleagues are concerned and we are committed to reforms not just about SARS because we will be making a mistake that the general disaffection in the land is all about SARS,” he said.

We must end protest – Lawan, Gbajabiamila

Elsewhere in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday met behind closed- door with the leadership of the National Assembly at the Presidential Villa.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila represented the leadership of the National Assembly at the Presidential Villa, which was presided over by the president.

Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Senator Lawan said the meeting specifically deliberated on how best to address the ongoing #ENDSARS demonstrations being witnessed in some parts of the country.

“This is certainly a very trial moment and as a National Assembly, we believe that we have a very critical and crucial role to play in ensuring that the current situation of protest across the country is brought to an end.

“I want to thank Mr President for exhibiting very deep democratic credentials – the protests have gone on for over ten days, across many states of the country and I think the protesters have expressed their legitimate right, the government has listened.

“The essence of coming to meet Mr President is to review the situation and see the roles the two arms of government should play in ensuring that the five-point demands of the protesters are properly addressed.

“Where legislative intervention will be required, we are ready to move in and deal with such expeditiously, to ensure that we don’t waste any time so that we address the concerns of our youths.

“Where the executive role is expected we are sure that the executive will expedite action and we will be watching to ensure that such demands are properly met,’’ he said.

“It is also very critical at this point to mention this. Since the protests have taken place and the issues have been accepted, the time has come for the protests to stop because the government needs to have sufficient time and a conducive environment to implement the demands of the protesters.

“We also need to have our economy to continue to go on. When you try to stop people from engaging in their lawful activities, closing roads to markets and other economy places, such will distract the country’s economy and that is not the best way to go.

“If the issues have not been accepted, then there would have been genuine reasons to continue with the protests but since the issues have been accepted, we should give the government time to implement the issues,” he said.

Also commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Gbajabiamila reiterated the readiness of the National Assembly to partner with other arms of the government particularly the executive, in meeting the genuine demands Nigerians.

 

#EndSARS protesters launch online radio

#EndSARS protesters have established a helpline centre and an online radio platform named ‘soro soke’, Daily Trust reports.

According to the protesters, the helpline is 01 700 1755.

“For the users, these are the prompt numbers: Press 1 for medical. Press 2 for legal. Press 3 for food and supplies. Press 4, 5, or 6 for mental health emergencies,” @fkabudu tweeted.

The protesters also launched an online radio platform named “Soro Soke”.

The online radio is reportedly accessible via https://s4.radio.co/s99d55c85b/listen.

In Yoruba language, Soro Soke means ‘Speak Up’.

We will not allow anarchy in Nigeria – FG

Daily Trust reports that while the #EndSARS protesters are using different methods to push forward their demands, the federal government has warned that it will not allow the country to be thrown into anarchy following the violence that has trailed the protests.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this Saturday night on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) news programme, “Weekend File”. The programme was entitled, ‘EndSARS Protest: The Way Forward’.

The minister said Saturday’s assassination attempt on the Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, while addressing the protesters was a clear confirmation that the protests had been hijacked by hoodlums and people with ulterior agenda.

He noted that while the original conveners of the protests might have meant well, it was obvious that they were no longer in control of the initiative.

The information minister said the protest had been taken over by some people with sinister motive because the government had done enough to satisfy the demands of genuine agitators.

“After the government had responded and met all the demands of the protesters, they ought to have nothing doing on the streets,” he said.

‘Protests not about SARS anymore’

Speaking on the dimension the #EndSARS protest is taking, a legal practitioner and public affairs analysts, Barrister Lawan Ishaq, said some people were working underground to undermine the government.

“It is becoming obvious by the day that the #EndSARS protest is being hijacked by some political elements within and outside the country.

“There are strong indications that some pro-restructuring are pushing in their agenda. Some opposition political parties are also cashing on to further destabilise the govt into taking any drastic action, which they will use against it.

“The protest is fast crossing the limit of a civil show of disapproval of certain govt policies and degenerating into criminality.

“We should remember the right of Mr. A ends where the right of Mr. B starts. Many people are being prevented from undertaking their legitimate businesses by the protesters.

“Some people are already talking about the recreation of something close to the Arab Springs that saw the end of democratically elected regimes in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East. Sadly, Nigeria is quite different. We have to be extra careful about how we go about things. So far the government is conceding to most of the demands and it should not be pushed to the wall,” he said.

Operation Crocodile Smile ill-timed, 30 CSOs tell army

A coalition of 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has urged the Nigerian Army to suspend its annual military exercise tagged Operation Crocodile Smile VI, saying it amounted to a veiled threat against democracy and the Constitution.

The coalition at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja also said that not less than 13 persons had been killed since protesters took to the street to protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings 11 days ago across the country.

The Nigerian Army had in a statement by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said the exercise which is traditionally conducted in the last quarter of the year, will hold from October 20 to December 31.

Musa said that this year’s exercise, Crocodile Smile VI, will include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.

But the CSOs said that launching such exercise at a time the youths are protesting against police brutality is ill-timed and would exacerbate the distrust of citizens and worsen the situation.

The CSOs are Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa), Enough is Enough (EIE), Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD), Yiaga Africa, Global Rights, Project Alert, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Paradigm Initiative.

Others are Rule of Law and Accountability Centre (RULAAC), HEDA Resource Centre, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Community Life Project (CLP), Protest to Power (P2P), Social Action (SA), Take Back Nigeria Movement (TBN), Right to Know (R2K), Lawyers Alert, and Private and Public Development Centre (PPDC).

The rest are South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSSDO), Partners West Africa-Nigeria (PWA-Nigeria), Centre-LSD, Connected Development (CODE), Stakeholders Development Network (SDN), BUDGiT, CWCW Africa, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), Invictus Africa and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA).

The leaders of the coalition, including Idayat Hassan, CDD; Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, CISLAC; Ezenwa Nwagwu, PER; Cynthia Mabamalu, Yiaga Africa, Jaye Gaskia (TBN); Bukky Shonibare, and Abiodun Bayewu, Global Action spoke at the event.

According to them, the cyber operations were simply an attempt to explain what is unexplainable and that the Army cannot launch an operation in the context of the ongoing street protest and claimed it is going to be on a cyberspace.

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