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[FULL TEXT] Buhari’s National Broadcast 22ND October 2020

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ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE ENDSARS PROTESTS, 22ND OCTOBER, 2020

Fellow Nigerians,

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

  1. These are in addition to many other initiatives such as;
    a. Farmermoni,
    b. Tradermoni,
    c. Marketmoni,
    d. N-Power,
    e. N-Tech and
    f. N-Agro.
  2. No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
  6. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
  7. We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

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Ubani now #FixPolitics’ Executive Director

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#FixPolitics

#FixPolitics, a citizens’ movement recently launched to fix politics in Nigeria and ultimately Africa, has appointed Anthony Ubani as its Executive Director.

Ubani will lead the implementation of the Triangular Pillars of Democracy, which uniquely identify the tripod focus of the #FixPolitics initiative on emerging an empowered and engaged electorate, building a new value-based political class and demanding constitutional, political and electoral change.

As a Richard von Weizacker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin Germany, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili focused her research on #FixPolitics to develop a deeper understanding of the nexus between the quality of politics and the economic progress or decline of countries in Africa, with a particular focus on Nigeria.

The findings of the research subsequently informed the composition of a 125-member Work Study Group – of Nigerians from diverse endeavours and regions. The WSG, chaired by Ezekwesili, work collaboratively to design and implement a systemic structural change agenda for the politics of Nigeria with the aim of raising the quality of our democracy and governance and improve the wellbeing of citizens.

In a statement on Tuesday, the group’s Publicist and Spokesperson, Mr. Ozioma Ubabukoh, stated that  Ubani would resume duties in January 2021.

Ubabukoh explained that the “incoming executive director is expected to bring his practical political experience to bear in the realisation of the objectives of #FixPolitics.”

Part of the statement read, “Ubani’s mandate is to ensure the emergence of an empowered and engaged electorate; a new values-based political class; and a reformed constitutional, political and electoral environment as the three cardinal pillars of #FixPolitics.”

Before his appointment, Ubani was the President/Chief Executive Officer of Women Leadership Institute. He has held various executive positions, including Acting Country Director, Mississippi Consortium for International Development; and Director General, Peoples Democratic Institute.

Some of his recent researches include ‘Leadership Recession in Nigeria and the Perennial Predicament of Deferred Development’; ‘Deconstructing Professionalism in the Context of Economic Recession in Nigeria: A Fresh Perspective’ and ‘Partisan Politics, Civil Societies and the Consolidation of Institutions in Africa’.

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[OPINION] Tunji Disu: Tribute To A Super Cop!

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By Tunde Opeseitan

The redeployment of Olatunji Disu, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of Lagos State Police Command, came to me as a rude shock. A rude shock because I have closely followed his activities as Commander of the RRS since he was first appointed to lead the security outfit on June 13, 2015 during the tenure of former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, and they have been nothing but exceptional policing with human face.

His redeployment, coming on the heels of the aftermath of Endsars Protests, left me pondering on the rationale behind such move at this critical point in time in our trajectory as a state and country, especially when juxtaposed with how Disu reformed, rebranded and repositioned RRS as the model security outfit not only in Nigeria but across Africa.

Disu’s first stint at the RRS came to an end on April 10, 2019 after he was elevated to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police from Assistant Commissioner of Police. He was reappointed a day after on April 11, 2019 to continue his amazingly brilliant job.

Before coming on board in RRS, Disu had previously served as the Aide-De-Camp to the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is now the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC). Afterwards, Disu was redeployed to the Ogun State Police Command to serve as the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Ago-Iwoye, where he performed excellently well in areas of fighting all sorts of criminal activities, including cultism.

He subsequently led the Nigeria Police contingent on African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS)to quell the crisis in the war-torn Darfur in 2005, where he equally discharged his duties with commendable passion and professionalism that brought honour and glory to Nigeria.

The feats in Darfur earned Disu instant recognition and he was named the Officer-in-Charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ondo State Police Command, and later Officer-in-Charge of the SARS in Oyo and Rivers States Police Headquarters, respectively.

Next, Disu was elevated to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Rivers State Police Command, a position he held until he was transferred to Lagos to serve as RRS Commander.

RRS is a special security outfit founded and funded by the Lagos State Government and it was created to serve as the metropolitan police to maintain law and order within the metropolis, as well as the nooks and crannies of the state.

Soon after settling in as RRS Commander, Disu brought his professionalism to bear on the modus operandi of the formation, starting with rebranding of RRS in which the officers were now known as #TheGoodGuys. Calling the RRS officers the good guys was a mindset strategy to re-orientate them and make them come to terms with the fact that they occupy sensitive public position, and that they have to behave responsibly and strictly adhere to the basic tenets of policing which is protection of lives and property.

Disu’s model of policing is predicated on the principle of ‘Policing by Consent’ with emphasis on 4Es of Engaging, Educating, Explaining and Enforcing the law. Essentially, the principle is about engaging the people, educating the people, explaining to the people, and then enforcing the law to maintain law and order. This concept of policing is what is practiced in advanced countries, and it is a concept that helps to endear the police to the people.

Recognizing the importance of changing the mindset of the officers about what an ideal policing should be, Disu led a pragmatic and revolutionary movement that brought about the training of officers of the RRS on Emotional Intelligence, Anger Control and Management and De-escalation of crisis.

Considering the fact that RRS officers are usually the first responders during emergencies, the officers were equally trained on First Aid and CPR, and so during emergencies, RRS officers would administer First aid treatment and stop victims from bleeding, which usually greatly help to save lives.

The officers get rewarded for every good work and good deeds, and by so doing, others are spurred to also put in their best, thereby setting up the officers for healthy competition for good works. In rewarding the officers, Disu put in place a system where they get both monetary rewards and certificates.

For instance, during the Covid-19 lockdown, RRS officers took a woman in labour from house in Ikoyi to the hospital after her husband was seen on the road in the wee hours of the morning in distress and desperately looking for help. Upon enquiry, the man impatiently blurted out that his wife was in labour and that he had been looking for vehicle to no avail. The officers swiftly got the man into their patrol vehicle, drove to his residence and subsequently took the woman in question to a hospital in Obalende where she eventually delivered a baby girl. The affected officers were handsomely rewarded by Disu.

Another unique initiative is that Disu would always talk to the officers every morning before they are set for the business of the day. At such meetings, the task for the day is clearly spelt out, while their dressings and outlook are properly checked before they are deployed for the day’s job.

This is why it is difficult to see RRS officers misbehaving on the road, and on rare occasions where members of the public have had to lodge complaints about activities of RRS officers, such complaints are taken seriously with affected officers appropriately sanctioned where and when necessary to send clear message that such acts are not condoned. The sanctions are also communicated to the complainants.

A tech-savvy and brilliant officer, Disu also makes good use of technology to enhance the security architecture of Lagos, as well as social media through which members of the public are regularly updated on activities of RRS. The RRS also gets feedback from both traditional and new media platforms.

In terms of the real police operational work, RRS under Disu operated what is called ‘Hot spot Policing’ through which the patrol vehicles of RRS are placed at strategic locations considered to be black spot, so that the area will cease to be a dangerous area and by the time the area is no longer a black spot, the police will move to other areas considered to be dangerous, not forgetting to check on the previous black spots once in a while. This is why at times, people will see increased presence of RRS patrol vehicles in a particular area, and afterwards, they move to other areas.

In terms of welfare, Disu is known to be a humanist to the core who does not joke with the welfare of RRS officers, and even people around him, including journalists. He created a Welfare Team that regularly visits RRS officers who are injured or ill either in the line of duty or through any other means.

During such visits, aside the fact that RRS bears the cost of treatment, tokens are also presented to such officers from the Commander, while they are assured of the outfit’s love for them. By that, the affected officer feels loved and earnestly look forward to return to work.

Disu also operated an open-door-policy in which any officer can walk up to his office and discourse any issue with him. Through that, he gets firsthand information and do the needful where and when necessary. Members of the public also have unhindered access to Disu and can freely approach him without let or hindrance.

On the job, he is such a prolific officer with hands-on approach to policing, and he personally leads most of the operations of the outfit. Call him anytime, he will respond and act appropriately. He is a brilliant, dutiful and dogged police operational officer.

Every Monday morning throughout Disu’s tenure as RRS Commander, officers and members of the Secretariat community where the headquarters of RRS is located are treated to a light breakfast of tea, biscuit and bread. It has become a regular thing through which officers and civil servants line up to take their breakfast courtesy of the Commander.

Another unique programme introduced by Disu is what is called “RRS Courtesy Vehicle.” This particular vehicle moves around areas where the presence of RRS is considered not to be too felt, and so people will just wake up to see RRS men in their community. The officers will meet with important people including the monarchs, community leaders and even petty traders to extend the greetings of Commander, and find out what the RRS can do to intervene in any security issue they might be having.

Besides, one of the legacies of Disu in RRS is the provision of fuel to help motorists who run out of fuel on the road. The idea is that in every RRS patrol vehicle, some litres of fuel are reserved in the event that there is a vehicle that runs out of fuel on the road. The motorist is then given a few litres to get home or to the nearest gas station to top-up. In the event that the vehicle that breaks down on the road needs the intervention of a mechanic, the RRS officers assist such motorists to call mechanic or any other assistance as may be required, without requesting and collecting a dime.

For Disu, doing so is also another way of assisting the police by freeing up the road and avoiding encumbrances that may bring about another threat to safety of lives and property, especially traffic robbers who would like to take advantage of traffic build-up to carry out their nefarious activities.

During the Endsars protests, RRS Ambulance was released for the treatment of injured protesters and those who needed one form of medical attention or the other. Disu’s ideology is that the people come first and part of the benefits is that the people now see RRS as their police. RRS under Disu was seen as the people’s police.

As we speak, people now freely give information to the RRS, having the confidence that they will not be hounded and that their identities would not only be protected but that the information will be swiftly acted on.

Still on Endsars protests, RRS under Disu came out as the perfect example of compassionate, professional and effective tactical police formation that SARS should have emulated. According to keen watchers and security analysts, the protests would have never been had SARS operated like Disu’s RRS across the country. When RRS officers were attacked during the protests, the youths came out to apologize to RRS.

Disu cracked and led many successful operations. For instance, many did not know that it was Disu that did the major work in the celebrated operation that led to the arrest of Evans, the billionaire kidnapper at his Magodo residence in Lagos.

Another major case that proved Disu to be a super cop and a brilliant officer was when a major iphone store was burgled in South Africa. Days later, intelligence report indicated that the iphones had been moved to Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos. Disu was contacted to handle the sensitive investigation, and he swiftly swung into action. The iphones were recovered in a major operation and handed over to the owners to the incredulity of South African authorities.

When an attempt was recently made to blackmail popular musician, Queen Salawa Abeni with her nude pictures, the mastermind in the case was picked up by RRS Decoy Team days later. I can go on with plethora of cases brilliantly handled by RRS under Disu. Several civil unrest and communal clashes were also quelled by RRS during the period under review.

As a result of Disu’s exploits, Lagos State in 2016 was named the best security and most safety conscious state in Africa by the Security Watch Africa (SWA). At the end of the awards ceremony held in Johannesburg, South Africa, RRS emerged as the best anti-crime police squad in West Africa, while Disu was named as the most outstanding police operational officer in West Africa.

With RRS and other previous postings, Disu has no doubt left an indelible imprint in the sands of time and I can only wish him sound health, wisdom and understanding, and above all, more years of meritorious service to humanity. I know his redeployment to the Operations Department of Force Headquarters, Abuja will usher in bigger, better and brighter responsibilities.

Opeseitan is a Lagos-based Journalist.

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Terrorism: PDP Berates Buhari Presidency for Blaming Slain Farmers

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it alarmed by the reckless and bizarre attempt by the Buhari Presidency to rationalize the gruesome beheading of 43 innocent Nigerians by insurgents in Zabarmari, Borno state.

In a statement sent to Grassroots.ng on Tuesday, PDP expressed outrage by the Buhari Presidency’s claims that the farmers were killed because they failed to get clearance before going to their farms; a statement, which is also an admission that the Buhari administration has been overwhelmed by terrorists and can no longer guarantee our compatriots a normal life.

”Our party submits that it is weird, reprehensible and repulsive that the Buhari Presidency now seeks to turn itself into a mouthpiece of terrorists by this subtle attempt to rationalize the killing of innocent and hard working Nigerians.

”This unpatriotic stance smacks of support for acts of terrorism and mindless killing of our compatriots by a government whose Commander-in-Chief had promised Nigerians to lead the battle against insurgents from the front.

”Our party is forced to hold that attitudes such as the unpatriotic remark of the Buhari Presidency embolden insurgents in their ceaseless attacks in our country.

”Such also provides further insights into the escalation of acts of terrorism in our country in the last five years.

”It is indeed shocking that the Buhari Presidency has graduated from making bogus claims of having degraded terrorism to the embarrassing point of blaming unprotected and helpless Nigerians for falling victims of terrorist attacks. This, to say the least, is the height of leadership failure of the lazy, lethargic and incompetent Buhari administration.

”It is therefore insensitive for the Buhari Presidency to have shown this huge lack of empathy, which amounts to a spat on the grave of the slain as well as an unpardonable slap on the faces of the generality of mourning Nigerians.

”Perhaps this also informs why their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has not deemed it fit to have a word of lamentation for the death nor consolation for the bereaved.

”Our party therefore calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw the offensive statement by his Presidency and apologize to Nigerians, particularly the people of Borno state.

”The PDP also restate our call to Mr. President to heed the demands by Nigerians to rejig our security architecture as well as replace his service chiefs with more competent hands in the interest of our nation.”

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