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Osinbajo backs IGP on SARS review

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed anger over reports of extrajudicial activities exhibited by officers of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force including alleged killing, maiming and harassment of young people.

The vice president stated this in Abuja on Sunday while speaking with state house correspondents and expressed support for the review of the unit of the police form as announced by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

This is contained in a statement issued by the media aide to the vice-president, Laolu Akande.

The vice-president described the reports of SARS brutality as “completely unacceptable because these are individuals who are meant to protect Nigerians”.

Osinbajo also conveyed the displeasure of President Muhammadu Buhari over the reports of human rights abuses by SARS and hinted about a reform of the police force.

“The President and I have had discussions on this. He is very concerned about it. He wants to see reform,” Osinbajo said.

He added, “I am very concerned, in fact, very angry about what I see happening to young men and women who are arrested — in some cases maimed or killed by men of the police force.

“The arrest, maiming or killing of young people or anyone at all, is completely wrong. It is unlawful and illegal, and anyone involved in this act ought to be investigated and prosecuted.”

Osinbajo said he had a meeting with the IGP Adamu on the measures to address the problem.

He said, “You are probably aware that the IGP has issued a statement looking at all these issues; in particular, the warning against the use of these tactical units such as SARS for purposes of doing anything other than anti-robbery.

“For example, and I think in his statement, he specifically said that you cannot have a situation where SARS says they are investigating cybercrime by arresting young men and women carrying their laptops and phones. Cybercrime is an electronic crime. I don’t see how you can investigate that by seizing people’s phones in a taxi or in their cars.

“It is very obvious that this is a major concern; a few bad eggs in the police force are causing all of these problems because it is all over the place, in different states. There is a need to take serious action.

“The IGP’s statement today is a good first step. He has said clearly that policemen must wear police uniforms. You cannot say that because you belong to a tactical unit, you can dress in your casual clothing and be armed, because people can’t even tell the difference between robbers and the police if you are not properly dressed in police uniform. So, clearly, a reform is in the offing.

“So, I will like to encourage civil society activists, young men and women, who bring this regularly, by the way, to the attention of government and the police. And I think that activism is important because they have been able to bring a lot of these issues to the attention of the police and government, and that is an important part of the process of the reform.”

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I’ve no apology for being ‘mad’ about Nigeria ― Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Thursday, declared that he has a “mad passion” for Nigeria.

Obasanjo, who stated this when he played host to a presidential aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Hayatu-Deen at his Penthouse residence in the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential (OOPL) in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, said, he has no apology for being mad about Nigeria “because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.”

The former President lamented that the current situation in Nigeria is not only agonising for him, but for other Nigerians who also desire a better Nigeria.

He noted that, Nigeria requires a leader who has passion, innovation and vision for the country, adding that such person must possess adequate knowledge about the challenges confronting the country.

The former President insisted that, Nigeria can overcome its security challenges within two years with the right leader who is willing to make tough decisions.

Obasanjo, therefore urged Nigerians to brace up and be ready to make sacrifices to put the country back on the right path.

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His words: “Some people say the human memories are short, maybe they are right because if human memories are not short, some of the mistakes that we are making, we will not be making them”.

“Yes, we have a record which some people may find a little bit not what they want to hear, but whatever people want to hear, I believe like you (Hayatu-Deen) has rightly said, that this period is not like any other period in the history of Nigeria and you used two words, decomposing and dissolving. I can’t find any better words to describe the situation we have found ourselves”.

“It is an agonising situation for you obviously and also for me. I want to emphasise the point that the Nigerian situation, bad as it is, will only be put right by Nigerians at the forefront of our situation. So, Nigerians have to brace themselves up to do what needs to be done to put Nigeria back on the right path”.

“And you are right in saying that wherever you go now, one of the things you hear is that Nigeria is not on the table, but why shouldn’t Nigeria be on the table? What does it cost Nigeria to be on the table?

“I will say four things, of which I was reminded this morning. One is knowledge. If Nigeria is not at the table, maybe the knowledge that we should have of ourselves, of our situation, of our continent and indeed of the world is not that adequate, if that knowledge is adequate, we will do what is right, when it is right and how it is right.

“The second is vision, what is the vision that we have? And if you have no vision, you may have eyes, but you are blind. And I believe that is part of our situation.

“The third is passion. And when you said, that you are involved in this, with a passion and I was telling some people this morning that, passion means madness, that you are mad about Nigeria, I am and I have no apologies for that because I have no other country I can call my own and I have no other country I can go to and say yes, I have come to live here.

“Passion means being mad about Nigeria, having a touch of madness and I look at you (Hayatu-Deen) and say yes, you are mad about Nigeria too.

“Fourth one is innovation. We cannot be doing the same thing that we have done in the past that did not pay us and continue to repeat it and expect any change, we have to move out it, we have to innovate, we have to re-strategise.

“And you talk about security and people ask me about it and I said I know that we can put all insecurity in Nigeria behind us within a space of two years. That we have not done or that we are still in the situation we are in is a choice that has been made by our leaders, no the way God wants us to be.

“Like you said, I couldn’t agree with you more, that no individual in Nigeria, no political party, no smuggled person individual can make a critical mass that will resolve the situation that we are today. It has to be an all Nigerian hands on deck. No section of the Nigerian community should be left out.

“So, I believe you have knowledge, from what you have said you have the vision, also you told me that you have the madness and you have innovation, but let me add, Nigeria is a complex country. And we need to understand the complexity of Nigeria and that complexity if we take care of it Nigeria is not a difficult country to rule or to manage, but we must all be ready.”

Speaking at the State PDP Secretariat, Hayatu-Deen, said he possessed the capacity, experience and knowledge to govern Nigeria.

The aspirant, who said he had been to several parts of Nigeria, including South West, said he is a passionate and complete Nigerian.

He said “My blood is Nigerian blood. I had seen Nigeria with the eyes of a Nigerian and not from the perspective of a tribal man.

“I am prepared to govern Nigeria from the first day of inauguration on May 29, 2023.

“We are suffering from self-inflicted wounds. As an economist, I know how to fix the economy. I will provide social security, I will provide Energy Security, I will deal with the issue of national insecurity.”

While urging Ogun State delegates to vote wisely by voting for him, Hayatu -Deen, said the May 28, 2022, is not a tea party.

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Just in: No bail for Nnamdi Kanu, says court

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A federal high in Abuja has refused to grant bail to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Kanu was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

However, on April 8, Binta Nyako, the judge, struck out eight out of the 15-count charge.

While counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 were struck out, the defendant is to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15.

Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, moved an application for bail.

Ozekhome said, “Until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.”

He reminded the court that a defendant ought to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

He begged the court to consider the deteriorating health condition of the defendant.

Ruling on the bail application on Wednesday, the judge held that “the application is premature and refused with liberty to refile and reapply.”

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Fed Govt puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed

FACEBOOK and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

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“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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