President Muhammadu Buhari, has said ongoing investigations have revealed high-profile sponsors are behind the secessionist activities of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.
Buhari disclosed this in his nationwide broadcast aired on television and radio networks to Nigerians to mark the nation’s 61st independence on Friday.
According to him, one of those found to be financing the agitators is a federal lawmakers.
He said his regime was vigorously pursuing the financiers whom he refused to name.
The President said those sponsoring violence and making hate speeches to instigate disorder would be arrested and prosecuted.
Besides insecurity, the President spoke on the economy, food security poverty eradication and education.
Nigeria marks 61 years today as an independent nation.
Restating that Nigeria’s “unity is not negotiable, he announced that while efforts were ongoing to prevent further misuse of social media, the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria had been lifted. It is however subjected to some conditions.
He also said “Nigeria Roadmap on Local Refinery” was on track with the inauguration of a modular refinery in Imo State.
The President added that a second modular refinery will come on board in December in Edo State and a third in Bayelsa State in 2022.
He said further that the revelations were made possible by the arrest of two separatist figures; leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Kanu, and the arrowhead of the Yoruba Nation Agitation Movement, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
The President, who said the federal government believes that every grievance by any section of the country could be resolved through dialogue, however warned that any person or group found in the act of inciting violence would be arrested and prosecuted.
According to him, those who had caused serious chaos and violence did so through words, using lies, targeted hate speeches to propel violence, which had led to the death of many citizens and destruction of property. He called on all Nigerians to reject the lure by those he described as ‘evil people’ from plunging the country into further crisis.
Citing section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President said the security and welfare of Nigerians remained the prime focus of his administration.
“Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.
“I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.
“Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.
“We shall continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.
“Fellow Nigerians, this is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.
“Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing”, he said.
Speaking generally on security, President Buhari noted that progress had been made in the fight against terrorism and banditry, which had been the major features in the northern part of the country.
According to him, to support and sustain the ongoing campaign to keep the country safe and peaceful, the armed forces had recruited over 17,000 personnel, while the police had been granted leave to recruit 10,000 personnel yearly for the next six year.
More than 8,000 terrorists had surrendered as evidence of the various efforts, Buhari said.
“As our economy continues to open after the COVID-19 related lockdowns, we have also seen the resurgence of insecurity in certain parts of the country.
“In the last four months, the gallant men and women of the military and security agencies have made tremendous progress in addressing these new security challenges. We are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning.”
He said the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, the Deep Blue Project, was launched to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea.
On measures being taken to secure the country, Buhari said: “I am also pleased to note that most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria. These will positively impact our security operations in all parts of the country.
“In line with section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolves”.
President Buhari, who identified the social media as a useful platform, said it had been misused to coordinate criminal activities.
He said that he has directed the lifting of the suspension of the activities of Twitter in Nigeria as long as the microblogging site fulfilled some conditions.
He said: “As we embrace the digital economy in Nigeria, we are fully aware of the prospects and the perils. Our policies have been developed to enable Nigerians to take advantage of the prospects and avoid the perils of digital technologies.”
“Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.
“To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021 to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.
“Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.
The President lamented the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country, saying that the last 18 months had been the most difficult in the history of the country.
“Nigerians came together as one to fight against COVID-19. It is this attitude and by the special grace of God, we continue to survive the pandemic as a nation and indeed, provide leadership and example at regional and international levels.
“The doomsday scenario predicted for our country never came. Even as the Delta variant continues to spread, we have built the capacity we need to respond now and into the future”, he said.
He cautioned Nigerians against taking the pandemic lightly, admonishing that they adhere to public health and social measures, put on mask on and get vaccinated.
“We can control this pandemic, but it requires effort on everybody’s part. The investments we made in response to COVID-19 will also serve our country to tackle any future disease outbreaks or pandemics.”
The President rejected the lack of easy access to COVID-19 vaccines, saying: “I will take this opportunity to remind the global community that the current state of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable. We cannot afford a situation where a handful of countries keep the global vaccine supply to themselves at the expense of other nations.
“We must act now to accelerate equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. This is the message I conveyed to the international community in New York last week.
“As we push to source vaccines for our immediate needs, we shall invest more to support our pharmaceutical and research agencies to come up with ideas for locally developed vaccines. Should another pandemic arise in the future, our question is simple; will Nigeria be ready?”
He said the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Education and Science and Technology have been directed to work with local and international pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to enhance Nigeria’s domestic pharmaceutical capacity.
“Already, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is raising a $200 million fund for this initiative that will complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing N85 billion Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme to support local researchers in the development of vaccines and drugs to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases, including COVID-19,” he stated.
Speaking on the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas sector, Buhari acknowledged the achievement made in passing the almost two decades old Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), adding that the new law would help in removing the dark corners in running the nation’s oil sector.
EndSARS: CNN, Amnesty International Must Apologise To FG -Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government has demanded an apology from Amnesty International, CNN and DJ Switch for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20, 2020.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this demand on the occasion of the first year anniversary of the famous #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
According to the Minister who spoke during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, CNN, Amnesty, and DJ Switch are all guilty of spreading fake news.
Mohammed maintained that there was no massacre of Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll Gate incident during the protest last year and the trio mentioned only gave false and misleading reports.
The Minister insisted a professional analysis of what transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate revealed that the military didn’t massacre anyone while if truly there was any killing as widely reported, the families of the victims and those affected would have appeared with evidence before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
Not done, Lai Mohammed further accused the trio of spreading ‘tales by moonlight’ about what he described as the phantom killings at the Lekki Toll Gate during the EndSARS protests last year.
He said: “…During the sitting, CNN was summoned but it never showed up, thus missing a great opportunity to prove its allegation of massacre at the toll gate. Also, Amnesty International had a golden opportunity to convince the world, but it rather opted for issuing meaningless press releases.”
“In its latest attempt to grasp at straws and redeem whatever is left of its battered credibility on this issue, CNN has continued with its baseless report that soldiers shot at protesters. In a report currently running on the network, CNN brazenly and unashamedly held on to its flawed narrative, relying on an unidentified mother whose son was reportedly shot dead at Lekki, but without convincing evidence of who shot him dead. The same CNN that tweeted on Oct. 23rd 2020 that 38 people were shot dead at Lekki is now struggling to convince the world that one boy was killed at Lekki. What a shame!”
“The testimony of ballistic experts before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Lagos contradicts the tales by the moonlight by Amnesty International, CNN, a runaway DJ, and their ilk.”
BREAKING: Police Arrest #EndSARSMemorial Protesters At Lekki Tollgate
Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested two protesters at the Lekki tollgate where the #EndSARS Memorial Protest is scheduled to hold in the state today.
One of those arrested claimed to be a journalist while the other was seen carrying a placard.
The police had reportedly warned that anyone seen at the tollgate without an ID card will be arrested.
The arrested journalist told newsmen that he works with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s license and other documents were taken away from him.
Speaking from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the police, the journalist who identified himself as Abisola stated that he lost his ID card in transit.
About 30 police trucks and armed personnel are currently at the tollgate to enforce a ban on protests issued by the police command.
A car procession in honour of those believed to have lost their lives at the tollgate when soldiers dispersed #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020, is scheduled to hold at the tollgate today.
What #EndSARS protests were about
The #EndSARS protests which were held in October 2020 were against the activities of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force which was accused of police brutality.
The epicentre of the protests was the Lekki tollgate in Lagos where many youths gathered day and night to air their grievances against police brutality and bad governance.
They were dispersed from the location by gun-wielding soldiers on October 20, 2020, an action which some quarters believe led to the loss of lives.
This was followed by the destruction of private and public properties by hoodlums in Lagos, an incident that informed the latest warning issued by the police in the state.
Police Threaten To Punish Inspector For Voting At APC Congress
The Zone 1 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Kano, on Tuesday said its attention had been drawn to a trending picture on the social media, of a police inspector casting his vote at the Kano State congress of the All Progressives Congress alongside his principal, the state party chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas.
A statement by the Zonal Public Relations Officer, DSP Abubakar Ambursa, added that the inspector had been identified as Bashir Mohammed of the Special Protection Unit, Base 1, Kano.
According to the statement, the Inspector is attached to the Government House, Kano, from where he was deployed to work with Abbas as a security aide.
“In view of this seemingly unprofessional conduct of the inspector, the AIG (Assistant Inspector General of Police) has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation.
“If the inspector is found to have committed the offence, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against him,” the statement said.
The police assured members of the public that further development on the matter would be communicated.
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