President Muhammadu Buhari has called Nigerian 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,” President Buhari said Thursday evening in his broadcast to the nation on the #EndSARS protests that spread across Nigeria this week.
He also called on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoined security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.
FULL TEXT OF ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE ENDSARS PROTESTS, 22ND OCTOBER, 2020
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.
2. 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).
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. These are in addition to many other initiatives such as;
e. N-Tech and
14. No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
18. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
19. We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
The official twitter handle of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has been hacked and allegedly taken over by decentralized international ‘hacktivist’ group “Anonymous”.
The Nation checks revealed activities on NBC’s twitter handle page were tweets and retweets of the #EndSARS protests/campaign against police brutality.
The group after take-over tweeted: “We #Anonymous are out to expose government’s secrets & dirty files Put an #ENDTOPOLICEBRUTALITY #Twitterdown #NBChacked”
“Good morning, great Nigerians. TGIF and it’s also a good day to #ENDSARS and #EndSWAT. Which government website(s) would you want us to play with? Drop your suggestions under this tweet. #TwitterDown #NBChacked.”
Earlier this week, the decentralized international ‘hacktivist’ group claimed to have hacked several government databases, including one which contains names and contacts of operatives of the now-defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).
The group also disclosed via its Twitter handle it had breached some Nigerian government websites.
“Nigeria: Anonymous hacks multiple government websites in solidarity with #EndSARS protestors and retribution for violence by police. #OpNigeria #EndSARS Protest,” it tweeted.
Anonymous is a decentralized group of anonymous hackers widely known for carrying out anonymous cyberattacks against governments and government agencies.
It was formed in 2003.
The money laundering case brought against the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recent election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize -Iyamu, and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was yesterday adjourned till January 14, 2021 by a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.
Ize-Iyamu was the PDP governorship candidate in Edo State in 2016 election, when he was alleged to have committed the offence by the EFCC.
The other four defendants are Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State; Chief Dan Orbih, former PDP chairman in Edo State; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
At yesterday’s sitting, counsel to the first defendant, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), informed the court that he has filed a motion challenging its jurisdiction on the grounds that the charge filed against the defendants are based on election matters.
According to him, the appropriate court to try electoral matter was the Magistrate Court or High Court of the state.
The same argument was canvassed by the counsel to the other defendants.
However, the prosecuting counsel, Francis A. Jirbo countered the argument with the submission that the information before the court is a money laundering charge for which the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
After listening to both counsel, Justice M. G. Umar adjourned the case to January 14, 2021 for ruling.
Ize-Iyamu and other defendants were first arraigned before Justice P. I. Ajoku on an eight count charge bordering on money laundering on May 24, 2018.
The defendants were alleged to have sometime in March 2015 in Benin City directly taken possession of the sum of N700, 000,000 without any contract award which sum was allegedly part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and corruption.
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said it condemned in strong terms the nomination of a Presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, as a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The apex Christian body described the nomination of Onochie who is a serving aide to President Muhammadu Buhari as “an executive recklessness, a dirty slap on the populace, and a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended)”.
A statement signed by the CAN President, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the association said that Onochie lacks
objectivity, justice and fairness that are mandatory for every member of INEC as a result of her partisan membership of a political party and by being an appointee of the ruling party.
“We hereby call on the Senate to reject the nomination of Lauretta Onochie as a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for these reasons.
“According to Section 156 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) Act No 1, 2010, a member of the INEC “shall not be a member of a political party.” Whereas Onochie is reportedly said to be a card carrying member of the ruling party. That disqualifies her from being nominated and appointed to serve in INEC.
“Furthermore, although the president has power to appoint members of INEC whenever there are vacancies, he is expected to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in doing so. He is required to consult with the Council of State as stated in section 154 (3) of the Constitution and we have no record that this had been done before forwarding Onochie’s name to the Senate.
“If this observation is correct, then the President erred in law by forwarding her name to the Senate as demanded by Section 154 (1) of the Constitution which says the appointment of the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate,” said CAN..
Ayokunle said that as far as CAN was concerned, Onochie lacks objectivity, justice and fairness that were mandatory for every member of INEC as a result of her partisan membership of a political party and by being an appointee of the ruling party.
He added that CAN was equally opposed to Onochie’s nomination because of her unguarded remarks, public insults on credible individuals and the use of vulgar language and unprintable words against people who expressed their displeasure with some actions and policies of the government of the day.
CAN president said that the association and her leadership had been a victim of the woman’s unguarded statements since her appointment as the Special Assistant to the President on Social Media.
“A person like her by her utterances does not have the character to occupy a position of unbiased umpire in national elections in Nigeria,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday addressed Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The president spoke about the country’s history as well as diverse issues like the economy and identity.
Read the full speech by the president below.
INDEPENDENCE DAY ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF NIGERIA’S SIXTIETH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY, THURSDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2020
I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary. As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.
2. Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.
3. At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.
4. On October 1st 1960 when Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa received the constitutional instruments symbolizing Nigeria’s independence, he expressed his wish that having acquired our rightful status as an independent sovereign nation, history would record that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace.
5. This optimism was anchored on the peaceful planning, full and open consultation and harmonious cooperation with the different groups which culminated in Nigeria emerging as a country without bitterness and bloodshed.
6. Our founding fathers understood the imperative of structuring a National identity using the power of the state and worked towards unification of Nigerians in a politically stable and viable entity.
7. That philosophy guided the foundation that was laid for our young nation of 45 million people with an urban population of approximately 7million occupying an area of 910,768 square kilometers. These demographics led to development challenges for which major efforts were made to overcome.
8. Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200million occupying the same land mass but 52% residing in urban areas.
9. Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?
10. Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.
11. We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.
12. For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years existence as a nation, we have been under military rule.
13. My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.
14. Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.
15. An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.
16. In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.
17. We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.
18. The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.
19. To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.
20. It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.
21. Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Nigerian at home have resulted in globally recognized endeavours.
22. I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.
23. Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.
24. I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.
25. Nigeria is not a country for Mr. President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire.
26. To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state. These include:
a. Evolving and sustaining a democratic culture that leaves power in the hands of the people;
b. Supporting the enthronement of the rule of law, demanding accountability of elected representatives and contributing to good governance;
c. Increasing our commitment to peaceful co-existence in a peaceful, secure and united Nigeria;
d. Harnessing and Optimizing our tremendous human and natural resources to attain our goal of being in the top twenty economies of the world and in the process;
e. Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years;
f. Strengthening institutions to make them stronger in protecting National Interests; and
g. Imbibing tolerance in diversity.
27. I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.
28. The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.
29. The problems with our electoral process are mainly human induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.
30. Democracy, the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria, recognizes the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.
31. This call is made more urgent if we realise that even after a transparent, free, fair and credible election, desperation leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.
32. It is necessary to, therefore support the enthronement of the rule of law by avoiding actions which compromise the judiciary.
33. Fellow Nigerians, our history has shown that we are a people that have the capacity to live peacefully with one another.
34. As a government, we remain committed to our constitutional oath of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. I, however, call on the citizenry to also support government by providing the necessary community level intelligence in addressing these challenges.
35. In moving forward together, it is important to strengthen our economy to provide sustainable means of livelihood for as many Nigerians as possible so as to eradicate absolute poverty from our midst.
36. I want to re-emphasize my dedication and commitment, a dedication and commitment that propelled my public service career and informed my quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future.
37. This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria. Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.
38. I wish to re-iterate that our people and our spirit of excellence remains our most important asset.
39. In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September, 2020.
40. The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians.
41. Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.
42. Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.
43. In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.
44. Accordingly, in the last three years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of:
c. School Feeding Programme
d. Job creation efforts
e. Agricultural intervention programmes
45. No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.
46. In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.
47. Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;
a. Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre
b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.
c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
48. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.
49. Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.
50. Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges.
51. It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
God Bless us all. Thank you.