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#EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN

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The United Nations (UN) has blamed recent widespread public protests in various countries, including Nigeria, on the harsh socio-economic effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic the Nation reports.

Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Amina Mohammed stated this on Monday after separate meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The UN Executive, who was responding to a question on the global body’s stand on the #EndSARS protest in Nigeria, however lauded the nation’s response to the demands of the protesters, describing it as the quickest so far.

According to Mrs. Mohammed, the lessons learnt from Nigeria’s response to the protests are part of what would be taken into the future on how to manage conflict situations.

She noted that the demands of the protesters and the steps now being taken by the Nigerian government are the building blocks to the process of needed reforms for security as well as rebuild trust between government and the people.

Read Also: [#EndSARS] Osinbajo calls Taye Olubayo who addressed a letter to him

“The UN stance is clear, like the UN Secretary General had said in his speech, we believe everyone has a right to demonstrate peacefully for those issues they want to raise with their government.

“There is a social contract in place between the government and the people and it is important to have that freedom of speech, provided it is done peacefully.

“I think in the case where we heard that lives and property were lost, it was unfortunate and we believe that in addressing the demands that were made by young people, that in fact this is perhaps a lesson we can take into the future and how we engage in such issues.

“I have to say that there are lots of protests around this world that have been exacerbated by COVID because, COVID has left people out of work, left people hopeless because of the socio-economic impact and in many of those protests, we have not seen governments turn around in response as quickly as this government did.

“So, the UN’s response to this is that, we must make sure that what happened in this protests we are able to address those issues, those gaps and begin the reform, in fact I will say the transformations that are needed to address many of these outstanding issues and for that we need to engage youths, we need to engage government.

“I think what has been put in place are those building blocs and the support of the UN has been asked to make sure that those convenience can happen and that we can build back trust and have confidence-building measures in order to get to where we need to, where the social contract between government and the people is firm and trustworthy and is working for the benefits of the Nigerian people”, she said.

She expressed regrets over the break down of the protests into chaos, which had led to the loss of lives and destruction of property.

“We did raise while we were with Mr. President the issue around the recent challenges of ENDSARS protests that happened in the country. It was of course one that the Secretary-General, we all alarmed and of course support the country in trying to get back on track.

“Young people and their demands for social justice, governance are all legitimate ones and must be done peacefully. But we were all disturbed by the damage level, loss of lives and we continue to condole with those families who suffer those loses.

“Today was one in which we encourage efforts that are being made by government to that the process of engaging with the demands that have been made by the young people. It’s a start on that journey of reforms that are needed in the security sector, but also root causes to the issues that are happening today, which is about investing in development”, she said.

She said the global body would continue partner the Nigerian government, disclosing the launch of a new support programme; UN Plus Offer, which is targeted at the nation’s post-COVID-19 plan, the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the government of Nigeria. We are happy today to launch the UN Plus Offer, which has to do again with supporting Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) over the next two years so that we can respond a little bit better.”

Politics

I’m leaving PDP for APC – Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State

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The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same zone.

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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Crime

We Spent ₦2.2 Billion On Prayers Against Boko Haram – Adariko

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An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating officer, Adariko Michael, on Tuesday, alleged that N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr. Michael was giving evidence as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged two billion dollars arms deal fraud.

Others charged with Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, are a former General Manager with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

The EFCC charged them with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Micheal said N750 million was allegedly transferred from the ONSA special account to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited’s account with First Bank.

He added that N650 million was also transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600 million and N200 million were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

“Between September 27, 2013, and April 16, 2015, N50 million was credited to Reliance Referral Hospital’s account.

“Based on responses from the banks involved, as investigating officer, we found out that money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

“When we went through the account statement, we asked the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa) the reason for this.

“He informed us that the money was used to hire clerics to pray for the nation as regards Boko Haram crisis.

“When we asked him to provide the names, contacts and phone numbers of the clerics he hired to pray for the nation, he mentioned only two,” he said.

Mr Dasuki spent four years in detention, following his arrest in 2015 over alleged misappropriation of N2.2 billion meant for arms purchase during his time as National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan

After the Federal Government had consistently failed to honor court orders granting him bail, including an ECOWAS court judgment in 2016, he was finally released on December 24, 2019

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Politics

This is why we froze accounts of 20 EndSARS protesters – CBN reveals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sought an ex parte order to freeze the account of 20 members of the EndSARS movement in what has been generating a whirlpool of reaction. The reason for the action has now been unraveled as contained in a case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed of Abuja Federal High Court Legit.ng reports

The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Others are Saadat Temitope Bibi, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Bassey Victor Israel and Wisdom Busaosowo Obi.

Read Also: #EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN

It has now been revealed that the apex bank, while requesting the court order, argued that the funding of the EndSARS movement might have emanated from terrorist activities, The Punch reports.

CBN said the money flow into the account of the EndSARS protesters was found ominous following investigation by head of the economic intelligence unit, Joseph Omayuku. “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.”

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