A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has denied any involvement in the Tuesday shooting of #EndSARS protesters by some soldiers in Lagos.
The shooting has attracted global outrage against the Nigerian authorities.
Several allegations have been made against Mr Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, regarding the incident, with some people saying, without proof, that he “ordered” the shooting just to show his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some business concerns linked to Mr Tinubu, including The Nation newspaper and a television station, TVC, have been attacked in Lagos by hoodlums whose motives remain unclear.
“I will never be part of any carnage. The use of live ammunition (against the protesters) is condemnable in totality,” Mr Tinubu said in an interview aired on Wednesday morning by Channels TV.
He said he did not “order” the shooting of the protesters. “There is a limitation here, I can only control my personal security guards,” he said.
Mr Tinubu was interviewed via telephone by a Channels TV reporter, Olu Philips.
He said he was “extremely shocked” when he heard about the shooting and that he was ready to “complain to the highest level”.
“It is early hours of the morning, there’s no way I can talk to the authorities or wake them up now. I have tried to reach the NSA, I have tried to reach the head of the army.
“You don’t call the president at this hour, but I strongly condemn the act. There are other means of settling or dispersing protest. Why would they use live bullets? There are rubber bullets,” Mr Tinubu said.
Mr Tinubu denied having any business interest in the Lekki Toll Gate where the shooting took place.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, reported that an advertising company owned by Mr Tinubu’s son, Oluseyi, owns an electronic billboard at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
Protesters who survived the incident said light in the area, including the billboard, was turned off before the shooting.
The advertising company, however, said it deactivated its facility in compliance with the curfew declared by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, unaware that tragedy would later strike at the location.
The former governor, Mr Tinubu said when the #EndSARS protests were going on in Lagos, people falsely accused him of being behind it and reported him to the presidency.
He expressed sympathy for the victims of the incident and advised the federal government to “fish out whoever gave the order (for the shooting) and put them on trial”.
He said the government has been slow in bringing to justice officers of SARS whose unlawful actions caused the protests in the first place.
He, however, said he did not believe President Muhammadu Buhari authorised the shooting.
“I am not even sure yet they are Nigerian army, I am not sure how well the uniforms of the army are controlled. But that is not as critical as the bloodshed that has occurred,” he said.
Mr Tinubu, who described himself as an “unapologetic protester”, appealed for calm. He said he was ready to “face all inquiries” over the incident.
President Buhari is yet to address the nation over the incident.
“We have lost our sleep, we have lost our peace of mind, (and) we just have to deal with it,” Mr Tinubu added.
Lagos CP Promises Improved Multi-Agency Collaboration for Better Security in Lagos
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has assured the good people of Lagos State of improved and sustainable synergy among security agencies for better policing of the state.
CP Hakeem Odumosu gave the assurance today Friday 15th January 2021 at the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration that was held at Tafawa Balewa Square, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Commissioner of Police, amongst other security chiefs in the state, assisted the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, in performing the remembrance rites and laying of wreath accordingly. Others in attendance were the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Prince Dr Femi Hamzat, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji, top government functionaries, the State Chairman ,Nigerian Legion, Col S Akande (retd) and senior officers from the armed forces and the police.
The police boss, who doubles as the chairman of the Lagos State Security Council, seized the opportunity to pay tributes to the fallen heroes and admonish the gallant officers and men on the field, defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our beloved country, Nigeria, to be focused and patriotic as the present security challenges in the country are not insurmountable.
The Lagos police boss also appealed to Lagosians to always pray for security operatives, be law-abiding and embrace community-based policing as a civic responsibility.
Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Sanwo-Olu Commends Nation’s Security Officers
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended all officers in the Military, Nigerian Police and the legion for their efforts in protecting the country against external aggression and keeping the peace internally.
Speaking at the year 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day parade and wreath laying ceremony at the Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos on Friday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Nigerians should be thankful to God for celebrating this year’s ceremony despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Sanwo-Olu while applauding the organisers of the programme, said despite the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and other parts of the world, they could keep up with the yearly ritual while adhering to safety protocols.
He said: “It is usually a yearly ceremony and we are thankful that this year’s ceremony could still be observed.
“I want to congratulate and commend all of our officers in the military and also the Nigerian Police, but more especially men of the Legion and everybody that has participated in this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance ceremony, the parade, men on guard and everything.
“I think it has been a testimonial and it is a yearly ritual that we are thankful to God that we can still keep this year’s activity as important as it is. We were still able to observe all of the protocols and you could see that everything has gone very well. It is just a one hour event and we are thankful for the organisers that they have been able to put this together again.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day laid the wreath at the arcade and also released white pigeons and balloons into the air.
Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mrs Folasade Jaji; Service Commanders; State Chairman of Nigeria Legion and other dignitaries also laid the wreath during the ceremony in memory of the falling heroes.
The event was attended by service chiefs and members of the State Executive Council.
Kukah Has Offended People, But Should Not Be Expelled from Sokoto, Presidency Tells Islamic Group
The presidency has chided an Islamic group over its criticism and veiled threat against the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, over a recent controversial message he issued during Christmas.
The Islamic group, Muslim Solidarity Forum, had asked the outspoken cleric to tender apology to Muslims in the state “or leave the state” over his controversial Christmas message.
The clergyman in his Christmas message titled: “A Nation in search of vindication” alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was not living up to expectations due to the various economic and security challenges affecting the country.
He also alleged that Mr Buhari was “institutionalising northern hegemony against national interests,” adding that if a Southern Christian president had practised such nepotism, there would have been a military coup in Nigeria.
The statement, however, triggered controversy as, for instance, a Muslim group described the bishop’s sermon as “irresponsible and seditious.”
Islamic group, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) had said Mr Kukah’s message “was a prepared address considering the occasion and the audience, one cannot but agree that it was a calculated attempt to insult Islam which is typical of him. His veiled insinuation that Muslims have a pool of violence to draw from, is disgusting, disheartening, as well as condemnable.”
In response to that, the bishop responded saying JNI was inciting violence against him.
Also, the Muslim Solidarity Forum (MSF), warned the cleric to “quickly and quietly leave” Sokoto, the Seat of the Caliphate.
MSF through its acting chairman, Isah Maishanu, said Mr Kukah’s “innuendos and parables” in his speeches were against Islam and its adherents, adding that they were provocative.
However, the presidency has waded into the face off via a statement signed by Garba Shehu, the spokesperson of President Buhari.
Mr Shehu said: “under Nigeria’s Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions,” in a bid to defend the cleric’s rights.
“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians.
“Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric.
“On matters such as these, responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint. Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance. The Sultanate has historically had good relations with followers of all faiths. That is why Father Kukah was received on his arrival in Sokoto with friendship and tolerance,” Mr Shehu said.
“Under our laws, groups or factions must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches. Where they occur, it is the courts of law that should adjudicate. Unilateral action is not the way to go.
“Groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles. And individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances,” he added.