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Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday made his first public appearance in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, after the July 14 governorship poll in which his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, lost to the All Progressives Congress.

Fayose’s deputy and candidate of the PDP, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, lost to the candidate of the APC, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the poll.

Fayose was hailed by a huge crowd of market women, kids, aged and youths on the street of Ado Ekiti as he walked from the Oja Bisi area of the state capital to the palace of the monarch of Ado Ekiti, the Ewi of Ado, Oba Rufus Adejugbe.

The crowd, which showed excitement on seeing him, prayed for him and wished him well in his future endeavours.

They saw him off to the Ewi’s palace, where he reported the security lockdown in the state, particularly as it affects him at the Government House, to the monarch, urging the Ewi and other traditional rulers in the state to intervene.

He still wore the neck guide which he had shortly after he alleged he was physically assaulted by security agents on July 11.

Reporting to the Ewi, Fayose said: “l have come to let you know that before the July 14 election, the Government House was invaded by the police and men of the Department of State Services and the poll was rigged.

“Over 300 of our members and top government functionaries have been arrested and clamped into detention since then.

“My wife was also subjected to a 45 minutes harrowing experience while entering the Government House shortly before the poll.

“Since the day of the poll, the government office has been shut and my security agents have been withdrawn.

“The July 14 poll has come and gone, and the constitution says up until October 16, I am still the governor.

“Since they have left this morning, I felt I should inform you, Ekiti people, Nigerians and international community that l am still being locked at the government office.

“I urge you to help tell the Federal Government and security agents and others that I should be left alone.

“l and my family have a right to life.

“The man who contested against us is being protected, but my policemen have been withdrawn.

“I represent Ekiti and was given a mandate of the people.

“Harassing me is not the best.

“My aides are being harrassed, searched, their vehicles up to spare tires and they are being searched even to their pants.

“I wonder why we should be in this kind of situation ahead of 2019.

“I want you to intervene please, Kabiyesi.”

Responding, the Ewi of Ado, who was almost moved to tears as he watched governor Fayose, said: “First of all, I want to thank God for sparing your life and that up till now, there has not been casualties.

“Before the poll and as if we knew this was going to happen, the Council of Obas met with INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) officials, security operatives, party candidates and others and pleaded with all parties that before, during and after the poll, we want peace in Ekiti State because we are homogenous.

“Ekiti will remain one forever and whoever wins we will accept.

“It is unfortunate that this kind of thing is happening.

“The way I see you today in complete black, which is against our custom in the palace, I knew something is happening.

“I will convey your message to the chairman traditional council of obas in Ekiti.

“We had discussed you this morning and wondered where you are.

“We use this opportunity too to appeal to the security operatives to, in the name of God, restore your security to you.

“Whatever it is, we are in Ekiti and they should allow us to intervene in this matter.

“All the three of you in the race, yourself, Prof. Olusola Eleka, and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, are our sons.

“You are all our eminent sons that cannot be wished away.

“We urge all parties to allow peace to reign.

“We will also get in touch with Dr. Fayemi to use his good office to intervene.”

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BIG STORY

Stray Bullet Kills Lagos Street Cleaner As SARS, Armed Robbers Engage In Gun Battle

Peter Okunoren

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Stray bullet on Monday morning killed a cleaner identifies as Francis during a gun duel between suspected armed robbers and operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ilupeju, Lagos.

There were conflicting information on the source of the bullet as eyewitnesses accused SARS of being responsible for the death of Francis, said to be a cleaner around 7:30 am at Ladipo near Ajisegiri Street Ilupeju.

The deceased was said to be going about his routine business when the bullet hit and killed him on the spot.

It was gathered that the police had taken an alleged notorious suspect Ikechukwu Monye, 39, to the neighbourhood for identification of his gang’s armoury but they were attacked by his alleged members in a bid to scuttle the operation.

Ilupeju has experienced violent cult clashes especially between rival groups Eiye and Aiye in recent times that have left no fewer than six persons killed.

There have also been allegations of armed robbery, rape and extortion against hoodlums in the area extending to Onipanu and Mushin.

Reacting to the incident, the police said the hoodlums released gunshots upon sighting the SARS team and killed the cleaner in the process.

A statement by spokesman Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) said the assailants shot sporadically and in the process killed a middle-aged man who was passing by.

“Reinforcement was quickly drafted to the scene. The whole area is cordoned with a view to apprehending the members of the gang and bring them to justice.

“The gang in question is responsible for a series of robberies within Ilupeju and environ. They have been on the wanted list of the police for the murder of six persons during three robbery operations that they carried out.

“The command condemned in totality, the senseless killings of innocent persons by those criminal elements and will not tolerate attacks on its personnel by criminals.

“The command has vowed to bring an end to the activities of this deadly gang. Members of the public are enjoyed to remain calm as the command has intensified patrols and surveillance in the affected areas.

“The corpse of the victim of this violent attack has been removed and deposited at the mortuary for post mortem examination. The command extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased person and assured them that justice will prevail,” he said.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Senate To Back Deployment Of Soldiers To Highways

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Following the recent security issues in the country, the Senate may support the deployment of soldiers to highways across the country.

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, dropped this hint when he spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, on Monday.

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, at the weekend had canvassed for the deployment of soldiers.

He said: “Absolutely. On a good day, it is not something we would encourage because as much as possible you will want to keep the military in the barracks but because of the exigencies of the moment, we have no choice but to encourage that.

“Nigerians need to be assured of their safety at all times, that is the essence of governance as guaranteed by the constitution.

“Therefore as canvassed and indeed ordered by the Vice President, that we have the army provide security at the checkpoints, if that will go along way to prevent this kidnapping and banditry, why not?” he queried

He said that the Senate has taken a position on the banditry in the northern part of the country.

“We are not happy like most Nigerians about what is going on in places most especially Zamfara. We believe that the head of the security architecture in Zamfara being the commissioner of police can do more than they have already done.

“We are encouraging them to do that because Mr. President has provided everything that ought to be given to them, everything in terms of funding received, in terms of acquisition of weaponry to that has been provided for them.

“It is now left for them to justify the positions they hold in Zamfara, and other states of course,” he added

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Obasanjo Laments State Of The Nation In New Open Letter To Buhari, Raise Concern On Four Avoidable Calamities [READ]

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Former President, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday, wrote another open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He lamented the state of the nation while calling for urgent actions to tackle Nigeria’s challenges.

The letter released by Kehinde Akinyemi, his Special Assistant on Media, reads:

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those residents in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove. The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimized, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with the government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of a hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

  1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
  2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
  3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
  4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
July 15, 2019

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