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Free My Son, Sowore’s Mother Begs Buhari, Osinbajo [VIDEO]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Mother of Omoyele Sowore, Esther, has made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, his wife Aisha, and other leaders to compel the Department of State Services (DSS) to free her son.

She made the appeal just as a former Police Commissioner, Abubakar Tsav, the All Progress Congress (APC), the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, expressed diverse opinions on the Sowore saga.

Sowore’s mother, in an interview, aired on Sunday by Television Continental (TVC), also urged Vice –President Yemi Osinbajo, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to intervene in the matter.

She said: “I am begging Buhari in the name of Allah to release my son. It has affected my health. Release my son for me; it is time to release Omoyele. Enough is enough. Aisha help. Everyone is preparing for Christmas and New Year. If not for his detention, my son would now be preparing to go to the village to meet me and everybody in the village.

“Everybody is waiting for him in the village. I am now pleading with President Buhari to help me release him. I mean, fully release Sowore. It should be 100 percent release.

“I am inviting all the leaders – Tinubu, Soyinka and the Vice President to intervene and help release Omoyele Sowore. He is not a criminal; he is a man of God. I know my son; my son loves everybody.”

But Tsav, who served as a police commissioner in Lagos State appeared to have countered Sowore’s mother when he said on Sunday: “If I were President Buhari, I would have taken a sterner step on him than what he is doing now

He stated that the Presidency was justified in likening Sowore’s case to that of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Tsav argued that Sowore committed a grave offense by planning to stage a revolution after contesting and losing the last presidential election.

This, he said, implies that he wanted to govern Nigeria by force.

The former police boss said: “As somebody that was involved in law enforcement for 35 years, I will tell you the action and utterances of Sowore are very dangerous. They have serious consequences for the country. This is because he contested an election and lost and the next thing we are hearing is that he wants to stage a revolution. That means he wants to govern the country by force.

“If I were him, I would have kept my mouth shut and comply with the conditions of his bail. But he did not do so. So, if I were President Buhari, I would have taken a sterner step on him than what he is doing now.”

SERAP, however, faulted the Presidency for comparing Sowore with Boko Haram militants.

It said: “It is unacceptable to compare citizens who are also activists simply exercising their human rights including freedom of expression with militants who are killing our people and destroying property.”

The group said what was happening to Sowore and his co-accused, Mr. Olawale Bakare, showed clear attempts to further silence critics, activists and the media while the Federal Government continued to undermine the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

The group tweeted: “We condemn the statement today by @NigeriaGov issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to President Buhari, which seems to compare Sowore and Bakare to Boko Haram militants. To be absolutely clear: Sowore and Bakare are not terrorists.”

Also on Sunday, the ruling APC accused former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of spreading falsehood about the event leading the re-arrest of Sowore.

It’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said in a statement that Nigerians should be wary of people who are bent on bringing the country down at all cost.

The party called on Atiku to apologize to Nigerians for misinforming them about what happened.

The statement reads: “Following the recent court drama that greeted the resumed trial of the convener of #RevolutionNow, Mr. Sowore, the PDP and its defeated presidential candidate, Alhaji. Atiku Abubakar has typically chosen to present and spread their concocted “alternative facts” and lies on the incident.

“The party will not be drawn into arguments over the powers of the DSS to arrest and re-arrest Sowore over his actions and utterances. The constitutional mandate of the DSS already addresses that.

“Also, the Presidency has clarified that the DSS does not necessarily need the President’s permission in all cases to carry out its essential and constitutional responsibilities.

“Again, whether Sowore flouted any of his bail conditions or staged the incident in court is another matter which the court and the prosecuting agency should address.

‘Atiku in his horrid statement particularly accused the DSS of attacking the presiding judge among other lies being chorused by the PDP and their hirelings. Documentary evidence such as videos and pictures have shown that the tales are a complete ruse until anyone is able to present contrary evidence.

“If Atiku’s intervention was sincere, having realized the truth, he has not deemed it proper to apologize to Nigerians for misinforming them on the incident. Instead, he hangs shamelessly on lies. A commentator has correctly described Atiku as “the king of the bandwagon.”

Meanwhile, Sowore’s lawyer, Mr. Falana, has described as contradictory, the statement by the DSS on Friday’s incident.

He said the DSS made an unsuccessful attempt to absolve itself of responsibility “for the armed invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja” and “the desecration of Court No 7.”

Besides, he said Sowore’s re-arrest was illegal.

“Having declared that the service arrested Sowore ‘outside the court’, despite the ‘stage-managing’ argument, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court,” Falana said.

Falana said the facts show that the DSS was solely responsible for the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the court.

He added, “When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan.

“As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court.

“Having taken over the courtroom vi et armis (trespass with force), Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases.”

Falana said the DSS officers were identifiable by their roles and acts of seizing Sowore and pinning him down.

He added, “It is utter poor reasoning to say that Sowore’s supporters were also those bent on injuring him in order to arrest him.

“The argument of the service in this respect is as unfortunate and pitiable as the earlier argument of the Service in respect of the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was once accused of wanting to set ablaze his own house.”

Arguing that the DSS did not inform the court that Sowore flouted his bail terms, .he demanded his release.

 

 

Video Credit: TVC News

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JUST IN: Trump Finally Okays Transition As Key US Agency Declares Biden Winner Of Presidential Election

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The General Services Administration has ascertained that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the November 3 election.

President Donald Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said Monday that he is directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.

The move clears the way for the start of the transition of Trump’s administration and allows Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over January 20.

An official said administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump’s efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.

“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official —including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.

Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good … fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

Earlier Monday, retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.

“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for the head of the General Services Administration to release the money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”

Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.

The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”

Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.

AP

 

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Nigerian Government Petitions CNN Over Lekki Shootings Report [Full Letter Attached]

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The Federal Government has berated US-based Cable News Network for its coverage of the #EndSARS protest in the Lekki area of Lagos saying “CNN breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.”

The government also demanded “an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this in his letter to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia.

The letter dated November 23 2020 entitled ‘Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement’, was obtained by PorscheClassy News in Abuja on Monday.

The letter reads, “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it had ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.

“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue, it is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.

“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, ”balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.”

Read the full letter below:

 

23 Nov. 2020

Mr. Jonathan Hawkins

VP, Communications

CNN Centre

Atlanta, Georgia

U.S,

RE: HOW A BLOODY NIGHT OF BULLETS QUASHED A YOUNG PROTEST MOVEMENT

Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it had ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.

We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue, it is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.

In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, ”balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.”

Rushing to air such a momentous story without presenting the government’s side is inexcusable and indefensible. CNN said it contacted over 100 protesters and family members, but did not speak to one official of Nigeria’s federal government. While CNN said there was no response from the army and that officials of Lagos State would not speak in view of the Judicial Panel that is investigating the matter, it did not say what effort it made to speak with any official of the federal government.

The truth is that CNN did not even attempt to reach the federal government. Nima Elbagir, who presented the report and most probably led the investigation, is conversant with the Minister of Information and Culture, who is also the Spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, yet did not say that she even tried to reach the Minister. It is therefore strange, to say the least, that she would rush to air such an important ‘investigation’ report without getting the government’s side. In other words, Nima, and by extension CNN, breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.

Another serious breach by CNN, in its ‘investigation’, is that the network relied heavily on unverified footage it harvested from social media.

CNN was not present at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the incident. Neither its reporter nor cameraman was there, but it relied on eyewitnesses. Well, this is fraught with danger. While experts say eyewitness testimony is a potent form of evidence, it is also subject to unconscious memory distortions and biases, Unlike CNN, a reporter from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Pidgin Service, Damilola Banjo, was at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night in question, and was quoted as saying soldiers shot sporadically into the air and not at the protesters – a direct contradiction of the position taken by CNN who relied on second and third-hand information.

In airing its ‘investigative’ report, CNN conveniently forgot that on Oct. 23rd, 2020, it emphatically tweeted, from its verified Twitter handle, that the military killed 38 people when it opened fire on

peaceful protesters on Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 2020. Almost a month later, the same CNN – after a supposedly exhaustive investigation – is now reporting only one death from what the world was made to believe was a massacre. Is CNN not embarrassed by this sharp climb down? Has CNN owned up to this and apologized for its faux Paz?

It is also interesting that while CNN obtained footage showing when the vehicles carrying soldiers left their barracks and arrived at the Lekki Toll Gate, it could not obtain any footage showing the bodies of those supposedly killed in the ‘massacre’. After all, forensic ballistic experts will most likely testify that firing military-grade weapons into a crowd will not leave anyone needing a microscope to look for blood or bodies at the scene.

CNN has said it stands by its story, and that ”our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched”, This is baffling, considering that the story lacks fairness and balance, as we have pointed out, and that the organization relied heavily on manipulated social media videos. This resort to an escapist cliche seems more like a face-saving measure by an otherwise respectable news network caught in the blinding glare of ‘fake news and disinformation’ headlamps. Or how else does one explain the arrogant defense of an international news network that would not even respect the most basic principle of journalism?

One of CNN’s star eyewitnesses in its ‘investigative’ reporting is DJ Switch. Unknown to CNN, DJ Switch’s story on the Lekki Toll Gate shooting has changed several times. From claiming she counted 78 bodies of protesters who were supposedly killed by soldiers on the night of the Lekki Toll Gate incident, she has twice, at least, changed the casualty figure from 78 to 15 and then to 7, without a shred of evidence. CNN cannot pretend not to know that for anyone to act as a witness, his or her credibility must be unimpeachable. DJ Switch’s credibility does not meet that threshold.

In one of the social media videos of DJ Switch that was used by CNN (see attached link 1), the lady (DJ Switch) claimed she and some unnamed persons carried dead bodies and dropped them at the feet of the soldiers. She also claimed she spoke to their Commander before the soldiers threw the bodies into the vans. Curiously, for someone who was streaming live on Instagram during the Lekki Toll Gate incident, there was not a single video or picture of the dead bodies. Not even Godson (Uyi), another CNN star witness whose video was also used by the network, or any of the hundreds of protesters, all armed with smartphones, at the scene recorded a video or shot a picture of dead bodies being carried away by soldiers.

Talking of Godson, despite claiming to have analyzed hours of footage, it is curious that CNN conveniently left out key parts of Godson’s 57-minute, 5-second video (see attached link 2). For example, 13 minutes, 40 seconds into the video, there were voices, in street lingo, in the background telling Godson that the gunshots were not from the soldiers (na boys dey shoot, that na local gun sound….it’s boys, meaning touts and hoodlums, who are shooting.

That’s a local gun). Some 20 minutes,14 seconds into the video, Godson confirmed that the boys had brought out their guns and were shooting (local okay, he called it). Some 23 minutes, 14 seconds into the video, Godson said ‘wait, all these boys dey shoot’ (meaning gunshots rang out from the touts/hoodlums). CNN, in its rush to nail soldiers and tell a ‘radically different story’, conveniently left out these parts of the Godson video, which could have shown that armed hoodlums invaded the Lekki Toll Gate that night, and could have hit any of the protesters as they shot sporadically. This is clearly a ploy by the CNN reporter/presenter to manipulate viewers of its ‘investigative’ report and force them to draw the reporter’s desired conclusion! Another video showing an armed protester at the Lekki Toll Gate (see attached link 3) was apparently not among the footage reviewed by CNN!

It is shocking that all through its ‘investigation’, CNN did not for once mention the fact that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed during the #EndSARS crisis, which also left 196 policemen injured, not to talk of the monumental destruction of government and private properties across the country. Instead, the network is fixated on the massacre that never happened. Are security agents not human beings too? Are they not entitled to the protection of their human rights?

For the record, this is not the first time that CNN has carried an inaccurate or hoax story about Nigeria. In February 2007, Nigeria accused CNN of staging one of its reports from the country’s Niger Delta region, showing gunmen holding 24 Filipinos hostage. Of course, CNN and it’s then Africa Correspondent Jeff Koinange flatly denied the charge, saying the network did not pay for any part of the report. Later, in an email reportedly sent to a friend, Mr. Koinange was quoted as saying: “Of course we had to pay certain people to get the story… You do not get such a story without bribing.” So much for denials!

As a form of remediation, Nigeria’s Federal Government demands an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity, whether or not it met the basic standards of journalism and also the selective use of unverified social media videos to manipulate public opinion. While it is up to CNN to accede or not, please note that the Federal Government reserves the right to take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from aggravating the #EndSARS crisis with unprofessional, irresponsible, one-sided, inciting, and sensational reporting that is capable of pitching Nigerians against themselves and setting the country on fire.

 

Lai Mohammed

Hon. Minister

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BREAKING: Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Minister’s Brother In Kano

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Babawuro Tofai, the younger brother of Sabo Nanono, minister of agriculture, has been abducted in Kano.

Gunmen had whisked the victim away from his family house in Gabasawa local government area of the state on Monday morning.

One of the aides of the minister confirmed the abduction, saying the gunmen struck around 10 am on Monday.

Abdullahi Haruna, police public relations officer in Kano, also confirmed the incident, saying the investigation was ongoing.

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