END SARS Protest: Lagos State Government Allegedly Invited The Army To Quiet The Protesters As CBN And private Sector CACOVID 19, Defend The Delay In The Distribution Of Palliatives

 By Suleiman Umaru

The last  may not have been heard about the  END SARS protests and the shooting of  a crowd of over 1000 protesters at the lekki-Ekpe Toll Gate in Lagos state on  Tuesday, October 20ied 20.        

Even though ,the Army had consistently denied the allegations that it had no hand in the shooting of the  defenseless protesters, they have finally bowed to pressure to speak out that they were invited by the Lagos  government. However, they have not owned up to  the  shooting  of the END SARS protesters  at the Lekki Toll gate.  At press time, the Lagos state government had not reacted to the Army revelation.    This confirms  what Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and  Chairman, Alliance on  Surviving COVID 19 And Beyound, ASCAB,  had said that soldiers shot at the protesters with live bullet and lethal weapon..

The Human Rights Lawyer  had said that   the group had identified  the  military  Barracks  where the soldiers who shot at the protesters  were deployed from to the Lekki Toll gate.  The legal luminary should have saved Nigerians the troubles of trying to guess the Barrack as the  military  have  Barracks located  in the south west states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Eki  and Ondo.  

President Muhammadu Buhari And C-In-C, Nigerian Armed Forces

In Lagos alone, the Army has  Barracks at Victoria Island and the Ojo  Cantonment, in Ojo Local government Area of the state.  Also, the Army  has Barracks at Abeokuta, Ogun  state and Ibadan, Oyo state. 

Onibehe, another Human Rights Lawyer had said that Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governor is in a better position to tell Nigerians if it was Nigerian soldiers who had  fired at the END SARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate. This may have informed  why he had requested the governor to release the certified Close Circuit,  CC,TV, mounted at the Toll gate by the government, which was said to have been handed over to the Lekki Toll Gate Concession Company  managing the facility. The Army top hierarchy may have  known the release of the CCCTV, to  the public  would be indicting that it had to push the blame to the Lagos government.

The rumour making rounds was that the CCTVs  mounted at the Lekki  Toll Gate were dismantled by some people who claimed to be Staff of the Company managing the facility to wipe out the footage of  the security operatives who carried  out the attack on the protesters , at the busy Toll gate, in which two  persons , were acknowledged to  have died from the bullet wounds sustained .

Sawo-Olu, the Lagos state  governor who was said to have given  his words  never to shield anybody implicated to have had  a hand in using live bullet and lethal weapon  to shoot the protesters at the Lekki Toll gate may have shot himself on the leg. The governor was said to have told those that cares to listen  that the security Cameras  were left intact at the Toll gate  and would be  used  in the Judicial panel Investigating  Human Rights Violation in the state.

 Recall that Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, popular, Jagaban, who had  gone underground when the protest became too  violent on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, had emerged late last week  to pay a visit to  Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, described in political circles  as his godson . Tinubu, who pride himself as the god father of south west politics and incidentally  the National Leader of  the ruling  All Progressive Congress, APC, had told Journalists  after a closed door meeting  with the governor  at Marina House on Saturday, October 24, 2020, that he came to ask him if he  knEw anything about the Lekki Toll gate incident.

Sanwo-Olu: Governor Of Lagos

‘’I came  to ask him  pointedly: did he invite the soldiers who attacked  the protesters and if he didn’t , who invited them and order the attack? The former Lagos state governor was said ’’to have also sought to know whether it was to his knowledge that  END SARS  protesters were attacked’’. ‘’That was all the explanation  that I needed from him’’, tJagaban, had told the crowd of Journalists that besieged him.  He believes  that people  who were victims to the Lekki Toll gate gun shots  were in a better position to volunteer valuable information to the Judicial Panel of inquiry set up by the government on Human Rights violation in state to carry out their investigation. The governor may have denied the state government to the Lekki Toll gate saga.

In a related development,  Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, may have given an insight to the losses incurred by the Army in the  two weeks of  the EEND SARS  protest .   The CAS, had said   at a recent  meeting with  the Principal Staff officers, PSO, General Officers Commanding, GOCs and  Field Commanders of the Nigerian                 Army, NA,  at Abuja , the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, that  no less than  10 AK47 rifles  was lost to  the criminal elements and miscreants  who  hijacked the protest   across the country with some  military personnel losing their live to  quiet the situation.

Perhaps , to prevent a repeat of what   had happened in the country  over the three weeks  which had resulted in the looting of several  warehoused stored with  COVID 19, palliaties donated by private sector coalition, in some parts of the country, the Army General  was said to have charged  the senior Army officers at  the meeting and directed  them  to warn their troops on internal  security or on guard duties  outside the Barracks  to be on the red alert at all times to deal decisively  with any attack by the hoodlums on their duty locations. This may have  informed  why the END SARS protesters, particular, the hoodlums   quickly sheath their sword to avoid throwing the country into chaos.

The  General who could not hide his feelings had  told the senior  officers   that’’ Democracy remain the only panacea to development  and progress in the country’’, pleading  with them’’ to ensure its stability’’ without disruption.

He may have alluded to the events of the last three weeks where  ‘’some individuals, and  groups who  had hijacked the END SARS protest had resorted to the  wanton destruction of public and private property. He had said that  the governors  imposed a 24-hour curfew in their respective states to calm the situation.

Looting Of COVID 19 Palliative War ehouse By Desperate Nigerians

Angered by the events of the past three weeks,  the  CAS, was said to have  made it clear to those that cares to listen  that  he Army ‘’will not  allow any force, elements or distabilising agents  within or outside the country set the country on fire’’.

He noted  that he was aware of the’’ grand design  by the alleged sponsors of the protests to draw the Army into the crisis’’. According to him, ‘’the plan was to embark  on massive propaganda to discredit the military  and the government  so as to set the people  against the Army  once it is called  out to aid the Civil Authorities.  Buratai , who may have read the handwriting on wall  disclosed why  the soldiers were careful  not to be dragged  into the crisis  as the Army restated its resolve  to secure  and safeguard  a United Nigeria.

Many believe that  what may have given  the  sponsors of the END SARS protest to win the heart of the International Community  about the Nigeria situation  was the shooting of  over  a crowd of a  thousand protesters at the Lkki Toll gate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, by unknown soldiers. Coming on the heels of the use of live bullets and lethal weapons  by unidenfiied soldiers to shoot at the protesters at the Lekki Toll gate was the rumour making the round s that the state governors had hoarded the private sector coalition  donation Against  COVID 19, meant for the people, which may have forced the hoodlums in the  gusise of the protest to loot the warehouses where the palliatives were stored in some of states particular, in the southern part of the country, including the FCT.

 Inded, the private sector coalition Against COVID 19, donors may not  have been  happy over the looting of the warehouses where these palliatives were stored in Lagos, Kwara , Taraba and other states of the Federation including the FCT.

 The Coalition  had explained  why the distribution  of the palliatives  was delayed f  in some states which may have attracted the anger of  the hoodlums in the guise of the END  SARS  protest to invade the warehouses.

Tinubu Godfather Of South West Politics, Asked Gov. Sawo Olu, Did You Invite The Army To Enforce The Curfew In Lagos State

 The Organisation may have  confirmed what  Abdulrazaq Barkindo, spokesperson of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, had said that  most of the state  government s’’ did  not receive  complete delivery of items allocated  to them early enough  for the distribution.  According to the CACOVID,  as at the time they embarked  on the palliatives effort  in April 2020,   they had  decided  to  procure  the food items  directly from  the manufacturers  , to avoid distortion  of prices in the market.

They believe that the large size  of the order  for locally milled 10Kg bags of rice,  5Kg bags of garri, /maize/semolina,  a  carton of pasta, two cartons of noddles 5Kg of sugar  and I Kg of salt for the two million  Vulnerable Nigerians may have overwhelmed the manufacturers and rice  millers as they  could not deliver the items on scheduled until last June that the crisis had erupted.

The first deliveries of the Food items  , insiders told The Value News, could not start until last June. The Magazine gathered that as at this month of October 2020, a sizeable  portion of the ordered food items  had been delivered to the states  but the governors   were not able  to distribute it, fueling speculations  making the rounds that they were hoarding t for distribution to the electorates in the upcoming 2023 general elections.

 There are indications that some of the states including  the FCT,  in  where the  CACOVID 19  food items were stored in various  warehouses and  locations  had alrady  Commenced the   flagged off  of the distribution of the  items   since early August  but  could not conclude the distribution  as they  were yet  to receive complete deliveries of items allotted to them.

Osita Nwanisobi,  acting Director, Corporate Communications , Central Bank of Nigeria  had supported CACOVID explanation over the delay in the distribution of the Food items to beneficiaries.  The CBN spokesperson had pleaded with Nigerians that in the ‘’interest of transparency and accountability  CACOVID  will in due course , be providing  the full delivery schedule  and Flag-off dates by each state’’.

He disclosed that the apex bank  had been working with  the  state governors and the FCT, minister, Mohammed Bello, including the Chairmen of the  each of the 774 Local government Areas across  the country,  because’’ they know their people best’’. He disclosed   that CACOVID  also  utilised  a combination  of their own protocols  and their existing structures and processes  to ensure that the items  reach the intended beneficiaries.

Emefiele: Governor CBN

The group was said to have appointed an independent  monitoring team to ensure  that  the food items  were not diverted. There is no gain saying the fact  that not  every warehouse across the country where these COVID  palliatives were stored are linked to CACOVID  as the Federal government and other Organisations, like the Nigerian Customs ervice and the Nigerian Maritime Administation  and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the close watch of Bashir Jamoh,    also made donations


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