By Stephen Ubanna
In spite of the fact that the END of SARS protests across the country had caused Nigerians an and the government over a trillion in loss in businesses and Property , the United Bank of AAfirica, UBA, PLC, A Pan frican Bank, under the close watch of Kennedy Uzoka, had promised to get the country out of the stressful situation.
An aggrieved Uzoka, had said that though ‘’the economic environment remain presently uncertain as businesses across the country had experienced unquantifiable loses with vandalism , theft and in some cases arson, due to the protests, had said that the bank is determined ‘’to get Nigerians back on their feet to have their business running smoothly again’’.
while most other banks had deactivated their digital channels to avoid destruction by the hoodlums throughout the period of the crisis, the Pan African bank digital Channels across the country were said to be active and available 24/7 for Customers transactional needs.
The Bank officials were said to have also thrown their door open to customers who need assistance in their business and many were said to have been helped to avoid their business going under in this trying time.
Note that the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin-can Island port and Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML as well as the south east ports of PortHarcourt Area 1, Onne , and Rivers port , both in Rivers state, including the Delta port, Warri and Calabar port, Cross river state, were said to have remained without businesses as Foreign ocean vessels avoided the fears for fear of hoodlum attacks.
The hoodlums were said to have made attempts to force their way tothe Apapa port but were stopped. But they were said to have succeeded in finding their way to. the Authority dockyard, where the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency , NIMASA, under the close watch of Bashir Jomoh, had stationed its N50 billion trainer vessel which was idling away at the Naval dockyard, Victorina Island , Lagos. They were said to have destroyed the vehicles found at the premises.
This may have sent a signal to foreign ocean going vessels owners that the country’s ports are were not safe to take their Container and bulk cargo vessels to discharge their cargoes as the NPA, and Terminal officials my not be on ground to attend to them.
The situation at the ports may have been worse as importers with their Agents abandoned their goods due to the 24-hour curfew imposed by the governors in their respective states . Even if Babajide Sanwo Olu, the Lagos state governor, had not joined the other governors in the southt west geo-political region, to impose the curfew in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre, the Lagos based agents could not have ventured to take their cargoes out of the port.
Many of hem were said o have kept away from the ports for fear of playing into the hands of the hoodlums who had hijacked the END SARS protests in Lagos and other parts of the coyuntry . The attempts by some aggrieved agents at Tin- can Island port to draw the attention of the hoodlums at the port environment by protesting against the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, Lagos Zonal office and the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, insiting that Hameed Ali, a retired Army General and Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, must scrap the Customs units bear eloquent testimony of their plot to drive away the foreign vessels from coming to Nigerian ports.
Given that the importers and their agents were not prepared to do the right thing going by their demands that the CGC, Strike Force and FOU, personnel as well as the Marine Police, a Unit of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, must stop motoring them and speaks volume.
It was therefore not very surprising that they took advantage of the END SARS protests to gather in their large number at the Tin can Island Customs Processing Centre, CPC, to register their anger. They were said to have used abusive languages on Musa Baba Abdullahi, he Area Comptroller , on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 but could not gain entry to the Command CPC.
Recall that in the first two weeks of the protesters take- over of the street in Lagos, Toki Mabongunje, president Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCC, had said that the country had lost over N700 billion, in businesses, stressing that the situation may be worse if the protests persists.
Aware of the danger posed to the economy by the Youths rising up to protest against rising unemployment in the country which made many of them who had graduated between two to five years to still be dependent on their parents for money to buy recharge cards and travel within the country, may have turned this Army of unemployed to be easily recruited for protest against the system by desperate Nigerians who want power.
Enock Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeem Christian Church of God, RCCG, may have seen this in a vision that he had advised Presidnt Muhammadu Buhari,to urgently fix the broken down infrastructural facilities in the country and invest on job creation for the Youths in the country . What the clergy man had told thee Katsina state born Nigerian President was not different from what Olusgun Obasanjo, and other Nigerian former Nigerian political Leaders who had a virtual meeting with him on Friday, October 23, 2020, had told him to do’’ to end the Youths restiveness I the country’’..
Femi Adesina, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity may have given an insight to the discussion at the high profile meeting going by the Statement issued. Adesina had said that ,’’it was the unanimous position of the former Nigerian Presidents and Heads of State, that he should pay attention on the policies that would lead to job creation ,and economic growth as well as attract attract drect Foreign investmenst, FDI .
The former Nigerian political Leaders were said to also have told the Nigerian President that if this could be done in the shortest possible time,’’it would go a long way in checkmating Youth restiveness in the country’’. They were said to have further urged the Buhari led All Progressive Congress government to explore other avenues of discussion with the Youths and other stakeholders in the country to ensure that the issues raised by the Youths were properly addressed.
The former Presidents and Heads of State who still believe in the unity of this most populous black nation in the world h may have taken advantage of the virtual meeting with Buhari to condemn the devisive tendencies and inciting pronouncements of separatists , warning that such ‘’acts should be stopped forth with’’.
Appealing to the aggrieved Youths to pursue peaceful means of making their demands , the elder statesmen had advised them ‘’to seek redress through ‘’constructive engagement with the government’’.
Many believe that this may be difficult to achive now because the END SARS,, protesters have no leader. One of the Protester interviewd by Channels Television recently had said that that five persons had initial the protest, who may form the nucleus of the leadership of the END SARS Movement which had championed the protests across the country. Funny enough, the five persons had gone underground , thus making it difficult to dialogue with the government.
Nyesom Wike, governor of the oil –rich Rivers state who many not want the Nnamdi Kanu, controlled Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOD, to use the state as a base to cause confusion in the country was said to outlawed the Organisation and declared one Stanley Mgbere wanted. The governor was said to have placed a bounty of N50 million on his head .
Mgbere was said to have led the IPoD group that master-minded the alleged attacks in some Local government areas in the state , particular, Onyingbo Local government . The recent killings in PortHarcourt, two policemen and the setting ablaze of two police stations at Onyingbo may have exposed the group.
, this may have encouraged Wike to declare a curfew at Onyingbo and three other Local government Areas in the state on Friday, October 23, 2020, to bring the violent situation in the state under control. The situation in the state may be different from Oyo statute, where Joe Enwonwu, the state Commissioner of Police , had sent a message to the hoodlums who had made away with the Police rifles in the stations burnt to quietly return them before’’ the full weight of the Law catches up with them’’.
Sanw-Olu, the governor of Lagos state may have relaxed the curfew in the state to ease the suffering of the people. He had directed that people could go about their normal business from 8:00 am to 6:pm.
The relaxation of the 24-hour curfew is coming on the heels of the recent shooting of protesters by uniform personnel at the Leki Toll gate and destruction of some police stations and private property in the state including raid on one or two bank branches and the South African Company, Shoprite Mall, at Surulere in the state.
He may have taken a cue from Dapo, Abiodun, the governor of Ogun state, who has relaxed the 24-hour curfew in the state to watch the level of Compliance.