By Yusuf Alli and Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja
The Federal Government has said that there was no massacre of demonstrators during the #EndSARS protest in Lekki in Lagos.
It said what is being portrayed so far was “social media massacre” or a “hoax massacre.”
It said it was a case of massacre without bodies.
It asked international community not to be misled by posts on social media to impose sanctions on Nigeria.
It condemned CNN report on #EndSARS protest in Lekki and described it as “irresponsible journalism.”
It said CNN relied on unverified and doctored videos.
But the government said it will go ahead to regulate the social media in the country.
It said social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, who made the government’s positions known at a briefing in Abuja, said the government was satisfied with the conduct of the military and security agencies during the #EndSARS protest.
He said soldiers and policemen deserve commendation for their roles during the protest.
Mohammed said: “While we await the Judicial Panel in Lagos to unravel what transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate, what we can say, based on testimonies available in the public space, is that the world may have just witnessed, for the very first time ever, a MASSACRE WITHOUT BODIES! Some have tagged it ‘social media massacre’.
“The testimony of Brig.-Gen, Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo of the Nigerian Army before the Panel was compelling, and I am sure many of you have listened to or watched it.
Read Also: Dokpesi urges Fed Govt to release #EndSARS protesters and unfreeze their accounts
” The highlights, for those who may not have watched the testimony, are:
– Soldiers were deployed all over Lagos, including Lekki Toll Gate, after the other security agencies were overwhelmed on Oct. 20th 2020, upon the request of the state government.
– Before deployment, the soldiers were briefed on the Rules of Engagement, which they adhered to all through
– Soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate fired blank ammunitions into the air
– Blank ammunition cannot do any damage to the flesh, not to talk of killing anyone
– Firing live ammunition into the crowd, as some have alleged, would have led to mass killing, which never happened.
The Minister asked countries that had made hasty judgment on #EndSARS protest to seek the truth.
He said it was regretful that some people and the international community have been calling for sanctions against Nigeria.
He added: “Sadly, the purveyors of fake news and disinformation succeeded in deceiving the world that indeed there was mass killing in Lekki, even when, till date, not a single body has been produced and not a single family or relative has come out to say their child or ward was killed at Lekki.
“More surprising and irresponsible is the fact that some people have been calling for sanctions against Nigeria or against Nigerian government officials on the basis of a hoax. This is one of the dangers of fake news and disinformation.
” Once fake news is out, many run with it, without looking back, even when the truth is eventually revealed. We therefore want to use this opportunity to ask those who have alleged massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate to go to the Judicial Panel to present their evidence(s) to the world or simply admit that they have goofed.”
Mohammed insisted that the Federal Government will go ahead with the regulation of social media.
He said: “This development has reinforced the campaign against fake news and disinformation, which we launched in 2018. As a matter of fact, as far back as 2017, when we dedicated that year’s National Council on Information to the issue of fake news and disinformation, we had been expressing concerns on the dangers posed by irresponsible use of the new media platform. “The concerns culminated in the launch of the national campaign which I referred to earlier.
” The social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, both public and private. Pictures of persons, including some celebrities, who were supposedly killed at the Lekki Toll Gate by soldiers, were circulated widely, only for those persons to refute such claims or for the discerning to disprove such posts. As we have said many times, no responsible government will stand by and allow such abuse of social media to continue.
“The fake news/disinformation purveyors have latched on to our concerns to allege that the Federal Government is planning to shut down social media. No, we have no plans to shut down the social media.
” What we have always advocated, and what we will do, is to regulate the social media. Nigeria is not alone in this regard. The issue of social media regulation is an ongoing debate not just in Nigeria but around the world, including in the United States, which is the flag flyer of constitutional democracy. Even the owners of the various social media platforms, including Facebook, are increasingly joining the call for content regulation.
“Some respected opinion leaders have been playing to the gallery on the issue of social media regulation by making inciting and incendiary statements, while some other individuals and groups have been threatening fire and brimstone over the issue of social media regulation.
“What they have failed to understand is that the only reason we are even able to have this debate is because we have a country.
” If we allow the abuse of social media to precipitate uncontrolled internecine violence, the kind of which was narrowly averted during the EndSARS crisis, no one will remember or be able to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, for whatever purpose.
” It is incumbent upon us all, therefore, to strike a balance between free speech – which this Administration is committed to upholding – and fake news/disinformation, which it is determined to fight.”
Rapp Seer ft Koo Ntakra – Guy
Fast rising Ghanaian artiste, Rapp Seer has released this latest record which he titles; ‘Guy’.
On t his Itz Joe Beatz production, Rapp Seer unites with talented Ghanaian prolific rapper and ‘Wurewurafo’ crooner, Isaac Akuffo
popularly known by his stage name Koo Ntakra to unleash this impressive tune.
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Listen and download mp3 below.
Rapp Seer ft Koo Ntakra – Guy (0 downloads)
Go Out and Vote oo
Guys, the bye-elections are finally here upon us. For over a month now, we have been talking about taking charge of our country by voting for people who are competent enough to run the affairs of the state. Now, that time has come.
Remember that someone commissioned toilets in Lagos and some House of Assembly members called us children while calling for a social media regulation. It’s time to do something about that.
Today, INEC will conduct bye-elections in 15 senatorial and state constituencies cutting across 36 LGAs in 11 states. About 151 candidates will take part in these elections to fill vacancies mostly caused by deaths and resignations to contest for higher offices.
The scheduled polls are Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State, Bayo State Constituency, Borno State, Cross River North Senatorial District and Obudu State Constituency, Cross River State, Imo North Senatorial District, Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe II State Constituency, Plateau South Senatorial District, Bakura State Constituency, Zamfara State and Ibaji State Constituency, Kogi State.
Image source: @YIAGA
To ensure safety, the Inspector General of Police has placed restrictions on movement from 6am – 6pm in the 36 LGAs where voting will take place, except you are an essential worker or you are going out to vote.
For those of us who have our voters card with us, it is very important to turn up at the polling units and cast our vote. It doesn’t end there, we should all vote for candidates who have, over time, proved to be competent and trustworthy. Many of these candidates (see them here) have been in politics for long so before you vote for any of them, ask yourself: what projects have he/she completed in the past years, what policies have he/she initiated or encouraged in the past few years, what qualifications do they have and what makes them worthy to be voted in, how consistent has this candidate been in initiating and executing projects that have been beneficial to the people, how innovative are they?
This is not the time to be blinded by tribe or religion. The candidate is my uncle’s sister’s friend’s neighbour should not count in this case. Remember that Nigerian senators have unlimited tenure and can remain in the chamber for as long as they are re-elected in general elections. David Mark served for 20 whole years. So if you vote in an incompetent senator, well, e go be. Nepotism will not make Nigeria better in any way.
In Lagos, only those at Ibeju-Lekki, Somolu, Bariga, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Epe, Ikosi Isheri, Agboyi ketu, Eredo, Ejinrin, and so on, are eligible to vote today. If you live within these areas, bikonu, turn up. If you are also eligible to vote in other states, turn up. Go out and vote. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of other people – who could be bribed to vote for certain candidates.
Remember that it is important to vote both at the lowest and highest levels. Having a say in who represents us at the grassroots level means we can hold them responsible when certain things go wrong. Don’t sit at home and say, “I’ll vote in 2023 jare.” A lot can happen within 3 years and it is crucial to start exercising our basic rights now and ensuring only qualified candidates, who understand our fundamental human rights and are willing to uphold it, are voted in.
If you are still not sure if you should go out to vote or not, remember that a bag of rice is about 30,000 Naira now – the same as the minimum wage. Remember you can go out tomorrow and SARS might harass you and collect all the money you have been saving since January. Remember that almost 15 million Nigerian youths are out of jobs. We need a better Nigeria and it starts with your thumbprint.
Still at home? Gbe body, go out and cast your vote.
”I’m okay here o” – Singer Simi replies fan who said she’s supposed to be singing in Heaven
Popular Nigerian singer, Simi, was engaged in a funny Twitter exchange with a follower who said she’s supposed to be singing in heaven.
The fan was probably overwhelmed by the beautiful voice Simi has been blessed with and he posted a compliment that seemed out of context.
The fan wrote ;
Simi is one of the singers that are suppose to be in Heaven singing.
Hallelujah to God, cause this world don’t deserve that voice.
”Singing in heaven” might have a darker meaning because Simi would have to leave this earth get to heaven and the tweet got the attention of the mother-of-one and she replied ;
Please oh I’m not complaining oh. I’m ok here oh
Please oh I’m not complaining oh. I’m ok here oh https://t.co/pNUk7zLdL9
— Simi (@SympLySimi) December 4, 2020
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