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Nigerian press highlights likely showdown between security forces, #EndSARS protesters, others

The likely showdown between security forces and #EndSARS activists may be in the offing as the protesters have unfolded plans to scale up their campaigns and the protest by the Nigeria Union of Traders Association in Ghana over the delay to reopen their shops are the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.ThisDay reports that a showdown between security forces and #EndSARS activists may be in the offing as the protesters yesterday unfolded plans to scale up the campaign to force the Nigerian government to meet their demands to stop alleged police brutality, among others, by blocking critical road arteries in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Lagos, the country’s economic nerve centre.

The protesters, in a tweet, said today, they would block three of Abuja’s most strategic highways: the Kubwa- Zuba Expressway, the Abuja International Airport Road and the Abuja-Keffi Road.

The threat came on the heels of an allegation by the federal government that hoodlums and people with ulterior motives have hijacked the ongoing #EndSARS campaign to destabilise the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, while featuring in a radio programme at the weekend, wondered why the protest is still going on despite the fact that the federal government had met some of the campaigners’ demands.

He warned that the federal government could not allow the disruption to social and economic activities to persist.

The newspaper says that the Nigeria Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) embarked on a protest at the weekend over Ghanaian authorities’ delay to reopen shops owned by Nigerians in that country.

The President of NUTAG, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nnaji, who led the protest told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview that Ghanaian authorities refused to reopen their shops since 2019.

He noted that the Ghanaian authorities’ refusal to open the traders’ shops was despite meetings between top officials of both governments of Nigeria and Ghana.

He said the protest was to press the Ghanaian authorities to reopen their shops, to enable them to tackle economic challenges amid COVID-19.

According to him, the shops locked for over one year should be reopened to enable the traders to return to normal businesses.

The Guardian reports that ethnic nationalities yesterday voiced support for the ongoing Anti-SARS protests as military plans deployment of troops for routine operations tomorrow. There are concerns that the timing of the nationwide military exercise could degenerate the already tensed situation following youths’ insistence on total lockdown of the country from today (Monday).

Yoruba, Niger Delta and Igbo groups said deployment of troops to stop #ENDSARS would be treasonable and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to desist from such moves.

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, warned the Nigerian army to refrain from worsening the already tensed situation in the country with the Operation Crocodile Smiles exercise, just as the PAN Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) believes that the exercise was a ploy to scare off protesters and stop peaceful agitation.

A coalition of labour and civil society groups, the Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) warned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai and his men that they would be risking facing the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague if any of the ENDARS protesters was killed.

Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), yesterday, said that northerners might join Southern ENDSARS protesters. It said the Federal Government would be making a big mistake by involving the military in quelling the protests.

The country has been in turmoil for almost two weeks now, where Nigerians, especially youths, have continued to press demand for reform of the Nigeria Police Force in its entirety.

The Punch says that following the ongoing protests against police brutality in the country, airfares on domestic routes have increased.
The increase in the price regime was reflected by several carriers on weekend flights for one-way trips from Lagos to Abuja. Before now, the cost of flights ranged from N27,000 to N38,000 depending on the class of ticket purchased.
However, Arik Air recorded N43,944 for economy and N99,176 for business class tickets on Sunday, according to checks by our correspondent.
For Aero contractors, passengers were expected to cough out between N34,310 and N87,812 for flexible economy and business class respectively. Dana Air was not left out as it prices ranged for N36,000 to N42,300 for economy Saver while Economy Flexible stood at 47,000.
Prices on Air Peace ranged from N38,800 to N60,000 for economy flexi while it recorded N80,000 for business for flights on October Sunday.
The Nation says that producers still are battling shortage of maize to meet feed requirements, the President, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Ibrahim has said.
He made this known in a chat with The Nation, explained that although new maize has arrived the market, but that they were not good for feed because of large water content.
During the lockdown, scarce supplies and high prices on feed market affected thousands of poultry farmers as the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for farmers to go to their farms and for millers to be able to distribute enough feed among poultry farms at a guaranteed price.
He noted that the importation of 262,000 metric tonnes of maize saved Nigeria from a food crisis. He said that PAN was in support of the maize import as part of the measures by the Federal Government to bridge the supply gap forced on local farmers by several factors, including flooding, which has ravaged several farms and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He called on the Federal Government to peg interest rates on borrowing to the sector to a maximum of three per cent to encourage private sector investments in agriculture.

Published on 28.04.2020

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