There is something worse than crying more than the bereaved. On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration as the President of the United States, a crowd anti-Trump protesters got unruly and clashed with Trump's supporters and police in Washington DC. The police pepper sprayed the protesters and added chemical spray as deterrence. This happened in the famed "land of freedom' on the eve of one of the most significant waypoint in US democracy – the inauguration of a new president. The protesters, knowing the are in breach of the law, had nothing to say to the police that were simply doing their job of maintaining law and order. 

At about the same time in Nigeria, the news was making the rounds about the Nigeria Police arresting the publisher of online newspaper, Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi and its judicial correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu. Both were taken in on the strength of a petition about Premium Times libelous publication against the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Buratai. According to a police officer quoted in one of the frenzied reports in the wake of the arrests, criminal libel is not being ruled out, which would potentially transform what the journalists are dealing with from a civil to a criminal case. 

The news site later crowed in one of its headlines that "Nigerian Police bow to pressure, release detained PREMIUM TIMES journalists," which offers an insight into the kind of belligerent attitude that is prevalent in the publication and among its cohort. The new normal is for these outfits to begin their work from the point of view of being the enemy of establishment as opposed to acknowledging their role as a component that is essential for the nation's survival. 

Of course, news of the arrest triggered social media chatter on scale that was sufficient to drown out news about police in the US pepper spraying anti-Trump protesters. By the way, the same crowd that was condemning the arrest of the journalists were the bulk, being ignorant of American dynamics, never believed that Donald Trump will win the election. The anger expressed by these newfound online activists was therefore misdirected in the most part being the product misinformation that has been deliberately or unconsciously orchestrated by Premium Times in the few years of its existence. 

A sad reality of dealing with mass hysteria of half informed people online is the spiral of silence that sets in for those with alternate view of events. According to, "Originally proposed by German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann in 1974, Spiral of silence is the term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject." 

Wrong was thus bestowed the toga of right simply because the baying mob would lynch anyone that as much as offer an alternative view to their fixation on vilifying those they have labelled "enemy of democracy. Yet, this prejudiced stance is as damaging as it is misleading since it overlooks the failings of Premium Times to whose rescue they so promptly rushed. 

The cyber Nazis are right on one account though. There is an emergency dictatorship. Interestingly and contrary to the impression being created, the dictator is neither the police nor the Nigerian Army, who in this case are the victims of online trolls. The dictatorship is the horde of online sites, led by Premium Times with its wrongly informed supporters and other platforms in similar fashion that place themselves above the laws of the land, conventions and even common sense. 

Only a resolute dictator like Premium Times would gloss over the grievous allegations the Army made against it by trying to exploit the court of public opinion to turn the tables. The military severally accused it of sabotaging the war on terror by running propaganda materials for Boko Haram, using its platform as a cover to publish information about troops movement and working in collaboration with foreign interests to unravel Nigeria. Even if these accusations were false, which they have not been proven to be, the newspaper should have in line with the standard it seeks to impose on others explain its version of the story not resort to abusing its platform to wage war on the nation's vital institutions. This too is dictatorship. 

It is a sick behavior that has led to the death of troops betrayed by Premium Time's treachery. The blood of civilians that died following from the publication's romance with Boko Haram drips from the hands of the newspaper writers. 

Because people are not connecting the dots, they are not seeing worrisome patterns. Amnesty International is one of the foreign entities that several groups had accused of having hidden agenda in Nigeria with further claims that it uses pliant media platforms for the execution of such destabilization projects. It is notable that Amnesty International was among those that tweeted condemnation of the arrests before it had time to know the facts of the matter, this suggest collusion on a scale that may be detrimental to collective interest of Nigerians. 

Others that demanded blanket immunity for Premium Times to embark on wholesale impunity are the celebrity activists, persons' with ambiguous credentials whose only claim to relevance is the large following of unenlightened educate oafs that will curse their own parents when doing so is considered western, modern and funky. They live daily with the delusion which is, they can make enough noise on social media then it becomes law. 

Someone must wake the online community up to the reality that the loudest and most vicious persons of the about 7 million Tweets or 16 million Facebook profiles do not constitute a majority in a country with an estimated population of 186 million. The idea that they can ask for and get a carte blanc is therefore not only ridiculous but also dangerous. If they can force the police to become zombie-like or push the military into docility who will protect the country when the meltdown they are inviting comes?

Furthermore, if everyone were to abuse their constitutionally recognized professional tools against their neighbors in line with what Premium Times has started which is now being advocated, soldiers would have killed all the police in Nigeria, police killed all the motorists and all journalists sent to prison by judges and lawyers who themselves would have succumb to killed medications that doctors and nurses would administer. 

No. The rest of us, sane Nigerians, cannot continue to indulge Premium Times with a carte blanc. Its dictatorship is a danger to our democracy and it must be stopped now that it is still possible.
Onoja a public affairs analyst writes from Jos, Plateau State.

Turkish School Kidnappers
Distraught parents of children, who were abducted from the Turkish International College, Isheri, Ogun State, yesterday rallied to jointly raise N7.250 million for ransom.

This was disclosed yesterday by one of the parents. The parents, who were sick with worry, with many of them taking time off from their work, took matters into their hands after waiting for fruitful results from the Nigeria Police.

Since the abduction of the eight females from the school, including two Turkish nationals, the school had been shut down.

The closure of the school forced the parents to look for an alternative avenue at Ikeja, where they now often meet to discuss and rub minds on how to assist in the rescue of their children. The abductors had earlier demanded N100 million for each of the students, while demanding N300 million each for the Turkish nationals.

The kidnappers, during the week, brought down the ransom, but it was still an amount the parents couldn’t afford. According to a source: “The parents met yesterday at Ikeja.

They were able to gathered N7.250m. They got in touch with the kidnappers, but the men said the money was too small. They asked them to go and add more to the money, if they wanted their kids to be released.”

Earlier in the week, parents met to discuss raising part of the ransom, hopeful, that some money would pacify the abductors and make them to release their children. The meeting ended in a fiasco, with parents split in two factions.

While some argued that they should jointly raise N15 million, others said N50 million would soothe the kidnappers.

But yesterday, they met to look at what they had gathered. After taking count, the money was N7.250 million, but the kidnappers snubbed the offer.

Just like the classical Oliver Twist, the abductors asked for more money. It also gathered that following the arrest of the two militant kingpins, Philip Joel Kakadu (aka General Kakadu), 29, a native of Egbema Kingdom, Warri North Local Government Area and Romeo Council, 40, aka Raw, the Inspector- General of Police, Ibrahim Idris’s Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) operatives, have divided into five teams.

According to sources, this move came as a result of confessions from Kakadu about the abduction of the eight females.

Kakadu had earlier told police that the abduction was, a ‘Joint Operation,’ among three different gangs of kidnappers.

He told police that he contributed five men and planned the abduction, but didn’t go with them. Police said since his arrest, he has been singing none stop.

Kakadu was arrested after four years on Police Wanted List for bank robbery, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping.

He was the unseen face, but known name in police circles, behind the popular Agbara, Festac, Lekki and Ikorodu bank robberies.

Kakadu and his men were known for blowing up banks’ doors and vaults with dynamites. It was, however, based on his confessions, that the IRT operatives have spread into states in South-South and South-West.

It was gathered that more than 16 suspects, had been arrested earlier, including women, but thorough investigations by the IRT operatives, whittled down the number.

Presently, five confirmed suspects, including a lady, are among the suspects in police custody. In another development, it was gathered that the Turkish School, has finally hired people to clear the bushes behind the school.

The move ought to have elicited shouts of joy from parents, but parents were rather disgusted and sneered.

Obasanjo Playing ayo game as Jonathan Other watch in his village
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo (right) with a former Minister of National
Planing, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar (stooping second right); ex-president
Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola (behind Jonathan)
 and a guest during the Ayo Game which was part of the visit to
Obasanjo’s ancestral village, Ibogun in Ogun State...yesterday
Photo Credit: The Nation Newspaper
Jestingly, former President Olusegun Obasanjo took a swipe at his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan when he sneaked in to his Obogun ancestral village home in Ogun State.

Obasanjo, who orchestrated Jonathan's enthronement and also an architect of his defeat in the 2015 election, minced no word when he said, "you are now wiser when you left office"

The rare meeting between the duo who were bitterly divided in the run-up to the election saw Obasanjo tell his host how wise he (Jonathan) had become since leaving office.

“When leaders come, they have little or no experience. When they have to go is when they have really amassed a lot of experience, where they have wisdom, their  experience is  in high demand, The Nation Newspaper reports

“Those like you and me who have the grace of God to bow out gracefully, if there is now what I call constitutional office, we have residual responsibilities for Nigeria,”Obasanjo said.

With Jonathan on the trip, which observers branded as fence mending  yesterday , were former Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Kabir Turaki; a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar; King A.J.Turner ;and a former Chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency( FERMA), Engr. Jide Adeniji.

They flew into the village in a chartered helicopter at about  11.30am.

The visit lasted about four hours of which Obasanjo and Jonathan alone spoke behind closed doors  for  40 minutes.

No member of Jonathan’s  entourage or Obasanjo’s associates was allowed into the inner room where the  secret talks took place.

One source said yesterday that the   visit was part of Jonathan’s new rapprochement with some of the  key figures that had a hand  in his defeat in the April 2015 polls.

Obasanjo received his visitor in company with former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who was ousted as National Secretary of the then ruling PDP by Jonathan and his loyalists.

Obasanjo took  Jonathan round the village for a door-to-door greeting of the elders and the residents.

The people sang and danced in appreciation of Jonathan’s visit.

Obasanjo, welcoming Jonthan, said: “The first point I want to make is to thank you very sincerely and most sincerely for taking it upon yourself to pay us a visit at this point in time and at this location.  Secondly, since you left office, you hardly have time to sit down and relax like you have been able to do today and I hope, I sincerely hope and pray for more such relaxed situation where we can reminisce on situations of the past that we have been through in this country and we can also look at what the future portends.

“I believe that not only Nigeria, West Africa and Africa and indeed the world will continue to tap our experiences,   our wisdom and I hope and pray that when the call is made to you, you will be more than ready to put your experience, the lessons you have learnt into the service of this country, for African and indeed for humanity in general.

“ I have said to you before and I will say again that there are plenty of opportunities out there, within the country, within West Africa, within Africa and indeed in the larger world where people will want you to make contributions.

“I believe that you are resting now and when you have fully rested and you will be hearing from me because I have this opportunity to be around the world and if I mention your name in dispatch, I thank you sincerely that you have received us as we are in this village to prove to you that we are in a typical village, I was telling you that your village is better than mine.

“I want to say that we have it. Nigeria is a good country and we must never be tired of lifting the country up to the height that God has created it to be and God did not make a mistake when he put all of us together and if He doesn’t want us to be together no power in the world will have made us come together.

“My regards to everybody at home, especially your wife. Please, tell her that my wife sends her regards and I hope sooner or later we will be on your part of the world to enjoy the atmosphere together.  I want to thank you on behalf of everyone here in this village.”

Explaining his mission,Jonathan said he had planned to visit Obasanjo during the yuletide in  company with former military ruler, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), but the plan fell through owing to unforeseen circumstances.

He said the idea came about when he visited Babangida in Minna when the two of them agreed to come to Ibogun.

Jonathan thanked Obasanjo for the warm reception accorded him and entourage.

Thereafter,  Obasanjo and Jonathan retired to one of the sittings rooms for  “strictly personal talks for 40 minutes.”

Talks over, Obasanjo and one of his friends launched into the popular Yoruba game of ayo.

Jonathan watched as the game went.

A source at the meeting said he was “full of admiration” for it.

It was not immediately clear if the trip was part of the ongoing political realignment for 2019 general elections.

But a top source simply said: “It is a reunion of Papa and his son. Do not read any meaning into it.

“The ex-President decided to make it a private visit in order to be able to have frank talks with Obasanjo.

“During the visit, Obasanjo and Jonathan locked themselves up for 40 minutes. No member of Jonathan’s entourage nor Obasanjo’s associates in Ibogun was allowed to be part of the private session.

“All I can tell you is that the two leaders were able to iron out a few things and Jonathan has since returned to Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.”

“At the end of the visit, ex-Minister Turaki, who is the Chairman of ex-Ministers Forum, gave the vote of thanks.”

Jonathan  started out as Obasanjo’s political godson having been plucked out of  office as Bayelsa State governor to become  presidential running mate in the 2007 election.

He went on to become president, following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua and won the 2011 election.

The parting of ways came in 2015, following  persistent disagreements between them with Obasanjo launching vitriolic attacks  on Jonathan culminating in the     tearing of his membership card of the PDP and openly campaigning against Jonathan’s re-election.

They had not seen eye to eye since then until yesterday.

Yahya  Jammeh
BBC News - The Gambia's long-term leader Yahya Jammeh says he will step down, after refusing to accept defeat in elections.

In an announcement on state TV, he said it was "not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed".

The statement followed hours of talks between Mr Jammeh and West African mediators. He gave no details of what deal might have been struck.
Mr Jammeh has led the country for 22 years but was defeated in December's election by Adama Barrow.

Mr Barrow has been in neighbouring Senegal for days and was inaugurated as president in the Gambian embassy there on Thursday.

Troops from several West African nations, including Senegal, have been deployed in The Gambia, threatening to drive Mr Jammeh out of office if he did not agree to go.

The new president, Adama Barrow, was sworn-in in Senegal on Thursday

Mr Jammeh's decision to quit came after talks with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania.

"I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians," he said.

"I promise before Allah and the entire nation that all the issues we currently face will be resolved peacefully."

Shortly before the TV address, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said that a deal had been struck and that Mr Jammeh would leave the country. He gave no further details.

Mr Jammeh was given an ultimatum to leave office or be forced out by UN-backed troops, which expired at 16:00 GMT on Friday.

The deadline was set by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a regional grouping backed by the United Nations.

The first signs of a breakthrough came on Friday when a senior aide to the new president told the BBC's Umaru Fofana that Mr Jammeh had agreed to step down.

Mr Jammeh had at first accepted defeat in the election but then reversed his position and said he would not step down.
He declared a 90-day state of emergency, blaming irregularities in the electoral process.

The electoral commission accepted that some of its early results had contained errors but said they would not have affected Mr Barrow's win.
Mr Jammeh had vowed to stay in office until new elections were held.

President Trume Taking Oath of Office
On Friday, billionaire businessman, Donald J. Trump, was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America.

After he took oath of office, he read out his inaugural speech, in which he stressed that Americans have taken back the reins of power.

Trump thanked his predecessor, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, for their cooperation throughout the transition period.

The 70-year-old also claimed his inauguration, “will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

Read full speech below:

“Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.

They have been magnificent.

Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment.

It belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day.

This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.

Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs.

We will bring back our borders.

We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour.

Together we will make America great again.

Yahya Jammeh
The embattled Gambian President Yahya Jammeh may have at last agreed to leave the Presidency at pressure mounts, report twitted by BBC News suggest.

 A French journalist, Cicola Germain, who is privy to the ongoing negotiations tweeted that Jammeh currently writing statement where he accepted to leave:
Meanwhile, the latest tweet from the internationally recognised president of the Gambia Adama Barrow hints that he may be leaving Senegal. He thanks his hosts:
Gambia's new president has said that Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years and refused to step down after losing the recent election, has finally "agreed to leave".

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Adama Barrow said Jammeh would also leave the country.

 "I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia," he tweeted.
Barrow was sworn-in at Gambia's embassy in Dakar in neighbouring Senegal on Thursday.

Red carpets were on Friday reportedly laid out at the airport in Gambia's capital in what appeared to be preparations for a speech by Jammeh and a departure.

Also on Friday, Gambia's chief of defence forces Ousmane Badjie pledged his allegiance to the country's new president, a major shift as mediation continued to persuade defeated Jammeh to cede power.

Jammeh had rejected Barrow's December 1 election win, despite significant pressure from regional powers and the UN, sparking a major crisis.
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