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Address Nigerians, Senate tells Buhari as soldiers disperse Abuja protesters

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The Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation now in view tension generated by the over 10 days of protests across the country by youths demanding good governance and an end to police brutality.

The advice came as soldiers stormed Kubwa area of Abuja in three trucks and reportedly fired several gunshots in the air to disperse protesters who were regrouping for the day’s street protest.

Apart from Abuja, the protests have led to violence in Lagos and Edo States among others as hoodlums are said to have hijacked the peaceful agitation to raze many police stations, attack innocent people and cause commotion in the affected cities.

Policemen and soldiers have been deployed around the Aso Rock gate of the presidential villa as armed thugs had earlier converged on the Eagle Square located at the Three-Arm Zone of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Already, governors of Lagos, Edo, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti states have declared 24-hour curfew in their states to avert a total breakdown of law and order. But the stay-at-home order has not completely deterred the #EndSARS protesters from their street demonstration.

Apart from Buhari addressing Nigerians to douse tension, the Senate also asked the police to offer protection for the #EndSARS protesters wherever they might be engaged in peaceful demonstration.

Senator Biodun Olujimi’s point of order, titled, ‘#EndSARS: The need for a comprehensive reform’ prompted the Senate’s resolution for Buhari to personally speak up on the issue immediately.

The senators, however pleaded with the protesters to stop their street protests and allow the Federal Government to address their demands.

They also asked the President to urgently set up a judicial panel of enquiry comprising eminent Nigerians to identify those notorious SARS operatives for immediate arrest and prosecution.

Meanwhile, there was tension in the Sokale and FO1 areas of Kubwa, Abuja on Tuesday morning following as soldiers fired gunshots in the air to disperse some #EndSARS protesters who had gathered to begin the day’s protest.

The protesters had barricaded the Sokale roundabout area and Winners road in readiness for the protest when the soldiers arrived at the place in three trucks.

Hoodlums also took over some parts of the Apo Mechanic village and reportedly attacked motorists and attempted to loot some shops in the area.

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FG Not Aware Of $875m Arms Deal With US – Lai

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The Federal Government says it is not aware of any $875 million ammunition deal with the US.

 

Daily Trust had reported how Foreign Policy highlighted the action of US lawmakers on the proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military.

Reuters had quoted three sources as saying the deal was blocked over concerns about possible human rights abuses by the Federal Government.

 

But speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the reports as “fake news”.

 

The minister said there was no contract of such nature between Nigeria and the US.

“There is no contract of arms between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States of America today apart from the 12 Super Tucano Attack Helicopters of which six had been delivered.”

 

“We are quite satisfied with the progress and cooperation that we received from the government of the US on this issue.

 

“As a matter of fact, six of the Tucano helicopter will be launched on August 3, this year.

 

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Britain Launches 2nd Phase Of Collaboration Against Trafficking At Nigeria-Niger Border

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The British High Commission in Nigeria has launched the second Phase of the Collaboration Against Trafficking and Smuggling at the Nigeria-Niger border programme (CATS NN).

 

The launching took place on Thursday 29 July, during a joint event hosted by the British High Commission with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

The CATS programme was developed following the signing of the Sandhurst Treaty between the UK and France in 2018.

 

Under the Sandhurst Treaty, France and the UK committed to collaborating on regional border management capacity as well as on countering trafficking in people, modern slavery and Organised Immigration Crime.

Speaking at the event, the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said the United Kingdom; “is a proud ally of Nigeria in its efforts to tackle human trafficking and supporting Nigerian victims and survivors through a variety of programmes that provides shelters, physical and mental health interventions and rehabilitation and integration.”

 

She said the CATS programme would help Nigerian and Nigerien migration services and anti-trafficking agencies tackle their shared challenges.

 

On his part, Franz Celestin, Chief of Mission for the IOM in Nigeria, said: “Trafficking in persons is still on the rise and counts as one of the top three most profitable illegal businesses worldwide.

“Driven by the demand for cheap labour and commercial sex, trafficking rings across borders and within countries take advantage of economic, social and political vulnerabilities to exploit their victims.

 

“As IOM, we welcome the UK Home Office’s Collaboration Against Trafficking and Smuggling Programme between Nigeria and Niger to enhance migration governance and an effective counter-trafficking response between the two countries.

 

Also, Barbara Rijks, Chief of Mission for the IOM in Niger, said Nigeria and Niger were both important countries along the Central Mediterranean Route, stretching from sub-Saharan Africa to the southern European coast.

 

While noting that the border remained one of the most perilous in the world today, she said IOM Niger welcomes the UK Government’s support to strengthen cross border collaboration between Niger and Nigeria.

 

The Nigeria-Niger border is, at around 1600km long, the single longest land border within ECOWAS and is challenging to control.

 

In 2013 the United Nations General Assembly declared the 30 July as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

 

This year’s theme, “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way”, aims to amplify the voices of victims, putting their experiences and their perspectives at the centre of counter-trafficking responses and prevention efforts.

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Sick El-Zakzaky’s wife flown abroad after acquittal

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Mrs. Zeenat Ibraheem has been rushed abroad to an undisclosed hospital less than 48 hours after she and her husband, leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) El-Zakzaky were released.

 

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They were discharged and acquitted by a High Court on charges of culpable homicide on Wednesday.

 

Justice Gideon Kurada discharged El-zakzaky and his wife Zeenat, from the eight charges pressed against them by the State Government for lack of merit.

 

Mohammed El-Zakzaky, the son of the IMN leader, in a statement on Friday said El-Zakzaky also traveled with his wife.

 

Mohammed expressed gratitude to Allah and all those that stood by them during the ordeal that lasted for almost 6 years.

 

He said: “As you are aware, yesterday my father Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and Mother Zeenah Ibraheem have recently regained their freedom, after the Kaduna state High Court discharged and acquitted them of all charges filed by the current Kaduna State Administration.

I along with our entire family, wish to especially thank those men, women and children who stood firm in the face of injustice, risking life and limb to demand justice and freedom for them, both inside and outside this country.

“Of special note are the heroes who marched daily in Abuja non stop for 5 years, a monumental act of sacrifice seldom heard of and certainly unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

 

“I wish to express our gratitude to human rights organizations who continued to help provide us with a voice during this difficult time.

 

“Of special note Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and especially The Islamic Human Rights Commission for ensuring that the Atrocities carried out in December 2015 could not be simply covered up.

 

“We hail the efforts of free media and those journalists whose commitment to the truth shone even in the face of censorship, threats and often lethal violence.

 

“We commend your steadfastness and bravery, and wish to thank you for all those times you refused to turn a blind eye to tyranny, discrimination and other crimes being committed in the name of the state.

 

“Last but certainly not least I wish to thank my parent’s competent and loyal legal team that was ably led by Chief Femi Falana SAN, who despite all the malicious maneuvers to delay, manipulate and obstruct judicial due process, the legal team persevered and ultimately prevailed. We will be eternally grateful for your efforts.”

 

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