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Gunshots rock Abuja market as police confront COVID-19 palliative looters

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Fear has gripped traders at the UTC market, Area 10, Garki, Abuja and residents of the area as security operatives battled hoodlums attempting to loot a warehouse in the area.

The Punch reports that policemen and other security personnel are firing gunshots and tear gas to deter hoodlums who stormed a warehouse with COVID-19 palliatives early this morning.

The warehouse is located in the precinct of the Cyprian Ekwensi building and the UTC market.

A graphics designer, Segun Stickers, said the UTC market and the big shopping plaza in the area had been shut down.

“We are presently locked inside the UTC market. The police are firing gunshots and tear gas to stave off the attack by the hoodlums who were trying to loot the COVID-19 palliatives kept in a warehouse here.

“Many people were injured while trying to escape attack by the hoodlums and the whole area is in turmoil, ” he said on the phone.

Our correspondent could hear gunshots just as a voice was heard ordering the traders to shut down their shops and go home.

The Federal Capital Territory police spokesperson, ASP Mariam Yusuf, confirmed that the police were deployed at the UTC market and other public infrastructure to prevent suspected hoodlums from looting.

It was learnt that a similar situation is presently happening in Bukuru, Jos South, Plateau State, where residents are carting away COVID-19 palliatives.

An eyewitness explained that hundreds of Bukuru residents are currently at the warehouse located at Old NITEL beside Total filling station taking away foodstuffs, including bags of rice and millet stored by the state government.

-The Punch

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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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