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Lekki shootings: Four generals to testify before Lagos panel today

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After a week’s break, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate by soldiers on the night of October 20 will resume sitting today (Saturday).

The retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel had adjourned on November 7 when its proceedings were frustrated over inability to form quorum due to the boycott of the sitting by the two youth panel members protesting against the freezing of the bank account of #EndSARS promoters by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Nigerian Army, which had been scheduled to testify before the panel then, was unable to do so.

The panel fixed today for the Nigerian Army to return to give its testimony.

The Nigerian Army has listed three Brigadier Generals and one Lieutenant Colonel, who will testify before the panel.

The top military officers, whose statements on oath have already been submitted to the panel, are  the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo;  Chief of Staff, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, VI, Lagos, Brig. Gen. Nsikak Edet; Commander, 81 Division Garrison, VI, Brig. Gen. Francis Omata; Commander, 9 Brigade, Ikeja, Brig. Gen. Musa Etsu-Ndagi; and Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp, VI, Lt. Col. Salisu Bello.

The military said it is bringing before the panel “expended blank ammunition, which was used to disperse the crowd by firing into the air on 20th day of October, 2020; unexpended 7.62mm ammunition ( a detailed explanation of the use of this ammunition will be given at the hearing); an expended live ammunition and also an unexpended live ammunition (a detailed explanation of these ammunition will be given at the hearing); 13 flash drives containing the recorded videos of the Army involvement in the incident and news report from the British Broadcasting Corporation on the incident and other stations.”

SARS brutality victims narrate ordeal in C’River, Ekiti

Meanwhile, victims of SARS brutality have narrated their ordeals in the hands of the personnel in some states.

They spoke during the sitting of judicial panels set up by the state governments.

Also, a victim of police brutality in Calabar narrated how the police broke into her home, arrested her and took her to Lagos in her night gown.

The victim, Scholastica Ojeka, who was a nursing mother at the time of the incident on September 4, 2014, narrated her ordeal  to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Restitution in Calabar on Friday.

The civil servant told the panel headed by retired Justice Michael Edem that she and her husband had paid a rent of N340,000 for an apartment to a landlord  and moved in only for another man to show up and claim to be the landlord.

Ojeka, who testified under oath, narrated how she was arrested with her baby in her apartment in Calabar on September 4, 2014 by men of the Nigeria Police Force and taken to Alagbon in Lagos.

“We were detained in Lagos until my husband went to the Force headquarters in Abuja to lay a complaint and they were directed to let us go. In fact, one of them while apologising said I didn’t tell her that we had someone in Abuja,” she said.

She demanded the sum of N500m and an apology in a national daily as compensation.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Michael Edem, adjourned sitting to Thursday, November 19.

Also, Mrs Ogunleye Ajayi, the wife of a late Sgt Musiliu Ajayi of the disbanded SARS, told the Ekiti State Judicial Panel on Human Rights Violations by Police Officers and other Persons that her husband’s death still remained a mystery.

The woman, a mother of four, told the panel that she had yet to know the cause of death of her husband, who left home for work hale and hearty on January 2, 2019 but was dead less than two hours after.

She said under cross-examination on Friday, “My husband, who left home on January 2nd, 2019 by 6.30am, never returned home alive. I received an emergency call from Police Hospital in Ado Ekiti by 8:30am only to get there and find out that my husband was dead.

“There were strange bruises on the dead body of my husband and the motorcycle he rode on was parked at the police station. No assistance has come to me from any person, group of persons or any organisation for the care of my children,” she said.

The woman, however, sought government assistance on the care, needs and education of her children which she said was now very difficult for her because her husband was the breadwinner of the family.

Her counsel, Samson Osobu, told the panel that three witnesses would testify on the case.

The panel requested for the investigaion report from the police on the matter and then adjourned the case for continuation on November 24, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Osun State Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi, has suggested how future protests by Nigerians could be organised to achieve results.

Alabi, who spoke in Iwo on the sidelines of an event organised by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress for the adoption of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for another term, said a protest without a leader would be hijacked.

-Punch

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Igboho: Yoruba monarchs, others in Benin Republic court

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Many supporters of embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, have stormed the Cour De’appal De Cotononu for his trial.
Some traditional rulers of Yoruba-speaking areas in Benin Republic are leading Igboho’s supporters to the court ahead of the arrival of Igboho, who was arrested in the country last week.
A group, Isokan Omo Odua, had mobilised supporters for the embattled supporter as a sign of solidarity.
BBC Yoruba reported that anxious supporters were seen outside the court premises waiting for the arrival of Igboho.

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Nigerian-American financial analyst Adenle wins award

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An international non-profit based in Seattle, United States of America, Women in Voice (WiV), has awarded its DEI In Voice award to Dr Omolabake Adenle.

 

Adenle, a Nigerian- American quantitative financial analyst, who won the award – which recognises outstanding contributions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in voice – “for making African languages accessible to voice solutions” had three other finalists in this category of the WiV awards.

 

Holder of a PhD in Bayesian Signal Processing from Cambridge University, the founder/chief executive officer of Aja.La Studios, which builds natural language and speech processing applications for under-resourced languagesm had in 2017 been a finalist in the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa organised by the African Innovation Foundation.

 

Grateful for the WiV Award, she said it would help “contribute to the momentum needed to work towards making voice technologies accessible to all Africans” noting that “building a speech technology company that provides broad support of African languages is extremely challenging, (but) voice technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of information and service access in Africa.”

 

It is her belief that ““digitising African languages will help make information more accessible to Africans.”

 

Formerly a vice president for quantitative and derivative strategies at Morgan Stanley in the United Kingdom, she started building African language-learning apps such as SpeakYorubaApp in her free time.

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Onochie to know fate on INEC job Tuesday

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The public is expected to know on Tuesday (tomorrow) the outcome of the screening of a Senate panel of the Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, and five others nominated for appointment as national commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission.

The panel, it was learnt, would submit its report to the plenary on Tuesday.

Onochie, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi, Saidu Babura Ahmad, Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam and Dr. Baba Bila were screened last Thursday by the Senate Committee on INEC nine months after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded a request to the Red Chamber to confirm them.

Onochie’s nomination had sparked outrage from the opposition lawmakers and some from the All Progressives Congress and civil society groups, who argued that she was “too partisan” to be a commissioner in an important institution like INEC.

Others accused her of being a card-carrying member of ruling APC.

But the presidential aide said she had stopped being a member of any political party since 2019.

The screening session became rowdy when a member of the panel, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) suggested that Onochie be placed on oath to swear that she did not belong to any political party.

But the suggestion was opposed by other committee members, who noted that putting Onochie on oath was against the Senate rule.

The Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), said his committee would look at all the documents before the panel, decide the nominees and forward its recommendations to the Senate.

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