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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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NURTW moves against highway crime, adopts vehicle e-tracking

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The National Union of Road Transport Workers says it will track members’ vehicles electronically as a way to address the spate of kidnapping and insecurity on expressways.

The union, during the National Executive Council meeting in Osogbo, Osun State capital, said it was imperative for them to use electronic tracking device in curbing the menace of kidnapping and insecurity on expressways in the country.

President of the union, Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa, said the NURTW had lost many members to banditry while many were kidnapped.

He said, “We have resolved to use tracking to monitor our members’ vehicles. This will help us to alert our members of impending dangers.

“We admonish our members to be security conscious; the issue of insecurity in the country is worrisome. Many times our members are been kidnapped across the country, we have lost many members as a result of insecurity and there is no compensation from the government. So we really need to be careful and vigilant when we are on the steering. E-tracking will help passengers and our members after we put it to use”.

Baruwa thanked members for their support and confidence in his administration.

He said the administration was faced with serious financial challenges and the emergence of the COVID19 affected their revenue, adding that it was a miracle to have survived the devastating effects of the lockdown.

 

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EFCC arrests, grills ex-Imo governor, Okorocha

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha.

He was arrested in Abuja and was later questioned by the EFCC over issues bothering on alleged corruption.

Okorocha, currently representing Imo West at the Senate, was grilled at the EFCC Abuja office on Tuesday.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the development but did not give further details.

 “It is true, he was arrested today in Abuja but we are not giving details,” he said.

Okorocha had been accused by the Imo government of looting the state’s treasury through various malpractices.

He was in February arrested by police from the Imo State Command for allegedly unsealing Spring Palm Estate linked to his wife, Nkechi.

Okorocha was later released but about 14 of his loyalists are being tried.

The Imo State Government had sealed the Spring Palm Estate and other properties claimed to have been “diverted” by Okorocha and his family members.

But the Senator said the properties were legitimately by him and his family members.

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NBS: Used vehicles, motorbikes, PMS top Nigeria’s imports

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Used vehicles, motorcycles, premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol, and antibiotics were the major products imported by Nigerians from India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China in the fourth quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.

The bureau stated this in its just released Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020, according to a Punch report.

It also stated that the major commodities exported from Nigeria to the five nations were crude oil and natural gas.

The NBS said, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.

“The major exports to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were petroleum motor spirit, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”

The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.

“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.

According to worldstopexports.com, Nigeria imported about half (49.6 per cent) of its imported goods by value from Asia in 2019; another 30 per cent from suppliers in Europe with 11.2 per cent arriving from North America.

Smaller percentages were said to come from fellow African nations (6.5 per cent), Latin America (2.3 per cent) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.3 per cent) led by New Zealand and Australia.

Given Nigeria’s population of 201 million people, its total $47.4 billion in 2019 imports translated to about $240 in yearly product demand from every person in the West African region country.

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