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We’ll do everything to avert another #EndSARS protests – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed plans by his administration to prevent the reoccurrence of the #EndSARS protest, a campaign by young activities against police brutality and injustice.

Minister of Police Affairs, Mr Maigari Dingyadi, said the President had pledged to deploy every power at his disposal to ensure that a protest of that magnitude would not happen again in the country.

The minister spoke with journalists after the quarterly National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by Buhari in the State House.

The #EndSARS protests, which started as peaceful rallies later degenerated into an orgy of violence as hoodlums later took advantage of it to loot, vandalise and burn public and private assets, including police stations.

Many policemen and other protesters were reportedly killed or maimed either by the hoodlums or security personnel invited to quell the riotous situation.

Dingyadi listed the President’s action plans against such protests to including involvement of all stakeholders such as the youth, religious leaders and traditional rulers in the process of peace maintenance in Nigeria.

Buhari also told the meeting that the government would continue to exhibit bureaucratic and humane attitudes in addressing security matters.

The President also pledged to give whatever it would require to support security chiefs in the discharge of their responsibilities, the minister added.

Dingyadi said, “In his concluding remarks, Mr President thanked members (of the NSC) for the efforts they are making in maintaining peace and assured members that he would do whatever it takes to support security agencies in providing peace in the country.

“Mr President assured Nigerians that he would do whatever it takes to ensure the repeat of #EndSARS protests does not occur in Nigeria again. Mr President reassured that all stakeholders would be involved in the process of maintaining peace in the country, particularly the youth, community leaders, traditional rulers, politicians, public servants and religious leaders.

“The Federal Government will continue to maintain its bureaucratic, humane and just postures in handling security matters in the country.”

On whether the action plan meant the President would ensure a clampdown on #EndSARS protesters should they attempt to protest again, Dingyadi said the President meant that he would continue to engage citizens with a view to avoiding the level of destruction that accompanied the last protests.

“On the issue of #EndSARS that you have raised, what we are saying is that government will continue to engage in dialogue. It will continue to listen and carry all stakeholders along in ensuring that there is no repeat of what happened that destroyed a lot of properties – public and private individuals’ in this country,” he said.

The minister added that the meeting was convened to brief Buhari on the security situation in the country and the increasing insecurity in the North.

According to him, the meeting resolved to be more proactive in handling security matters, adding that greater attention would be paid to police affairs, particularly in the discharge of their responsibilities.

“The National Security Council was convened to brief Mr President about the security situation in the country.

“The meeting noted with concern the increasing cases of armed banditry particularly in the northwestern and northeastern parts of the country. The meeting agreed to be more proactive in dealing with the situation in a more decisive manner.

“The meeting noted the need to pay greater attention to the police in the discharge of their functions to maintain peace in the country, in the areas of equipment and modern technology,” he said.

The minister said the council had timelines and targets aimed at ending security threats and promised that such targets would involve decisive and inclusive actions.

“It’s an all-inclusive action that is going to be taken to ensure that in terms of technology, equipment, we can face these challenges head-on,” he said.

On whether the police had resumed to duties after they were displaced by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS’ protest, Maigari said, “I informed the council that the police are very much on their duty posts unlike what people are saying. We receive daily situation reports from across the states and that is a good indicator that the police are very much at their duty posts. They are also on the road and they are working 24 hours.

“But I will agree with you when you say that police are not everywhere. We cannot be everywhere because of our number, equipment; but we are doing all we can to ensure that we cover as much as we can and to protect as many lives as we can to ensure that there is peace in this country.”

He also spoke on the security situation on Abuja-Kaduna road, saying the police and the army were on a 24-hour joint patrol on the road.

He added that the police had their separate formations along the road.

“You see, once a small thing happens in a particular place like this Kaduna, we begin to talk about lack of security in that area. That place is being monitored 24 hours. There are police and the army who are on a kind of joint patrol on 24 hours’ basis. We also have our own separate police formation that is also on that road,” he said.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, were at the meeting.

The service chiefs in attendance at the meeting are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i; and Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi.

Other ministers at the meeting are Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.)(Defence), Mr. Rauf Aregbesola (Interior), Chief Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), and Mr Maigari Dingyadi (Police Affairs), and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.).

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Lagos #EndSARS panel awards N10m to Kolade Johnson’s family

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The Lagos judicial panel has awarded the sum of N10 million to the family of late Kolade Johnson.

Johnson was shot during a raid by police officers at Onipetesi area in Lagos, while watching an English premiership match between Tottenham and Manchester United on March 31, 2019.

 

The incident sparked outrage on social media, after which the police authorities identified Ogunyemi Olalekan, a police inspector, and Godwin Orji, a sergeant, as the officers involved in the shooting.

 

Following an orderly trial, Olalekan was dismissed from the force after he was found guilty, while Orji was acquitted.

Doris Okuwobi, chairman of the Lagos panel, announced the compensation at the sitting on Friday.

 

The award sum was received by the mother of the deceased.

 

Thirteen petitioners — including Johnson’s family — were compensated with a total of N83 million at the sitting on Friday.

 

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Panel fines police N16m for killing teenager in Bayelsa

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The Bayelsa State Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Other Related Matters has in a ruling on a petition awarded N16m against the police for extrajudicial killing of a teenager, late Innocent Kokorifa, in Yenagoa.

Innocent, who was 17 when he was shot dead by a trigger-happy officer in August 2016, was the son of Mr Daniel Kokorifa, a Federal Road Safety Corps official attached to the Rivers State Command.

Kokorifa, who is a native of Okpotuwari in the Southern Ijaw, Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, had in his petition numbered BYS/JPI/012/2020 prayed the panel to also consider the sum of N6m incurred since the brutal murder of his son.

The chairman of the panel, retired Justice Young Ogola, in the ruling awarded Kokorifa the sum of N16m in temporary compensation.

In another ruling, the panel also ordered the release of the corpse of another teenager, Emmanuel Victor, who was brutally killed by a policeman in 2011 in Yenagoa.

The panel further awarded the sum of N5m to the mother of the deceased 17-year-old, Grace Victor, for proper and decent burial of her son even though the culpable officer had been prosecuted and sentenced to death by hanging.

Ogola remarked that “there is no compensation for what was pronounced as vicarious liability or so; nothing that the policeman, who committed the crime, has already been sentenced to death.”

Similarly, the panel delivered judgments on over 13 petitions it received and awarded over N40m to the various petitioners in damages. 

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Trump acquitted in impeachment trial; 7 Republican senators vote with Democrats

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The US Senate on Saturday voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection despite significant Republican support for conviction, bringing an end to the fourth impeachment trial in the country’s history and the second for Trump.

Seven Republicans voted to convict Trump for allegedly inciting the deadly January 6 riot at the Capitol, when a mob of pro-Trump supporters tried to disrupt the electoral vote count formalizing Joe Biden’s election win before a joint session of Congress.

That is by far the most bipartisan support for conviction in impeachment history. The final vote was 57 to 43, 10 short of the 67 votes needed to secure a conviction.

Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania all voted guilty.

The vote means the Senate cannot bar Trump from holding future federal offices.

Moments after the vote concluded, the former president issued a statement praising his legal team and thanking the senators and other members of Congress “who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.”

“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it,” Trump said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the vote “the largest and most bipartisan vote in any impeachment trial in history,” but noted it wasn’t enough to secure a conviction.

The trial “was about choosing country over Donald Trump, and 43 Republican members chose Trump. They chose Trump. It should be a weight on their conscience today, and it shall be a weight on their conscience in the future,” he said in a speech on the Senate floor.

With control of the Senate split 50-50, the House managers always had an uphill battle when it came to convincing enough Republicans to cross party lines and convict a former president who is still very popular with a large part of the GOP base.

In his closing argument, House manager Joe Neguse, D-Colo, argued, “The stakes could not be higher. Because the cold, hard truth is that what happened on January 6 can happen again. I fear, like many of you do, that the violence we saw on that terrible day may be just the beginning.”

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., urged the senators to think of the future.

“Senators, this trial, in the final analysis, is not about Donald Trump. The country and the world know who Donald Trump is. This trial is about who we are, who we are,” Raskin said.

Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen, meanwhile, insisted his client did nothing wrong and maintained he was the victim of vengeful Democrats and a biased news media. He called the impeachment proceedings a “charade from beginning to end.”

The managers’ task became more difficult Saturday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced in an email to his colleagues that he would vote to acquit since Trump was already out of office.

“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” the influential Kentucky Republican wrote in the email, which was obtained by NBC News.

McConnell, who’d rebuffed Democratic efforts to start the trial while Trump was still in office, had condemned Trump’s conduct after the riot and said he’d keep an open mind about voting to convict — something he’d ruled out entirely during Trump’s first impeachment trial last year.

After voting to acquit, McConnell blasted Trump for his “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and squarely laid the blame for the riot at Trump’s door in what amounted to an endorsement of many of the arguments laid out by House impeachment managers in a speech on the Senate floor.

“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said.

McConnell had suggested in the email earlier in the day that Trump could still face other penalties.

“The Constitution makes perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House,” he wrote.

Opening arguments began on Wednesday, with House managers blaming the riot on Trump’s months-long campaign to cast doubt on the 2020 election, and his repeated assertions that the only way he would lose was if the election was “stolen.”

They focused on his fiery speech on the morning of the Jan. 6 riot, where he urged his supporters to “fight like hell” — and his refusal to take action after they did.

Trump declined a request from managers to testify at the trial, and refused to even submit a statement for it, facts Raskin urged senators to keep in mind on Saturday.

“I ask any of you, if you were charged with inciting violent insurrection against our country, and you’re falsely accused, would you come and testify? I know I would,” Raskin said.

The trial was the fourth of an impeached president. No president has ever been convicted.

– NBC News

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