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Apapa gridlock: Lagos gives truck drivers seven-day ultimatum

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Lagos State Government has given a seven-day ultimatum to truck drivers parking indiscriminately along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway to remove them or have them impounded.

Chairman of Apapa Traffic Management and Enforcement Committee and Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, handed out the fresh ultimatum on Thursday.

A number of analysts and concerned organisations have accused vested groups and individuals of frustrating several efforts made to address the gridlock for the purpose of extortion.

But Fayinka, who spoke with Vanguard, accused the truck drivers of undermining efforts of the team by parking indiscriminately along the road, particularly on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, causing gridlock and subjecting motorists to untold hardship.

He said the seven-day ultimatum was sent to the leadership of truck drivers’ unions to comply with the directive or risk being sanctioned.

Fayinka warned that after the expiration of the grace the team would embark on total enforcement, saying “There will be no sacred cow.”

This came as the state government has debunked allegation of racketeering by its officials deployed to address the perennial gridlock at the port access road.

Speaking during an interview on Arise News Channel, the Senior Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Central Business District and Head of Operation, Apapa Traffic Management and Enforcement Team, Mr Sola Giwa, said the port authorities have designated a parking space and a ticket payment portal to reduce the gridlock in Apapa.

The Apapa Traffic Management and Enforcement Committee has also activated the Electronic Call-Up System (ETO) designed to sequence and batch trucks coming into Apapa and Tincan Island ports.

Set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to address the perennial traffic gridlock in Apapa area, he maintained that the committee was winning the war against traffic congestion and extortion of truck owners and drivers in the axis with the ETO.

He said there has been great improvement compared to the situation of things nine months ago during the manual call up system, where trucks going to the ports usually caused heavy traffic from Onipanu to Apapa and from Cele bus stop to Tincan Island areas of Lagos respectively.

Giwa explained: “Racketeering in Apapa is a false accusation. For those who said they have been collecting money from them, we want to see the evidence and we take it up. You can make a video of anyone that wants to collect money from you.

“The arrangement is for traffic management on the road and not what happens in the port. The simple truth about racketeering is that stalkers still want to come to port following the due process.

“They book and pay for their ticket and they start coming even when there is no available space for them. What we did was that we created a time-belt for the category of trucks that wanted to come to the port, but they ignored them, so they decided to come to the port anytime.

“Basically, what we had before now was a manual collection. We have one lane going into Apapa, and someone who has 50 trucks will want to bring in all the trucks and that’s how the issue of gridlock started. As I speak now, there is no static traffic in Apapa. The NPA has approved parks where these trucks move into. You can from the comfort of your home book a ticket, state the terminal you are going to, then you are allotted a particular park and from there you will be called to the terminal and that has been what is working in Apapa.”

Giwa also attributed some of the challenges hindering flow of transportation at the ports areas to those known as ‘Movers’ who according to him were fighting hard to frustrate the Electronic Call-Up System because they are not comfortable with the new system, which has stopped their corrupt practices.

 

He said parts of the measures put in place by the enforcement committee to address traffic congestion is creating ‘time-belt’ for different categories of trucks – export containers, empty containers, flat beds, manufacturing, and oil and gas – to move at different times in and out of the ports.

 

Giwa said the major challenges facing the port were bad roads and stalkers who visit the port unscheduled.

 

He added that there have been ongoing meetings with constituted authorities to get the bad road fixed and eradicate stalkers from Apapa.

 

“I must say that for Tincan Island, we have issues. We have met with representatives of the federal government, ministry of works and it’s going to take time to fix the road. Secondly for the stalkers, they should go to the designated truck parks,” he said.

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Blasphemy: Again, Abduljabbar asks lawyers to take back seat, moves to defend self

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There was a mild drama at the Upper Shari’a Court in Kano, on Thursday, when controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasir Kabara, insisted on defending himself in the ongoing blasphemy case.

When he was arraigned in court last month, the cleric had tackled his lawyers. forcing them to withdraw from the case.

On Thursday, the cleric, who was charged with blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed, an offence punishable with death, told the court that he does not have confidence in his lawyers defending him well as they have not mastered Islam.

At the resumed hearing of the case, the prosecution counsel, Professor Saida Suraj (SAN), presented the second prosecution witness, one Murtala Kabir Muhammad, a teacher and resident of Kofar Na’isa Lokon Makera, who said he was one of the students of Abduljabbar.

However, when it was time for the cross-examination of the witness, the defense counsel, Barrister Muhamamd Amin Kabir, applied to the court that the defendant be allowed to cross examine the witness himself, citing section 36(6d) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

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But in his ruling, the presiding judge, Ibrahim Sarkin-Yola, held that the defence had the option of choosing either the defendant to handle his case alone or his lawyers defend him, but that both of them cannot continue together.

Immediately, the cleric chose to defend himself but his lawyers also insisted on remaining in the case till the end.

The prosecution counsel, however, said though they have no objection for the cleric to do the cross-examination, it was their duty to state that since the case is capital in nature, it cannot go on without defense lawyers.

Upon taking all the arguments, the judge, thereafter, adjourned the case to 11th November, 2021.

Earlier, the witness Murtala Kabir Muhammad told the court that he heard Abduljabbar at different times saying bad things about Prophet Muhammad.

According to the witness, on August 10, 2019, he was in Asshabulkhahfi mosque at Gwale Filin Mushe where Abduljabbar used to teach his students and heard the cleric made a blasphemous speech regarding the marriage between the Prophet Muhammad and his wife, Nana Safiyya.

The witness also testified to the court that on December 20, 2019, he heard Abdulljabbar talking badly about the Prophet.

Daily Trust

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Army kills over 189 bandits, terrorists in two weeks

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Over 189 bandits and terrorists were killed by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria across the various states in the North between October 15 and 28, 2021.

A breakdown of the figure shows that more than 118 terrorists were killed while over 71 bandits were neutralised by the military at different operations during the said period.

Also, within this period, no fewer than 50 bandits were arrested, while 27 kidnapped victims were rescued.

Addressing journalists during a briefing on military operations in the last two weeks on Thursday in Abuja, the acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Benard Onyeuko, also disclosed that a total of 1,199 terrorists and their families, comprising 114 adult males, 312 adult females and 773 children surrendered to troops.

He had at the last briefing said a total of 13243 terrorists had surrendered, this brings the total number of surrendered terrorists to 14,442.

Onyeuko said, “In the course of the operations within the period, a total of 38 terrorist elements were neutralized, including the ISWAP’s new leader, Bako. Also, a total of 11 criminal elements including terrorists and their informants and their logistics suppliers were arrested in the course of these operations.

“Significantly, on 20 October 2021, the Air Component scored another devastating hit on BHT/ISWAP terrorist elements at Malam Fatori on the fringes of Lake Chad.

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“This feat was achieved on the heels of credible intelligence reports and after a series of aerial surveillance, which confirmed the convergence of terrorist elements in 20 boats at the location.

“Consequently, airstrikes were executed on the target with various NAF platforms, which led to the destruction of the boats and neutralization of scores of the terrorists, while few of them fled in disarray with varying degrees of wounds.

“Similarly, on 21 October 2021, following a report of ISWAP elements’ attack on troops at Katarko area in Yobe State, the Air Component engaged the terrorists in successive airstrikes and neutralized scores of them.

“Additionally, a total of 29 assorted weapons, 166 rounds of assorted ammunition, among other items were recovered. Others are; 2 gun trucks and 622 bags of fertilizer, used for the production of IEDs; while 5 kidnapped civilians were rescued.

“Some of these feats were recorded at; Dar, Kumshe, Wulgo, Chabbol and Kijmatari villages in Borno State as well as locations along Ngala – Wulgo and Nguru – Kano roads. Other locations were; Dikwa and Mafa villages as well as Ngama village in Yobe State.

“Furthermore, between 15 and 28 October 2021, a total of 1,199 terrorists and their families, comprising 114 adult males, 312 adult females, and 773 children, surrendered to troops at different locations in the North East.

“Also, no fewer than 12 armed bandits were neutralized, 11 AK-47 rifles, 64 rounds of ammunition, 24 livestock among other items were recovered in the course of these operations.

“Additionally, Nigerian Air Force helicopter gunships neutralized no fewer than 50 armed bandits at Saulawa – Farin Ruwa axis in Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State.

Punch

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Zamfara bandits conduct house-to-house raid, kill seven, steal 1,500 cows

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Bandits have invaded Yanbuki village in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, killing seven people and stealing 1,5000 cows and sheep.

An indigene of the village, Garba Musa, told our correspondent that the bandits stormed the village on Tuesday night, shooting indiscriminately.

Musa said, “Immediately they arrived, they opened fire on anyone they could see. Everybody ran helter-skelter to protect themselves.

“They later moved from house to house, searching for foodstuffs and animals and also broke many shops.

“They also rustled over 1,500 domestic animals like cows, sheep and goats.”

He added that after the bandits left the village, the residents came out from hiding and discovered that seven people had been shot dead, while others sustained injuries.

“We have buried the seven people, but the number of casualties could be more than this because some people ran to the bush and have yet to be seen.”

The spokesperson for police in the state, SP Mohammed Shehu, confirmed the attack.

He added, “The Commissioner of Police has already deployed enough police personnel in the area in order to restore peace.”

Punch

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