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House of Reps member detained in Ghana over Buhari’s statement

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A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ben Igbapka, has claimed that Ghanaian government has placed members of the Nigerian National Assembly on watch list following the statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari in his Independence Day address that one of them was sponsoring secessionist agitation in the country.

Buhari had said in his speech: “The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.”

Igbapka, at plenary on Tuesday, moved a motion under Order 6 Rule 2 and Section 17 (A) of the Legislative Houses (Powers And Privileges Act 2017, where he said that his privileges had been breached by the President’s address.

The lawmaker said a few days ago he was in Ghana to attend a wedding ceremony, but to his surprise, he was detained for four hours based on the allegation made by Buhari.

He said he was informed by the Ghanaian authority that they wanted to make sure that Nigerian lawmakers who had already been tagged as sponsor of terrorism did not come into the country to cause problem.

Igbapka noted that by identifying and not naming the member of the National Assembly who was allegedly sponsoring secessionist groups in the country has made all the 469 lawmakers suspects.

He stated: “As reported by media houses across the world, President Buhari in his Independence Day speech, told the world that one of us is sponsoring terrorism.

“IPOB by what it is to the face of the law today is a terrorist organisation, even when we have our reservations, because the laws of the land and courts have spoken.

“Mr. Speaker, that means that 469 members of this National Assembly are crime suspects.”

“On that fateful day, I went to Akure to be part of the burial ceremony of our fellow colleague, Hon. Expensive.

“On Saturday, I had to honour an invitation to Ghana for a wedding.

“Mr. Speaker, it will amaze you what I faced in the hands of Ghanian officials.

“They detained me for about four hours, that they are trying to confirm something.

“I stayed at the airport for four hours, missed the wedding I went for.

“At the end of the day, one of them walked up to me saying sorry sir, there’s an announcement in Nigeria that a member of parliament is sponsoring terrorism and we are put on red alert to ensure that no member of parliament comes here to hide or cause trouble.

“I had to come back home dejected.”

Igbakpa pointed out that he had been inundated with calls from all over the world asking him who amongst the lawmakers was sponsoring terrorism.

According to him: “The right thing for a father to do is to name and shame any child that’s bringing about division.

“But Mr. President didn’t shame that person or name them instead he named 469 members.

“Because of the fact that we’ve always cooperated and the fact that Nigeria has a lot to deal with.

“So, I’m appealing, if not, the right thing to do is to invoke Section 88 of the constitution they can tell us who among us is sponsoring terrorism.”

Section 88 reads: “88(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation into -(a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws,…”

Igbapka said going by the President’s allegation, all the lawmakers were suspects.

He, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the House to liaise with their counterparts in the Senate to have an audience with the President so that he can name sponsor of terrorism amongst the lawmakers.

Igbapka reminded the House of our constitutional responsibilities of lawmaking as enshrined in Section 4 of the 1999 constitution as amended and also reminded the House of the principle of separation of power, meaning no arm of government is superior to the other.

The lawmaker said the President should commence the prosecution of the individual and if convicted should have been completely shamed, as it is wrong to throw a blanket accusation on an arm.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said Igbapka’s motion is noted, adding that the House would get back to him on it.

THISDAY

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Updated: #EndSARS memorial protests rock Lagos, Abuja, two arrested at Lekki tollgate

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Youth group leaders, entertainers and activists on Wednesday staged protests in major cities of the countries including Lagos, Abuja and Enugu in memory of victims of last year’s #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

The police arrested at least two protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos during the EndSARS memorial protest.

The police had repeatedly warned against the EndSARS memorial protest and deployed armed security operatives to the tollgate. But the organisers of the protest said there was no going back and some persons on Wednesday morning converged around the tollgate where protesters were forcefully dispersed exactly one year ago.

The arrests on Wednesday, it was learnt, were made by the armed police who had stormed the area to enforce no protest order earlier issued by the security authorities.

One of those arrested claimed to be a journalist and the other was seen carrying a placard.

Protesters in Lagos used their vehicles to protest, shouting that they want a better Nigeria.

In Abuja and Enugu, protesters reportedly stormed major streets, carrying different placards and shouting #Endsars and police brutality in Nigeria. Some of the inscriptions on their placards are “We will never forget 20-10-20”, “Endsars” and “End Police Brutality”.

In Abuja, Omoyele Sowore, former presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress, and founder of an online news agency Sahara Reporters, was seen campaigning against police brutality.

In Lagos, Charley Boy, popular singer and song writer, Folarin Falana aka Falz, rapper, songwriter and actor joined protesters in Lekki remembering those that allegedly died last year during EndSARS protests.

Falz wrote via Twitter, “365 days ago, Nigerian citizens were shot and killed at the toll gate by our own military men.

“Today, we honour them because they have sacrificed their very existence for a cause bigger than all of us. They live forever in our hearts.”

Debo Adebayo, a comedian popularly known as Mr Macaroni was also one of those that led the EndSARS vehicular procession at Lekki tollgate.

The organisers had announced the procession on their Instagram handles on Tuesday.

“In memory of those who died that day and those we have lost to police brutality, we will: drive through the toll gate from 8-10 am; blast our horns in unison as we drive through and wave our flags,” the information on the e-flier read in part.

Around 9am, the entertainers joined by some youths rode in a convoy, waving flags at journalists and security operatives at the tollgate.

They said the procession was in memory of the EndSARS protest which ended controversially on October 20, 2020.

Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had said his men would only allow any procession of vehicles around Lekki, or any form of protest and had deployed officers in the area.

The arrested journalist told newsmen that he works with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s licence and other documents were taken away from him.

He spoke from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the police, identifying himself as Abisola.

A report by the Punch said about 30 police trucks and armed personnel were stationed at the tollgate.

It also reported a car procession in honour of those believed to have lost their lives at the tollgate when soldiers dispersed the EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.

The Lekki tollgate was where many youths gathered day and night to air their grievances against police brutality and bad governance.

The protest was later said to have been hijacked by hoodlums, leading to destruction of private and public properties in other parts of Lagos.

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Missing journalist: Group threatens showdown, gives seven-day ultimatum

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The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, an umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South-East zone has threaten to stage massive protest should the police fail to find missing Tordue Salem, a journalist with Vanguard newspaper within seven days. Salem covers the House of Representatives for Vanguard newspaper.

It gave the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, and other security agencies in the country a seven-day ultimatum to find the journalist.

The ultimatum is contained in a statement released on Tuesday by Goodluck Egwu Ibem, President General of the Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders.

The group said it received with “rude shock the news of the sudden disappearance of Tordue Salem since October 13, in Abuja.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari who is the Command­er-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to activate all necessary machinery to ensure that everything is done to ensure the safe return of Tordue Salem.

Ibem said, “If we don’t see Tordue Salem after seven working days, we will stage a one-million-man protest until he returns safely to his family. The time has started counting,” Ibem posited.

“This kind of story is totally unacceptable to us and we demand that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, and other security agencies “must” find Tordue Salem and hand him over to his family within the next seven working days.”

He also said, “These seven days ultimatum given by us to the IGP and other security agencies to find Salam is not negotiable.

“The IGP must prove his mettle by bringing back Salem to his family. No form of excuse will be entertained. The IGP and other security agen­cies must find Salem immediately.”

The coalition insisted that any form of attack on any journalist is an attack on the entire society.

“They are the backbone of our democracy and any attack on them is an attack against all Nigerians and non-Nigerians,” he said.

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Ota among Ogun communities in darkness after rainstorm havoc

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Scores of communities in Ogun State including Ota have been thrown into darkness after a heavy rainstorm wreaked havoc in the area.

The rainstorm, which occurred last weekend, destroyed many electricity poles and plunged the communities into darkness.

Some houses also had their roofs blown away by the storm just as many roads were flooded.

Residents of the affected areas are said to have been battling with a power outage since Saturday.

They said the power outage was making life more difficult for them and called on the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company to rescue the situation.

The power distribution company has apologised to the affected customers for the inconveniences caused by the power outage.

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