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SARS torture made me lose two pregnancies – Teacher

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A school teacher, Mrs Nzube Obiechina, has told the judicial panel of inquiry sitting in Lagos how some operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) made her to lose two pregnancies due to torture.

Obeichina and her husband, Okechukwu, gave the testimony before the panel on Saturday, 31 October, 2020.

She said she received a strange call from someone who claimed to be a DHL officer on June 2, 2017. Nzube said her husband later called back the number but could not get through.

She further said the same caller phoned her using another number the next day, following which she gave her school address.

Nzube, who teaches in a private school, said to her surprise, the supposed courier turned out to be four hooded SARS officers in a jeep.

“Immediately I approached, they started beating me. They accused me of being an armed robber and kidnapper,” Nzube said.

She stated she was whisked away and later detained.

“They brutalised me in the name of interrogating me. As a pregnant woman, I did not eat or drink for one week and in the process, I lost the baby.

“It was later after I left SARS that I went to the hospital that I found that the baby was gone, and I had to flush it out,” she said.

The teacher identified some of the SARS officers who allegedly tortured them as Philip Rieninwa, Christian and Haruna Idowu.

She said she was pregnant again during her husband’s second arrest, adding that Okwuchukwu was released following an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

“Due to the emotional trauma, I lost my second pregnancy. We sued SARS at the Federal High Court and we were awarded N2m damages for the torture and brutality.

“They have not paid the money. The case was taken to the appeal court and it was dismissed and till now, they (SARS) have not done anything,” she said.

The chairman of the panel, Retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, noted that hearing of Obiechinas’ petition had to be adjourned because names of some SARS officials had been mentioned.

“Those SARS officers have to be brought here so that we can hear their own side of the story. This petition is adjourned to November 10,” she said.

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Oyetola left N76bn salary, pension debts

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Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun

Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun, says the state government has discovered a salary and pension-related debts, amounting to over N76 billion, left by the immediate past Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration.

A statement by Malam Olawale Rasheed, the Spokesperson of Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun, said on Thursday in Osogbo that Ogunlumade made the revelations while briefing officials of the new administration on the state’s financial status.

According to Rasheed, the Osun Government has uncovered a monumental debt in salaries, pensions and insurance commitments incurred by the administration of Mr Gboyega Oyetola, amounting to N76 billion.

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“This revelation was made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, while briefing officials of the new administration on the financial status of the state on Thursday.

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Some public servants earn more salary than the president – RMAFC boss

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Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)

Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says some political appointees earn more salary than President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shehu disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.

The RMAFC boss, who spoke on the commission’s plan to review judicial and political holders’ salaries, said some officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) collect salaries higher than the president.

He said the country needs to review allocations as some agencies remit less revenue. 

“The severance package of the president is just N10.5 million. This is after the president leaves office. You can imagine after spending four or eight years, that would be the only take-home. The salary of Mr President is not up to N1.3 million a month,” he said.

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“There are people in the private sector and others in other public sectors that earn twice, three times or four times. No public servant should earn a salary bigger than Mr President. But we do have public servants that earn salaries bigger than Mr President, such as in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.

“My argument has always been that no public servant should earn allowances, severances, or salaries larger than the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and I stand by it.”

Speaking further on how salaries would be reviewed, especially on current realities, Shehu said salary review would go through processes.

He, however, added that salaries may be reviewed upward after going through due processes.

“When you do a review, the takeoff point is not immediate. And this is a process that has to go to the president and then to the national assembly, and then it becomes a law,” he added.

“I can not tell you whether we can afford it or not, but what I can tell you is there are unremitted revenues out there, probably estimated from N6 trillion to N7 trillion that should be remitted to the federation account.

The Cable

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Buckingham Palace aide resigns over racist comments

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A Buckingham Palace aide has resigned and tendered an apology over racist comments reportedly made to a black British guest at a reception hosted by the Queen Consort.

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, alleged that she was repeatedly asked by a royal aide at a Palace function where she was “really from” in Africa.

The palace said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously”.

An eyewitness to the conversation, Mandu Reid, confirmed the account and told the BBC the questions put to Ms Fulani were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming”.

Reid said she had a “sense of incredulity” about the exchange with a member of the Royal Household, in which Ms Fulani was “interrogated” about where she was from – even though she had explained she was born and lived in the UK.

Ms Fulani is the founder of the London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports black women who have faced domestic and sexual abuse.

Along with 300 guests, she had been invited to a high-profile reception at the Palace on Tuesday, where the Queen Consort, Camilla, had warned of a “global pandemic of violence against women”.

But after the event, Ms Fulani described her conversation on Twitter, where she was challenged by a royal aide to explain where she was from.

She recounted how she said: “We’re based in Hackney,” and the aide replied: “No, what part of Africa are you from?”

She said, “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records”, and the Palace member responded, “Well you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from? Here, UK.”

“No, but what nationality are you?”

“I am born here and am British.”

“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”

She said that members of the Royal Household were circulating at the reception and making “chit chat” – but she said it became a “really unpleasant interaction”, when despite Ms Fulani’s replies there was an insistent questioning about her background.

Ms Reid said they were “stunned into silence” afterwards and says that Ms Fulani should receive an apology and those working for the palace should receive training.

Both Ms Reid and Sistah Space have decided not to name the royal aide believed to be involved.

Palace reacts

In response, Buckingham Palace said, “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.

“In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.

“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.

“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.

“All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”

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