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Lagos clubhouse kicks as 100 policemen, thugs demolish buildings, arrest workers

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No fewer than 100 armed policemen and thugs, allegedly led by members of a Lagos family, have demolished buildings at the Ikeja Saddle Club, in the Isheri-Olowora area of Lagos State.

The policemen were said to be from the Zone 2 Police Command, while the thugs were armed with weapons, including cutlasses, axes and machetes.

PUNCH Metro gathered that business owners, workers and members of the club scampered for safety as a bulldozer they brought pulled down structures on the club’s premises.

Four employees of the club were reportedly arrested during the invasion.

The President of the club, Wole Osinupebi, told our correspondent that the family that led the group claimed to be in possession of a court judgment giving them rights to the land.

He, however, stated that the Lagos State Government, who owned the land, had appealed the judgement, adding that the family carried out the demolition despite being aware of a stay of action on the judgement.

Osinupebi said, “This land was acquired by the Lagos State Government and we were given a Certificate of Occupancy for the land. But in Isheri, members of two families have been fighting each other over the whole of Omole Estate Phase 2, and other places.

“Members of one of the families claiming that the land is their ancestral land, questioned Lagos State’s acquisition of the land and took the government to court. Along the line, they got a judgement in their favour in 2020.

“Since then, they have been pestering us and on Thursday, September 23, 2021, around 6am, they moved in with 40 armed policemen, and 60 thugs, who were armed with cutlasses, machetes and other weapons.

“They chased us away, brought carpenters, workmen, a bulldozer and started cutting the trees and demolished some of the buildings on the premises of the club.”

He said the club management involved the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Moyosore Onigbajo, adding that through his intervention, the Assistant Inspector–General of Police, Zone 2 Command, Johnson Kokumo, called his men and the demolition was suspended around 5pm the following day.

Osinupebi said, “The whole process is in court; there is a stay of execution on the judgement the family got. The two families claiming ownership of our land are also fighting each other. In fact, one of them has appealed the judgement their counterpart got.

“The Lagos State Government has also appealed the judgment and despite that, they destroyed our property. We wrote to the Attorney General of Lagos State, who instructed the AIG, Zone 2 Command, to stop the destruction.

“When they stormed the area, everybody ran away. Some of them are still there as I speak with you; the policemen have reduced from 40 to 20 and the bulldozer was taken out of the premises very early on Saturday.”

A video clip in possession of our correspondent showed carpenters, labourers, and the driver of a bulldozer demolishing buildings on the premises of the club.

Some of the armed policemen and thugs were also seen in the clip.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the counsel for the club, A.A. Osara, petitioned the AIG over the case.

The petition read in part, “We urge you most respectfully to remove your men and the 60 other men the police gave cover to occupy and take over our client’s land as the matter is a subject of appeal at the Court of Appeal, Lagos, and the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and allow the process of appeal to run its course.

“We also urge you to release the four employees of our client detained who were merely going about their legitimate business, as they have committed no offence known to law.”

The Zone 2 Police Public Relations Officer, Hauwa Idris, promised to get back to our correspondent.

She had yet to do so as of the time this report was filed.

Deji Lambo, Punch News

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Osun-Osogbo festival: Despite proven contamination, devotees drink from Osun river

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In June 2022, TheCable published an investigation which revealed how mining activities in Ilesa communities in Osun state have polluted the water body at the popular Osun-Osogbo grove.

Ilesa, also known as Ijesha land, is renowned for large gold deposits and other minerals. Owing to the heightened mining activity, waste, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals are washed into the tributaries which end up in the Osun river.

On Friday, which marks the grand finale of the annual Osun-Osogbo festival, devotees of the Osun deity were spotted at the grove drinking from the contaminated river.

Many devotees who trooped out in their white attires and beads were seen fetching the water into different kegs while some washed their heads with it and others drank from it.

TheCable had earlier subjected a sample of the water to a test conducted by UNILAG Consult. It was found to contain 0.034 milligrams per litre (mg/L) of arsenic, 5.663 mg/L of aluminium, and 0.090 mg/L of lead. Other heavy metals found, according to the test result, include Barium (2.326), Lithium(0.004), Nickel(2.006), and Iron (3.197).

These heavy metals were found to be significantly above the limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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Urban Alert, a civic-tech initiative leveraging technology to amplify the yearnings of the masses, told TheCable in June that a health crisis is inevitable if the over two million people living in more than 20 communities in Osun state continue to get exposed to the contaminated water.

“In fact, our data has shown that 100,000 people may be facing serious medical challenges before 2032 if the situation is not arrested and the proper remediation process does not begin,” Anthony Adejuwon, Urban Alert team lead, had said.

Following TheCable’s investigation into the pollution of the river, Abdullahi Binuyo, deputy chief of staff to Gboyega Oyetola, governor of Osun, said the state will carry out a clean-up of the sacred grove.

Binuyo said this while speaking on TheCable’s Twitter Space dedicated to the issue of illegal mining and pollution in the state.

LAST-MINUTE SENSITISATION

On the eve of the finale of the Osun-Osogbo festival, the state government advised tourists, devotees and visitors not to drink water from the river.

Rafiu Isamotu, the commissioner for health, said the water had been contaminated by the activities of artisanal miners and was not good for human consumption.

But Urban Alert criticised the state government for issuing the warning 24 hours before the grand finale.

Oluwatosin Olarewaju, communication officer of Urban Alert, said the response to the contamination of the river has been lukewarm and lacks the determination needed to address the issue of illegal and unregulated gold mining in the state.

“Despite vigorous engagements with the Federal Government, the Osun State Government and other stakeholders, nothing significant has been seen to have been done to avert the impact of the contamination, ” the statement reads in part.

“Having informed the Osun State Government and all appropriate organs of the Federal Government of the deleterious effect of the Osun River contamination, no serious step has been taken for the safety of the affected communities and the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove which sits on the bank of the Osun River. It is, therefore, shocking to see the Osun State Government issuing an impromptu warning to tourists and traditionalists, warning them from drinking from the Osun River on the eve of the Osun Osogbo festival.”

Urban Alert said the response to the issue “is a clear indication that the safety of the people and access to safe water is not a priority”.

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41 dead as fire engulfs church in Egypt

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At least 41 people have been confirmed dead in a fire outbreak at Abu Sefein church in the working-class neighbourhood of Imbaba in Giza Governorate, Egypt.

According to a report by Bloomberg, another 14 people were injured in the fire incident that started at the Coptic church during Sunday morning service.

The report added that fifteen firefighting vehicles were dispatched to the scene to put out the flames while ambulances ferried the casualties to nearby hospitals.

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A police statement confirmed that the fire was ignited by an electrical short-circuit.

Reacting to the incident in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt’s president, expressed his condolences to the victims’ families.

He said government has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the fire outbreak.

“I am closely following the developments of the tragic accident in Al-Munira Church in Giza Governorate, and I have directed all concerned state agencies and institutions to take all necessary measures, and immediately deal with this accident and its effects, and to provide all aspects of health care for the injured,” the president wrote.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims who moved to the side of their Lord in one of the houses in which they are worshipped.”

The Cable
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NDLEA Uncovers 442 Parcels of Crystal Meth in Heads of Smoked Fish

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have uncovered, at the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, no fewer than 442 parcels of crystal methamphetamine concealed in heads of smoked fish.

The drug-laden smoked fishes were packaged in cartons weighing 11.9 kilogrammes and for export to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to a statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, the consignment was brought to the SAHCO export shed of the airport on August 5, by a freight agent, Adekunle Paul, 32, from Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.

He was promptly arrested upon the discovery that the seven cartons he presented for export contained parcels of the dangerous drug wrapped with foil paper and concealed in the heads of hundreds of smoked catfish.

Babafemi disclosed that the following day, Saturday August 6, another consignment containing 1.45 kilogrammes cannabis concealed inside granulated melon and crayfish and packed among other food condiments going to Dubai, UAE was also intercepted by NDLEA operatives who arrested the freight agent, Ajisefini Lateef, that presented the cargo for export at the SAHCO shed.

Also, anti-narcotic officers at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu have arrested a 50-year-old Mgbeobuna Eberechukwu for ingesting 77 pellets of cocaine.

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He was arrested on Saturday, August 6  following his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia onboard an Ethiopian airline flight.

Babafemi said the suspect passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days.

In Kaduna, three suspects — Saifullahi Sani, Salisu Nafi’u and Abdulrazaq Mamman — were arrested in Zaria last Thursday with 1,112,350 tablets of tramadol (225mg and 100mg) weighing 38.3 kilogrammes, while in Kano, a female drug dealer, Saratu Abdullahi, 28, was nabbed at Hotoro with 541 blocks of cannabis weighing 245 kilogrammes.

In Lagos, NDLEA operatives recovered a total of 1,773.25k kilogrammes cannabis sativa at Ebutte-Meta and Akala in Mushin areas of the state in separate raid operations between 9th and 10th August.

At the Tincan seaport in Lagos, 86 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43 kilogrammes were recovered from a 40ft container during a joint examination with Customs and other security agencies.

The illegal consignment seized last Friday was brought in from Toronto via Montreal, Canada and concealed in two drums inside a Mercedes Benz SUV in the container.

In Abia, two suspects — Nnanna Ijo, 58, and Orji Uguru, 29 — were arrested last Friday with various quantities of cannabis, heroin and cocaine at Nde-Agbai, Abiriba, a week after Nnanna was released from detention over a similar offence committed in June.

Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), while commending the officers and men of MMIA, AIIA, Tincan, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and Abia Commands of the agency for the seizures and arrests, charged them and their compatriots across the country to always remain steps ahead of the drug cartels.

Thisday
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