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#OccupyLekki: Police arrest 30 as more protesters storm tollgate

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Over 30 people have been arrested in connection with Saturday protest in Lekki tollgate as more youths stormed the arena to express their dissatisfaction with the ruling of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry on the reopening of the tollgate.

Soldiers were accused of firing live ammunition at #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki toll plaza.

A popular comedian, Mr Macaroni (Debo Adebayo) was among the first set of protesters the police picked up in the morning as some #OccupyLekki protesters ignored the warnings of the Federal Government, Lagos State Government and the police that they would stop the protest.

The second set of protesters, led by an activist, Dabira, got arrested after arriving at the venue.

Though some of them were said to have initially resisted the arrest, the security operatives overpowered them.

Some of the protesters were beaten and their phones seized by the police.

Before her arrest, Dabira urged Nigerians to “stand up” for the country, adding that arresting protesters was “wrong”.

Meanwhile, some rights activists and organisations have condemned the arrest, describing the action as anti-democratic.

One of them, Amnesty International Nigeria, tweeted, “Today Amnesty International received reports of the arrest of some protesters #EndSARS at the #Lekkitollgate #Lagos. We are calling on all Nigerian authorities to demonstrate the commitment to protecting the right to peaceful protest.”

The police had earlier warned youths who planned to protest at the Lekki tollgate on Saturday (today) to shelve the idea and vowed to stop it.

But the young Nigerians, under the aegis of #EndSARS Season 2 and #OccupyLekkiTollgate, vowed to defy the government’s order.

Another group, #DefendLagos, which threatened to hold a counter protest, withdrew from the protest, noting that it was in accordance with the government’s directives that no protest should hold.

The #EndSARS Season 2 and #OccupyLekkiTollgate said their action was informed by the decision of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry allowing the Lekki Concession Company to reopen the Lekki tollgate.

Four out of the nine members of the panel faulted the report of the forensic experts hired to comb the scene for evidence.

The four members who faulted the forensic report also rejected the application by the LCC, operator of the Lekki tollgate, to take possession of the facility, which had been closed since the probe of the shootings started.

The four members who rejected the forensic report are the two representatives of the civil society – Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) and Ms. Patience Udoh; as well as the two youth representatives on the panel – Rinu Oduala and Temitope Majekodunmi.

But the Chairman of the panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other members of the panel acceded to the LCC’s request to repossess the tollgate.

The chairman was backed by Segun Awosanya (popularly known as Segalink), Oluwatoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens Rights), DIG Taiwo Lakanu (retd.) (representing the police) and Lucas Koyejo (from the National Human Rights Commission).

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ASUU strike: Adamu doesn’t deserve national honour – NANS

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Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu

The National Association of Nigerian Students has kicked against the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to confer National Honours Award on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.

Adamu’s name is among notable individuals Buhari listed to be honoured on October 11.

Reacting in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Temitope, on Monday, NANS said it was an insult to the collective intelligence of Nigerian students who had been locked out of schools for close to eight months due to the ongoing strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities which Adamu had failed to resolve.

“It constitutes an insult to the collective intelligence of Nigerian students both home and in the diaspora that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, under whose nose university students have been home for close to eight months is to be awarded the National Honours of Commander of the Order of Niger.

“This act of the Buhari’s administration is a clear pointer to the fact that Nigerian students have been taken for a ride. And, we see this as the final straw that breaks the back of the camel of Buhari’s much touted integrity.

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“Over the years, successive administrations in the country have shown to the Nigerian people that the National Honours is more of recognition of patronage than recognition of excellence. But Buhari has taken a step further to show the mass of Nigerian students that we are not on the priority list of the administration.

“It is so unfortunate that a country which offered so much in hope and possibilities at independence has today become a land of suffering, insecurity and near hopelessness signposted by youth unemployment and underfunded educational sector,” the statement partly read.

NANS said that, in a functioning country, both the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who “shamefully walked out” of a meeting with the national leadership of ASUU at the instance of the House of Representatives, and his Education counterpart would have been fired before now. “But, the reverse is the case as Adamu under whose watch the educational sector of the country has totally collapsed is to be recognised with a National Honour for a job ‘well-done’, it added.

“As an association, we reiterate that we pass a vote of no confidence in both Adamu and Ngige. And, we maintain that we shall be back to the streets in protest against the recklessness of this administration until the Federal Government settles every issue with ASUU for Nigerian students to return to classes,” it concluded.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022.  ASUU, which is the umbrella for university lecturers in Nigeria, is asking for improved welfare conditions for its members, adequate funding for universities, and the replacement of the government-introduced payment platform- Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution. UTAS was designed by ASUU following complaints against the IPPIS over alleged poor standardisation and incompatibility with the university system.

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I Criticise Buhari For Failing To End Killings In Benue — Ortom

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that he only criticises President Muhammadu Buhari for not being able to end killings in the country.

 The governor’s explanation was in reaction to a statement credited to the president by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education, Aminu Suleiman Goro, during the inauguration of some projects at the renamed Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.

He had during the occasion asked Ortom to endeavour to acknowledge his administration’s capital projects in Benue State rather than cast aspersions on the president.

 But, the governor in his speech at the Independence Day Interdenominational Church Service held at Faith Cathedral of All Nations Evangelism Ministry, Old GRA, Makurdi said he held no personal grudges against the president.

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 The event was organised by the state government in conjunction with the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Ortom said, “I will not stop until the killings stop. If the federal government had taken to my counsel which was divine, we wouldn’t be where we are today. In 2016, I started voicing out about insecurity. The essence of a dog barking in a house is to inform the owner of the danger coming. 

 “Instead of taking my counsel, I have been intimidated. Now, insecurity has escalated in many states and here people cannot go to farm. I will never be happy with this development,” he said.

 The governor wondered why the government had not disarmed nomads carrying sophisticated weapons and killing innocent people but had continued to deny lawful state security outfits the right to acquire arms to protect lives and property.

Earlier, Archbishop Yiman Orkwar, who preached on the topic, “The Tripod of Justice,’’ said that for Nigeria to move forward there must be justice, equity and fairness.

 In his remarks, the state CAN Chairman, Reverend Akpen Leva, urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the country.

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PFN to Nigerians: vote competence, not religion

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President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Wale Oke

Competence and not religion or ethnicity should be the main consideration of Nigerians in electing President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor next year, President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Wale Oke, has admonished.

Oke, who also advised  Nigerians against selling their future to money-bag politicians, said every voter should identify one of the 18 candidates in the presidential race that can take Nigeria to the promised land.

He warned that  “desperate, oppressive, domineering and divisive politicians”  are gearing up to “kill and destroy” to gain power against the wish of Nigerians.

The PFN President said he had personally resolved to cast his vote for either a Christian or Muslim presidential candidate that has the capacity to deliver the nation from its current predicaments.

Oke added that now was the time for the electorate to demand the candidates’ manifestos to give them insight into the plans they(candidates) have for the country and the citizens.

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The cleric spoke at the “First Service of the New Ministerial Year” Sword of the Spirit Ministries in Ibadan, Oyo State.

In Osogbo, Osun State,  the leadership of the Ethiopian Church of Christ (African Church Worldwide) which spoke in the same vein as Oke,  said its members would not be coerced to vote against any presidential candidate.

At the Sword of the Spirit Ministries programme, the PFN  President said:” If a Muslim can solve Nigeria’s problem, I will vote for him so far he will treat Muslims and Christians as equal stakeholders in Nigeria, and he will not favor one religion above another.

“For me, if a Hausa man emerges, okay, if it is Fulani man, good, If it is Igbo, Kanuri, Edo, Ibibio, or Yoruba man, okay, provided he stands for justice, equity, fairness, and one Nigeria. He must also be a man that can deal with the problem of Nigeria decisively.

“Vote for whoever has the capacity to turn around Nigeria, use your votes to change the fortune of the nation to give Nigerians the nation we want

“Let’s decide and go beyond religion sentiment, ethnicity, and party so that Nigeria can get to its destination.

“Nigeria shall be beautiful and great, let us all cooperate with God so that we can get to the promised land..”

Also yesterday, the  Ethiopian Church of Christ (African Church Worldwide)   said that its members have the political and spiritual independence to make their political choices without bias.

Its  Spiritual Head, Worldwide, Snr Pastor Babatunde Ojubanire, said at a special service to commemorate the the103 anniversary of the church in  Ile-Ife,  that the founder, Rev. Adeniran Oke,   believes that spiritual-political independence was needed for the integration of  African values and cultures.

He said:  “In 1993 when Mohsood Abiola contested it was Muslim-Muslim ticket,  Christians did not raise any eyebrow but now the country has divided because there is no more freedom. That is why we have a problem with Muslim/Muslim ticket.

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