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#EndSARS: Many Feared Dead As Protests Turn Bloody [LEADERSHIP]

The ongoing #EndSARS protest took a gory dimension yesterday with many persons killed in the process across the country and over 200 cars set ablaze in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The protest against police brutality propelled by the angry youths, which has gone global, practically shut down the country as workers in both private and public institutions abstained from work.

The protest which started peacefully in most parts of the country however turned bloody in the federal capital territory (FCT), as well as Kano, Edo and Lagos States where many were killed and others injured in controversial circumstances.

As the protest turned violent, three hoodlums were beaten to death while attempting to disperse #EndSARS protesters who blocked the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua way, the road leading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the protesters marched through the expressway along Kuje junction when the hoodlums suddenly emerged from the bush and attacked them.

The protesters who were in their large numbers overpowered the hoodlums and beat three of them to death.

As of the time of filing this report, one of the hoodlums was alive but efforts to get the police to convey him to hospital for medical help failed, as one of the police officers was heard saying that he would not want to get involved.

The police officers who disguised in mufti said they saw when the hoodlums passed with cutlasses, woods and other dangerous weapons and wondered why the hoodlums decided to go against the protesters.

He said, “You see now; three of them are dead”.

A passerby who contacted someone in the Air Force Base Sauka to see if medical assistance could be given to one of the boys that was alive said that the person he contacted declined, but suggested that the patient should be taken to Gwagwalada.

Meanwhile, from Kuje junction to Giri, there was heavy traffic build up. Movement to and fro the Airport was disrupted and aircraft passengers were affected.

Also, movement from Gwagwalada axis as well as Kuje was brought to a standstill.

Still in the Federal Capital Territory, the #EndSARS protest at Apo legislative quarters turned violent as not fewer than four persons lost their lives in the process and over seven cars set ablaze.

Speaking with an eye witness in a telephone interview, Mr. Samuel Gebechukwu from Tyre plaza Apo, said the protest started around 1:30 pm at Apo Round About, and the aggrieve youths started setting cars ablaze, killing one person at the roundabout.

He said most of the protesters who were well armed with knives and other weapons, burnt down cars at Kabusa junction and blocked Apo Primary school junction.

According to him, there was no access road, no safety guaranteed, adding that the melee lasted for over three good hours without police intervention or any other security personnel intervening.

“As I am speaking now, no fewer than four people are lying dead at the Apo Primary School; there is fear in the area as people are afraid of what will happen next,” he said.

It was gathered that the #EndSARS protesters shut down Bwari-Dutse Expressway.

The protests which show no sign of abating soon saw the Bwari/Dutse road totally blocked, while commuters were forced to go back home while car owners were stranded.

Also In Lagos the #EndSARS protesters attacked and injured nineteen policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Command at Adekunle, Yaba area of Lagos State.

According to the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Superintendent of Police, the incident happened when the protesters violently descended on some policemen around the area.

He said that ninety seven policemen, who were being conveyed to their various beats on routine relief duties across the state, came across the violent protesters who started shouting “No Police, No Police” stoned them leaving 19 of the policemen critically injured.

He said four police vehicles were damaged, adding that the policemen, who scampered for safety, were eventually rescued and rushed to the Police Clinic at Panti, Yaba, for medical Attention.

Amid the civil unrest, Lagos State government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.

The state commissioner for education, Folasade Adefisayo who issued the directive on Monday stressed that the safety of the pupils/students, parents, and all staff working in schools was paramount in this critical period and as such necessitated this move.

She advised parents to keep an eye on their ward and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on society.

The commissioner also encouraged schools to utilise other means of distance teaching and learning including radio, television, and online media as they have been doing during and post COVID-19 lockdown.

“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible,” Adefisayo said.

In Enugu State the protesters called on religious and traditional leaders to support the ongoing ENDSARS protest to save the country from total collapse.

The protesters who spoke at Okpara Square in Enugu where they gathered to commence their protest said they will not pay tithe to spiritual leaders that refuse to join the struggle.

They protested with placards with different inscriptions including “Peace, justice, equity and fairness, Say no to police brutality, I am a mother of the leaders of tomorrow, stop killing these leaders”

Addressing Journalists on behalf of the youth, Chinedu Anichi, National Patron of Nigeria Students and Youth Association called on various stakeholders, religious and traditional rulers to support the ENDSARS struggle, adding that “we will only work with people that support our demand.

“We call on men of God to support us as we continue in this struggle of #End SARS because we will only pay tithe and sacrificial offerings to spiritual leaders who identify with our problems. Our demand is that we have to minus brutality and plus civility in the process of investigation and operation of Nigerian police. We want a Nigeria police that has the face of a Nigeria, a Nigeria police that will restore confidence in the youth and make them feel protected,’’ he added.

 

 Senate To Review 2021 Budget Within 3 Weeks [LEADERSHIP]

Barring any last-minute change, the Senate will today suspend plenary to allow its various committees commence the review of the 2020 budget implementation as well as enable ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) defend their 2021 budget proposal.

This is coming just as the two chambers of the National Assembly are expected to commence debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill forwarded to them recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, made the disclosure shortly after the Senate passed the 2021 Appropriations Bill for Second Reading on Thursday last week.

Lawan, however, informed MDAs that the deadline for budget defence in the Red Chamber would not exceed the first week of November.

He, therefore, urged all ministers and heads of government agencies to avail themselves of the window provided for the defence of their

respective budgets, particularly in line with President Buhari’s directive.

Lawan said, “On Tuesday next week, we will be taking the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). This will be the last function that we would do in plenary.

“We will suspend plenary on Tuesday for the budget defence processes to start immediately”.

Also, the PIB which had scaled first reading last week will also be passed for second reading today after the debate.

LEADERSHIP gathered that debate on the PIB will last for just one day after which the Senate and the House of Representatives will suspend plenary for three weeks for budget defense exercise on the 2021 budget estimates by MDAs.

The proposed PIB law is expected to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, development of the host communities and other related matters,

A copy of the 239 paged documents sighted by our correspondent is divided into five chapters with 319 sections and seven schedules.

Chapter one deals with governance instructions, establishment of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority which seeks to transform the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to a Limited Liability company with the federal government as the sole shareholder.

Chapter two deals with general administration of oil and gas in the country, while chapter three deals with all issues concerning the host communities and the responsibilities of oil companies to the host community, while establishing the Host community development trust fund.

Chapter four of the bill deals with fiscal framework of the petroleum industry, hydrocarbon tax, chargeable tax, offences and penalties, application of company income tax among others while chapter five deals with legal procedures, repeals, transfer of assets, employees and condition of service as well as transfer of existing host communities development projects and schemes.

When passed, the law will scrap the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund while transforming the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into a limited liability company.

 

Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Delta, Edo, Abia, Plateau get panels on SARS abuses [THE NATION]

Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Abia, Delta, Edo and Plateau states on Monday inaugurated panels to probe cases of human rights abuses against the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while inaugurating the panel, appealed to youths protesting police brutality to vacate Lagos roads and embrace dialogue for resolution of the issues.

He said the government has shown sincerity and willingness to address all concerns raised.

Sanwo-Olu’s appeal came on the heel of violent dimension assumed by the #EndSARS protests in some parts of the state.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State government has also established a compensation fund for the victims of police brutality.

He said: “We have shown an unprecedented commitment to the complete overhaul of the Nigeria Police. The inauguration of this Judicial Panel of Inquiry is only the first step in a long line of reformative actions that will lead to a thorough revamp and reorientation of the Nigeria Police. I believe that some of the actions we have taken should, to a large extent, show our sincerity and willingness to address all your concerns.

“Let me reiterate that I am on the side of the young people out there. I understand your pain and I know your concerns are genuine and legitimate. While we are able to immediately acquiesce to some of your demands, some others will require time. We ask you to bear with us as we dutifully work on your demands.

“I will, therefore, like to renew my appeal to you to suspend the protests and create an atmosphere for the resolution of all pending demands. I encourage everyone brutalised by the disbanded SARS, including the families of those who died, to present their case before this tribunal.”

Sanwo-Olu said he believed the task of reforming the police was achievable, but required the input and cooperation of the youth to accomplish.

He commended the cohesiveness of the “resilient” young people who stood their ground in the last two weeks. Their tenacity, Sanwo-Olu said, has made the much-desired change in the policing system become inevitable.

Speaking about the judicial panel, the Governor said he was convinced that its outcome and recommendations would open a new chapter in the police-citizen relationship.

He promised that the State Government would ensure that all wounds are healed, justice served to victims of abuse, and guilty police officers prosecuted.

At the time of the swearing-in of the panel members, the representatives of the youth in the panel had not been nominated by the protesters.

The government, last Friday, reached out to the protesters to forward the name of their nominees into the judicial panel. The protesters, however, pleaded for more time to send the names of their nominees, four days after the government’s request.

 

Work ongoing on police reform, says Buhari [THE NATION]

President Muhmmadu Buhari on Monday reflected on the ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality by youths.

He said the peaceful protests fell with the framework of fundamental human rights.

Buhari said although he was “worried about some of the exceptions” to the protest, he believed that as  “a father to this generation of our youths,’ they must  not  be made to “suffer from any form of police brutality.”

The president advised the protesters to be wary of unscrupulous elements trying  to hijack the protests to achieve their goals.

The President, who spoke during a meeting with the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, also appealed to the protesters to give the Federal Government time to address their demands.

Dare told State House Correspondents in Abuja that Buhari was more than determined to reform the police as demanded by the #EndSARS/SWAT protesters.

This, he said, informed the setting up of a team to work out the modalities for the police reform.

He said: “Mr. President said the youths of this country have spoken and he has since gone to work, not just as a President, but also as a father of the younger generation.

“He said as a father to this generation of our youths, his desire is for them to be well protected and live in a country where they enjoy their freedom.

“The President promised that he will ensure that the reforms as promised are met, that the reforms are long lasting and that the reforms will deliver for our country, a police force that we will be proud of.

Dare added: “Mr. President believes  that the youth of our country are a great resource and not a problem. He appreciates the fact that they have brought the SARS issue to the fore through their peaceful protest.

“He recognises that they have called upon the government to do what is necessary and that as a President and a father, he will make ensure  that the demands put forward are met.

“He will work to ensure that our youth are no longer profiled but celebrated and supported for their vast potential, skills and for the fact that the future of our country lie in their  hands.”

Dare also spoke on plans to engage the youths to end the protests.

He said: “He (President) said part of the demands that were made was to ensure those protesting are protected and any police officer that has in one way or the other attacked any protester be brought to book.”

 

Protests turn violent in Benin, Abuja, Lagos [THE NATION]

The #EndSARS protest took a violent turn on Monday as it spread across the country.

Business activities were disrupted and cities shut down.

There was no business activity in major part of Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, as protesters locked down the major roads, preventing people from getting to their offices and business places.

The secretariat of the State government in Alausa, Ikeja, was closed down when protesters chased away civil servants. It was the same situation at the House of Assembly.

The 19 injured policemen sustained serious injuries after the attack at Adekunle in Yaba.

Another set of RRS personnel escaped unhurt when they were attacked in Ijanikin.

The injured were among the 97 policemen heading for their various duty posts in an RRS truck.

A video footage of the Adekunle incident showed some of the policemen fleeing to safety as the attackers threw stones, bottles and missiles at them.

The protesters vandalised many vehicles between Adekunle and Ebute Meta, shouting “No Police! No Police.”

The protesters took their action to the Murtala Muhammed Airport – the nation’s foremost facility – chanting slogans.

The youths numbering over a hundred, marched along the road leading to the terminal building , but did not  gain access into the facility.

Officials declined to comment on the development, which did not affect operations of airlines.

Men of the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS) of the police in Lagos were attacked by the protesters. Many were injured.

In Benin, two police stations and a police post, were burnt down. Two prisons (Correctional Centres) were attacked to free no fewer than 500 inmates.

The armoury was looted, police uniforms stolen while nine of the inmates who were making their way to escape were shot dead.

The Edo State government slammed a 24-hour curfew on the state to restore normalcy.

In Abuja, many people were injured and vehicles damaged when anti-and pro-SARS protesters clashed.

No fewer than two persons were feared killed yesterday as mayhem broke out at the Apo Mechanic Village in Abuja, when suspected hoodlums hijacked the #ENDSARS protests, attacking people randomly and setting several many ablaze.

According to a witness, the incident happened after a horde of thugs were conveyed to the area in a large truck to disrupt the protests.

The witness, who lives in the nearby village of Apo Pigba, said the thugs armed with machetes, sticks and other crude weapons, attacked the protesters and anyone else in sight.

A protester, Anthony Onome Unuode, who was attacked along Kubwa Road on Saturday, died of the injuries he sustained yesterday.

 

Tinubu to youths: you made your points, let protests end [THE NATION]

All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has pleaded with the #ENDSARS protesters to end it, having “made considerable gains within a very short period.”

He said with President Muhammadu Buhari’s showing of “laudable sensitivity to their grievances”, it is time for them to leave the streets because the change they desired could not be achieved in an atmosphere of “endless protests.”

Reflecting on the on-going protests last night in a statement titled: “ENDSARS Protest: The Remedy national mamadies is more or less, democracy,” the former Lagos State governor commended the youths at the vanguard of the protest for their good organization, which has shown their dexterity, but warned that such should not be fritted away.

Tinubu hailed religious leaders for their patriotism and high sense of responsibility at thie rsentitive time and urged them to prevail on their teeming followers to end the protest now and give peace a chance because the government needs time to implement its commitment to the demands of the youths.

Giving further reasons why the protest should end, he said: “This process of change should be supported and cannot be done in an atmosphere of endless protests that are also crippling an economy already enfeebled by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He explained that “It is only fair that government must be given the chance to implement the reforms demanded by the protesters. This can certainly not be done instantaneously by the waving of a magic wand.

“If government had not implemented promised reforms in the past, the swiftness with which it has responded to the demands of the protesters this time around shows that that there is a positive change by government, both of attitude and of a new sense of urgency.”

He said: “The intent of the organisers of the protests is to achieve stated objectives on police reform, which the government has in principle accepted. It can certainly not be their motive to cause generalized anarchy or effect regime change. If they give the impression that that is their goal, then any government will necessarily have to act with the requisite decisiveness and force to restore law and order and preserve constitutional rule.

“Their democratic right to protest must not be exercised in such a way that impedes the democratic right of other citizens to freedom of movement, expression and the liberty to pursue their livelihoods.”

Noting that the protests underscored the growth of democratic culture,  he said impunity and lawlessness demonstrated by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) were incompatible with the values and tenets of democracy.

He said lovers of democracy and rule of law cannot be opposed to the legitimate demands of the protesters.

Tinubu hailed the protesters for their sense of maturity, restraint and responsibility, adding that the agitations underscored the power of the people.

Tinubu said the protesters should acknowledge that President Buhari had reacted to the protests by scrapping SARS and accepting their five-point demands.

He said while the protesters have recorded some gains, they should not fritter them away due to lack of moderation and strategic thinking.

He lamented that hoodlums, thugs and other criminals have capitalised on the protests to perpetrate violence, harass and intimidate innocent citizens.

Tinubu said:” I also strongly appeal to the protesters. You have made your point. Government has made its commitment to you. Please, please and please, call off the protests. Give government a chance to implement your demands.”

Tinubu added: “For the past twelve days, our country has witnessed massive protests by youths in different cities, which were ignited by widespread disenchantment with the gross human rights abuses including torture, extortion, harassment, intimidation and even extra-judicial killings of Nigerians by members of the disbanded Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).

“The demands for fundamental police reforms by the protesting youths are in pursuit of our aspiration in our national anthem “to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign”. Justice as one of our greatest writers has memorably noted is “the first condition of humanity”.

“A society where those who are paid from the public purse to protect the lives and property of the people become themselves threats to the liberty, safety and dignity of the people; where human life is difficult to distinguish from Thomas Hobbes ‘State of Nature – ‘solitary, poor, nasty and brutish’ is not one fit for free and decent people to live in.

“Such impunity and lawlessness are incompatible with the values and tenets of a democratic society governed by the supremacy of the rule of law.

“It is impossible for anyone truly committed to the rule of law, democracy and good governance to be opposed to the concern and demands of the protesters. There is no way that any society can make meaningful progress without the enthronement of these values.

“The protesters have for the better part of the commencement of their civil action conducted themselves with an admirable sense of responsibility, restraint and maturity. This is commendable.

“Indeed, the high level of organization demonstrated by the protesting youths shows a new level of consciousness of the capability of a vigilant civil society as well as the efficacy of people’s power. This can only ultimately strengthen the country’s democratic evolution and sustainability.

“The impunity of SARS was thus a challenge that the youth have responded positively and courageously to and has triggered the commencement of the fundamental reform of the country’s policing system.

“But then, the protesters must admit that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has acted with commendable dispatch by not only scrapping SARS but also accepting the five-point demand that triggered the protests. This shows a laudable sensitivity to the grievances of the youths.

“The vigour and vibrancy of the protests are an indication of the growing strength of the democratic culture in Nigeria. It is a demonstration of the beauty of democracy and its promotion and protection of people’s power.

“However, the protesters must be careful not to set the stage for the erosion or destruction of the same democratic process that gives them the freedom and right to protest in the first place.

“Their democratic right to protest must not be exercised in such a way that impedes the democratic right of other citizens to freedom of movement, expression and the liberty to pursue their livelihoods.

“The fight for police reforms is surely to promote and protect the wellbeing of millions of Nigerians. It is a contradiction for the protesters to act in ways that will further worsen the economic well being of the very people they are fighting for.

“It is important that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) utilize this protest as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and recommit itself to the values for which the party was formed through extraordinary hard work, dedication and commitment.

“There is no doubt that the party has recorded tremendous achievements in diverse sectors since 2015. But it now has to sit back, examine the gaps between its promises and its performance in order to make necessary amends.

“It is a good sign that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos and a number of other state governments have speedily set up judicial panels of inquiry into acts of police brutality over the years. I urge the state governments which are yet to do so to emulate this example.

“This process of change should be supported and this cannot be done in an atmosphere of endless protests that are also crippling an economy already enfeebled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Asaba airport: New vista for economic growth [THE NATION]

THE Asaba International Airport, built during the regime of ex-Delta State Governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan on an expanse of land abutting the Benin-Onitsha Expressway, has endured a turbulent takeoff since the commencement of commercial flight operations in March 2011.

A few years into its operations in 2015, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), the nation’s aviation regulatory agency downgraded the status of the airport, restricting its use to only DashAQ400 and ATR42 aircraft.

An undulating runway, a lack of perimeter fencing, the need to evacuate a nearby hill that compromised safety and the lack of training for members of the technical staff were reasons adduced by the aviation regulatory body for its downgrade of the airport.

The airport project has always had its critics from the outset, with many fulminating against its N47 billion price tag, and often questioning its desirability.

They argue that with the largely underutilised Osubi Airport in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State lying fallow, the Asaba Airport is a misplaced priority.

But despite the COVID-19-induced lockdown and the downgrade it suffered, flight operations at the Asaba Airport is slowly gathering steam.

The airport touted as a much-needed addition to Nigeria’s air transport infrastructure by the state government is expected to impact regional commerce, communication, and economic growth.

Asaba is not only the gateway to the East, with its mammoth markets, but also conveniently situated to provide easy access to urban centres such as Awka, Owerri, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Benin-City, Onitsha, and Warri.

The salient question is, has the airport lived up to the lofty visions of its founders and become a major hub for local and international flight operations in the last decade? Or is it just a prestige project with no tangible impact on the local economy?

In September 2015, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration acted swiftly when it sought and got the approval of the state legislature for N5.021 billion loan facility to rehabilitate the airport.

With the completion of the rehabilitation of the airport and a standard runway in place, Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, in September, last year, lifted the ban, thus permitting the Asaba Airport to receive Boeing 737 and other bigger aircraft.

Presenting the 2020 budget to the State House of Assembly, Governor Okowa announced a “breakthrough with the approval by the State Executive Council for the concession of the airport to a consortium of investors led by Menzes Aviation, a world-renowned aviation company.”

The Governor told the House that it was “the first full brownfield airport concession in Africa and a hybrid arrangement covering further development and management of the airport.”

 

FCT security agents, thugs attack protesters, Lagos, others grounded [PUNCH]

#EndSARS protesters on Monday defied the threat by the Federal Government to deploy security agents in quelling their protests against police brutality across the country.

Protesters, mostly youths as early as 7am trooped out in major cities in Lagos, Ogun, Edo, Abia, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Ebonyi states blocking roads and calling for police reforms.

But in Abuja, security operatives and thugs attacked #EndSARS peaceful protesters at various locations.

In some locations in Abuja, security agents watched as thugs attacked protesters.

Recall that since October 8, youths, who are calling for disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, have been embarking on peaceful protests.

On Sunday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, disbanded SARS and a few days later announced the setting up of the Special Weapon and Tactics Team.

But the protesters insisted that the government had not met their demands, including prosecution of SARS operatives involved in extrajudicial killings.

The Federal Government on Sunday warned the protesters that it would not tolerate a descent into anarchy.

The protest leaders, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the protests were peaceful and accused government of using police and thugs to disrupt the demonstrations.

Protesters block Lagos-Badagry, Lagos-Ibadan roads

On  Monday, vehicular and human movements were at a standstill in many parts of Lagos including  Ijanikin, Iyana Isashi and Agbara axis of the  Lagos – Badagry Expressway as angry youths protested against police brutality.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the protesters blocked the expressway with two articulated vehicles at Agbara, preventing vehicles from coming or going out of the area.

Ovi Kuponu, one of the coordinators of the protest, Ovi Kuponu, told journalists the youth in Badagry and Agbara came out to protest deplorable state of the expressway and bad governance.

Vehicular movements were totally paralysed in Ikeja, Lagos State capital.

Thousands of youths occupied the stretch of Awolowo Road from Allen Junction to the Lagos State Secretariat in Alausa.

Travellers stranded as protesters block Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abeokuta roads, others

Almost all the major roads in Ogun State were blocked on Monday by the protesters.

But besides SARS, the protesters said they were protesting against bad governance.

Some of the areas affected included   Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Arepo and Mowe areas, Sagamu Interchange, Presidential Boulevard, Oke-Mosan, Panseke, Camp-Osiele, Owode-Yewa, Ilaro, Ado-Odo,  Sango and Papalanto.

The protesters,  under the aegis of concerned Mowe youths,  assembled at Mowe Junction as early as 8am and blocked  Sagamu Interchange.

Also, thousands of youths in Owode-Yewa in the Yewa South Local Government Area of the state blocked some roads in protest against bad governance.

Protesters shut down Edo

Also, Benin, the Edo State capital, was shut down by protesters under the aegis of the #EndSARS agitation.

All the major roads in the city were blocked as early as 7am with bonfire dotting strategic points in the city.

On Ekenwan Road for instance, from Agho Junction to the popular Ekenwan Military Barracks,  youths converged on Evbotubu Junction, Utagban Junction;  First and Second Power Line Junctions; Debvekewen Junction and Leaders College Junction.

The entire city centre was on a  complete lockdown as protest points were set up in the various roads such as Airport Road, Akenzua-Plymouth Road, Ring Road and Siluoko Road.

In all the points, the messages by the protesters remained the same: ‘No to SARS’  and ‘Buhari must go.’

The protests also grounded Umuahia metropolis in Abia State.

The protesters, started their demonstration from Abia Tower of Peace, along the Federal Expressway headed for the city centre, where major roads were blocked.

Moving through Okpara Square, the protesters went to the Government House to see the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who did not address them.

Angered by this, the youth blocked the Government House – Federal Medical Centre – Aba road – Ikot Ekpene road junction and cooked their meals there.

Shouting slogans against  Buhari and the police, the protesters were carrying placards with inscriptions such as ‘End SARSSARS, ‘SARS must end,  reform Nigeria.’

The  protesters in Ekiti State blocked all major roads in virtually all communities in the state making intra and inter-city movements impossible.

It was impossible for many workers and students to get to their offices and schools, Also protesters stormed the state secretariat, Ado Ekiti and schools where they chased  workers and students away.

Also,  youths in Akure , the  Ondo State capital on Monday  took the protest to the Ilesa-Akure-Owo Expressway where they were singing different solidarity songs and barricading the road.

The protesters used trucks to block the road preventing vehicular movements. For several hours,  there were no movements of vehicles while travellers were stranded on the road.

Youths in Kano also protested against police brutality on major streets in Sabon Gari area of the metropolis.

The protesters, some of whom were clinging on tricycles, and private vehicle rooftops were displaying placards with different  inscriptions such, ‘End SARS, SWAT, end KAROTA, end police brutality, end Kano corruption’, among others.’

Protesters block Ebonyi Govt House for six hours

#EndSARS protesters also blocked the Ebonyi State Government House, Abakaliki, for six hours and demanded the probe of police brutality and extrajudicial killings in the state.

Presenting their demands through their spokesperson,  Steven Ugama, they called on the state Governor,  David Umahi,  to set up a  judicial panel of inquiry to look into the illegal activities of the SARS.

Responding,  Umahi,  who described their action as constitutional,  assured them that nobody would molest them.

In Osun State, #EndSARS protesters returned to streets in Osogbo, the state capital, occupying Olaiya Junction and forcing traders in the area to close their shops.

Recall that five protesters were shot dead by security agents in the state on Saturday.

Offices were shut down and business activities paralysed in most parts of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital as the #EndSARS protesters blocked major roads to press home their demands.

The protesters, mainly youths, chanting anti-poor government songs and bearing placards with different inscriptions, blocked the Challenge, Agodi Secretariat, Apata, Total Garden, Eleyele, Bodija, Eleyele, Ologuneru, Idi Ape and other roads in the city.  They also blocked  Lagos-Ibadan Expressway end of the city.

 

FG begins N75bn support fund disbursement this week [PUNCH]

Beginning from this week, the Federal Government will start paying grants to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises that are successful to partake in the N75bn COVID-19 support schemes.

On September 10, 2020, the Federal Government inaugurated two schemes to financially support about 1.7 million MSMEs across the country with N75bn.

The schemes are the National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus Schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan.

The Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, who doubles as Project Coordinator, Survival Funds Scheme, Tola Adekunle, told journalists in Abuja on Monday that payments to some beneficiaries of schemes would start this week.

He said, “Presently we are doing it in batches of 12 states to be able to monitor the scheme and as we speak now 12 states are ready. We are hoping that by the end of this week, we will be able to pay 12 states.

“We are starting with the artisans and it is 4,500 persons per state, plus 4,500 for transporters, bringing it to about 9,000 for each state. Right now, we have about 54,000 from 12 states.”

Asked when those on the payroll support scheme would start getting their payments, Adekunle replied, “By the end of this month.

“We want to ensure that the staff start getting their salaries and same for the second and third month.”

He explained that payroll support, which was categorised under the survival fund, targets businesses that employ between 10 and 50 people.

Adekunle said, “We now pay 10 of those people from among the 50 employees and we pay them between N30,000 and N50,000.

“But the minimum we pay is three staffs for three months to support their businesses and to ensure that we are helping businesses to augment their salaries.”

He said the payroll support was inaugurated on September 21 and the portal was opened by 11pm, adding that within 24 hours about 132,000 applicants were recorded.

Adekunle said the portal was shut on October 15 but noted that a number of states had not met their quotas and this had created room for an extension.

He said the number of states that had met the quotas were slightly below 20 in number, adding that this led to the strong demand for an extension.

“In my own opinion, it is valid but the decision lies in the hands of the committee and the project coordinator so I have to convince them based on data analysis,” he said.

On the number of applicants for the payroll support, the presidential aide said, “As at the day it closed, we had about 432,000 businesses that had applied. However, we have shortlisted less than 70,000 businesses that qualify and meet the requirements.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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