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Constitution Amendment: PDP Alleges Plot To Frustrate Restructuring Agenda [LEADERSHIP]

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday, rejected what it called an attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to manipulate the system and frustrate the widespread clamour and efforts by the majority of Nigerians for a genuine restructuring.

The PDP also faulted plans by the APC to smuggle the partisan report of its committee on restructuring into the National Assembly to replace the 2014 National Conference Report,” adding that it is an unpardonable assault on the sensibility of over 200 million Nigerians, whose collective interests are contained in the conference report.

The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said that, “Nigerians are also alerted of a fresh ploy by some ambitious APC leaders to blackmail the legislature and create an impression of commitment to restructuring, just to beguile the people and soften the ground for their personal political and particularly, presidential ambitions ahead of the 2023 elections.

“Our party stands at the forefront of efforts for genuine restructuring, but we hold that the authentic materials for a genuine restructuring are contained in the 2014 National Conference report, wherein, Nigerians, across all the divides, collectively provided a road map out of our constitutional quagmires; and not a partisan report by the APC”.

“It is therefore unacceptable that the 2014 National Conference report, which embodies the desires and hopes of over 200 million Nigerians, has been shelved by President Muhammadu Buhari, since his predecessor in office, President Goodluck Jonathan, personally handed it over to him in 2015 for implementation in line with the wishes and aspirations of the people”

“Our party therefore charges President Muhammadu Buhari to bring out the 2014 National Conference Report, dust it up and present it as an executive bill to the National Assembly to guide the desired amendment to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) with regard to restructuring.”

The PDP also insisted that the partisan whims of one party, in a multi-party country of over 200 million people, cannot override the decisions that were meticulously reached by majority of Nigerians at a National Conference.

The party cautioned the APC to note that Nigerians are not interested in their deceptive antics but in a genuine effort towards a holistic  amendment process that will restructure “our country in the areas of  true federalism, devolution of powers, electoral reforms and unbundling of critical items in the exclusive list, which the PDP is canvassing.

“Nigerians can recall that in the campaigns that led to the 2019 elections, the PDP made genuine restructuring that captures the desires of Nigerians, the hallmark of our campaign”.

“It is rather unfortunate that those who hid in their shores to dismiss and blackmail the PDP on restructuring are now coming out today to sell cosmetic and partisan notions of restructuring to Nigerians as a decoy to further their selfish political ambitions”.

 

FG clamps down on #EndSARS promoters, freezes accounts [PUNCH]

There were strong indications on Tuesday that the Federal Government had begun a clampdown on promoters of #EndSARS protests by freezing their bank accounts.

Some #EndSARS promoters, who spoke separately to The PUNCH,  said their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria had directed that their accounts should be frozen.

Last months, youths calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police protested for two weeks in major cities of the country.

On Tuesday, some promoters of the protests said their accounts had been frozen for the past two weeks.

The CBN, according to multiple complaints received by The PUNCH, reportedly instructed banks to place a ‘Post No Debit’ restriction on the accounts.

The banks, it was learnt, were able to implement the directive by tracking the ‘narration’ of transactions.

Bank transactions that included the narration #EndSARS or End SARS were immediately flagged while such accounts receiving funds were frozen.

Speaking to The PUNCH, a pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, said his account with Access Bank marked 003397XXXX had remained frozen since October 15.

According to him, when he learnt of the development, he went to the bank to find out the reason for it. Israel said he was informed by a bank officer that the directive came from the apex bank.

He said, “I am in charge of End SARS medical team in Port Harcourt and we had people donating for medical supplies, food, water, ambulance services and these donations were made directly into my account and of course these donations had End SARS descriptions so I think that was how they were able to flag my account. I noticed that on October 15, I was trying to make a debit transaction on my account and noticed that there was a restriction.

“So, I called the bank and I was told that there was indeed a restriction but I should go to any branch near me and when I did so, the branch manager sent a mail to the branch where I opened the account. The response to the mail was that there was a directive from the CBN to restrict the account.

“The lady was surprised and even asked me if I had any issue with the CBN and I responded that if I had any issue with the CBN, I wouldn’t be in the bank in the first place, I would be on the run. I asked what could be done and she gave me no answer. She had to  show me the mail on her computer which I read. It was directly from the CBN and it read, ‘Place this account on PND.”

When asked if others had similar problems, Israel said, “I know many persons that have this same challenge.”

Israel said the money in the frozen account was a substantial sum.

Another #EndSARS protester told one of  our correspondents that she had not been able to access her account and had been informed that it was frozen.

She, however, wished to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised by the government.

One of the promoters of the #EndSARS movement, Feyikemi Abudu, also confirmed in a tweet that the accounts of several persons involved in the protests had been frozen.

The acting Spokesman for the CBN, Abdulmumin Isa, who was first contacted last week on the telephone, asked the correspondent to give him some time.

However, after one week of waiting, Isa had yet to provide any information on the matter.

The Spokesman for Access Bank, Abdul Imoyo, said he could not make comments on individual accounts of customers for confidentiality reasons.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service on Monday prevented a promoter of the #EndSARS movement, Modupe Odele, from travelling.

 

US election: Trump wins Indiana, Kentucky, Biden takes Vermont, Virginia [PUNCH]

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling it out for the White House, with polls gradually closing across the United States and a long night of waiting for results ahead.

The first results are trickling in, with US media projecting wins for the Republican incumbent so far in Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia — all states he won in 2016. Biden has captured Vermont and Virginia.

So far, that gives Trump 24 electoral votes to 16 for Biden. The magic number is 270. Observers expect the hotly contested race for the White House to come down to a handful of key battleground states.

The following is a list of the states won by each candidate and the corresponding number of electoral votes, based on the networks’ projections.

TRUMP

(24)Indiana (11)

Kentucky (8)

West Virginia (5)

 

Corps members to undergo new COVID-19 tests before orientation – NCDC [PUNCH]

For safe re-opening of the National Youth Service Corps orientation camps across the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said all corps members will be tested using the new antigen-based test.

The centre disclosed that the process of procurement of the antigen-based test was almost complete.

Speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, the NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, “We will test everyone (corps members) and that will enable us to keep our camps safe and also help us understand what is going on in the rest of the country.”

Ihekweazu also revealed that the government had launched Infection Prevention and Control call vanguard in all the states, noting that young people interested in IPC were being trained for self-management and self-regulation in the camps as they opened.

Ihekweazu said, “We know that corps members are normally young mobile population. Again, we are counting on not only the young people going to camps but parents; so we need the parents to support young people to do what they have to do.

“We have been working extremely hard over the last two months with NYSC to reopen youth service camps. We have made a lot of progress to ensure that we can do that safely.”

Nigeria risks infection from returning travellers – FG

The Federal Government also raised the alarm that Nigeria risked massive infections of the coronavirus, especially in next or two weeks, due to possible importation of the virus into the country by international travellers.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, noted the failure of Nigerians who arrived from abroad to present themselves for the in-country Polymerase Chain Reaction test.

He said, “The nation has experienced several large gathering events during which the non-pharmaceutical interventions were not really observed.

“The PTF is highlighting these issues repeatedly because we remain at risk of importation, having opened our airspace and massive spread as a result of the protests. The next week or two remain critical. The PTF has noted with sadness the failure of Nigerians who arrived from abroad to present themselves for the in-country PCR test which they signed up to and paid before arrival. Statistics emerging from our records show that only one out of three passengers have shown up for the in-country test.

“The PTF similarly announced sanctions as a consequence of any infraction. Having observed serious non-compliance to the level of 65 per cent, the need has arisen to activate the sanctions, which includes the suspension of the passports of such defaulting individuals for a period of six months minimum.”

Govt sets up panel as 18 travellers test positive

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government has set up stringent criteria and measures to limit the importation of COVID – 19 into the country.

He said 18 travellers out of over 78,000 arrivals were found to have tested positive at the second testing of COVID – 19 in Nigeria.

“In this connection, the Ministry of Health will next week launch an advocacy campaign in which a representative of the Minister of Health will visit hotspot states that require encouragement to discuss their specific needs and challenges and find ways of stepping up sample collection for testing”, he stressed.

 

DPO charges assaulted Oyo tailor to court over poor job [PUNCH]

The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Iyaganku division, Ibadan, Alex Gwazarzah, has taken a fashion designer, Lukman Adeniyi, to court for giving his cloths to an apprentice to sew.

Trouble started after the DPO claimed that the tailor damaged the cloths.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, said, “Information from the DPO Iyaganku, Alex Gwazarzah, was that it was agreed that the tailor would sew the cloths by himself, but he gave them to another person. The Commissioner of Police is looking into the matter.”

The tailor said he was introduced to the DPO by one Alhaji Idris Bawa, who had been his customer for over 10 years.

Adeniyi alleged that the DPO assaulted him the day he went to deliver the sewn materials on the allegation that the clothes were not well made.

The fashion designer said, “The DPO, after slapping me, still collected all the 12 materials without paying the N60,000 agreed on.

“On Saturday, November 1, the DPO told me to come for the money only for him to detain me.”

He was reportedly released on bail on Monday, November 2, and charged to court on Tuesday.

Adeniyi was arraigned at Court 8, Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court, Ibadan, in a case with suit number MI/881C/2020.

The DPO accused the defendant of damaging materials worth N181,000, which he handed over to him in September.

Gwazarzah said he was not satisfied with the quality of job that was delivered.

He argued that against his agreement with the tailor, the clothes were made by his apprentice.

The Magistrate, Olajumoke Akande, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N50,000, with two sureties in like sum.

She adjourned the case till November 17, for further hearing.

Counsel for the defendant, Jubril Olanrewaju, said, “You can imagine the DPO being a judge in his case. He was the one who investigated the case and made the fashion designer to write a statement in his office at Iyaganku. He was also the one who signed the charge sheet.”

 

Rising global COVID-19 cases put Nigeria at risk [THE NATION]

GOVERNMENT on Tuesday cautioned Nigerians against travelling to Europe and the Americas to prevent importation of COVID-19 virus to the country.

It expressed fears that the country is at risk with the second wave of the virus ravaging Europe and other parts of the world.

Because of the return of the virus, countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, have re-introduced restrictions and shut-downs.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 issued an advisory to Nigerians against making trips that are unnecessary to Europe, at this time.

The Lagos State government has also cautioned against unnecessary movement and social gathering, unless it is absolutely necessary. It said travelling outside the country should be discouraged except when absolutely necessary.

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire also said the PTF is worried by a likely rise in cases as a result of recent reopening of air travel, imminent reopening of schools, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camps, and the recent social agitation and unrest.

The PTF added that asides the disregard for COVID-19 safety, prevention and control measures, preliminary reports show that contact tracing and case finding have declined in states, with a consequent reduction in the number of persons tested.

Ehanire said: “We are concerned about the decline in the testing rate in several states of the Federation. Records show that only Lagos and the FCT have met the testing target of at least one per cent of the population. Plateau, Rivers and Gombe have reached over 50 per cent of target, while 25 states are yet to reach 25 per cent of their population. We do not have the confidence to draw firm conclusions on our status, till this situation improves.

“Our concern is heightened by several emerging factors that challenge whatever gains we may have made in recent months: the inevitable need to reopen air travel, to stimulate economic activities, the imminent reopening of schools and Youth Service, again necessary for restoration of social order, but which global experience links with spikes in covid infection rates in most countries.

“Others are the effect of recent social agitation and unrest, with attendant disruption of services and widespread breach of all infection prevention protocols, and the growing lackadaisical attitude to covid19 and disregard for safety and simple infection prevention and control measures, which I must admit, is not peculiar to our country.

“Preliminary reports show that contact tracing and case finding have declined in states with a consequent reduction in the number of persons tested. I therefore renew my call on states and stakeholders to step up testing capacity, to help identify positive cases for isolation or treatment and protect the rest of the population, which is the duty of government.

“I wish to particularly emphasize the need to protect the elderly and vulnerable, who are the most affected in fatalities. In this connection, the Ministry of Health will next week launch an advocacy campaign in which a representative of the Hon. Minister of Health will visit hotspot States that require encouragement, to discuss their specific needs and challenges and find ways of stepping up sample collection for testing.”

 

Nigeria’s debt to hit N38.68tr next year, says minister [THE NATION]

NIGERIA’S external and domestic debts have been projected to hit N38.68 trillion by December 2021, Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Zainab Ahmed, alerted on Tuesday.

Mrs. Ahmed, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts to defend the ministry’s next year budget, blamed abandonment of road projects on the intricacies in the preparation of annual budgets.

The Minister noted: “The total public debt stock, comprising the external and domestic debts of the federal and state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stood at N31.01 trillion ($85.90 billion) as at June 30, 2020.

“It (debt) is projected, based on existing approvals, to rise to N32.51 trillion by December 31, 2020 and N38.68 trillion by December 31, 2021.”

She noted that the 2021 Appropriation Bill has a provision of N3, 124.38 trillion for debt service, out of which domestic debts would be serviced with  N2, 183.49 and external debt serviced with N940.89 billion.

According to her, the 2021 Appropriation Bill provided for new borrowing of N4, 281.17 billion which was broken down equally between domestic borrowing of N2,140.58 billion and external borrowing of N2,140.58 billion.

On the plethora of abandoned road projects, Mrs. Ahmed explained that the current Sukuk fund of N162 billion would be applied to 45 roads across the six geo-political zones.

The minister said: “I’m one person that feels that we should just do this and take one major road in one geo-political zone and finish (it).

“We were not able to do that because of the processes in which appropriation is made both at the Executive as well as the Legislative arms of government.

“But truly, if we were able to just take one or two projects at a time and complete it before going to the next one, it will be better.

“So, what the contractor does is the bit that has been cut out for him to do in that particular area.

”Once the fund is released and it is finished, we stop again. That’s the consequence of these numerous projects that we put in the budget. It is not related to Sukuk-funded projects alone, it cuts across all the projects.

“You will see a road that costs, maybe, N5billion, and you will see a provision for N100 million, N200 million or 300 million.

“Of course, the project will never finish. After two years, the contractor comes back and asks for variation, and the amount keeps growing.

“I wish that we get to a point when we sit down as a government and agree that let us select a few projects, finish them in 2020, and then in 2021, we select the next, so that on a geo-political basis, those selections are done as a collective process.”

She said work on the Administration’s legacy projects which included the Lagos-Ibadan Highway, Second Niger Bridge, East-West Road and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road, are ongoing without stop because funds were available and they are few.

Ahmed said: “The NSIA (Nigerian sovereign Investment Authority) was assigned four major road projects to do.

“These projects are Lagos-Ibadan highway, 2nd Niger Bridge, East-West road and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road.

“After the President gave approval, the appropriation for that year, 2019 was remitted to the NSIA, and then added its own fund.

“The projects are on course because there is funding on the ground and because they are few, they are concentrating on them and work is ongoing.

“I wish we get to a point when we narrow down project implementation to few a projects at a time.”

On the delay in releasing Sukuk funds to contractors for executed projects, the minister explained that though the fund is protected, there are procedures put in place to verify claims before payment are made.

She added: “There is an audit process, the first batch has been released, the second batch is being released as we speak.

“There are some checks that we have to put in place to make sure that the claim that is being made is actually valid.

“There are parties that have been engaged to do a second level of verification in addition to the claims the ministry of works sends as invoices due for payment.

“The batch which is about N58 billion has been released. There is another N35 billion that is under processing.”

 

How SARS operatives broke my spine, trader tells panel

A TRADER, Ndukwe Ekekwe, on Tuesday narrated  how his spine was broken in 2018  when  operatives  of the disbanded  Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)  threw him down from a two-storey complex at the  Alaba International Market in Ojo, Lagos.

Ekekwe testified before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses in Lekki, Lagos.

Ekekwe, 34, said   he was arrested on February 16, 2018 taken to SARS head office in  Ikeja, stripped naked and brutalised in a torture chamber.

He added that the next day, the operatives took him back  to his three shops, broke the doors open with hammers and looted  phone accessories.

Ekekwe, who said he was never told the reason for his arrest, stated that when  he raised the alarm, he was thrown down from the building.

Now paraplegic, following severed spinal cord, Ekekwe was brought to the panel from Badagry by his aged mother, Nnenna Ekekwe. His father, according to him, is bedridden, suffering a stroke.

The trader, who narrated his ordeal in pidgin English, was not represented by a counsel.

He told the panel that his fellow traders intervened to stop the operatives from taking him away until they provided their identity cards.

He said: “They immediately removed their SARS shirts and began to shoot and everyone ran away. I asked them what is my crime and they said it was an order from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

“I was handcuffed in one hand because they noticed I wasn’t a troublemaker. On our way,  they stopped at Igando and came down from their car and were talking.

“I used my other hand to reach my phone to try to call my mother and the Inspector saw me, approached me and asked who gave me the guts to make a phone call. He took the phone, stepped on it and destroyed it.

“He stabbed me on my wrist and back and I was hit on the head with the butt of a gun They collected the N58,000 from me.

He added that some SARS operatives who were torturing other individuals also joined their colleagues to torture him.

Elekwe said: “I was left there till evening and I didn’t know my crime and till now I don’t know my crime. They kept saying they had intelligence report on me.

“At night of 17, 2018, I was   taken to my three shops where I sell phone accessories.

“The SARS men using hammers broke into my shop and took my goods in their vehicles and sold some off.

“They took away my goods worth N15million. I began shouting to attract attention and the commander told them to take me to the top of the two-storey plaza and I was thrown down from the building.

“The SARS operatives that threw me from that building is Hamza Haruna. They took me back to their office in my injured state.”

Ekekwe said when his condition became dire, he was taken from the SARS office to the Police Hospital in Ikeja from where he was  referred to Igbobi Orthopaedic Hospital and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

The trader told the panel  that he used to be the breadwinner   and that he suffered a spinal injury from his fall which led to his paralysis.

The petitioner said   his family paid his medical expenses and that he also had to sell his house and landed property to continue his treatment.

Chairman of the panel Justice Doris Okuwobi  adjourned proceedings to November 13 for the testimony of Ekekwe’s mother.

 

Highest-ever voter turnout elects United States president [THE NATION]

AMERICANS cast their votes on Tuesday in a bitterly contested presidential race between incumbent President Donald Trump and challenger former Vice President Joe Biden after a tumultuous four years under the Republican businessman-turned politician.

The country has been left deeply divided more than any time in recent history.

More than 100 million Americans voted nationwide before the polls opened yesterday, according to a survey of election officials by CNN, Edison Research, and Catalist.

These votes represent more than 47 per cent of registered voters nationwide. Twenty-one states and Washington, DC, have seen more than half of their registered voters cast ballots already.

Pre-Election Day voting skyrocketed nationwide despite the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. At least, six states – Texas, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Arizona and Montana – have surpassed their total turnout from the 2016 general election in recent days.

In seven other states, the pre-election vote represents at least 90 per cent of their 2016 total vote. The states are North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

Nationwide, the 100.2 million ballots already cast represents 73 per cent of the more than 136.5 million ballots cast in the 2016?presidential election.

As Americans voted on Tuesday, the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen with 40 states seeing a 25 per cent rise in cases over the last two weeks.

The U.S. has recorded 9.3 million coronavirus cases, out of which more than 232,000 people have died.

According to the NBC News Polling Average, Biden yesterday led Trump nationally 51.5 per cent to 44.4 per cent.

Trump made a brief Election Day visit to the Republican National Committee annex office in Arlington, Virginia, which is where his campaign headquarters is based.

He said he felt good about his chances for victory, predicting that he would register big wins in key states such as Florida and Arizona.

“We feel very good,” a hoarse-voiced Trump told Fox News in a phone interview.

Trump said he expected victory in all the key states that will decide the election, but said he would not “play games” by declaring his win too early.

Trump, however, a warned that “cheating” in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to violence in the streets.

Trump’s inflammatory behaviour, according to analysts, threatened to exacerbate already fraught national tensions amid fears of civil unrest that prompted businesses in some cities to board up their premises.

Incumbent Trump, 74, is seeking another four years in office after a chaotic first term marked by the coronavirus crisis, an economy battered by pandemic shutdowns, an impeachment drama, inquiries into Russian election interference, U.S. racial tensions and contentious immigration policies.

  • A voter filling her election ballet as her two boys patiently wait at the Old Stone School in Hillsboro, Vagina, during United States elections…

Trump, looking tired and sounding hoarse after days of frenetic campaigning, struck a decidedly less belligerent tone yesterday than he did on the trail over the weekend. He was expected to spend most of yesterday at the White House, where an election night party is planned for 400 guests, all of whom will be tested for COVID-19.

Biden, 77, is looking to win the presidency after a five-decade political career including eight years as vice president under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. He mounted unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008.

The two candidates have spent the final days barnstorming half a dozen battleground states, with Pennsylvania emerging as perhaps the most hotly contested. Biden will have made at least nine campaign stops in Pennsylvania between Sunday and yesterday.

Biden’s poll lead has forced Trump to play defence as almost every competitive state was carried by him in 2016.

The Biden campaign, meanwhile, took advantage of the final hours of the campaign to get out the vote in states that Trump won in 2016, whose electoral votes could be the key to winning.

Biden travelled to the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where he visited his hometown of Scranton and Philadelphia.

Before leaving for the final events of his campaign, the former vice president and some of his family members attended a church service at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church just after 7am ET in Wilmington, Delaware.

He visited his family’s gravesite where his son Beau Biden, who died in 2015 after battling brain cancer, is buried.

 

When IG Adamu toured police assets destroyed in Lagos [THE NATION]

He tried to show strength but his grief was palpable. Burnt police buildings, vehicles, decimated barracks, cracked walls, stripped roofs, broken bottles and debris all over the affected police formations visited were too much for Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu.

Unable to find the right words to describe the level of damage at police formations and the Palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu, Adamu occasionally shook his head as community leaders, Divisional Police Officers and Area Commanders recounted their experiences.

From the airport where the IG was received, the convoy moved straight to the Makinde Police Station in Oshodi, where a young man, Oke Obi-Enadhuze, was hacked to death by the hoodlums said to have stormed the premises.

Soot, condemned wire, broken woods and glasses have overtaken the once red dry soil of the police station with the premises looking like a scene from a war movie. The sights were the same at Orile Iganmu, Ebute Ero Police Stations and the Oba’s Palace where the invaders not only looted and vandalised properties but also desecrated the throne by pooing inside it.

Our reporter observed that the monarch’s stool and other cultural symbols of power that were desecrated by the hoodlums have been placed outside while some of the pictures whose frames were broken still hung on the walls. Also, exotic vehicles in the palace that were damaged were also seen. Members of the royal family narrated how the hoodlums invaded a community healthcare centre and carted away properties belonging to pregnant women attending antenatal.

The IG assured Lagos Princes, including Oba Akiolu’s first son, Aremu, and his younger brother, Adeoye, that the police would fish out the culprits and bring them to book.

Prince Aremu Akiolu, who took the police chief round the palace, said the miscreants might have attacked the palace because of the monarch’s intolerance of hooliganism.

He said: “Kabiyesi is a very tough man and because he was a police officer before so he doesn’t tolerate nonsense. But for them to go to that extent is very uncalled for. Whenever we have an Oba in Lagos, we respect the Oba. Oba is very nice to the people so it is not nice at all.  We need to know how to behave in this country.”

Aremu Akiolu said: “They vandalised everywhere, took all the chairs and electronics. God just saved Kabiyesi. They didn’t return the staff of office but we have the original one with us and we went out four days later with all the traditional people. The main palace here is the target.”

From all the scenes visited, the tales were similar: Armed hoodlums who hijacked the #ENDSARS protests came guns-blazing, shot petrol bombs at the facilities and subsequently torched before looting them dry.

 

Strike: Hope rises as FG, ASUU meet today [SUN]

Barring any last minute change in plans, representatives of the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would meet in Abuja, today, to continue negotiations with the hope of achieving a consensus on lingering issues that could herald the reopening of universities nationwide.

ASUU leadership had listed five major issues that led to the withdrawal of their services few months ago, but at present, the major concern is the adoption of University Transparency Account System (UTAS) for personnel management of members finances.

ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told Daily Sun, yesterday, that the meeting was in continuation of series of consultations between the lecturers and Federal Government on labour disputes.

“All parties involved have agreed to return to the dialogue table on Wednesday (today) to continue discussions and the search for durable labour peace in the university system. That’s the much I can say for now,” he said.

He, however, declined to comment on whether the decision to suspend the strike would  be taken at the meeting, saying  “just wait till the end of the meeting .That is  only when I can confidently and authoritatively say something in that regard.”

A source privy to the meeting, however, said  “major decisions would be taken at the meeting which might rekindle the hope of students in public universities returning to schools this year for continuation of academic programmes.”

Meanwhile, ASUU has called on parents, members of the public and relevant stakeholders in the country, to join the union in its resolve to save public universities from collapse.

Coordinator of the Lagos Zone of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, stated this at a press conference, yesterday, after the meeting at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

The meeting was attended by the Chairman, ASUU-OOU, Dr. Joel Okewale, Chairman, ASUU-FUNAAB, Dr Adebayo Oni and Chairman, ASUU-UNILAG, Dr Dele Ashiru, among others.

Sowande expressed the surprise that parents of students in public universities who should ordinarily take sides with ASUU had been misinformed and misled by the Federal Government into believing ASUU’s demands were selfish.

“The ongoing strike is about the only obvious way to rescue and preserve the soul of public university education from the stranglehold of Nigeria’s kleptocrats. Government does not see the education of its citizens as public good, but rather unfortunately as a business.

“While government is committed to using public funds to bail out banks, electricity distribution companies, and airline operators, which are private investments, the excuse of unavailability of funds for revitalisation of our public universities is not acceptable to our union.

“Parents and students should not be persuaded that ASUU is asking for too much money for the survival of public universities. Parents should please note that, if our struggle fails, they will pay through their noses to send their children to universities, that is, if most of the  students will not drop out of school,” he said.

He berated the Federal Government for resulting to blackmail, intimidation and propagation of falsehood to the public, instead of making sincere efforts at resolving the lingering crisis.

Sowande declared that members of the union have vowed not to succumb to Federal Government’s pressure to call off its strike.

He described the claim by Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, that 57,000 out of 71,700 lecturers are already on IPPIS as “highest level of falsehood from an office that should be respected for propagation of truth.”

He said the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the Federal government violated the autonomy of universities and was targeted at crippling university education in Nigeria.

“IPPIS violates the autonomy of universities because the power to control the finances and other resources will now be vested on the Account-General of the Federation and the Head of Service of the Federation.

“IPPIS is also aimed at subjecting the appointment of Vice-Chancellors and lecturers of federal-owned universities to the approval of the Head of Service of the Federation and this is in contrary to the universities autonomy act,” he added.

 

Lekki tollgate shooting: Cameras stopped working by 8pm, no audio –LCC [SUN]

Operators of the Lekki toll plaza, Lekki Concession Company (LCC), stunned the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) related Abuses and other Matters, yesterday, with claim that the surveillance cameras stopped working at 8pm on Tuesday, October 20, the day soldiers allegedly opened fire on #EndSARS protesters.

Its Managing Director, Abayomi Omomuwasi, who testified at the panel set up by the state government to probe the shootings as well as complaints of human rights abuses against members of the disbanded SARS confirmed that cameras that were removed before the shooting were plate number recognition cameras “early in the day.”

He said the other surveillance camera, a pan–tilt–zoom camera (PTZ camera) also exists and was still intact. He said LCC have three surveillance cameras at the Lekki toll gate, one at Ikoyi and another at Chevron. The cameras are linked via network, controlled from Chevron.

He said  they did not activate audio recording, as the cameras were used for traffic not security.

“We never, ever tempered with the surveillance camera until about 8 pm when it was tampered with and stopped recording, the network was interfered with which stopped the recording. The cameras that were removed at the Lekki toll gate were plate numbers recognition cameras, they identify the vehicle, and vehicle type.

“We usually put the light on at about 7:30 pm, our people left the location at 4pm, everyone was asked to go after the curfew was declared. We obtained permission and asked all staff to go, including those in charge of the generator.”

On the suspected bullet casing found during the panel’s visit last Friday, he said they still did not know what it was. He said none of the Lekki Concession staff physically witnessed the shooting.

“We can only rely on the footage.  I have no reason to invite armed security to the protest between 8-20, October when the protest started.”

Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd), ordered that the tollgate plaza remain closed as she said the panel might have a need to pay another visit after watching the video footage.

Meanwhile, self-acclaimed promoters of #EndSARS protest have lambasted the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, for allegedly attempting to hijack the movement to champion his selfish agenda.

Over 128 civil society organisations, had earlier disowned him for trying to usurp the agitation to destabilise their demands.

But, a group know as Genuine #EndSARS protesters said the protest Sowore staged on November 1 at the Force Headquarters and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, signified his selfish agenda to revive the now-rested agitation to foment trouble even when the government had promised to meet the demands.

 

IGP boosts officers’ morale, redeploys DIG, AIG to new depts. [SUN]

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has approved the posting of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Sanusi Lemu, and Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, as DIG in-charge of the Department of Operations and acting DIG in-charge of Finance and Administration, respectively.

The deployment of the two officers, according to a statement by Force public relations officer, Frank Mba, was sequel to the retirement of DIGs Abdulmajid Ali and Abduldahiru Danwawu, after the completion of their mandatory years of service.

Adamu also approved the posting of AIG Mustapha Dandaura as the Force secretary and member of the Nigeria Police Force Management Team (NPFMT). He takes over from Baba.

The posting/redeployment of the senior police officers is with immediate effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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