FRESH FM TOP NEWS THIS WEEK
Written by MaryGift Sunday on November 7, 2020
The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:
- Equip State House Clinic To Stop Buhari From Making Medical Trips Abroad – Senate Committee
The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, on Thursday, asked State House officials to put its clinic in order and equip it to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari would have no need to travel abroad for medical treatment. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Danjuma La’ah, made this remark when the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Mr. Tijani Umar, appeared before the panel to defend his 2021 budget estimates. The State House official had presented a budget of N19.7 billion for 2021, out of which N1.3 billion was proposed for the State House Clinic. Senator La’ah said the committee would approve the budget for the State House Clinic but insisted that the President and other top officials of his government should no longer be flown abroad for medical treatment.
President Buhari’s first term in office was punctuated by medical trips to the United Kingdom. Between 2017 and 2018, he travelled abroad at least thrice for medical reasons. One of the trips lasted for over 100 days. The President, himself, in 2019 lamented that Nigeria loses too much to medical tourism, urging stakeholders to come up with a solution.
In March, the Central Bank of Nigeria launched a N100 billion credit support intervention for the healthcare industry amid the coronavirus pandemic. One of the credit support’s objective was to “reduce health tourism to conserve foreign exchange.”
- COVID-19: Chinese Govt Suspends Nigerians, Others From Entering China
The Chinese government has temporarily suspended entry into China by Nigerians and other nationals in Nigeria holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits. The Embassy of China and Consulate in Nigeria announced this in a public notice on Thursday, adding that it will no longer issue a certified health declaration form for non-Chinese nationals in the country. According to the communique, entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visas at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Also, entry by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria with visas issued after 3 November 2020 will not be affected.
The Chinese authorities said the suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of Covid-19. According to the statement, the above-mentioned measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be announced accordingly.
- FG clamps down on #EndSARS promoters, freezes accounts
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 newsmen, 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 newsmen, 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.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service on Monday prevented a promoter of the #EndSARS movement, Modupe Odele, from travelling. Although the NIS officers did not disclose the reason for their action, it is believed that the action was taken because of her alleged role in the #EndSARS protests. Odele, had through her Twitter handle, @Mochievous, mobilised her 219,000 followers during the protests. She had also ensured that free legal aid was given to persons who were unjustly arrested during the demonstrations. Confirming the development in a newsletter sent out on Monday, the lawyer said she was on her way to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday when she was accosted by immigration officers. Odele said she was detained while her passport was seized by the officers and she was made to miss her flight.
- Lekki Shooting: LCC Submits Footage, Says Camera Stopped Recording At 8pm
The Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company, Abayomi Omomuwasan, has submitted video footage recorded by the company’s surveillance camera on the night of October 20, when soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate area in Lagos. He submitted the footage on Tuesday at the 4th sitting of the panel of Inquiry and Restitution set up by the state government to look into the allegations of brutality and high-handedness by personnel of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Omomuwasan, however, noted that the surveillance cameras had stopped recording at about 8:00 pm.
Nearly two weeks after the incident, investigations are still ongoing to determine what really happened at the scene of the peaceful protests and who was responsible for the shootings. The Nigerian Army has insisted that soldiers did not shoot at the protesters, despite viral videos showing men in military uniforms firing the shots. Although they admitted that soldiers were deployed to ‘restore normalcy’ in the area, the Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division, Army Public Relations, Osoba Olaniyi, in a statement last Tuesday, described reports of a massacre by the officers as “untrue, unfounded, and aimed at causing anarchy in the country”.
Olaniyi also stated that the decision to involve the military was taken by the Lagos State Government after a 24-hour curfew was imposed.
The judicial panel is expected to ensure justice to the victims of police brutality, with some survivors being invited to share their ordeal. The first sitting of the panel which commenced last Tuesday, with the first petitioner, Okoli Aguwu, sharing grisly details of his ordeal in the hands of SARS officers. He said he spent about one and a half months in detention, and he was tortured to the point where he lost two of his teeth. The panel also took the testimony of another young man, Mr Ndukwe Ekekwe, who said he was randomly arrested by SARS officials on February 16, 2018. Without any valid reason, he said he was beaten up and then transferred to their office in Ikeja. Beyond the beating, Ekekwe said he was stabbed at different parts of his body by the officers, and later taken to his shop at Alaba they broke his shop and started auctioning his products. Thereafter, as he started shouting for help, he said the officers took him up a two-story building and threw him down – an incident which caused him to break his spine. Although he survived the incident, Ekekwe is now confined to a wheelchair.
- #EndSARS: We Will Compensate Families Of Slain Policemen – Makinde
The Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, has pledged that the state will compensate families of Policemen who lost their lives during the #EndSARS protests, which were hijacked by hoodlums. The governor, who stated this while speaking at the Oyo State Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, Eleyele, Ibadan, said that the families will be compensated from the N500 million fund already set aside to compensate victims of police brutality and injustice. The governor equally commiserated with officers and men of the Police Command over the loss of their officers as well as the destruction of a number of structures and equipment. He stated that the state government will not leave the Police to walk alone, adding that the government will continue to work together with the force to make Oyo State safe and secure for residents.
He equally urged the Police to put the experience of the last few weeks behind them and join hands with the government to rebuild the nation and create a better society. He maintained that the cooperation of the Police is needed to bring to book arsonists, anarchists, and killers, stating that the government and the people of Oyo State are solidly behind the Police and that they would work together to make the state better. The meeting had in attendance the Garrison Commander of the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Adesoji Ogunsugba and the DIG Research and Planning, Force Headquarters, Leye Oyebade and other top police officers of the Command.
- #EndSARS: SERAP And 261 Others Sue NBC, Ask Court To Overturn Fines On Channels TV, AIT, Arise TV
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and 261 concerned Nigerians, civil society organisations, and media groups have filed a lawsuit against the National Broadcasting Commission [NBC] and Minister of Information and Culture Mr Lai Mohammed over the fines the commission imposed on Channels Television, AIT and Arise TV for their coverage of the EndSARS protests in the country. A fine of N3million slammed on each of the broadcasters by NBC last week sparked outrage and criticism with many calling for it to be withdrawn. SERAP and the 261 others concerned about it are now asking the court to “declare arbitrary, illegal, and unconstitutional the N9m fines imposed on Channels, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests, and to stop the NBC from collecting the money”. In a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, on Sunday, SERAP said the co-plaintiffs in the suit are 255 concerned Nigerians; Premium Times Services Limited; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; HEDA Resource Centre; International Centre for Investigative Reporting; African Centre for Media and Information Literacy; and Media Rights Agenda.
The acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, who is joined in the suit as Defendant, had last week announced fines of N9 million on Channels, AIT, and Arise TV for purported “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests across the country. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued among other things that “Section (2)(n) of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code are oppressive, and clearly inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations”. “If the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed are allowed to continue to use these oppressive provisions against independent media in the guise of performing their statutory duties, the end result will be authoritarianism and denial of freedom and liberty,” they warned.
- FG Vows To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists – Malami
The Federal Government has vowed to end impunity for crimes against members of the public including journalists. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed this on Sunday, as he recognised the United Nation’s proclamation of November 2nd as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Minister said it is gratifying to note that Nigeria is no longer among the countries with impunity for crimes against journalists. “The 2020 global index for impunity for crimes against journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), released on Wednesday 28th day of October 2020 indicated that Nigeria is the only country that came off the index from 2019,” Malami was quoted to have said. The minister also said he was optimistic that with solid foundation of reformed justice sector to be bequeathed by Buhari Administration, never again will Nigeria feature among nations where journalists, citizens and inhabitants of the country will suffer from any form of impunity in the future.
Furthermore, he noted that the recent developments in Nigeria’s international arbitration against P&ID and some international oil companies are but indicators of resolute determination of the Federal Government to bring to an end the era of impunity and lack of adherence to due diligence and rule of law in governmental operations. “It could be recalled that in the last decade, before the advent of the present administration, Nigeria ranked 13th across the globe and used to be among top three African countries with impunity for crimes against journalists only after Somalia and South Sudan,” the statement read in part. While expressing commitment to maintain the tempo, Malami said there was no room for complacency in ensuring serene online and offline atmosphere of journalism practice in the country.
- Why FG didn’t shut down social media during #EndSARS protests –Minister
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has said the Federal Government had the option of shutting down the social media space during the #EndSARS protests but chose not to tread the path. Dare, who spoke on Monday while featuring on Channels Television’s programme Sunrise Daily, said the government did that to allow freedom of expression. He said other countries had taken certain measures to exercise some level of restraint over the cyberspace but Nigeria has not done so.
The minister, however, said the internet and the social media have tremendous benefits but “as a country, we must start to think of how to curtail fake news. There must be some level of responsibility and some level of punishment to those that create chaos out of mischief in our country.” He said the fact that the Nigerian youths used the social media to drive the recent #EndSARS protests against police brutality is laudable, insisting that the cyberspace must be regulated.
- Proposed social media regulations laughable – Adeboye
General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye has kicked against the proposed regulation of social media by the Federal Government. He condemned the proposal as laughable, insensitive and an attempt to gauge the common man. Adeboye spoke on Sunday at the RCCG headquarters November thanksgiving service with the theme “Better days ahead”. He said the attempts to regulate the social media as done in China won’t work in Nigeria because the variables are so different. “The best the government can do is to ensure that the news being carried through the social media is genuine but to want to replicate what is happening in China here in Nigeria is laughable and would not be possible here,” Adeboye stressed. Adeboye spoke through the Assistant General Overseer (Admin. & Personnel) and member of the governing council, Pastor Johnson Odesola.
He said Chinese leaders do not run personal accounts outside their shores unlike leaders in other parts of the world, the world most populous nation also run a working social, welfare and educational with adequate plans for citizens. He also pointed out everything applicable to the Chinese is applicable to every citizen unlike in Nigeria. The respected cleric carpeted the Federal Government for poor handling of the #ENDSARS protests, stating the shooting at Lekki paved the way for hoodlums to hijack the protests. Adeboye also reiterated the call for restructuring of Nigeria, stating he is not a party to the breaking of the nation.
According to him: “I am not in support of the opinion that the country should divide because in our togetherness we are strong. “All we need to do is having an agreement to share everything equally and be principled. We are stronger together but we should restructure.”
- ‘The Timing Is Suspicious’: NBA President Faults Moves To Regulate Social Media
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata has faulted moves by the Federal Government to further regulate social media and believes the timing is wrong. “I struggle with the terms that we bandy around. Like I said, I think the social media space is regulated already, ” the NBA President said in an interview when asked if social media need further regulation. “Are we saying regulate or shutdown? What are we saying because we hear them using regulate? We hear the minister of Information use the word ‘sanitize.’ I just say to myself, ‘what are we trying to do?’ The timing is suspicious.”
While admitting that there are people who are “irresponsible” in their usage of social media, he said the country has laws to deal with such kind of persons. “And if we need to tweak the laws here and there, as we amend our laws every day to meet with issues that may come up that were not previously contemplated, we are all well and good,” he argued. “But it is not throwing out the baby and the bathwater approach like I suspect that is in contemplation by those who are handling the levers of power today. That is not going to work.”
- Over 1m youths apply for investment fund – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has again urged the youth to end their street protests and work with the government to find solutions to issues that agitate their minds. The President, who spoke on Sunday in Abuja at the maiden National Youth Day celebration – observed on November 1 and coinciding with the African Youth Day celebration – encouraged the youth to have meaningful discussions with government in order to have comprehensive reforms to police brutality. The President who was represented by the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, told the gathering that his administration had carefully listened to the pleas of Nigerian youths and had begun work on their agitations. President Buhari also announced that over 1 million applications had been received since the Youth Investment Fund portal opened on October 12, 2020.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the President added that the Federal Government “now wants to hear concrete and practical ideas” from youths while acknowledging their constitutional right to peaceful protests. “You must realise that protests cannot last indefinitely. My government will not lift a hand to stop or suppress you. “Every successful protest movement the world over has understood that there comes a time when activity must move from the street to the negotiation table. That time for you has come. Do not be afraid of this reality. You should welcome it. “It is important that we all strive to use this moment constructively. Too many people have already sacrificed too dearly. It is our duty to use this fateful situation to move ourselves to a more just and caring society. “As youths, you have a nation and a future to build. My government will always be your faithful partner in this essential and patriotic endeavour,” he said.
- Ex-Benue Governor Suswam Rearraigned Over Alleged N3.1bn Fraud
A former Governor of Benue State and serving Senator, Gabriel Suswam has been re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged N3.1 billion fraud. Suswam was on Monday re-arraigned alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in Benue State, Omadachi Oklobia on an amended 11-count charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). EFCC amended the earlier nine-count charge on which the defendants were first arraigned in 2015, raising the counts to 11. They were accused, among others, of diverting about N3.1 billion, which the EFCC claimed formed part of the proceeds of the sale of Benue State’s shares in some companies.
Due to their initial arraignment, the trial commenced, with the prosecution calling four witnesses until the judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed recused himself on the grounds that an online medium, Sahara Reporters, alleged that he had been compromised. The case was later re-assigned to another judge, Justice Okon Abang, before whom the case started afresh and progressed, with the prosecution calling three witnesses until proceedings were halted on account of an order of the Court of Appeal, directing that the case be returned to Justice Mohammed for continuation. The Court of Appeal had, in a judgment delivered on the February 19, upheld Suswam’s appeal and faulted the manner Justice Mohammad recused himself from the case. Justice Mohammed adjourned the trial to December 15.
- Complement govt at the grassroot, Makinde urge council bosses
Governor Seyi Makinde has urged local government bosses across the state to emulate and complement the various endeavours of the government at the grassroots level. His Special Assistant on Community Relations, Mr. Olufemi Josiah made the appeal on Tuesday during the presentation of school items including school uniforms, school sandals, books, etc to some students by the Caretaker Chairman, Aare Latoosa Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Ibadan North, Prince Adewale Oshoniyi. The event which saw more than 2,000 students benefit was witnessed by party leaders and relevant stakeholders at the Council Secretariat, Agodi Gate, Ibadan. Speaking as the representative of the Governor, Josiah commended Oshoniyi in complementing the governor’s effort, especially by providing the basic necessitate, calling on other council bosses to take a cue from the effort.
He said “The government is building schools and educational infrastructures such as chairs and tables but this chairman has contributed by making uniforms, writing materials, school sandals, plates, etc available to some of the indigent students. “When I got here, I saw that some of the students were not even wearing shoes while some were wearing tattered uniforms. “So, for a chairman to have considered it noteworthy that he should support the effort of the state government by providing some of these things that the children are lacking, I believe it is a noteworthy effort and I will want other chairmen to emulate him because the state government cannot do everything alone and that is why we have a government at the grassroots.
“If the government is building schools and providing other infrastructures, any little way in terms of materials that we can support, not only the Chairmen but other well-meaning individuals in the society, because we believe as a government that if we take care of the education of our children, we would have solved at least 70 percent of our problems of this society.”
- #EndSARS: NARTO, NUPENG, NURTW demand compensation
Transporters and farmers under different groups have demanded compensation for the vehicles, produce, goods, and lives the #EndSARS protesters caused their members to lose last month. The group comprises of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the NUPENG, National Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff & Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) and Amana Farmers & Grains Suppliers Association of Nigeria (AFGSAN). They made their demands in a communique at the end of a meeting at NARTO secretariat in Abuja.
According to the communique, they unanimously made the following resolutions: “We condemn the act of looting, arson, maiming and killing by hooligans and called on the government at all levels to identify, arrest, and prosecute the perpetrators immediately. “Government at all levels must live up to their constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of all Nigerians wherever they reside in this country. “The Federal Government should intensify its war on bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and insurgents so that people can move from one place to another without any fear. “Members are unanimously demanding that governments at all levels should determine and pay compensation to all those whose vehicles, produce, goods and other assets were vandalized, stolen, or destroyed to alleviate their suffering .”
- COVID-19: FG Approves N5bn Bailout Funds For Airline Operators, Others
The Federal Government has approved the sum of N5billion as a bailout for airline operators and other business owners in the aviation sector to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on the country’s aviation industry. The announcement was made on Monday by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The Minister said the sum of N4billion has been approved as a bailout for airline operators and an additional N1billion for other business owners in the aviation sector. Sirika says the government’s decision to offer the bailout is based on recognition of the pivotal role of the aviation sector to the Nigerian economy.
The Minister made the announcement when he appeared at the Senate for a public hearing in respect of the repeal and the reenactment of the laws establishing the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The announcement by the Minister comes after the Senate Committee on Aviation called on the Federal government to bail out airlines to cushion the effect of COVID-19. However, the Chairman of the Senate committee on aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi says the amount for the proposed bailout is inadequate for airlines who are battling to survive.
- Nigeria’s debt to hit N38.68tr next year, says minister
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.
- Electric Bill: FG To Roll Out One Million Free Meters
The Federal Government says funding has been made to roll out 1,000,000 free meters across the country. President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this on Wednesday via his verified Twitter handle. He noted that electricity distribution companies would distribute the meters under the first phase of the Presidential Mass Metering Initiative. “Under the first phase of the Presidential Mass Metering Initiative, we are making funding immediately available for DisCos to roll out 1,000,000 Meters in the first phase, at no cost to consumers. Deployment has already started in parts of Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, and Abuja,” he said.
“Future phases of this Metering Initiative will help us fully meet the 6.5 million deficit of meters nationwide and will impact an estimated 30 million consumers. “All meters under this program will be sourced from local manufacturers and in-country stock, to create jobs. “We are committed to ending estimated billing in all forms in Nigeria, and ensuring that Nigerians pay only for the electricity they consume.” We are committed to ending estimated billing in all forms in Nigeria, and ensuring that Nigerians pay only for the electricity they consume.
- Governors Attribute Youth Restiveness To Social, Economic Inequality, Agree To Tackle Issue
It is clear that the agitations by young Nigerians are attributable to social and economic inequality in the country. This formed part of the resolutions reached by members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the meeting held on Wednesday. As part of measures to reduce restiveness among the youths, the governors agreed to adopt the guidelines to be developed and issued by the Sub-Committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Engagement, at both the state and regional levels. The meeting focused on the fallouts of the #ENDSARS protests, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other issues affecting the country. The governors also resolved to engage with traditional and religious leaders, as well as various civil society organisations to drive a common agenda and generate the required support for security agencies in ensuring the safety of all citizens.
Following the looting which trailed the protest, they commend CACOVID for presenting the true situation of what transpired regarding the distribution of palliatives in the states. The governors also agreed to enlighten the people about the various palliatives provided by the states, including cash transfers, food items, medical supplies, and tax incentives given to individual taxpayers and businesses. They asked members of the forum to direct their commissioners of finance to sign the Subsidiary Grant Agreements of the World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme, with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning to give effect to the principles and objectives of the programme in their states.
- House frowns at slow pace of work on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, others
Contractors handling federal road projects must sit up, House of Representatives members warned on Thursday. They described as worrisome the slow pace of work on some of the projects, despite the huge cash paid as mobilisation fees. The lawmakers listed the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for which N62.8 billion had been paid; the Abuja-Zaria (N70 billion) and the Second Niger Bridge (N106 billion). Messrs Julius Beger Plc, CCECC and the RCC are major handlers of government’s road projects.
The N6.26 trillion needed by the ministry represents 47 per cent of the N13.08 trillion Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly for consideration. The ministry’s has N400 billion allocation.
Fashola told the committee that out of the ministry’s N227.964 billion in this year’s budget, N152.150 billion had so far been released, leaving a balance of N75. 814 billion. He said inadequate funding had slowed down the pace of work on the road projects, adding that about N162.559 billion worth of projects were financed through Sukuk Bond. The minister said rather than expanding the projects being financed through Sukuk, efforts should be channeled complete the entire green network covering the four major ports in Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar. Fashola said: “The sum of N77.955 billion was released to the highway (Works sector) from the budget aside from the sum of N162.559 billion for the Sukuk issuance.
“The Sukuk is to be drawn down for works certified only in respect of 44 roads and bridges and the ministry is still awaiting the payment of the first tranche of N54.8 billion is for work done as at 16/10/2020. “The ministry is currently administering 711 contracts nationwide and as of 1st October, 2020, it has a cumulative unpaid certificate of N392.020 on ongoing highway construction projects.” On the 2021 budget proposal, Fashola said N435.319 billion was proposed for capital projects and N15.886 for personnel and overhead cost. He said N15.886 billion overhead cost was insufficient considering the various socio-economic factors such as cost of fuel and the growing inflation rate, among others.
- #EndSARS protests: Ohanaeze, Afenifere, M’Belt disagree as North alleges regime change plot
Northern leaders, including state governors and traditional rulers, on Monday met in Kaduna, where they condemned #EndSARS protests. Their positions on the protests were contained in a communiqué issued after the meeting and read by the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong. In the communiqué, the northern leaders, who alleged that separatists hijacked the #EndSARS protests, said the demonstrators were targeting regime change. Reading the communiqué issued by the northern leaders, Lalong stated, “The meeting rejects and condemns the subversive actions of the #EndSARS protests. The agitations and other change-regime actions outside the ballot box soon took advantage of the peaceful protests to push for their separatist agenda. The meeting endorses the indivisibility, indissolubility and oneness of the nation.” The meeting was attended by the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu. Also at the meeting were the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar lll, who led other traditional rulers to the parley, the governors of Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya; Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule; Jigawa, Babadaru Abubakar; Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai; Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); Sani Bello ( Niger) and the deputy governors of Katsina, Kogi among others. Lalong said the leaders appreciated the role of the traditional rulers in curtailing the #EndSARS protests from escalating in the North.
Condemning the northern leaders, the acting Secretary General and National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, said that those trying to give #EndSARS protest against police brutality, extrajudicial killings and extortion, ethnic and sentimental colorations would fail completely. He said that restructuring of Nigeria had already begun, noting that the “#EndSARS brouhaha is just the icing on the cake.”
Achi-okpaga said, “Just like the world went digital those who remained analogous were swept off by the digital wave. “Restructuring has begun in Nigeria already. The #EndSARS brouhaha is just the icing on the cake. Those who are now trying to give it ethnic and sentimental colorations will fail completely.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, “The unity of Nigeria is negotiable and we must negotiate it to have a functioning country. If we continue this Arewa song, the country will collapse. “#EndSARS was a revolt and not for regime change. It is only those fixated only on their ruling of Nigeria at all costs without a thought for its health that would only be talking of a regime in the midst of all we are going through.”
Also, the Middle Belt Forum rejected positions of the northern governors and traditional rulers on Nigeria’s unity and EndSARS protests saying they were on their own.The National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Porgu, in an interview with newsmen in Jos on Monday, noted that those who attended the meeting failed to acknowledge the need for a positive turnaround in the affairs of the country. According to him, this shows that the northern governors and traditional rulers are together with the President in the mess going on in the country. Describing the view of the northern governors and others as selfish, the National President of the Middle Belt Forum called on them to have a rethink in their assessment of the Nigerian situation and push for restructuring of the country. Porgu said, “As far as we are concerned, their (Northern governors) views are for them. They do not represent our views because they are selfish. Are they saying that the current situation in Nigeria where nothing is working should continue? We have always said that bad governance, nepotism and other divisive tendencies brought by this administration must not continue. Anyone who is saying a different thing is simply on their own”
The spokesman for the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Ken Robison, flayed the present arrangement. “whereby a section of the country seems to be superior to other parts of the country. “The issues raised by the #EndSARS protesters are fundamental. In terms of police brutality, in terms of extortion and harassment of young people in the southern part of the country, and surprisingly and very, unfortunately, the northern region is saying that these activities of brutality and extortion and extrajudicial killings that were taking place in the southern part of the country were not so in the North. So that means we are not one country. “That what happens in one part of the country does not happen in another part of the country. Why is it so? There are questions to be answered by the leadership of Nigeria, by the high command of the police and other security agencies. Why is there discrimination or disparity or imbalance as it were that while some persons are saying that experiences in some part of the country are not so in other parts of the country? “What we are insisting on is that Nigeria has to be restructured. And the reality is that if this country is not restructured, the country will restructure itself.”
- APC, PDP bicker over rescue of U.S. hostage
The rescue of a kidnapped American citizen in Nigeria by United States (U.S. Special Forces) on Sunday pitted the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The opposition party said the rescue of the American from bandits’ custody on Nigerian soil spoke volume on the competence of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. But the APC took exception to the criticism. It accused the PDP of ignoring the patriotic sacrifice of the military.
PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said the Buhari Presidency could neither secure Nigeria’s territorial integrity nor arrest the wave of insecurity ravaging the country under its “inept watch”. The party described a situation where the U.S. had to come and rescue its citizen In Nigerian as an international embarrassment.It added that the development showed the failure of the government to guarantee the safety of lives and properties. But the APC insisted that the Buhari-led administration has consistently demonstrated promptness in addressing and resolving every security challenge in the country. It said the PDP lacked the moral latitude to criticize the government, recalling that the negligence of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls in 2014 under the watch of the PDP was still fresh in the minds of Nigerians.
APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena said the Buhari administration never shied away from its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of the citizens. “The PDP again chooses to play politics with our national security in its tired, baseless and dull attacks of the President Muhammadu Buhari government.” The APC challenged the opposition party to explain how its handled the 2014 abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls. “It is on record that that PDP government did nothing for two weeks after the Chibok schoolgirls abductions dismissing it as a grand political conspiracy while the schoolgirls were continually held and their families suffered in anguish. “While the PDP still refuses to take responsibility for the tragedy up till now, the same PDP government rejected the British offer to help in the rescue of the Chibok schoolgirls.” The APC party maintained that combating terrorism and other emerging cross border crimes require international collaborations and assistance when necessary.
- Alleged Oyigbo killings to divert attention from IPOB’s crime – Wike
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has described the allegation that he ordered the army to kill Igbo people in Oyigbo as a “politically-motivated falsehood.” Wike, in a television programme on Monday in Port Harcourt, said the curfew was imposed to restore calm after IPOB’s attack. He said, “The narrative that the Igbo were being killed by the military was intended to shift attention from the despicable activities of IPOB in Oyigbo.” The governor also lamented IPOB’s effrontery to rename a local government in the state and hoist its flag in a public school in Komkom town.
Wike said the state government had no regret against its stance on IPOB, which he said, had already been designated a terrorist organisation by the Federal Government. According to him, even the South-East governors had never supported the group and wondered why a governor from the Niger-Delta should tolerate it. He revealed that security agencies, during a search of some residents in Oyigbo, saw shrines with IPOB flags and Nnamdi Kanu’s photographs. Wike maintained that if IPOB was allowed to operate from Oyigbo, they would soon overrun the state.
- Oyo Assembly Suspends 13 LG, LCDA Chairmen
Members of the Oyo State House of Assembly have suspended five Local Government Area (LGA) caretaker chairmen and eight Local Council Development Area (LCDA) chairmen in the state indefinitely. The decision to suspend the local government bosses was taken on Monday after a prolonged meeting by the lawmakers. According to the legislative arm, the suspended persons were sanctioned for failing to meet the deadline for the submission of a report on the state of earth-moving equipment in their respective councils. The deadline for submission of the report was October 23, 2020. Speaker of the House, Adebo Ogundoyin, who presided over the meeting claimed that the affected caretaker chairmen displayed gross incompetence by their failure to produce what he termed a simple report. He explained that the action of the assembly was in line with the provision of Section 21 of the Local Government Law of the state.
“Without prejudice to the provisions of this law and sequel to the petition received by the State House of Assembly and upon investigation, any culpable chairman or vice-chairman shall be recommended for suspension or removal by a resolution of the House. “It is not a witch-hunt of any chairman. Thirteen caretaker chairmen failed to honour and respect the directive of the House,” Ogundoyin stated. He stated that despite the extension of the deadline by two weeks, the local government and LCDA chairmen failed to submit the report of earth-moving equipment in their domains. In his reaction, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Muhammad Fadeyi, described the action of the erring chairmen as an insult to the 9th Oyo State House of Assembly, hence they should be suspended indefinitely. The local government caretaker chairmen suspended include Ibadan North East LG, Ido LG, Oluyole LG, Itesiwaju LG, and Oyo East LG.
- Industrial Court Orders Kogi Govt To Pay Simon Achuba N180m
The National Industrial Court has ordered the Kogi State Government to pay the former deputy governor, Simon Achuba, the sum of N180 million. The judgment was read on Wednesday by Justice Oyebiola Oyewunmi in Abuja, the nation’s capital. According to the court, the sum of N180million will be paid to Achuba as outstanding security votes due to him from April 2018 to August 2019. The amount is to be paid to Achuba by the state government within the period of 30 days or 30% interest will be paid monthly. The court, however, dismissed the former deputy governor’s prayers, asking that the sum of N328million and N32,000 be paid as part of impress when he was in government.
Achuba, had earlier taken the Kogi State government before the National Industrial Court, seeking a declaration that the decision of the government to withhold his allowances, amounted to unfair labour practice. He asked for the sum of N921,572,758 for security vote, monthly impress, traveling allowances, outstanding memos, and statutory allocations due to his office, as then deputy governor. Achuba was impeached in October 2019 by members of the Kogi State House of Assembly. His impeachment followed the submission of a report of the committee set up by the State Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajana, to investigate an allegation of gross misconduct against the former deputy governor.
- INEC Presents Report Of 2019 General Elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday presented the report of the 2019 general elections. INEC Chairman, Professor Mamood Yakubu, made the presentation while briefing journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital. He began with an explanation that the document contained two reports – the Report of the Stakeholders’ Retreat of the 2019 General Elections and the Report of the Election itself by the commission. Professor Yakubu gave a breakdown of the reports to include preparations, conducts, and post-election events. He noted that the reports contained 180 recommendations, adding that some of the recommendations that required administrative actions by the commission were already being implemented.
According to the INEC chief, the implementation of the recommendations led to the improvements in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
He, however, stated that other recommendations in the reports would require legislative backings by the National Assembly to be implemented.
He informed journalists at the briefing that hard copies of the reports would be widely distributed, while soft copies would be made available on INEC’s website by Monday. The reports, according to Professor Ibeanu, represent INEC’s own narratives of its activities and a sense of accountability, especially as it relates to the 2019 general elections.
He stated that some of the lessons contained therein included the fact that elections in Nigeria have been too serious, adding that they should not be left only in the hands of INEC. The INEC National Commissioner also believes the introduction of technology in elections is inevitable, but it must be done along with trust.
- NECO to restart exams Monday
The 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) Suspended by the National Examinations Council (NECO) will resume next Monday, the examination body said on Monday. NECO announced the suspension of the examinations in the wake of the #EndSARS protests by youths seeking an end to police brutality. The protests disrupted the movement of examination materials nationwide. NECO’s Head of Information and Public Relations Division Azeez Sani announced the plan to restart the examinations in Abuja. A statement by Sani reads: “The National Examinations Council (NECO) wishes to inform candidates, schools and other stakeholders of the resumption of the 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in all states and the FCT from Monday, 9th of November, 2020. “The Council was constrained to postpone the examinations indefinitely on Monday, 25th of October, 2020 due to security challenges occasioned by the ENDSARS protests, which disrupted the smooth conduct of the examinations in some parts of the country.
“Following the return of normalcy in the states and FCT, the examinations will now continue with a new time-table from Monday, 9th of November, 2020 to Saturday, 28th of November, 2020. “This new time-table will be made available to the general public, schools and candidates from Wednesday 4th November, 2020. The time-table can also be seamlessly downloaded from the NECO official website: www.neco.gov.ng. “The council thanks the general public and candidates for their patience and understanding during the period the SSCE was suspended. NECO assures the general public of quality service in the discharge of her statutory responsibilities at all times.”
- WAEC further extends registration for WASSCE private candidates
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) on Friday further extended registration for its 2020 West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination for private candidates. This was disclosed in a tweet through its Twitter handle, @waecnigeria.
WAEC explained that the new registration deadline is Friday, November 13, 2020. “WASSCE for private candidates, 2020 – second series: Further extension of registration period.Earlier, the examination body extended the registration deadline to Friday, October 23, 2020,” it added in the tweet.
- We didn’t protest against UI VC’s selection process – ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of University, University of Ibadan branch has disassociated itself from the protest on Friday by some university workers against the process of selection of the next Vice-Chancellor of the university. The protesters had condemned the alleged plan by Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the VC, to impose Prof. Kayode Adebowale, his deputy as his successor. Barring all odds, the protesters insisted that Olayinka’s successor and one other candidate must be excluded from the selection process.
A bulletin dated October 30, signed by the chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan, Ayoola Akinwole, read that “Having observed that a protest was carried out on Wednesday, October 28, around the Senate and Council Chambers of the University by members of the NASU and SSANU in the University of Ibadan, the executive of the branch on Friday deliberated on the incidence and resolved that members of ASUU-UI were not part of the protest contrary to reports in some outlets. “We condemn in strongest terms the disruption of the meeting of the governing council of the University of Ibadan that was convened to conclude the selection of the next Vice-Chancellor of the university that the practice of the protesters, assaulting, attempt assault or outright molestation of members of the Academic Staff Union of the university, UI branch, shall henceforth be vehemently resisted. We further appeal to the governing council of the University of Ibadan that a level playing ground be given in the appointment of the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan in order to protect the sanctity of the university autonomy.”
- WAEC releases 2020 SSCE results
The West African Examinations Council has released the results of the 2020 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination on Monday, November 2, 2020. Head of the National office, Patrick Areghan, said a total of 1,549,740 registered for the examination. Areghan said 1,338,348 candidates representing 86.99 per cent obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects – with or without English Language and/or Mathematics. He said 1,003,668 candidates representing 65.24 per cent obtained credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics. To check the results, candidates were asked to visit the website of WAEC.
A statement from WAEC quoted Areghan as saying that the results of 215,149 candidates, representing 13.98 per cent of the total number of candidates that sat the examination, are being withheld. He said, “A total of 1,549,740 candidates registered for the examination from 19,129 recognised secondary schools in Nigeria. Of the number that registered for the examination, 1,538,445 candidates sat the examination. “The examination was also administered to candidates from some schools in Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea where the Nigeria curriculum for Senior Secondary School is being used. “The results of 215,149 candidates, representing 13.98 per cent of the total number of candidates that sat the examination, are being withheld in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice. “The cases are being investigated and reports of the investigations will be presented to the appropriate Committee of the Council for determination in due course.”
- NDDC Scholars Protest Non-Payment Of Scholarship Fees At Nigerian Embassy UK
Nigerian students sponsored abroad in 2018 for further studies by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Monday held a fresh protest over the non-release of funds for their scholarship for two years after being verified twice. The 94 scholars displayed placards with various inscriptions as they gathered in front of the Nigeria High Commission in London, United Kingdom. The aggrieved students told newsmen that the non-payment of their fees have exposed them to numerous dangers including the COVID-19 virus as some of them have to work in care homes to raise funds.
“We are here to protest the non-payment of our school fees and allowance for the past two years. We have carried out a series of protests at this embassy but unfortunately, there was no positive response from the NDDC.
“They said our payment will be made by October 12th after the verification exercise has been concluded. From then till now, our tuition fees and upkeep have not been paid. They keep promising us on a weekly basis. We are tired of all these fake promises,” one of the scholars, Femi, told newsmen. The scholars lamented that due to the nonpayment of their fees, they live from hand to mouth and depend on menial jobs for funding. The scholars appealed that the Federal Government use presidential authority to demand that the NDDC pay 2018 NDDC scholarship students as soon as possible. They said the protest will continue till next week.
- School Feeding: Ganduje Spends Over N4bn Annually, Says Commissioner
The Kano State Government led by Governor Abdullai Ganduje says it spends over N4billion annually on the feeding of its boarding school pupils. This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Commissioner for Education Muhammad Sunusi Kiru while addressing journalists on the achievements of the ministry in the last 12 months. He said Gandjue-led administration places a priority on the education sector especially the free and compulsory education for all. The Commissioner also disclosed that the construction of five mega unity schools in each of the five emirates of Kano city, Gaya, Karaye, Rano, and Bichi is near completion. Academic activities are expected to commence in January 2021 with 360 students admitted in each of the schools.
“The state government has secured additional Federal Government Science College located at Ganduje town, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area. We are currently constructing perimeter fence, two blocks of six classrooms, in addition to 32-seater bus and Hilux donated for the take-off of the school,” Kiru added. He said the state government has also released N107 million for Kano – Niger pupils who are resuming schools soon while the sum of N93million has been spent on feeding its students at Bilingual College, Niamey, Niger Republic.
- Varsities to remain shut as govt, ASUU talks collapse
Hope dimmed on Wednesday for the reopening of public universities shut since March. Talks between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) collapsed. Wednesday’s meeting was expected to finally break the ice in the disagreement to pave the way for resumption of academic activities. The government two weeks ago announced the release of N30 billion as Earned Allowance for varsity workers and N20 billion for the Revitalisation of the universities.
ASUU’s insistence that the N30 billion Earned Academic Allowance should be for its members alone was also not granted. It said the promised N50 billion was a far-cry from what could keep the varsities running. There are other unions in the varsities. They are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT). After hours of deliberation, the parties again failed to reach an agreement on all three issues.
- We’re tired of strike, pity children of average Nigerians, ASUU begs FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday urged the Federal Government to pity the children of ordinary Nigerians and quickly attend to their demands noting that they are tired of strike action. The Union disclosed that FG is rushing the Union to resume because the government is scared of youths’ protests after they saw their demonstration during #EndSARS agitations. The Akure Zone of the Union which comprised Chairman of the Federal University of Technology Akure, Dr Olayinka Awopetu, Ekiti State University, Dr Kayode Arogundade, Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr Adeola Egbedokun and Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Dr. Gabriel Omonijo in a press conference disclosed the position of the union. The statement which was read by the Union zonal coordinator, Prof. Olu Olufayo explained that the lingering industrial action of the union was to get the FG to fulfil the agreement of 2013 and 2019 and not primarily about Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPIS). He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, our issues remain; funding for revitalization of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, visitation panels to universities and renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement. Since 2009, we have conscientiously approached the government to be faithful to implement the agreement it freely entered into with the union. The current struggle derives from this history.”
According to him, ” We are tired of the strike. Our children are attending the public institution and it is sad that those frustrating our agitations, their children are not attending schools in Nigeria. It is so unfortunate. FG is intentionally starving us for our members to compromise and resume.” Prof Olufayo averred that meetings with the federal government of late have not solved these issues as the government is bent on dishonouring the agreement. “Our students have stayed home for almost a year, we are not the cause, we started our strike before COVID-19 and those students are fed up and it was part of what contributed to #EndSARS and the FG realised that. They are now calling for negotiations that they turned down months back. The students during #EndSARS they also included End bad governance. I know that students in Kwara State University gave FG two weeks ultimatum to sort the issue with ASUU else they will hit streets with protest, that scared the government and they are rushing us to resume.” He, therefore, urged FG to pity the children of ordinary Nigerians and quickly attend to the lingering issues without delay saying “the public should not blame ASUU for further damage to university educational system but hold the federal government responsible.”
- FG forcing lecturers, students to school to avert fresh #EndSARS protest –ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Friday said the Federal Government was afraid youths might take to the streets in protest against the ongoing industrial action by its members, and thus, was employing blackmail to force lecturers back to class. The ASUU, Akure Zone, however declared that no amount of blackmail would make it end the current industrial action, unless its members were paid their salaries, while urging Nigerians to intervene in the impasse in the interest of the students. It also said the government was not interested in ending the strike and acceding to the demands of the striking lecturers. On March 23, 2020, ASUU declared a “total and indefinite strike” over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action and over the lingering crisis on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. The union had brought forward five contentious issues in the 2019 MoA which are; revitalisation fund for universities, outstanding earned academic allowances, renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, proliferation of universities, particularly by state governments and establishment of visitation panels to universities.
ASUU had also insisted that it had an alternative model to IPPIS, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which it urged the Federal Government to adopt for the universities. Addressing newsmen at the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, the ASUU coordinator, Akure Zone, Prof Olu Olufayo, noted that the Federal Government had stopped negotiation with the lecturers until the recent eruption of violence during #EndSARS protests. Also at the briefing were Dr Olayinka Awopetu, who is ASUU chairperson, Federal University of Technology, Akure; Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, ASUU Chairperson, OAU; and Dr. Kayode Arogundade, ASUU Chairperson, Ekiti State University.
- NMA urges vigilance, NCDC warns against COVID-19 protocol violation
The Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday said Nigerians must be vigilant to avoid rising cases of COVID-19 in the country. The NMA President, Prof Innocent Ujah, who gave the advice in an interview with newsmen, said the country could not afford an upsurge in coronavirus cases.
Ujah stated this as the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, warned Nigerians against non-adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, saying the country was still at the risk of coronavirus. Newsmen across the country on Sunday reported that there had been laxity in the adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols.
- Ondo doctors begin strike over unpaid salaries
The resident medical doctors at the Ondo State University Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Akure, have begun a warning strike following alleged non-payment of salaries by the state government. According to the medical workers, the state government allegedly owes them four months’ salaries. The doctors, who staged a mini-protest at the office of the Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, promised to embark on an indefinite industrial action if the government failed to respond to their demands by next Monday.
The spokesman of the protesting doctors, Dr Taiwo Olagbe, appealed to well-meaning Nigerians and other stakeholders to prevail on the state government to settle their unpaid salaries. He also alleged the other health workers under the state health management board receive their salaries regularly but the doctors were allegedly left out. Efforts to reach state government officials to react to the allegations of the doctors proved abortive as of the time of filing this report.
- Corps members to undergo new COVID-19 tests before orientation – NCDC
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. “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.”
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. “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. The PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said the Federal Government has shared at least N50bn to the 36 state governments to help them to increase their capacities for the testing and surveillance for the virus. He said each state got at least N1bn.
- Rising global COVID-19 cases put Nigeria at risk
Federal 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.
- COVID-19: Four Medical Institutions In Rivers, Delta Get PCR Machines, Others
The fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Rivers and Delta States has received a boost following the donation of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines and other medical equipment to three Teaching Hospitals and a College of Health in the states. The items were handed over to authorities of the medical facility on Thursday by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). NDDC Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, was hopeful that the distribution of PCR machines in the Niger Delta would improve COVID-19 testing and medical research in the region. Professor Pondei, who was represented at the event by the NDDC Director of Health and Social Services, Philomena Oputa, explained that the equipment would impact positively on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta and address their health concerns regarding COVID-19.
While receiving the equipment, the Chief Medical Director at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Professor Henry Ugboma, believes it will go a long way in improving service delivery in the health institutions. The Provost of the College of Health Science at the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Iyeopu Siminialayi, was also at the NDDC office to receive the equipment for the college. He said, “We thank the Federal Government for approving the money for the NDDC that made it possible to get these equipment. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with the NDDC.”
- IPOB destroyed three hospitals of our members in Rivers – NMA
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has lamented the destruction of three hospitals owned by its members in Oyigbo Local Government Area, Rivers State, by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Describing the destruction as unacceptable and unfortunate, the NMA said the owners of the hospitals were in great pain. The Chairman of the body, Prof. Chizindu Alikor, who spoke in Port Harcourt, called for support to enable the members to rebuild their hospitals. Alikor said: “Divine Hospital owned by Dr. Ikeji was burnt down, Salem Hospital owned by Dr. Innocent Owumere was severely vandalized even Heritage Hospital owned by Dr. Abayemi Ogundeji also got its own share of vandalism and some degrees of assault on medical professionals.
“We as NMA are saying it is absolutely unacceptable because even in seasons of war, the health care providers and doctors are usually not assaulted. “Hospitals are sacred places that on no account should it be vandalized, our colleagues are in pain, and all of us from the NMA share in that pain.” He, however, called on the government and security agencies to investigate the matter and provide some relief to the affected doctors.
- Fear of COVID-19 as 57 die mysteriously in Enugu
There are fears that the 57 mysterious deaths in Enugu State may be connected to COVID-19. The state government has sent samples to the National Reference Laboratory for investigation. At least, 57 strange deaths occurred in Ette Uno and Umuopu communities of Enugu Ezike in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area (LGA). Commissioner for Health, Dr Emmanuel Obi, added that his ministry’s Rapid Response Team visited Council. “On-the-spot-check and outbreak investigation has revealed a number of deaths from an illness with symptoms suggestive of a disease of public health importance,” the commissioner said. Obi said the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been informed.
The strange disease was first noticed in early September and has so far claimed 57 lives. It was first noticed in Ette Uno community where it claimed 37 lives and spread to neighbouring Umuopu, leaving 20 casualties. According to the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer of the council, Vincent Oshomi, the victims presented symptoms such as convulsion, diarrhoea and vomiting of blood. He said the Ministry of Health has stationed an ambulance in the area for conveying suspected cases to the hospital for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Iran’s supreme leader mocks US democracy
Iran’s supreme leader has mocked the rancorous aftermath of election day in the United States, saying that the vote has exposed the reality of US democracy. Well over 24 hours after the last polling stations closed in the US state of Alaska, the battle for the White House remains undecided.
US President Donald Trump has caused disquiet among even leaders of his own Republican Party by flatly alleging fraud, while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign team has accused the incumbent of seeking to deny the electoral rights of tens of thousands of postal voters. “What a spectacle!” supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted late Wednesday.
“One says this is the most fraudulent election in US history. Who says that? The president who is currently in office. “His rival says Trump intends to rig the election! This is how #USElections & US democracy are.” The deepening polarisation of US politics since Trump’s surprise election victory four years ago has drawn expressions of concern even from Western allies, with Germany warning of a “very explosive situation” in the aftermath of the poll. Despite US allegations that Tehran sought to use social media to influence voters in the run-up to polling day, Iran’s leadership has publicly insisted it favours neither candidate, despite their sharply divergent policies towards Tehran.
Trump has led a campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic republic, pulling Washington out of a multilateral deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and reimposing crippling unilateral sanctions. Biden has signalled he is ready to rejoin the landmark nuclear agreement struck in 2015 when he served as vice president under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama. But on Tuesday, Khamenei insisted the outcome of the election would have no impact on Iranian policy.
- Markets Volatile As Trump Disputes US Vote Count
Volatility gripped financial markets Wednesday with the US election outcome clouded by huge uncertainty. European stock markets, which opened sharply lower after President Donald Trump said he would go to the Supreme Court to dispute the US vote count, turned higher in late morning deals. Asian indices mostly closed up but that was ahead of Trump declaring he would dispute the election. Around 1015 GMT, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was 0.3-percent higher, while the pound fell 0.7 percent against the dollar. In the eurozone, the Frankfurt stock market edged up 0.1 percent and Paris added 0.5 percent. The euro was down around half a percent versus the dollar, while oil prices surged almost three percent.
“With Donald Trump already claiming victory even though millions of votes are still uncounted, investors may have to belt up and brace themselves for some volatile sessions of trading ahead,” noted Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. The US election was plunged into chaos early Wednesday as Trump prematurely declared victory and sought Supreme Court intervention to stop vote-counting — even as his Democratic rival Joe Biden voiced confidence in his own chances. In a divisive election cast under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 230,000 lives in the United States, Trump appeared to have avoided a Democratic wave predicted by some polls but he still needs key states to secure another four-year term. Biden’s White House campaign slammed Trump’s threat to try to stop the election vote count as “outrageous”, saying its legal team was ready to prevent such an “unprecedented” act.
“The US election has become a mess,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade. “Basically, we are seeing a nightmare situation come true because now we are talking about legal battles. This uncertainty is going to keep traders on edge.” Aslam added that investors still saw the dollar as a safe bet amid the volatility on stock markets. Before Wednesday’s shock turn of events, world equities had rallied this week as traders piled bets on Biden winning, with opinion polls showing him with a big national lead though with slim advantages in battleground states.
While Tuesday was formally Election Day, in reality, Americans have been voting for weeks. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a huge expansion in mail-in and early voting, and nearly 100 million people had already cast their ballots.
- Ivory Coast election: Alassane Ouattara wins amid boycott
Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara has won a controversial third term in office in an election boycotted by the opposition. He took 94% of the vote, even winning 99% in some of his strongholds. Turnout was put at almost 54%. The result has to be confirmed by the Constitutional Council.
On Monday, the Ivorian opposition said it was creating a transitional government which would organise a new election. Main opposition candidates Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Henri Konan Bédié had urged their supporters not to vote. They got 1% and 2% respectively, while a fourth candidate, Kouadio Konan Bertin, also got 2%, according to the official results. Opposition figures say it was illegal for Mr Ouattara to stand for a third term as it broke rules on term limits. “Maintaining Mr Ouattara as head of state is likely to lead to civil war,” M N’guessan said, adding that the opposition noted a vacancy of power. But the president’s supporters dispute this, citing a constitutional change in 2016 which they say means his first term effectively did not count. His party has warned the opposition against any “attempt to destabilize” the country, which is still recovering from a civil war sparked by a disputed election in 2010. At least 16 people have been killed since riots broke out in August after President Ouattara said he would run again following the sudden death of his preferred successor. At least nine people were killed during Saturday’s vote, news agency AFP reports.
The electoral commission head called the disturbances on Saturday “minimal”, saying they “only affected 50 polling stations out of 22,381”. Some 35,000 security officers were deployed across the country to transport election materials and ensure safety, the security minister said. After voting in Abidjan on Saturday, Mr Ouattara called for an end to the protests. “I call on those who called for civil disobedience, which led to the loss of life, to stop,” he said. According to the constitution, Ivory Coast has a two-term presidential limit. Mr Ouattara – who has been elected twice – initially said he would stand down. But, in July, the ruling party’s previous presidential nominee, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack. Mr Ouattara subsequently announced that he would run for president after all. His supporters argued that a constitutional change in 2016 reset the clock and that his first term did not count. His opponents do not share that view, arguing instead that it is illegal for Mr Ouattara to run for a third term.
- Tanzanian Opposition Leader Arrested Ahead Of Protest
Tanzanian police have arrested the chairman of the main opposition party Chadema as well as other top leaders, ahead of planned protests Monday against an election the party said was rigged. Chadema and fellow opposition party ACT-Wazalendo rejected results which saw President John Magufuli win a second term with 84 percent of results and his ruling party take 97 percent of seats in parliament. Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe had called for countrywide protests starting Monday as well as fresh elections. “We have arrested Mbowe, he is in our hands,” said Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa, adding six other top members of the party were also under arrest. “On top of these protests which we banned, they wanted to incite the vandalisation of buildings, burn petrol stations, markets, and public transport vehicles,” he said. “Any person implicated in the planning of illegal protests will be arrested and will face justice.”
Chadema’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu won only 13 percent of the vote, after denouncing widespread fraud and intimidation of the opposition during the election and following years of repression and jailing of government opponents. Lissu, who returned to Tanzania in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt, said his party’s agents had been kicked out of polling stations and ballot boxes had been stuffed. The result of presidential elections cannot be contested in Tanzania although the parliamentary outcome can be challenged. “The door is closed for us to challenge the presidential results in court, and that is why we have decided to take this to the people, who have the power,” Lissu said.
Magufuli was first elected in 2015, and alarm has grown over his slide into autocracy amid a crackdown on the opposition and the media.
- Death toll in Turkey earthquake rises to 100
The death toll from a powerful earthquake that hit western Turkey rose to 100 on Tuesday, the country’s disaster authority said. The 7.0 magnitude quake also injured 994 people, the agency is known by its Turkish acronym AFAD reported, with 147 still in the hospital. It added that rescue workers in Izmir province were continuing to search tirelessly in five buildings for an unknown number of missing individuals. The worst hit Turkish town was Bayrakli in Izmir where there was a mixture of celebration and sadness on Monday after a three-year-old girl named Elif Perincek and a 14-year-old named Idil Sirin were rescued from the rubble.
But both lost a sibling each to the disaster which struck on Friday afternoon in the Aegean Sea. Two teenagers on their way home from school were also killed in Greece.
Turkey has reported over 1,464 aftershocks following the quake, including 44 that were above four in magnitude. After dozens of buildings were damaged and the risk of repeated tremors, thousands of residents were forced to spend the fourth night in tents in Izmir. The quake is the deadliest in Turkey this year after another disaster hit the eastern provinces of Elazig and Malatya in January, killing over 40 people.
- Austria police launch manhunt after ‘terror’ attack in Vienna
Police in Austria have launched a manhunt after gunmen opened fire at multiple locations across central Vienna, killing at least four people and wounding several more in what Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described as a “repulsive terror attack”. “Sadly a fourth victim has died in a Vienna hospital, this brings the the death toll to two men and two women,” an interior ministry spokesman told AFP news agency. One of the suspected gunmen, identified as an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group sympathiser, was shot dead by police who said they were searching for at least one more assailant still at large. Authorities said the dead attacker was a 20-year-old Austrian-North Macedonian dual national who had a previous terror conviction. Vienna’s hospital service said seven people were in life-threatening condition Tuesday after the attack in the center of the capital, the Austrian news agency APA reported. In total, 17 people – including a police officer – were being treated in hospitals, with gunshot wounds but also cuts.
“It is now confirmed that the attack on Monday was clearly an Islamist terror attack,” Kurz said. “It was an attack out of hatred – hatred for our fundamental values, hatred for our way of life, hatred for our democracy in which all people have equal rights and dignity.” The attacks, in six locations including near a synagogue in the centre of the city, were carried out by “several suspects armed with rifles”, police said on Monday night. Authorities are still trying to determine whether further attackers may be on the run.
- COVID-19: Bank Of England Announces £150bn Extra Cash Stimulus
The Bank of England on Thursday unveiled an extra £150 billion in cash stimulus as it forecast a deeper coronavirus-induced recession for the UK and England began a second lockdown. The BoE, which held its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.1 percent, lifted its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus by the equivalent of $195 billion as it seeks to boost lending by retail banks and consequently economic growth. The bank’s monetary policy committee voted “for the Bank of England to increase the target stock of purchased UK government bonds by an additional £150 billion, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves”, it said in a statement. The statement made no reference to the possibility of negative interest rates, as some had speculated could be used as an additional stimulus tool.
The news came ahead of a statement from British finance minister Rishi Sunak who is reportedly set to announce another multi-billion-pound coronavirus support package, including another extension of his government’s furlough jobs scheme. Thursday’s BoE announcement meanwhile took the central bank’s total QE stimulus amount to £895 billion. The bank has now pumped out £450 billion under its QE programme since March when Covid-19 prompted Britain’s first coronavirus lockdown. Prior to this, it had pumped hundreds of billions of pounds into the UK economy over the past decade in the wake of the global financial crisis and Brexit.
- BBNaija’s Nengi appointed Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa state governor
Rebecca Nengi Hampson a former housemate of the reality TV show, Big Brother Naija has been appointed as a senior special assistant to the Bayelsa state governor, Douye Diri. The 22-year-old entrepreneur from Bayelsa state was the second runner up of the season. The reality TV star was hosted by the officials of the Bayelsa government on Friday, November 6. She was praised for her outstanding behaviour during her time in the reality TV show.
* BBNaija’s Dorathy gets Mercedes Benz car gift worth N11M for birthday
Dorathy Bachor, a former housemate of Nigeria’s most-watched reality TV show, Big Brother Naija has received a Mercedes Benz car gift to mark her birthday. The reality TV star was gifted the car by her fans who joined her to celebrate her birthday. An obviously surprised Dorathy couldn’t hide her joy as she was presented with the keys and documents of the car.
Dorathy’s car gift is a 2016 Mercedes Benz CLA 250 which according to cars webiste, kkb.com goes for about $30,000 (N11M).
The reality TV star joins the list of celebrities especially former housemates of Big Brother Naija who have been gifted with cars on their birthdays. From Bam Bam to Tacha, the list of reality TV stars whose fans have gone out of their way to spoil them with expensive gifts appears to be growing. Dorathy turned 25 on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, and she released some stunning photos to mark the special day.
- Lady Gaga Drums Up Support At Biden’s Closing Campaign Rally
Honking horns, huge American flags and pop superstar Lady Gaga: on the eve of the presidential election, Joe Biden brought an air of spectacle to workers’ stronghold Pittsburgh as he capped a campaign largely curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The power’s in your hands, Pennsylvania!” the Democratic White House nominee thundered late Monday to several hundred supporters gathered for a drive-in rally in what has become the pivotal state in Biden’s battle against President Donald Trump. “It’s time to stand up and take back our democracy,” the 77-year-old added, prompting a crescendo of car horns outside the stadium that is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team. In the biting November cold, Biden took up the clarion call of a campaign that he launched 18 months ago: “This is a battle for the soul of America,” he said. “We have to win this.”
Lady Gaga, clad in a white sweatshirt with “Joe” printed on the front, listened and applauded from her stage. Minutes earlier she had peeled off her gloves and sat down at a white piano to give a short but inspired musical warmup to the Biden headliner. “Gloves off because it’s a fight — a fight for what you believe in,” she said before launching into her hit “Shallow.” The 34-year-old Grammy winner called on the audience to vote for Biden because “we needed somebody that was going to bring us all together for this moment, for this very important moment.” “No matter who wins tomorrow, we’re going to have to do this together. Tomorrow’s got to be peaceful,” she added somberly, in an allusion to the tensions that have swelled in the United States ahead of the poll. The singer, who once lived in Pennsylvania, has been in this position before. In 2016, she helped close out the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who lost in a shocker to Trump.
- Maradona To Remain In Hospital For Treatment After Surgery – Doctor
Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona is to remain in hospital for several more days to undergo treatment following surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain, his doctor said Thursday. “We saw that in the postoperative phase Diego had episodes of confusion,” Leopoldo Luque told reporters. Therapists treating Maradona had linked the behaviour to withdrawal symptoms and the necessary treatment would last “a few days,” he said. Luque did not provide details, but Maradona has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction. Although he has publicly said he no longer uses cocaine, friends and media reports have suggested he remains addicted to alcohol. At a press conference outside the private clinic in Buenos Aires where surgeons spent 80 minutes removing the clot on Tuesday night, Luque took pains to present an upbeat assessment of the 60-year-old’s overall condition.
- Maradona Undergoes Successful Brain Surgery On Blood Clot
Argentine football great Diego Maradona underwent successful brain surgery for a blood clot in a specialist private clinic in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, his doctor said. “We managed to successfully remove the clot. Diego coped well with the surgery,” Leopoldo Luque said at the icon’s private clinic in the capital Buenos Aires. “It’s under control, there’s a little drainage (of blood). He’ll remain under observation.” World Cup winner Maradona had been taken to hospital in La Plata — where he is the coach of top-flight side Gimnasia y Esgrima — on Monday for a series of tests after feeling unwell. A scan revealed the blood clot, and on Tuesday he was transferred to the specialist clinic in a northern neighborhood of the capital. Maradona, who turned 60 on Friday, has suffered ill health before. He has survived two heart attacks, and also contracted hepatitis and undergone gastric bypass surgery. Groups of fans congregated outside the clinic with banners showing Maradona’s face and the words “Come on, Diego!”
Maradona was transferred from the hospital in La Plata, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Buenos Aires, to the capital at 6:00 pm (2100 GMT) accompanied by one of his daughters, Giannina. Earlier in the day, Luque claimed Maradona was feeling “much better and eager to leave” hospital but insisted the patient was suffering from anemia — a lack of iron in his system — and dehydration. Luque said that had left Maradona feeling “very weak, very tired.” After further tests, he was diagnosed with the blood clot. He also suggested Maradona’s lifestyle had contributed to his condition. “He’s an elderly patient with many pressures in his life. It’s a time when we must help him. It’s very difficult to be Maradona,” Luque said of the star, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday.
- Madrid’s Militao Tests Positive For COVID-19
Real Madrid defender Eder Militao has contracted coronavirus on the eve of the Champions League group stage tie with Inter Milan, the Spanish giants said Monday. Brazil’s 22-year-old center-back, who has featured three times in the league and in Europe this, returned the result after tests on Sunday. “All the other players and the technical staff from the first team, as well as all the employees of the club who work directly with them, tested negative in that same test,” Real said in a statement.
“The club would like to confirm once again that everyone, with the exception of Eder Militao, tested negative in the antigen tests carried out that same morning.”
According to UEFA’s guidelines, Militao must return a negative test at least six hours before kick-off to be able to feature against Inter in the Spanish capital on Tuesday. Madrid could also be without Militao’s fellow defenders Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho, who are all struggling with fitness issues. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost their opening game of the continental campaign to Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month before drawing at Borussia Moenchengladbach last week.
- ‘It was a great strike’ – Fulham manager Parker hails Aina’s first Premier League goal
Fullham manager Scott Parker has showered encomium on Ola Aina following his wonder goal in their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion in Monday’s Premier League game. The 24-year-old was afforded his fifth appearance for the Cottagers since his summer loan move from Italian side Torino. The Nigeria international delivered eye-catching performances in the encounter, helping the Craven Cottage outfit to end their five-game winless run. The wing-back smashed home a beauty from the edge of the box beyond the reach of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone for his first Premier League goal.
Parker has expressed his pleasure with the effort and believes the goal came on the back of his instruction to the Super Eagles defender to take more risks. “It was a great strike. We might have to take risks,” Parker said in a post-match press conference. We’re going to have to take risks in or around the box and Ola did that and it’s flown into the top corner.
“Anyone watching us with an open mind will see we have a bit of quality. We had some lovely bits in both halves.”
- Two Killed, 29 Vehicles Burnt In Kara Tanker Explosion – FRSC
Two persons have been killed and 29 vehicles burnt in a tanker explosion that occurred at Kara Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. This was disclosed by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Saturday via a statement issued by the agency’s spokesman, Bisi Kazeem. “From the crash investigation report submitted, a total of 2 male adults were killed and burnt beyond recognition, while a wanton destruction of properties occasioned by the fire also left 29 vehicles parked by the roadside burnt down completely,” the statement partly read.
He explained that FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi described the accident as unfortunate but avoidable, adding that frantic efforts were already in place to put an end to tanker explosions. On the remote cause of the accident, the agency said the investigation revealed that the tanker driver “lost control of the wheels as a result of mechanical deficiency (tyre blow out) making the tanker fall on the expressway amidst a wild inferno.”
- Soldiers detained for flogging lady over ‘indecent’ dressing, shaving youths
The Oyo State security outfit, Operation Burst, said on Monday that it had arrested some of its personnel for allegedly assaulting a lady in the Beere community, Ibadan. The lady was alleged to have been beaten by some soldiers attached to the security team over allegation of ‘indecent dressing.’ Footage showing the assault on the lady, whose identity has yet to be ascertained, went viral at the weekend. In the viral video, officials of the outfit were seen using horsewhip on her in the full glare of residents of Beere. Residents of the area alleged that the officials of the outfit had been terrorising them on flimsy excuses in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest that was hijacked by hoodlums.
During a programme tagged: Fresh FM Situation Room on Fresh 105.9 FM on Monday, the Commander, Operation Burst, Captain Usolo, apologised to the families of those assaulted by personnel of the outfit. The Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the state, Mr Seun Fakorede, said, “My ears are full with news of the unlawful activities of some soldiers of the Nigerian Army. I reached out to the Commandant of the Operation Burst and I have been assured that the men involved in this distasteful operation have been arrested and taken to the barracks. They will be dealt with accordingly.” Some of the soldiers, who were chanting ‘End SARS’, also shaved the heads of some youths said to be wearing improper hairstyles.
In a viral video, a young lady wearing a camisole and orange attachment was made to sit on the bare floor at a filling station, while a soldier whipped her buttocks. The lady begged the soldier repeatedly, but the adamant soldier asked her not to protect her buttocks as he continued to whip her. A young man, whose head was shaved, narrated how he was pulled down from a commercial motorcycle by one of the soldiers. Speaking in Yoruba, he said, “I was on a motorcycle with my friends around Beere when I was stopped by soldiers. They said they wanted to see us. I was wondering what I had done because I wasn’t in possession of any weapon and I am not a fraudster. “They said I should take off my cap and when I did, they flogged me and asked me to kneel down. When I asked what my crime was, one of them ordered me to sit down and then brought out a pair of scissors from his pocket. “The funny thing was that they collected money from us for the haircut.” Soldiers deployed in the streets to curb protests have been caught on camera perpetrating several acts of human rights abuse.
- Truckload of rice burnt as trailer kills 16 Ondo traders
Some angry youths have set ablaze a truckload of rice after 16 people were killed and many injured in a fatal accident that occurred at the Ibaka area of Akungba Akoko, Akoko West Local Government Area of Ondo State on Saturday. According to the Federal Road Safety Corps, the truck, which was fully loaded with bags of rice, rammed into a market in the area and killed 16 persons. The accident was said to have occurred when the truck had a brake failure, and in the process, crushed a Toyota Camry and a Toyota Corolla, as well as three motorcycles. On Sunday, it was learnt that some youths in the town, who were furious about the accident, set ablaze hundreds of bags of rice in the truck. Attempts to burn down the trailer were frustrated by men of the Nigeria Army who reportedly rushed to the scene to prevent breakdown of law and order. It was gathered that the protesting youths, who sang solidarity songs, blocked the Ikare Akoko-Owo Expressway, halting vehicular movements on the road for hours. The Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, urged local governments in the country to relocate markets from highways.
Meanwhile, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Sunday, visited the scene of the accident and promised to assist the injured victims.
During the visit, he expressed displeasure at the incident and commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives. He attributed many road accidents to recklessness on the part of drivers and faulty vehicles. “I want to appeal to our people to calm down despite the huge losses. Insurance will cover many of the expenses. We must get the owner of the trailer and get their insurance company to pay,” he added.
The traditional ruler of Akungba, Oba Sunday Ajimo, while thanking the governor for the visit, appealed for the construction of a dual carriage road in the community, or creation of an alternative road for heavy-duty vehicles passing through the town.