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Why Nigerian Army intervened during EndSARS protests –Lagos govt

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The Lagos State Government has said soldiers “intervened” during the EndSARS protests in the state in October 2020 to assist civil authorities restore law and order in the state.

The Babajide-Sanwo-Olu government stated this in its White Paper on the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters which probed the EndSARS protests in the state last year.

The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel in its fifth recommendation had said that the “Nigeria (sic) Army be discouraged in intervening in internal security.”

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In its comment, the state government said, “Lagos State Government observes that Section 217(2) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) states that the Armed Forces may “intervene to suppress insurrection and also to assist civil authorities to restore lawful order” which had clearly broken down in Lagos between 19th – 21st October 2020. See evidence of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo on page 35, Mr. Muri-Okunola (Head of Service) on pages 120-126 and ACP. Oludotun Odubona on pages 219-223). Such intervention must however be with clear rules of engagement.”

The government also rejected the findings by the Okuwobi-led panel that nine persons were killed by gunshots at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.

The panel had listed 48 names as casualties out of which 22 protesters sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and the police when they stormed the Lekki toll gate to disperse the young demonstrators.

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It had stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had received the report of the panel on November 15, 2021 and said the White Paper would be released in two weeks, which elapsed on November 29, 2021.

Releasing the White Paper on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, the state government accepted 11 out of the 32 recommendations made by the judicial panel of inquiry, rejected one and accepted six with modifications while 14 recommendations fall outside the powers of Lagos State Government and will be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration.

The government also accepted the panel’s recommendation that grievances address mechanism be improved upon to engender speedy attention and action, adding that it will engage youths more and utilise “dialogue” as a vital tool.

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The government also accepted that curfew regulations should be widely publicised.

On the panel’s recommendation for the training of security operatives on rules of engagements to manage protests, the government said it would forward it to the Federal Government in charge of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army.

The state government said it would designate a park in the state and name it, ‘Peace Park’ to serve as a reminder to Lagosians on the EndSARS protests.

The state government agreed with the panel that October 20 of every year would be made a ‘Toll-Free Day’ at the Lekki Toll Gate as long as the toll gate exists.

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Nigeria Newspapers

Only a credible primary will make APC retain power in Ekiti – Ojudu

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From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti

The Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, has appealed to members and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State to ensure a peaceful primary that is devoid of violence and bloodshed, stressing that it is the only way the party can help itself to retain power in the state.

Ojudu also called on the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Caretaker executive to conduct a free, fair, credible primary that can produce the right candidate that will be able to confront candidates from other parties and win the June 18 governorship poll.

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Ojudu made the appeal on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti, when he was interacting with newsmen on the APC primary to hold on January 27.

“I want to appeal to party men to be civil and peaceful. The only glory we can record in our party is to be peaceful and for our leaders from Abuja to conduct a primary we can all be proud of. Don’t let us be violent just because of the internal election.

“Primary of any party should be a day of celebration of democracy and not a day of bloodshed. We should be able to do this election without rancour. I am of the belief that politicians who want to use money to hire thugs to win elections should rather use such money for the development of our unemployed youths.

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“Our party officials should be fair and transparent. They should also be efficient with the process.

“I commend Governor Buni-led executive for allowing direct primary for this election, so that every member of the party, either rich or poor, high or low can participate. This will enable us to produce a candidate that can face the candidates of other parties.

“If by any means we impose someone or throw up someone who uses money to induce the people, or relying on federal might, we will have a candidate that cannot win or that wouldn’t be acceptable to the party people.

“Let me clarify that this government of President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t believe in using federal might to win elections, you have to go through the people to get votes.”

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On the aspirant he is supporting in the party for the primary, Ojudu said: “For now, I am not in support of anybody. I want to remain neutral so that I will be able to call all aspirants together and settle their differences after the primary.

“Losing an election is hurting, so we need an arbiter to be able to hold the party together and that is the role I intend to play.

“President Muhammadu Buhari lost election three times. Nobody thought he would ever be President again, but when the time God assigned to him came, he won and it was glorious for him. There is no point bringing guns to win elections.”

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The presidential aide warned aspirants against the use of thugs to beat anyone, saying everyone in the party is useful in winning the June poll.

“The aspirants shouldn’t bring thugs to bash and beat the people. Whoever is causing trouble should be exposed, because Ekiti must be in peace. All of us in APC must be able to come together and work to win in June. This is one election that we can’t afford to lose.”

Ojudu told aspirants to shun vote-buying saying leaders who emerge through such means care less about the people.

“When any leader buys votes to win elections, such leader wouldn’t care about the people, because he would have the impression that he had paid for the votes cast for him by the electorate.”

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He also urged security agencies to be neutral and not work for any of the aspirants.

“The security agencies should also be neutral. They must not work for any aspirant. They should owe their allegiance to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and their code of conduct as officers of the law. Through this, whoever wins will be that democracy has won.”

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Atiku laments rising insecurity

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From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto

Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has condemned the preponderance of violence and insecurity across the northern states of the federation.

Abubakar remarked this while in Sokoto, the state Capital to condole Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother who died week.

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The former Vice President wondered why the situation has remained unabated under the present government.

“The unnecessary loss of lives and brigandage that has cascaded into Sokoto state from the North East, where we have been under the siege of terrorists for more than a decade.”

He however extended his condolence to the government and people of the state for the recent killings of some citizens by bandits in the state.

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“Our purpose for visiting you today is two-fold. One is to condole you over the death of your elder brother.

“The second reason is to condole the people and government of Sokoto over the unnecessary loss of lives and brigandage that has cascaded into Sokoto state from the North East, where we have been under the siege of terrorists for more than a decade.

“Now, it has spread to almost all parts of the North.

He prayed that God gives the country a good leader that will spearhead the eradication of the menace.

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In his condolence message, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan who was accompanied by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state, three Senators; Barau Jibrin, Bello Mandiya and Ahmed Babba Kaita, extended the condolences of the entire National Assembly to the Governor.

“We have come to commiserate with you, your family and government and the people of Sokoto State on the demise of your brother.

“We have come to condole you. As Muslims, we know that every life must taste death. We pray, especially, for the repose of the soul of our brother.

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“I want to take this opportunity to condole you on behalf of all other members of the National Assembly,” he stressed.

He further remarked: “Your Excellency, you are one of us on loan, having reached the zenith of the House of Representatives where you served longer than you are serving here.”

He said: “the two chambers have asked me to convey their message of condolence to you.”

The Senate President also prayed that God should repose the soul of the deceased.

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Others on the condolence visit to Governor Tambuwal included the Emirs of Anka and Maradun in Zamfara state, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad Muhammad and Alhaji Bello Muhammad Barmo respectively.

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