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BREAKING: I Was Never Arrested In US, Have No Record In Gbagada Hospital; I Forgive Ambode —- Sanwo-Olu [Official Statement]

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All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has responded to allegations levelled against him by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode earlier today during a World Press Conference which held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

Governor Ambode had fired shots at Sanwo-Olu, saying he’s unfit to govern Lagos; the governor went further to accuse Mr Sanwo-olu of spending fake dollars in the United States of America sometimes ago at a nightclub where he claimed that the Guber aspirant was arrested.

Speaking further, Ambode said “This is somebody that has gone for rehabilitation before.

The records are there at the Gbagada General Hospital. we don’t want to go too far. Our leadership should have a rethink.

Reacting to the allegations, Mr Sanwo-Olu said he would not engage in personal attacks against the governor but would rather make his pursuit of office based on issues that matter to Lagosians and not on attacks against someone’s character.

Below is the official release:

TIME TO RESPECT THE PEOPLE OF LAGOS STATE AND THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Let it be heard by all that I hold the people of Lagos state with great respect and affection. Their welfare is my utmost concern and it is what drives my pursuit for the governorship nomination of the APC.

As such, I also hold the office of governor of our state in high esteem. I shall never consciously do anything that will undermine the dignity of the office nor will I engage in personal attacks against the holder of that officer. My pursuit of office will continue to be based on issues that matter to Lagosians and not on attacks against someone’s character, even when he attacks mine. For anyone to engage in unwarranted character attacks against me, reveals more about that person’s character than it says about mine.

Thus, I felt sad for Lagos as I watched Press Conference by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. Many things he said was beneath the dignity of our people and the exalted office he now holds. Perhaps the tension and anxiety of the moment got the better of him. If given a chance at a cooler reflection of what he said, I am sure he would regret his descent into such low conduct. In this vein, I forgive him and hope he regains his balance and proper comportment no matter the outcome of tomorrow’s contest. After all, we are both here to improve Lagos not to wrestle in its streets.

However, I must clear up some inaccuracies in the Governor’s statement. His allegation of that I was arrested for spending fake dollars at a nightclub in the United States was untrue. In fact, the governor knows I travelled to the United States just last month. I would not have been allowed to travel or even get a visa if I had been involved in what the Governor falsely alleged.

That the Governor claimed I underwent some unidentified type of “rehabilitation” at the Gbagada General Hospital was also shameless and untrue. Promulgation of salacious rumour should not be part of the job description of a governor.

This is not the stuff of high office. People should question whether itis ethically right for the Governor to turn what should be confidential medical information about a citizen into a weapon of political warfare? But for the avoidance of doubt, let it be stated that I never received any treatment whatsoever at the Gbagada General Hospital.

Today, instead of making a convincing defence of his performance, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode sought to sow fear into the hearts of Lagosians.

But Lagosians are intelligent and brave people. They can see through the smoke and the fog. I am here not to tear my opponent down but to help build Lagos up.

With me, you will hear about progress in education, health, sanitation, proper tax levels, economic development, infrastructure, jobs, public services and other things that enhance the lives of people. I am a serious person and this primary is a serious matter. I have not the time or inclination to attack character when there are so many real issues to address.

We will continue to focus on the issues that matter in the lives of the people of Lagos.

Lagosians want an answer to the sanitation crisis cast loss of jobs caused by Mr. Ambode’s Visionscape misadventure. Our people will want to know why Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has not been able to build a single General Hospital in the State when his immediate predecessor Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) built 11 General Hospitals. Lagosians are waiting to hear what our solutions are. They want to know why hundreds of competent civil servants got summarily dismissed and how this has undermined public services.

As a candidate for the party’s nomination and hopefully as your next governor, my approach will not be to sling insults but to propose solutions to the problems of the day.

BIG STORY

Senate Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill

Peter Okunoren

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The Senate on Tuesday passed the bill on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions after reading it for the third time.

The bill titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress Sexual Harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith, 2019’, was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and 106 other senators.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – which was in charge of reviewing the bill and organising a public hearing on the legislation.

The bill was reintroduced in the Senate on October 9 and scaled second reading on November 6.

The bill, with 25 clauses, seeks to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions. It also seeks to protect students against sexual harassment as well as prevent sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary institutions.

The bill also proposes up to 14 years jail term for offenders.

The bill was reintroduced to the Senate two days after a BBC documentary exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana for sexual harassment. The documentary sparked reactions from many Nigerians who described the issue as a norm in Nigerian universities.

During the public hearing, lecturers, students, academic bodies and civil organisations raised concerns and proposed amendments to the bill.

One of such was the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi, who described the legislation as biased.

He said the bill will stigmatise lecturers in universities.

In his presentation, chairman of the committee, Bamidele Opeyemi, said sexual harassment has been made an offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions.

The bill, he said, seeks to maintain the relationship that exists between educators and students with the aim of making tertiary institutions conducive centres of learning.

“This bill seeks to tame the hydra-headed monster in the name of sexual harassment which has become a pandemic in our tertiary institutions.”

The Senate, thereafter, resolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider and pass the bill.

In his remark, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill is an important and landmark legislation that the ninth Senate has passed.

“We have to protect our daughters, sisters, mothers from sexual predators. From the recommendations, we wanted a fair means of offence that somebody is accused of.

“We want tertiary institutions to be a safe and peaceful learning environment for everyone,” he said.

The bill will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence and then sent to the president for assent.

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BIG STORY

COVID-19: No More Meals Aboard Domestic Flights — Aviation Minister

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A new flight rule has banned meals aboard domestic flights. The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, spelt out the rule during the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, on Monday.

Sirika said food would no longer be served on domestic flights when operations resume, explaining that the decision is part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus on flights.

His words: “For domestic operations, there will be no food. No food will be given to reduce contamination level and we will allow you to come with your mask.

“Like the MD of FAAN said the other day, we see it as your private thing. So, you have to bring your mask, they don’t have to be the fancy ones.”

On how the cabin crew came into existence, he said the cabin crew’s job was not to offer tea to passengers.

He said: “They came into the industry because of people who were getting air-sick so we thought we would be putting nurses in the airplane to look after those people who are sick. “Since then, they metamorphosed and became something new.

“They want to now give you tea because many people don’t get sick anymore. They will give you coffee, offer you food and drinks, and so on.

“So the main purpose of the cabin staff is to ensure that we all remain safe for your welfare and your health.”

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari Suspends EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu, For Alleged Money Laundering, Gross Misconduct

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Ibrahim Magu has been suspended as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This development comes a day after he was arrested and detained by security operatives in Abuja.

He had appeared before a panel probing allegations of gross misconduct against him.

Mr Magu spent last night in a police cell at the Force Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters in Area 10, Garki, Abuja, after he was quizzed on Monday for about six hours by a Presidential panel, chaired by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.

It was gathered that Magu was detained at the FCID after the panel grilled him. The media aide of the anti-graft boss, Tony Amokedo, told the journalists that he is not aware of the suspension of his boss.

The panel was constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe various allegations leveled against Magu following a petition by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Department of State Service (DSS). Malami’s memo allegedly accused Magu of diversion of recovered loot.

The memo was said to contain 22 allegations against the embattled EFCC chairman. But Malami through his spokesman, Dr Umar Gwandu, said he had no knowledge of Magu’s arrest. “You are just informing me now,” Gwandu said when told that Malami had reportedly written a memo in June 2020, which indicted Magu.

“I am also not aware of any memo written to the president on the EFCC chairman,” he said.

One of our sources said the Salami panel had “quizzed Magu” who has been the acting chairman of the EFCC since when he was first nominated for the job by President Buhari in 2015.

“I am sure Justice Salami was selected to chair the panel because he will not compromise.

“This is a serious setback for the administration’s anti-corruption war.

“As it is now, Magu is a loner. “He may be asked to hand over to the most senior officer in the commission while the investigation continued.

“I don’t see him surviving this,” the source told one of our correspondents.

Another source told the Daily Trust that “it took a long time before President Buhari gave the green light for Magu to be interrogated.”

According to the source, “What happened yesterday was a tough decision…It was at the instance of the president and he (Buhari) agreed that Magu should be asked questions.

“This was based on the petitions and facts made available to him.

“Magu is the face of the anti-corruption war of the president but the allegations are heavy.

“So, I can assure you that it was a tough decision taken by the president in order to save his image and that of his administration,” he said. It was not clear last night whether Magu was allowed to go home after he faced the panel or the DSS took him into custody.

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