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BREAKING: Leave The Roads, Embrace Dialogue, Sanwo-Olu Urges #EndSARS Protesters

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to #EndSARS protesters demonstrating against police brutality and extrajudicial killings to leave the roads and embrace dialogue.

This was contained in a statement titled, ‘Leave The Road And Let’s Dialogue, Sanwo-Olu Appeals To Protesters’, on Monday, by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile.

The #EndSARS protests rocking the country have continued for almost two weeks with youths calling for a lasting reform of the Nigeria Police Force.

Major highways have been blocked by the youths, thereby grounding economic activities.

Speaking on Monday while swearing-in members of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at the State House in Marina, Sanwo-Olu said the pain expressed and concerns raised by the protesters were genuine and legitimate.

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

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

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

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My Leg Was Amputated After I Was Shot By Soldiers At Lekki Toll Gate, Rejected By Vedic Hospital — 23-Year-Old Cobbler [PHOTOS]

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Twenty-three-year-old Olalekan Faleye, a survivor of the shooting that attended the peaceful #ENDSARS protest at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, says he has become an amputee after the gunshot injuries he sustained to the leg on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

He had undergone surgical amputation of his bullet-ridden right leg.

The shooting incident had attracted national and international outcry, with the Lagos State and Federal governments being urged to unravel the identity of the shooters and who deployed them.

Speaking exclusively with PUNCH Newspaper a few days after he was discharged from the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Olalekan said until the Lekki shooting, he had temporarily worked as a labourer with a construction company in Ikoyi to raise money for his ‘freedom’ as an apprentice cobbler.

He also planned to use whatever was left after his freedom ceremony to rent a shop where he could carry out his cobbler trade.

“Any time we had little or nothing to do at the construction site, I would join the #ENDSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate to demonstrate against Police brutality and bad governance.

“I recalled attending the protest on three different occasions (October 15, 16 and 17) before the soldiers’ invasion on October 20,” he said.

Struck By Soldiers’ Bullet

Looking pale and sad, he struggled to recollect the incident of the Black Tuesday, saying the whole episode still feels like a bad dream.

“They (soldiers) arrived in a group and, without warning, started shooting at us. As people ran helter-skelter, I recalled hearing the protest coordinators screaming, ‘Don’t panic, sit on the floor together and keep waving the Nigerian flag.’

“But it was too late. People panicked when they saw the soldiers advancing and shooting at us.

“In the panic that ensued, I was hit on the right leg by a stray bullet. The force of the shot was so intense that I found myself on the ground, writhing in pain and with so much blood gushing out of my leg.

“I was there for some seconds, feeling weak and fatigued before some fellow protesters came to my rescue. I was held by both hands and legs as they continued running while also dodging the flying bullets,” he said.

Olalekan disclosed that after his bullet-riddled leg was tied up with what looked like a shirt, he was rushed along with three other victims of the shooting to Vedic Hospital in Lekki.

“At Vedic, I was denied admission when the medical official saw the state of my bloodied leg,” he alleged.

The 23-year-old said he kept getting weaker as he was being conveyed by the rescue team in search of another hospital.

“That was how I ended up at Grandville Trauma Centre. After examining the leg, one of the doctors who attended to me announced that my limb was in a sorry state because the high-velocity projectile forcefully pierced through the muscles and blood vessels in my leg from one end before coming out at the other end.

“Consequently, I was asked to drop the contact of my parent or guardian because of the complex nature of my case,” he said.

Olalekan’s Diagnosis At Grandville

Olalekan’s medical statement, which was written on Grandville’s letterhead and secured by our correspondent, states, “To whom it may concern, OLALEKAN FALEYE MALE/23 years. The above-named patient presented to our facility four days ago (20/10/2020) around 23.28 pm due to a gunshot injury to his (R) leg in about 2 hours after the incident.

“He sustained this injury as a result of his involvement in the #ENDSARS protest that occurred at the Lekki toll gate.

“He was initially taken to Vedic Hospital and then brought in here for further management.

“On presentation, GCS 15/15 O2 Sat; 98% pain and severe bleeding from the gunshot site with a point of entry and exit of the bullet. He was unable to lift his leg and move his toes.

“Diagnosis made was (i) leg injury from gunshot (ii) imminent compartment syndrome.”

The medical paper which was signed by a certain Dr. Adebayo and countersigned by Dr. Umukoro further reads, “An exploratory fasciotomy was done on the right lower limb to litigate severed blood vessels. Five units of packed RBCs were transfused over the course of admission as the patient came in with Hb of 5.6g/cll. No pulse (dorsal pedis, tibia post and ant. Arteries) was felt.

“Patient was placed on antibiotics (IV Rocephin, IV Flagyl, treated for malaria (Im arthemeter 160mg) and analgesics.

“Patients relatives have been counselled on the need for an amputation of the patient’s leg but they would need a second opinion. For further clarifications and enquiries, kindly call the hospital.”

Experts say a fasciotomy or fasciectomy is a surgical limb-saving procedure when used to treat acute compartment syndrome.

At Igbobi Hospital

After four days of admission at Grandville Trauma Centre, the patient was given a referral letter to a federal teaching hospital in Lagos for intensive treatment.

“My admission request at the teaching hospital was rejected by the management over inadequate bed space. They, however, recommended a private amenity ward within the same facility.

“When we got there, the officials said I could only be admitted if my people made a down payment of N50,000. Consequently, my mother had to secure an ambulance that took me down to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos,” he said.

“Before then, I recalled hearing the doctor at Grandville saying that my leg might likely be operated. That was the same comment I received again on the day the ambulance brought me to Igbobi. My mother screamed ‘God forbid!’

“I was completely dejected. I kept looking at the affected leg, wondering if that would be the last time I would see it. However, I braced up myself and signed the consent form against the will of my mother. It was like a death sentence and I feel it would forever remain the worst decision of my life,” he added.

PUNCH HealthWise visited NOHIL on Wednesday, and requested to speak with the medical director of the hospital, Dr. Mustapha Alimi; but he was said to have travelled out of Lagos for a conference.

Further attempt to see the facility spokesperson, Mrs Ayo Adenike, also proved futile as she was also not available.

However, one of the consultant surgeons on duty agreed to speak with our correspondent on condition of anonymity.

Olalekan’s Mother Breaks Down In Tears

Back home at her one-room apartment in Alimosho Local Government of Lagos when PUNCH HealthWise visited, Olalekan’s mother, Mrs. Temitayo Faleye, struggled to put up a smile and gently roused her son from sleep.

A popular noodle seller in the community, Mrs. Faleye told our correspondent that she sensed something was wrong with her son on the night he was shot.

“I was feeling uncomfortable throughout the night. At a point, I had to rouse myself from sleep to pray against perceived evil or demonic attack. It was shortly after the supplication that I received a call that Lekan had been shot at the toll gate and hospitalised somewhere in Lekki.

“At first, I feared he had probably died and that people were not willing to tell me. I headed to the health facility around midnight just to be sure he was still alive. That was the first time I would be in Lekki in my entire life,” she said.

N206,000 Medical Bill At Igbobi

The woman said she almost fainted when she was presented with a bill of N 206,000 at Igbobi.

She protested that her son was a survivor of the #ENDSARS protest and shouldn’t have to pay for his treatment.

“The medical team didn’t believe me and wanted to know why he didn’t present early at the facility that fateful night or the day after. It wasn’t until they saw the Grandville’s medical record that they agreed to reduce the bill. That was in addition to some injectable and pints of blood donation that we secured.

She said the crutches currently being used by her son was donated by some sympathetic workers at Igbobi.

My Son Now Miserable, Temperamental

When asked how she was coping with the challenges of having to bathe, feed and cater for her son all over again, Mrs. Faleye broke into tears.

“This trial is too much for me, considering the fact that his father has been down with stroke for seven years.

“Sometimes, I spend as much as N15,000 on transport fare to convey him [her husband] from Alimosho to Igbobi or Island General Hospital for a check-up and back again.

“Worse still, my son has never remained the same ever since he lost his right limb. Olalekan has become miserable and temperamental. He won’t talk to anybody and prefers staying indoor.

“Imagine somebody who used to love running around, playing football and attending to his shoe cobbling business now confined in one place. Of course, I understand his frustration. He is no longer a happy man,” she said.

She lamented that the October 20 tragedy could, perhaps, have been averted if she had worked harder to raise enough money to pay for her son’s ‘freedom’ and secure a shop for him.

She said the 23-year-old was adept at making shoes, belts, bags and leather sandals and had dreamt of starting his own shoemaking company someday.

“All those dreams are gone. Now, he finds it difficult to adjust to his new life. He felt sorry for everything that had happened. Sometimes, he would look at me, shake his head and say he is sorry for everything.”

 

Credit: PUNCH

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43 Rice Farmers Killed By Boko Haram Didn’t Get Military Clearance —– Presidency

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The Presidency has blamed the 43 rice farmers killed in Borno over the weekend for not getting military clearance before going to their farms.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu told BBC on Monday that the farmers should have waited for military clearance before proceeding to the farms.

He explained that though the military is in “full control” of all parts of Borno, the farmers and residents ought to get clearance before visiting certain areas.

No fewer than 43 rice farmers were killed by Boko Haram in Zabarmari, about 20 kilometers from Maiduguri, at the weekend.

The attack was described by the United Nations as “the most violent attack” targeted at civilians in 2020.

Shehu, however, blamed the farmers for the incident, saying they shouldn’t have gone to the farms without clearance.

According to him: “People need to understand what it is like in the Lake Chad area. Much of those areas have been liberated by Boko Haram terrorists but there are a number of spaces that have not been cleared for the return of villagers who have been displaced.

“Ideally, all of these places ought to probably be allowed to pass the test of military clearance before settlers or even farmers resume activities on those fields.”

When the BBC clarified if he was blaming the farmers for the attack, Shehu said: “Not exactly, but the truth has to be said. Is there any clearance by the military which is in total control of those areas? Did anybody ask to resume activities? I have been told by the military leaders that they have not been so advised.”

He argued visiting certain places in the north-east, which has come under the weight of the Boko Haram insurgency for more than 10 years, is “a window that the terrorists have exploited”.

“The military is not present on every inch of space in that area,” he said, adding: “Even if the people are ready to go back, some of these areas have been mined and mine clearance has to be carried out first.”

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Nigeria Military Faults UN Report, Says 43 Borno Farmers Killed

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The Defence Headquarters, on Monday, faulted a report by the United Nations that 110 civilians were killed by Boko Haram in Saturday onslaught on farmers in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche said as of Monday morning, 43 corpses were recovered from the incident scene in the Zabarmari area of the northeast state.

The terrorists were reported to have tied up the farmers, who were working on rice fields, before slitting their throats.

On Sunday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, disclosed that at least 110 persons died in the horrific attack.

But reacting on Monday morning, Enenche said the troops counted the corpses together with the locals and 43 deaths were recorded.

He spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.

He said, “I knew it (the issue) is going to come up particularly because it is coming from the United Nations and not a source that does not want to be identified. This is a source that has identified itself that a 110 specifically (were murdered).”

Enenche, however, explained that he contacted the field commandants and “they gave me a synopsis of what happened. When the governor was to go (to the scene) and after they had recovered the dead, the troops had to move in there and they counted 43.

“Of course, some people ran into the bush and they started coming back and trickling in.

“As at 2 pm yesterday (Sunday), I called them and they got back to me at about 7 pm yesterday, still counting, looking if they will recover (more corpses). We call it Exploitation After Action Review.”

The DHQ Coordinator said the search for more remains of victims is still on but insisted that 43 corpses were retrieved from the scene as of today.

“Probably we may count up to the figure he (Kallon) gave in the future but as it is now, what we have counted with the locals is still 43 and we are hoping that we don’t get beyond that.

“This is the real situation. I did not sleep, we had to follow it because this is very relevant coming from the United Nations.”

The massacre of the rice farmers, who were buried yesterday, has attracted strong international and national condemnations with some Nigerians calling on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sack the country’s service chiefs and overhaul the security architecture of Nigeria.

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