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Buratai Speaks On Lekki Shooting, Says Soldiers Only Ensured Compliance With Curfew

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The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, says soldiers only tried to enforce compliance with the curfew imposed during the #EndSARS protests.

He said the army is now being “falsely” held responsible for the “activities of the miscreants”.

Although Buratai did not specifically mention the Lekki shooting, it was on the day that Lagos state government imposed a 24-hour curfew that men in army uniform invaded the protest ground and opened fire at protesters.

There are disputed claims on fatalities from the shooting.

At a conference with army commanders in Abuja on the #EndSARS incident on Monday, Buratai accused some international organizations of threatening military officers with travel ban over alleged violations of human rights.

According to a statement released by Sagir Musa, a colonel and acting director of army public relations, Buratai said right from the onset of ENDSARS protest, “the NA (Nigerian Army) has been aware of the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to draw it into the crisis.

“The plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government so as to set the people against the NA once it is called out to aid the civil authorities. The NA being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14 October 2020 of our resolve to secure and safeguard a United Nigeria.

“Now the detractors alongside their local and international collaborators have mischievously and deliberately misrepresented troops’ efforts to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other states.

“These agitators are falsely accusing the NA of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants despite glaring evidence to the contrary. They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families.

“Thankfully, however, a large percentage of Nigerians and the international community have started seeing through the smokescreen of falsehood and deliberate misrepresentation of facts being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications.”

Buratai said: “Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better.

“The first time I traveled outside of this country, I was already 50 years and a general, so I don’t mind if I live the rest of my life here.”

It is not clear yet which of the international organizations issued the threat.

Some Nigerians had called on the international community to place a visa ban on those responsible for the shooting of peaceful protesters.

The army chief said they will not allow any agent in or outside Nigeria to set the country on fire.

He said the army remains resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that ”subversive elements, detractors and other enemies of Nigeria do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilization”.

“The events of the past few days in our dear nation have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilize Nigeria by all means,” he said.

“These individuals, groups and other undesirable elements have hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protest marches resulting in widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country. These acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation.

“Despite all these, the army has continued to exercise restraint applied all the principles of internal security operations and fully abided by the internationally recognized rules of engagement as contained in our published standard operating procedures for internal security operations which are derived from the International human rights laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.”

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Six Foreigners, Nigerian Jailed Seven Years For Oil Theft In Rivers [PHOTOS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced six foreigners and a Nigerian to seven years imprisonment for oil theft.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho gave the sentence yesterday after three years of prosecution of the convicts by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They include Mohammed Ejaz and Nasser Khan – Pakistanis; Oleksandr Nazarenko and Oleksandr Kashernvi – Ukrainians; Romeo Annang – Ghanaian, Fredrik Omenu – Indonesian; and David Otuohi – Nigerian.

The convicts were arraigned for oil theft alongside four other persons – Victor Mikpayi (Beninois), Francis Ahorlu and Kwesi Attah (Ghanaians), and Victor Azebiri (Nigerian).

But the four others were discharged and acquitted by the court.

They were all docked alongside a company – Asztral Shipping Corporation SA, and a Vessel, MT. TECNE (also known as MT STAR), on four counts of conspiracy, dealing in petroleum products without a license, and tampering with oil pipelines.

When the charges were read to them, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to them.

Their pleas prepared grounds for their trial that lasted three years during which the EFCC presented evidence and witnesses who testified against the defendants in court.

In his judgment yesterday, Justice Omotosho found the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eleventh defendants guilty of all the four charges and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment, with an option of a fine of N2 million each.

According to the court, the sentences run concurrently from their date of arraignment.

On the other hand, the first, eighth, ninth, and tenth defendants were discharged and acquitted on the ground that “they were not linked to the commission of the crime”.

The company involved in the crime – Asztral Shipping Corporation SA – was wound up by the court while the vessel carrying the offensive crude oil was forfeited to the Federal Government.

The suspected oil thieves ran into troubled waters when their ship was intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA on April 25, 2017, at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Afremo ‘A’ Terminal, South East of Escravos in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

The ship was seized for illegal loading of petroleum products suspected to be crude oil.

Members of the crew, according to the EFCC, connived with Victor Azeberi, one Peter Ala, and David Ogoma (who is at large), to siphon about 1905.836 cubic liters of crude oil.

The ship had no clearance from relevant Nigerian maritime agencies to navigate in Nigerian waters and all the foreign crew on board the ship had no valid documents to enter the country.

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BREAKING: Court Orders Arrest Of Maina’s Son, Summons Surety

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.

At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.

Neither Faisal, his surety, nor his lawyer was present at the Tuesday’s proceedings.

Abubakar, therefore, applied the revocation of his bail and his arrest citing section 184 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act.
The prosecution also applied for the court to order his trial in absentia as provided by 352(4) of ACJA.

“My third application is for the issuance of summons on the surety, and for him to show cause why he should not forfeit the bail bond,” Abubakar added.

The judge granted the prayers and adjourned till Wednesday.

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#EndSARS: CNN Dares Nigerian Govt, Releases Second Report On Lekki Shootings [VIDEO]

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Amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government over its investigative report on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the #EndSARS protests, CNN has released a second report on the incident.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week described CNN’s report on the Lekki shootings as poor journalism, adding that the network deserved to be sanctioned.

Mohammed also followed up the threat with a letter addressed to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

However, the network on Tuesday did a second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

The fresh report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig. Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate.

The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig. Gen Taiwo’s claim is at variance with the minister’s who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.

The fresh report also shows protesters running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.

The National Broadcasting Commission, which is overseen by the information minister, had last month slammed hefty fines on three Nigerian television stations for daring to use some of the footage which CNN has also used.

The Federal Government has been receiving flak from members of the United Kingdom Parliament and Amnesty International over the killing of protesters.

 

Video Credit: CNN

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