The National Human Rights Commission says it has given the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and its 36 state counterparts sufficient materials to prosecute 33 operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad indicted in the last year’s report of a Presidential Investigative Panel.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, said this while fielding questions from journalists at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja.
PorscheClassy News had on November 8, 2020, reported that the AGF office had declared that there was no sufficient evidence with which to prosecute the indicted cops.
The Presidential Panel led by Ojukwu had between 2018 and 2019 probed complaints of brutal activities of SARS and had submitted its report to the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on June 3, 2019.
The report indicted a total of 35 police operatives in 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory for various rights violations including, extrajudicial killing, death in police custody, unlawful arrest, bias investigation, unlawful intimidation, harassment, criminal assault, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, a threat to life, extortion and confiscation of property.
The report recommended 33 for prosecution, and punishment including a reduction in rank and dismissal.
It also recommended 57 victims for an award of a total of about N249m in monetary compensation 35 for a public apology to be issued by the Nigerian police.
The NHRC on October 19, 2020, submitted the report to the AGF accompanied with a specific list of those recommended for prosecution.
Sunday PUNCH reported that a committee raised by the AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to review the panel’s report had concluded that the report “does not meet prosecutorial needs” as it was said to be lacking in vital exhibits, such as “medical evidence and statements of the suspects and witnesses”.
The committee’s report also expressed concern that the indicted officers “still in the service ought to go through the internal police disciplinary measures to avoid prosecuting officers in uniform”.
It, therefore, asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to set up “a special investigation team” to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the cases.
Asked to react to the concerns of the AGF office about the report, Ojukwu said the two major issues raised had been addressed by the commission.
Ojukwu said, “The issues raised by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation as to why the prosecution seems difficult are:
“One, he said he has not received the original case files. Two, he said some of the police officers must be dismissed first by the Police Service Commission before they can prosecute them, of course, that is procedural.
“We have worked on those conditions. We have sent all the original case files, not only to him (the AGF), but to all the states, because the law says it is either the Attorney General of the Federation or the Attorney General of the states.
“There are about 13 states involved, and I can assure you that we have dispatched all the original case files to all the 13 states.
“Secondly, we have submitted the list of these officers, with other necessary documents to both the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police.
“So, they need to do the needful. Moving forward, I expect that, once these internal procedures are tidied up, they should be able to do what they are supposed to do. This is because, as of today, we have sorted out these two obstacles identified by the AGF.”
Ojukwu lamented how poor funding had been hampering the ability of the NHRC to investigate rights violations in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
He said the National Economic Council which directed states to inaugurate the commissions of inquiry to probe SARS brutality in the aftermath of #EndSARS protests had also directed the various state governments to set aside N200m “to pay for awards and compensation that may arise in all the states”.
He said the commission had similarly asked for N200m for its retired Justice Suleiman Galadima-led Independent Investigative Panel currently probing complaints of police brutality received from different parts of the country.
Killer Juice: Don’t Take Products Not Approved By NAFDAC, Lagos Warns Residents
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, on his part, advised residents to check the expiry dates of the products they consumed.
Omotoso, in an interview with one of our correspondents, also urged residents of the state not to consume products that were not certified by NAFDAC.
Reacting to the story of the sales of expired citric acid powdered drinks in Kano State, the commissioner said the state consumer protection agency would not allow the ‘killer drink’ to be sold in the state.
He said, “We have a consumer protection agency saddled with the responsibility of curbing fake products and prosecuting people selling such.
“People must watch out for expiry dates on the products they consume and they have to ensure that such products are NAFDAC approved.”
Omotoso also assured residents of the state that there was no need to panic about the ‘killer drink.’
10 Dead, 400 Hospitalized After Drinking ‘Killer Fruit Juice’ In Kano
The Kano State Government on Thursday said 10 people had died and 400 others hospitalized after drinking a poisonous fruit juice.
The state government had month said the poisonous fruit juice claimed three lives and led to the hospitalization of 183 others.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Tsanyawa, in a video recording made available to journalists in Kano on Thursday, stated that out of 400 people hospitalized, 50 persons were undergoing treatment for kidney-related ailments.
As the Kano State Government gave an update on the killer drink, Lagos, Katsina, Cross River, Sokoto, and Osun state governments urged residents to be vigilant before consuming any fruit drink.
Although they urged residents not to panic, they advised them to check the expiry dates of drinks.
The Kano State Commissioner for Health had at a press conference in Kano on March 16 said the outbreak spread to 13 local government areas of the state.
The state ministry of health said the affected patients showed symptoms such as bloody urine, fever, lethargy, and sometimes yellowness of the eyes (jaundice).
On Thursday, Tsanyawa urged residents to be vigilant when consuming any fruit juice during the ongoing Ramadan to avoid catastrophic consequences.
The commissioner stated, “As you are aware, the ministry of health had in the recent past announced the outbreak of a strange disease traceable to the consumption of a substandard drink.
“The consumption of this fake and substandard product has telling effects on the kidney and other vital organs of the body.
“Due to excessive heat that coincides with Ramadan, there is a possibility for high patronage of juices; I want to use this opportunity to caution residents to be on the watch-out.”
Kano has over the past couple of weeks been battling with an outbreak of a strange disease that has further stretched the health challenges of the state.
Thursday’s update by the health commissioner came after a major breakthrough by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s arrest of the suspects behind selling the Kano killer drink.
The Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Hajiya Hadiza Namadi, in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, said the video on the update of the incident was meant to further warn residents against taking the killer drink, traders were still selling in the state.
NAFDAC) had last week explained that it found out that the chemical added to the drink that led to the death of three persons contained ‘Hyroxylamine,’ used for terrorism.
The regulatory agency disclosed that all the merchants of the deadly chemicals and additives had been apprehended while further investigations were ongoing.
Sanwo-Olu Performs Ground Breaking Ceremony Of Lagos Rail Mass Transit Red Line Project [PHOTOS]
History was made today (Thursday) in Lagos, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu breaking the ground for the construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving more than one million commuters daily.
The rail corridor will be constructed in three phases. The first phase (Agbado-Iddo), which will be completed in 24 months, will be sharing the track with the Federal Government’s Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project up to Ebute – Metta. It will have its dedicated track from Ebute – Metta to Oyingbo and reduce travel time from about two and a half hours to just 35 minutes. The passenger capacity of the first phase is 500,000 daily.
The ceremony was held at the proposed site of the Ikeja Train Station. It was witnessed by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
To be fully operational in the last quarter of 2022, the Red Line, a project of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), will have eight train stations – from Agbado to Oyingbo.
The Red Line is to raise mass transportation capacity in the State, complementing the Blue Line that traverses from Okokomaiko to Marina. The Blue Line is at 78 percent completion.
Sanwo-Olu, who was at the event with the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, handed cheques to property owners affected by the right-of-way, described the project as another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive megacity.
He said the traffic management and transportation pillar in his Government’s development blueprint – Project THEMES – was being implemented with the goal to develop an efficient and sustainable transportation model that would improve mobility, promote economic growth, and enhance the living conditions of residents.
He said: “Today’s flag-off of the construction of infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line is another promise kept and it demonstrates, in practical terms, our commitment to achieve the objectives of traffic management and transportation pillar in our development agenda.
This is because we recognize the role which an efficient transportation system plays in enhancing people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.
“The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving our vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible.
“Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, we are happy to be committing this investment in our transport infrastructure, so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations. This all-important transport project we are all gathered to witness today represents a major step in this direction.”
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the implementation of the Red Line was being supported under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (DCRR) programme – a financing package put in place by the State Government through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN). The Governor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, for supporting the State in the bid to make the project a reality. He praised also the bankers who facilitated the funding.
To facilitate smooth operations of the Red Line, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would be constructing ancillary infrastructure, including six overpasses at strategic level crossing points along the rail corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail system, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The overpasses will provide grade-separated crossings that will enhance safety for the rail system and road users.
Sanwo-Olu said: “The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.
“Another unique feature of the Red Line is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with our Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to our people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure.”
The Governor presented cheques of varying amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses, and accommodation will be affected by the project. Over 263 properties are affected. Many of the property owners and tenants were smiling as they got their cheques.
Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the Red Line as a continuation of the implementation of the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which made provision for six standard rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors, and over 20 waterway routes.
He said the intervention was a deliberate effort of the State Government and its development partners to make Lagos livable beyond the Year 2032.
Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the project was a bold step and commitment of the Governor to solving transportation challenges in line with his administration’s development blueprint.
She noted that the construction would not be delayed by funding and human factors, as stakeholders were duly carried along in the projects.
The Lagos mass transit rail dream began in 1983 during the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, but it was stopped by the then Federal Government. Sanwo-Olu has vowed to ensure that the Blue Line and the Red Line are completed to the memory of the late Jakande.