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Ex-SARS Officer Denied Asylum In Canada For ‘Contributing’ To Police Brutality In Nigeria

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A federal court in Ottawa, Canada, has refused the asylum application of Olushola Wazzi Popoola, a former operative of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

Popoola became a member of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in 2002 and was attached to SARS until 2005. He was later transferred to the anti-robbery unit in Lagos until 2009.

Between 2009 and 2011, he was deployed to the SARS office in Lagos.

Following the death of his father in 2011, Popoola resigned from the force but his resignation was not accepted. He was thereafter transferred to Iju where he attained the rank of sergeant before leaving the police force in 2015.

In 2016, he left Nigeria for the United States from where he crossed to Canada and claimed refugee status.

However, his claim was suspended while his case was referred to the immigration division (ID) of the Immigration and Refugee Board for a determination of his admissibility.

After reviewing documentary evidence, the ID, on October 15, 2019, found Popoola inadmissible pursuant to section 35(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

According to the ID, the Nigeria Police Force and SARS, in particular, have committed crimes against humanity.

“This is because mistreatment and torture of police detainees is endemic in Nigeria, for a number of reasons including corruption and impunity. Extrajudicial killings are frequent,” the ID had said.

“The SARS, in particular, is singled out in the documentary evidence as one of the most brutal units of the Force.”

POPOOLA FILES APPEAL

In his appeal against his inadmissibility to Canada, Popoola argued that “he spent most of his time with the force in units other than the SARS, and that his five years with the SARS is a relatively short time”.

He noted that his contribution to crimes committed by the police force was not significant.

Popoola told the court that the “ID breached procedural fairness by rejecting his testimony without providing adequate reasons”.

But in a judgment delivered on April 8, Sébastien Grammond, the judge, agreed that the ID was right in its decision.

“A finding that Mr. Popoola engaged in crimes against humanity does not require proof that he personally tortured detainees— which he denies,” the court held.

“Rather, his contribution to the organization’s crimes must be assessed according to the test laid out by the supreme court of Canada in Ezokola v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2013 SCC 40, [2013] 2 SCR 678 [Ezokola].

“In this regard, the ID considered that Mr Popoola voluntarily joined the Nigerian Police Force; that he spent five years with the SARS, a unit known for being especially brutal; that he admitted knowing about the prevalence of torture and mistreatment of detainees in the organization, although he tried to minimize its scope in his testimony; and that he resigned for personal reasons, not because he learned of human rights abuses.

“As to his contribution to the organization’s crimes, the ID concluded as follows: Since Mr. Popoola reasonably knew that when he was a member of the SARS the suspects he handed over to the criminal investigation department would be subject to human rights violations, the tribunal finds this to be a significant contribution to the criminal purpose of the organization since he had the knowledge of what could befall the individual subject to investigation.

“For these reasons, Mr Popoola’s application for judicial review will be dismissed.”

During the October 2020 #ENDSARS protests, Nigerians in Canada were vocal in their support of the movement.

Kaycee Madu, a Nigerian-born lawyer and minister of justice in a Canadian province, had backed the protest and encouraged Nigerians to lend their voices to the fight for freedom from police brutality and injustice.

Madu had said his cousin, Chrisantus Korie, was killed by the police in Nigeria in 2013 — and that the murder was not investigated.

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‘Two COVID Tests In 72 Hours’, New Protocol For Nigeria As UAE Lifts Flight Ban

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The Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has released a new protocol directing travellers from Nigeria to undergo COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Flights between both countries have been suspended since March over issues relating to the COVID-19 protocol.

In a press release on Saturday, the middle east country said the new measure is part of its efforts to ease inbound travel restrictions.

Passengers are also expected to have taken a COVID test 48 hours before departure, and have negative results to show for it.

According to the Dubai media office, the protocol will become effective from June 23, 2021.

“Passengers must have received a negative test result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens exempted,” the new guideline reads.

“Passengers should present a negative PCR test certificate with a 0R Code from labs approved by the Nigerian Government.

“All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.

“Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.”

Headed by @sheikhmansoor, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in #Dubai announces updates to Dubai’s travel protocols for inbound passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India, effective from Wednesday 23 June 2021.https://t.co/Zfma4YWugQ pic.twitter.com/NkhIzaQwzI

— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 19, 2021

The federal government had been in talks with the authorities of the UAE over the travel protocol put in place against Nigeria in the wake of the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, Emirates Airline had directed that travellers taking off from Nigeria must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure, but the federal government had banned outbound Emirates flights for violating the directive of the presidential task force (PTF) on rapid antigen tests.

The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests. It was later reintroduced on March 15, with the federal government explaining that the airline had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.

Thereafter, in March, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced a new COVID-19 travel protocol for Nigeria as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

Passengers who had been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai were barred from entering the middle east country.

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Arewa vs IPOB: Northern Youths Reports Irokotv App On Play Store After Google Removed Adamu Garba’s Crowwe App

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After several Northern youths targeted Jason Njoku’s Irokotv app on Playstore in retribution for the removal of Adamu Garba’s Crowwe app, a Nigerian man contacted the company’s owner, Jason Njoku.

This happened just days after Google banned Adamu Garba’s Crowwe App due to a copyright infringement by the social media company.

Remember that Adamu Garba, the CEO of Crowwe App, backed the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria following the federation’s ban on the social media platform.

He also made fun of Twitter, advising Nigerians to use his own social media app instead. However, numerous Nigerians complained and gave his app negative reviews, prompting its removal.

In revenge for Crowwe’s expulsion, Northern youths have mobilized to begin reporting Igbo-owned mobile apps. Jason Njoku’s iRokoTV and Softtalk messaging are among the apps listed.

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Obasanjo Contributed To Nigeria’s Crisis, He Should Mind His Utterances —– Femi Adesina

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Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo contributed to the current chaos in the country, adding that the ex-military general should mind his utterances.

He stated this on Friday in a piece titled, ‘Nigeria’s Unity And All The Iberiberism’.

Adesina wrote, “The saber-rattling about Nigeria’s unity and the possibility of disintegration has got to the point of Iberiberism (an Igbo word which could mean stupidity). Some people have no other business than doomsday predictions of a crumbled, collapsed Nigeria, as if they actually fast and pray for that eventuality.

“When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was President between 1999 and 2007, they predicted that he was going to be the last President of a united Nigeria. It didn’t happen. When Umaru Yar’Adua came, they said he was too sick to hold Nigeria together. The country stood.

“Under Goodluck Jonathan, they said the man was too weak, and different components of the country would soon say, ‘to your tents oh Israel.’ Nigeria survived. And for six years under Muhammadu Buhari, they have not changed their songs. The Somaliasation of Nigeria was on the way. The Fulanisation of the country would be the final death knell. But Nigeria lives. It trudges on from day to day, month to month, and will surely survive.”

Adesina said though some people dwell on negativity, “some fathers of the land will not fold their hands and see Nigeria go down”.

“Fortunately, we have one of them as President now. The young Muhammadu Buhari spent 30 months in the frontlines as a young army officer, fighting the war of unity. And he has said it: we will not be around and watch Nigeria go down. Never. We will rather speak to insurrectionists in the language they understand.

“And what of Olusegun Obasanjo, a civil war hero. Despite all that he has contributed to the current upheavals by his actions and inactions, words, and bile, he says it is idiotic to wish Nigeria disintegration now. Good. But let us put our money where our mouth is. Let Baba mind his thoughts, and his language,” the presidential spokesman added.

“Nigeria will survive. The polity will endure. And the component parts will live together in amity and brotherhood. Any other option is Iberiberism,” he concluded.

Obasanjo, a military head of state from February 1976 to September 1979, was Nigeria’s democratically elected president between May 1999 and May 2007.

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