Connect with us


BIG STORY

#EndSARS Anniversary: Police Occupy Lekki Toll Gate, Others, Activists Set For Protest

Published

on

There are strong indications that security agents and protesters will clash in many cities across the country today (Wednesday) as activists and youths insist on gathering in public spaces to commemorate the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, which rocked the nation last year.

For instance, heavily armed police personnel, on Tuesday, took over the Lekki tollgate area, which was the hotbed of last year’s protests.

It was also learnt that some policemen in plain clothes would join the protesters in a bid to monitor them closely.

#EndSARS memorial protests are planned to take place in Lagos, Abuja, Aba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Enugu, Yola, Ibadan, Benin City, Jos, Ilorin, Asaba and Osogbo, among others.

In October last year, spontaneous protests had erupted in different parts of the country against police brutality, especially by the personnel of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad, and the #EndSARS movement soon garnered international support.

The protests, however, turned bloody on October 20, 2020, when soldiers and policemen fired at the protesters in Lagos.

In Abuja, the nation’s capital, hoodlums attacked the protesters and injured many of them. They also looted warehouses and set ablaze over 18 cars and vandalised more than 12 vehicles.

In response to the outcry, the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad police unit, the fourth time the Federal Government had disbanded it.

On October 19, 2020, the President accused the protesters of trying to cause anarchy and warned that the government would not tolerate that.

The police have, however, warned the organisers and attendees of the commemorative protests to desist from going ahead with their plans as they will be arrested and prosecuted.

In Abuja, it was gathered on Tuesday that the police would deploy personnel at strategic locations as part of plans to frustrate youths from staging street protests in commemoration of the rally.

Sources said security agencies would deploy personnel in various entry and exit points of the Federal Capital Territory, including Mararaba, Nyanya, Zuba and Airport Road.

Our correspondents also learnt that security would be tightened around many public buildings and infrastructure in the FCT.

It was gathered that the Unity Fountain, which is the main protest spot in Abuja, would be cordoned off to prevent any form of gathering there.

A source said, “The security agencies are not very comfortable with plans by some emergency activists to stage a protest. So, we have put in place a plan of action to ensure that the protest or street walk doesn’t degenerate into violence.

“I won’t be able to disclose our strategic plan, but suffice it to say that security will be beefed up at strategic locations and government offices, banks and other public utilities. Many undercover operatives will also be part of protesters to fish out troublemakers among them.”

In Lagos, personnel of the state police command embarked on a show of force on Tuesday to intimidate the organisers and participants of the #EndSARS memorial protests in the state.

Fully armed personnel in police patrol vehicles were seen patrolling potential protest grounds in a show of force.

There was a heavy police presence at the Lekki tollgate.

A notice from the organisers of the protest sighted by one of our correspondents read, “In memorial of the lives lost on the 20-10-2020, there will be a memorial car procession on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, taking place at the Lekki Tollgate by 8.10 am. We should all endeavour to stay in our vehicles throughout the procession.”

In Oyo State, the organisers said the commemorative protest would start at 9 am at under the bridge, Iwo Road, Ibadan, while a candlelight procession would follow at the Ojoo roundabout by 4 pm.

“There will be a morning walk for #EndSARS heroes by 9 am at Iwo Road, under the bridge, opposite Tantalizers with a candlelight procession at 4 pm at Ojoo roundabout, Ibadan,” a notice by the organisers read.

BIG STORY

UK Imposes Travel Restrictions On Six African Countries As New COVID-19 Variant Emerges

Published

on

The UK government has imposed temporary travel restrictions on six African countries following the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa.

A new variant of the coronavirus, B.1.1.529, was discovered in South Africa three days ago and 59 cases have been confirmed in South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana.

Although the variant is yet to be detected in the UK, it has gone ahead to announce that travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini, will not be allowed into their shores from 12:00 GMT Friday (1 p.m. Nigerian time).

According to Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, “the UK Health Security Agency is investigating a new variant. More data is needed but we’re taking precautions now.”

“From noon tomorrow, November 26, six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travellers must quarantine.”

Experts have said that the B.1.1.529 variant could be the most lethal and worrying yet. This is because of its “awful spike mutation profile”, which scientists fear could help it evade immunity. Early reports suggest it is capable of reducing vaccine efficiency to just 30 percent.

“The first indications we have of this variant are that it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and that the vaccines we currently have may be less effective,” Mr Javid said.

According to him, British scientists are “very concerned” by this variant.

“We will ask anyone arriving from these countries from 4 a.m. on Sunday to quarantine themselves in hotels,” Mr Javid said, adding that those arriving before that date will have to self-isolate and do two PCR tests on the second and eighth day of their confinement.

“And if someone has arrived from these countries in the last ten days, we will ask them to do PCR tests,” he added.

The WHO will hold a special meeting following the emergence of this new variant.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

Chidinma Sold Ataga’s Laptop To Me For N495,000 —– Computer Village Businessman

Published

on

A businessman, Mr Ifeoluwa Oluwo, has narrated how the laptop of the murdered Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Michael Ataga, was sold to him for N495,000 by Chidinma Ojukwu two days after Ataga’s body was found.

Chidinma, a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, was accused of killing Ataga.

The undergraduate and two others, Adedapo Quadri and Chioma Egbuchu, are undergoing trial before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos State.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Oluwo, the third prosecution witness, was led in evidence by the Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule.

Oluwo said he sells phones, laptops, and accessories at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, and has been in the business for five years.

According to him, after seeing Chidinma on social media after the sale of the laptop, he immediately ensured that all her documents were kept handy.

The witness identified Chidinma as a customer who had purchased a phone on April 30 and also sold a laptop on June 18, at the same office.

Oluwo said, “On June 18, Chidinma sold me a MacBook Pro laptop for N495,000 after negotiations and market value comparison. In order to make a sale, you have to submit some documents and fill a form with your government identification card, driving license, international passport, voters’ card, and National Identification Number.

“You also have to fill a form which includes email, phone number, house address, and full name. It will also contain the full value of the item for that day, the name of the item, and the serial number of the item.

“This is what we do to contact a customer if there are any issues.

“I asked Chidinma to unlock the laptop and she did. So, I conducted my internal observation which included speed performance, the circle count of the battery, and general functionality.

“After that, I proceeded to ask questions, ‘Do you have a receipt for this laptop?’

“She stated that it was a gift from her boyfriend and that she had two laptops and needed to sell one to pay some bills.

“I conducted a check on a website for my market evaluation. I confirmed the value of the laptop. It was $1,000 to $1,200. The exchange rate of dollars at that time was N400 to N450 and she wanted to sell for N600,000. We were able to negotiate for N495,000, which I initiated from my UBA bank account to her Sterling bank account.”

When asked if Chidinma had produced the receipt of the laptop, Oluwo stated that she was not able to provide the receipt as she had insisted that it was a gift from her boyfriend.

“After the sale of the laptop, we saw her face on social media regarding a murder case. A few days later, the police from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, invited my manager, Olutayo Abayomi.

“When I got to the police station, I discovered that it was in connection to the laptop we bought from Chidinma on June 18.

“We both made a statement detailing how we came about the laptop and how we made the purchase.

“We gave the police the documents of the former owner, which included a copy of her voters’ card, a copy of our form, and all receipts which already have her information regarding the laptop.

“There is no way we can detect that a phone or laptop was a stolen one,” Oluwo said.

During cross-examination, Chidinma’s counsel, Onwuka Egbu, asked if he was shown any documents, receipts, or proof of ownership to show that the laptop was not for the first defendant at Panti but the witness said he was not shown any.

Justice Adesanya adjourned the case till November 29, for the continuation of trial.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

New COVID Variant Of ‘Serious Concern’ Detected In South Africa

Published

on

A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in South Africa.

The variant, B.1.1.529, is said to have a high number of mutations, which may be a source of concern in relation to immunity and transmissibility.

Confirming the discovery in a statement on Thursday, the NICD said 22 positive cases of the new variant have so far been detected in the country.

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, confirms that through collaborative efforts with private laboratories and the NGS-SA members, a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa,” the statement reads.

“Twenty-two positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing collaborations between the NICD and private laboratories. In addition, other NGS-SA laboratories are confirming more cases as sequencing results come out.”

According to the statement, Adrian Puren, NICD acting executive director, said it is “not surprising” that a new variant has been detected in South Africa.

“Although the data are limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be. Developments are occurring at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance that we will keep them up to date,” Puren said.

The institute said Joe Phaahla, the country’s health minister, confirmed that the new variant has also been detected in Botswana and in Hong Kong.

He said the variant was of “serious concern” and behind an “exponential” increase in reported cases, making it “a major threat”.

Michelle Groome, head of the division of public health surveillance and response at the NICD, also said provincial health authorities remain on high alert and are prioritizing the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples.

“This means that individuals should get vaccinated, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and gather in well-ventilated spaces. Individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant,” she added.

As of September 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified five COVID variants — Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Mu.

While it is not unexpected that there will be more variants of the coronavirus, prior to the detection of the B.1.1. 529, the Delta variant had been linked to a high infection rate.

The Delta COVID variant was confirmed in Nigeria in July 2021, and is currently the most dominant strain in the country.

Continue Reading

Most Popular