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Marriage Scandal: 2,311 Petitioners Demand Sacking Of FCMB Managing Director, Nuru

3 January 2021 - 9:02am


Adam Nuru

No fewer than 2,311 persons have now called for the sacking of the First City Monument Bank Managing Director, Adam Nuru, over alleged infidelity with a former worker with the bank, Moyo Thomas.

The petition is requesting the Central Bank of Nigeria and the FCMB board to dismiss Nuru on ethical grounds. 

Adam Nuru

A number of Nigerians had condemned the FCMB Managing Director over an alleged marriage scandal involving him and Moyo.

A cross-section of Nigerians had stated that a sexual relationship between Nuru and his subordinate was unprofessional and called for the sacking of the MD. 

As of Saturday, the number of people who had signed the petition was about 1,400 petitioners. 

Tunde Thomas, the husband of Moyo, a staff member of FCMB who Nuru was alleged to have had a romantic affair with, was said to have died of depression on December 16, 2020, after he realised that his wife allegedly had their two children for Nuru and not for him. 

From the petition, it was claimed that the deceased husband suffered a cardiac arrest before he died.

The FCMB Board of Directors had said it was reviewing allegations of unethical conduct against its MD, Nuru.

A petition initiated by friends of the deceased, on Thursday had alleged that Tunde died of depression after discovering that his supposed two children with Moyo belong to the FCMB MD.

It also called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sack Nuru, while demanding a comprehensive investigation into the matter.

It said, "This is a case of gross misconduct based on ethical grounds and an unjustifiable economic oppression by the elite (Adam Nuru) against the underprivileged in the society. 

“The MD has been doing everything possible to sweep this case under the carpet. We implore the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the apex regulator, and the board of FCMB to investigate this for the integrity of the bank and Nigerian banking industry.”

But in a statement sent to SaharaReporters on Friday, the FCMB Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Diran Olojo, said the bank was aware of the allegations making the rounds against its MD.

He, however, said the bank's board of directors had already commenced a review into the matter, adding that its findings would be disclosed in due course.

On Twitter, Nigerians also condemned Nuru for the alleged sexual relationship, saying it was unprofessional. 

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Gunmen Invade Bayelsa Community In About 50 Speedboats, Burn Houses

3 January 2021 - 8:57am


File photo used to illustrate story.

Unknown Gunmen have on invaded Peremabiri community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, setting over 20 houses ablaze.

SaharaReporters learnt the bandits invaded the community in about 50 speedboats with the aim of taking control of the community from an ex-militant leader, Paul Eris, also known as Ogunbos, whose house was attacked and burnt on Christmas Day. 

File photo used to illustrate story.

According to sources, the gunmen have chased out community members suspected to be loyal to Paul Eris and taken control of the town.

A community source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "As I speak with you, many people are still hiding in the bush and many houses have been burnt down.

"The gunmen came in over 50 speedboats, shooting sporadically. When they gained entrance into the community, people had no other option but to run into the bush for safety.

"Our intelligence report says that the gunmen have vowed to remain in the community and ensure that Ogunbos and his followers never return to the community.

"I was told that the Christmas Day attack on Ogunbos' house was planned to drive him out of the town, and that today's attack was aimed at taking total control of the community."

The state police command has yet to confirm the attack or any loss of life. 

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US Election: 11 Republican Senators To Challenge Biden’s Presidential Victory

3 January 2021 - 8:52am


Joe Biden

A group of Republican senators led by veteran lawmaker Ted Cruz said Saturday they would challenge Joe Biden’s election win — the latest last-ditch move to support Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the vote.

The initiative, which appears certain to fail, flies in the face of rulings in dozens of courts and the findings by officials in several key states that there were no widespread voting problems, AFP reports.

Joe Biden

The Republicans’ statement, signed by Cruz and six other current senators along with four senators-elect, asserts that “allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”

The group said that when Congress convenes in a joint session on Wednesday — for what normally would be a pro-forma certification of Biden’s victory — they would demand the creation of a special commission to conduct an “emergency 10-day audit” of the election results.

The statement says individual states could then convene special legislative sessions and potentially revise their vote totals.

“An attempt to steal a landslide win. Can’t let it happen!” Trump tweeted Saturday.

Posting a list of the 11 senators, Trump added: “And after they see the facts, plenty more to come… Our Country will love them for it!”

They join Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who said earlier that he planned to raise objections on Wednesday.

A Republican member of the House of Representatives, Louie Gohmert, has also announced his plan to oppose certification, and more than 100 House Republicans reportedly will back his challenge.

Gohmert sought to further raise the stakes with a lawsuit that would have given Vice President Mike Pence — traditionally in a ceremonial role in Wednesday’s session — the power to overturn the election result.

Pence opposed that effort, and a federal judge in Texas on Friday rejected the suit. On Saturday, a federal appeals court upheld that dismissal.

The Hawley and Gohmert challenges will ensure that Congress must meet to hear the complaints.

The Congress sessions, sure to be contentious, will play out against a backdrop of pro-Trump rallies in Washington next week.

As with Trump’s other attempts to reverse his election defeat, the latest political maneuvering appears doomed. Democrats control the House, and many Republicans are expected to vote Wednesday for certification.

The 11 senators conceded that most Democrats and “more than a few Republicans” would likely oppose their initiative.

Among them is Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a battleground state that helped Biden to victory. Its result is expected to be among those contested on Wednesday.

“A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders,” Toomey tweeted.

“The effort by Sens. Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”

He added: “I voted for President Trump and endorsed him for re-election. But, on Wednesday, I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”

Responding to Toomey late Saturday night Hawley criticized the “shameless personal attacks,” and urged senators to avoid “making unfounded claims about the intentions of our fellow senators.”

“I never claim to speak for another senator, but I do speak for my constituents when they raise legitimate concerns about issues as important as the fairness of our elections,” he said in a message to the Senate GOP conference, first reported by Politico.

Earlier, Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a vocal Trump opponent, dismissed his colleagues’ rationale as “nonsense.”

“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic,” Romney said.

“Members of Congress who would substitute their own partisan judgment for that of the courts do not enhance public trust, they imperil it,” he added. “Has ambition so eclipsed principle?”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell also urged fellow Republicans to vote to certify and avoid a divisive political brawl.

Pence, however, is reportedly encouraging lawmakers to debate the baseless accusations of voting irregularities.

“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” his chief of staff Marc Short said in a statement to US news outlets.

Biden won in the all-important Electoral College by a vote of 306 to 232.

Cruz is considered a likely 2024 presidential candidate. Hawley is also said to be positioning himself for a 2024 run — and so is Pence.

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Groups To Occupy Police Headquarters Over Detention Of Sowore, Others

3 January 2021 - 8:04am


Omoyele Sowore during #EndSARS protest in Abuja.

Members of the African Action Congress, Abuja Chapter, and the Coalition of Revolution have said they would on Monday, January 4, commence the occupation of Abuja and the police Force Headquarters building. 
This, they said, is to demand the release of former presidential candidate of the party, Omoyele Sowore, and his colleagues arrested on New Year's Eve in Abuja.

The groups said they would not fold their hands and allow the activists to be kept in custody for long without being charged for any known offence.

File Photo: Omoyele Sowore during #EndSARS protest in Abuja.

In a statement on Sunday jointly signed by Abdul Ameen and Sydney Godwin, the groups said no amount of intimidation, arrest and shooting would stop them from shutting down the police facility and Abuja city.

They noted that President Muhammadu Buhari should worry more about the myriads of problems bedevilling the country which include corruption, insecurity, bad governance and extreme poverty than Sowore and other voices of dissent.

The statement partly reads, "The AAC Abuja chapter has watched painstakingly the developments surrounding the illegal abduction of human rights activist, prisoner of conscience and 2019 presidential candidate, Stephen Omoyele Sowore, whose news broke on January 31 that some notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad officers arrested him and others and since haven't been charged for any offence(s) alongside other abducted comrades in the persons of Juwon, Michael, Damilare and Kimrere.

"We're not surprised by the violation of human rights by Buhari whose antecedents date from 1983.

"But he should rest assured that we'll continue to demand human rights as it is not only constitutional but divine.

"We've resolved that if by Monday, Sowore and other comrades aren't released, we'll occupy Abuja." 

The group urged the President to channel his energy into safeguarding Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno, Adamawa, Kano and Katsina states which are being terrorised by bandits and the Boko Haram terrorists.

"The Nigerian populace have resolved to take back their country from mediocrity and place her in glory amongst the comity of nations and no level of intimidation can stop that. You can't stop an idea whose time has come, " the statement added. 

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Amnesty Int’l Demands Unconditional Release Of Sowore, Other Activists

3 January 2021 - 8:01am


Injured Sowore in custody of the Nigeria Police

Global human rights’ body, Amnesty International, has called on the Nigerian government to “immediately and unconditionally release” human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, and other activists who were arrested by the police during a New Year’s Eve peaceful protest in Abuja.

AI noted that the arrest solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is a flagrant violation of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international human rights obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Injured Sowore in custody of the Nigeria Police

Amnesty in a statement on Saturday stated that Sowore’s continued detention is a matter of concern for Nigeria.

“His case shows just how far Nigerian authorities can go to silence peaceful dissent. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari must stop targeting activists and respect the human rights of everyone.

“Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities to carry out a prompt, thorough, and effective investigation into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment during the period leading to the arrest of Sowore and other activists, and for anyone suspected to be responsible to be brought to justice in fair trials.

“Omoyele Sowore is an Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience who is currently facing unfair trials on the basis of bogus and politically motivated charges,” the body stated.

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Fulani Herdsmen Killed Two People, Injured Three In My Constituency— Shina Peller

3 January 2021 - 7:52am


Shina Peller

No fewer than two people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen in Iganna, Iwajowa Local government area of Oyo State while three others sustained gunshot injuries, a member of the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, has said.

Peller is representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Federal Constituency in the state.

Shina Peller

Peller raised concern over the spate of insecurity in the state, especially in Iwajowa Local Government Area in his constituency.

The lawmaker particularly mentioned the Iganna area where kidnappings, killings and robbery cases had been carried out by Fulani herdsmen.

Peller who chronicled this in a short message to SaharaReporters said two people were killed while three other people sustained varying degrees of injury within eight days in the local government area.

He said, "The insecurity situation in my constituency, particularly at Iganna in the Iwajowa Local Government Area of Oyo State calls for serious concern and prompt action. The rampant cases of kidnapping, killing and robbery by Fulani herdsmen are worrisome.

"According to the situation report made available to me, the following ugly occurrences took place within eight days in the Iwajowa Local Government Area. On December 23rd, 2020, one Mrs Adeleke, a widow, narrowly escaped death after being shot at in the evening.

"On December 24th, 2020, a pastor, Mr Gbola, was shot dead in the early hours of the day at Abaoloko, Iganna Ilero Road by suspected herdsmen. Same day, one Fulani man named Ibrahim was killed, whilst another man was also reportedly killed at Iwere Ile.

"On January 1st, 2021, one Mr Kola, a petrol station manager, was shot at around 7am along Elekokan Iganna via Ofeegun. Similarly, on the same day, one vulcaniser was also shot at near Ofeegun. They are both seriously injured and are receiving treatment as I speak.

"We are made to understand that the herdsmen that carry out this act of criminality are not those that live within the community, but outsiders who gain entrance through the forest.

"Recall that on Tuesday, we had held a stakeholders’ security meeting to discuss and address the ugly security situation in the local government.

"In attendance were the Shabiganna of Iganna, His Royal Highness Oba Azeez Soliu Oyemonla, representatives of the Department of State Services, Nigeria Police Force, Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun), Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), local hunters and Fulani people in the vicinity.

"We are made to understand that the Fulani herdsmen that carry out this act of criminality are not those that live within the community, but outsiders who gain entrance through the forest. At the meeting, we had reached so many resolutions, one of which is the need to conduct a data collection exercise for all the Fulani people residing in the community for proper identification. To aid this documentation, I volunteered to provide computers to the police who will oversee the exercise.

"I'm using this opportunity to call on the relevant security agencies to come to the rescue of my people."

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Sex Party: Hotel Owner Tackles Kaduna Government, Says She Lost Pregnancy After Demolition

3 January 2021 - 7:47am


The Chief Executive Officer of the recently demolished facility said to be a hotel, Asher Kings and Queens Restaurant in Kaduna State, Aisha Mercy Yakubu, has said it was not true that the facility planned to hold a sex party.

Yakubu noted that she planned to seek a legal redress over the demolition of her restaurant, adding that she lost her pregnancy after the demolition news came to her.

In a press statement on Saturday, Yakubu said the demolished facility was neither a hotel nor guest house as claimed by the police and Kaduna State Government.

PHOTONEWS: @GovKaduna State Government Demolishes Hotel Building After Being Announced As Venue For Sex Party pic.twitter.com/xuQiITBdBd

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) December 31, 2020

The owner also said property estimated to worth over N32million was lost to the demolition exercise.

She said, “The Asher Kings and Queens Restaurant is 34 sitting-capacity-at-a-time restaurant, located at Kachia Road, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna State, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, with registration number BN2463851 on December 5, 2016, under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 as Food Production and Processing Services.

“The restaurant is a one-storey building structure, with a VIP Lounge section, where premium customers relax to watch football league games in a cozy environment, with all the comfort; air conditioners and light music. Whilst the ground floor is where the kitchen and serving spot is, also with chairs and tables for customers to sit and eat their food as required.

“We rent the VIP section for light events, of not more than 26 customers. On the 27th December, 2020, a customer hired the VIP Lounge for a 15-man reunion/clothing line promo, to appreciate his customers for their good patronage of his brands.

“Before the event proper commenced, a friend of mine and I noticed an unusual movement around the main gate to the restaurant, as it was half opened to avoid a crowded environment.

“We approached the main gate and on getting there, I saw two truckloads of heavily armed officers of the Nigeria Police Force.

“I asked the team leader what was going on but he ignored my question and said he would explain to me when we get to the Police Station, Sabon Tasha Division.

“When we arrived at the police station, my customer, who accompanied me to the station, enquired what the matter was and the police showed us a poster on a GSM phone belonging to one of the officers by name Inspector Felix.

“It was a poster of an event titled; KADUNA SEX PARTY, which the police claimed the venue for the supposed ‘sex party’ was scheduled to hold at my restaurant, even though with no address of where it would take place on the poster.

“I denied knowledge of that event as there was nothing of that sort taking place at the restaurant and I wouldn’t stoop so low to entertain such illicit activity at my place, but the police refused to believe me and had my friend and two of my staff members detained for one night, one day, until the customer that had earlier hired the place for usage on that fateful day was also arrested the next day.”

She narrated that they were released after paying a “bail fee” of N100,000 to one Inspector Felix and one other female police officer, fair in complexion. 

“I noticed how incompetent the NPF were, I suggested to them to call the number on the supposed ‘Kaduna Sex Party’ poster, which they immediately put a call through and a name came on, using the True Caller App as Marvellous Akpan.

“The police asked me to pay a fee of N20,000 for them to do their job of tracking down the user of the phone number, which I immediately paid them so that they would swing into action.

“Marvellous Akpan was arrested the next day. He was interrogated and he admitted to owning the phone number on the poster and printing of the poster which was posted on social media, assisted by a friend of his named Noah and one other guy.

“On further interrogation, Mr Marvellous Akpan confessed to the police that he didn’t even know me and had never been to my restaurant nor had any knowledge of its address. He claimed that the poster for the supposed ‘Kaduna Sex Party’ was just a prank!

“Mr Chimeze, who had hired the place was released, summarily, after the successful arrest of Mr Akpan.

“The next day, 31st December, 2020, while at the other branch of my restaurant, at Court Road, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, a friend of mine called me and asked me to go to the main restaurant and see what was going on.”

She added that she came back and saw a combined team of policemen, soldiers and vigilance groups guarding a pay loader to demolish her restaurant.

She said, “No prior notice was served to me before the demolition, there was no any form of communication between I and the Kaduna State Property Development Agency who came to demolish the building structure.

“Even when they arrived at the location, the main entrance to the main entrance to the restaurant was under lock. There was no form of communication to me!

“I watched them pull down the building without allowing me to remove any item before the demolition. As a result of the trauma, I lost my one-month-old pregnancy.

“I also incurred the following losses – cooking utensils, furniture, electric appliances, chillers, deep freezers, Bemarrings outdoor catering utensils. Cash, et al worth over N32 million, as the place was abruptly vandalised after the demolition.

“I plan to seek legal redress for defamation of my character and the loss of my properties, in the building, plus other sundry issues as would be advised by my lawyers.”

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Surveillance Contractors Drag Aiteo To Court Over Alleged Breach Of Contract

3 January 2021 - 7:15am


The Opu-Nembe Surveillance Contractors have dragged the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company to a Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Nembe over alleged breach of contracts.

The matter was separately registered in suit numbers NHC/1/2020 to NHC/12/2020 chronologically.

The claimants, Mr Nicholas Ebiye, Johnson Theophilus and 10 others filed the suit over an alleged injustice and malicious punishment meted out against the Opu-Nembe Surveillance Contractors by Aiteo.

According to the information gathered by SaharaReporters, in 2015, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited awarded contracts to the Opu-Nembe Surveillance Contractors for surveillance of its facilities within OML 29 with terms and conditions stated in the Contracts.

The Surveillance Contractors reportedly duly mobilised to site in the said year and discharged the surveillance activities from that period till date, except for three (3) contractors that were given Notice of Termination of Employment in 2019 (without receiving their entitlements and salaries for the work performed).

Aiteo Eastern E & P Company allegedly partially discharged its obligation under the contracts by paying part of the accrued monthly contract sum to the contractors but has refused to further discharge its obligation under the contracts by its failure to defray the outstanding sum despite repeated demands. The said contracts have not been terminated because the contractors were not given any notice of termination as required under the contracts and under the Nigerian Labour Law and the contractors have remained on site till date except the three contractors that received Notice of Termination of Employment from Aiteo (they have also not been paid for the work performed before their contracts were terminated).

Due to the refusal of Aiteo to defray the accrued monthly contract sum, SaharaReporters gathered that the contractors, through their solicitors, wrote letters to Aiteo requesting for the payment of the outstanding sum.

Yet, Aiteo allegedly refused to defray the debt and did not respond to the letters written by both the contractors and their solicitors. It was learnt that following that, the contractors took the matter to court. 

The contractors approached the court to compel Aiteo to defray the debt but Aiteo through its counsel, led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), raised a preliminary objection that the contracts contain arbitration clauses and urged the court to stay proceedings and refer the case to arbitration.

The contractors’ counsel – S. A. Ibrahim, Esq. of Ntephe, Smith & Wills in Port Harcourt, countered the preliminary objection and submitted that from the circumstances of the case, Aiteo had not shown sufficient reason why the matter should be referred to arbitration because of its failure to show its willingness to do all things necessary for the proper conduct of the arbitration.

In the same vein, he maintained that the essence of arbitration clause is not to oust the jurisdiction of the court but to allow parties to settle their disputes amicably out of court if they so wish.

The court in its ruling struck out the case and allowed the parties to go for arbitration. The place of arbitration pursuant to the contracts is Lagos.

Although the presiding Judge on the matter, Justice L. M. Boufini had struck out the matter late last year for the parties to explore arbitration first, the affected contractors are insisting that the arbitration should be done within the state following the cost of travelling to Lagos for the case.

Efforts to reach the company through one of its public relations officers, Matthew Ndiana, regarding their next line of action proved abortive as all calls to him by SaharaReporters were not answered.

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Boko Haram Abducts United Nations Aid Worker, Attacks Borno Highway

3 January 2021 - 7:06am


Boko Haram terrorists on Saturday abducted a worker of the United Nations, Garba Idris, along the Damaturu-Maiduguri road, in Borno State.

The insurgents attacked some commuters near Matari village between Minok to Jakana road around 8:30am.

The Boko Haram fighters held Idris, aka Alooma, a Senior Protection Assistant with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The terrorists ambushed vehicles conveying commuters near Matari village between Minok to Jakana highway.

A source said the terrorists, clad in military uniform, mounted a roadblock with three Hilux pickup trucks and motorcycles.

“Witnesses said while searching the passengers, Idris attempted to throw away his Identity card but one of the insurgents sighted him. He was then asked to step down from the vehicle along with two others. The rest were allowed to continue the journey.

“The other two passengers were later released on the ground that they are very poor people and of no use”, the source disclosed.

Unconfirmed reports stated that the terrorists also abducted scores of the passengers on that journey.

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Sowore Has Right To Protest Every Day, Free Him, Aisha Yesufu Tackles Buhari’s Government

3 January 2021 - 6:23am


Aisha Yesufu

Human rights activist and co-convener of the BringBackOurGirls Movement, Aisha Yesufu, has lambasted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, saying the country belongs to everyone and no one should be arrested for protesting peacefully.  

Yesufu noted that human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, who was arrested on December 31 during a crossover protest in Abuja, has a right to protest every day if the government also continues to be “incompetent, clueless, corrupt and inept.”

Aisha Yesufu

Yesufu wrote on Twitter, “Nigeria belongs to all of us. The right Buhari @MBuhari has to be an incompetent, clueless, corrupt, inept and a failed President without being arrested is the right Omoyele Sowore @YeleSowore has to protest every day. No Nigerian is more Nigerian than any Nigerian #FreeSowore.” 

Nigeria belongs to all of us. The right Buhari @MBuhari has to be an incompetent, clueless, corrupt, inept and a failed President without being arrested is the right Omoyele Sowore @YeleSowore has to protest every day!
No Nigerian is more Nigerian than any Nigerian#FreeSowore

— Aisha Yesufu (@AishaYesufu) January 2, 2021

Earlier on Saturday, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, who is also lawyer for Sowore, said the police authorities had flagrantly refused his client’s application for bail. 

Falana noted that his client had given him permission to sue all the police officers involved in the brutality. 

“Since Mr Sowore’s fundamental right to dignity has been recklessly violated by the police, we have his instructions to press for charges against all the officers who subjected him to physical and mental torture in contravention of the letter and spirit of the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017. 

“Sowore, who was covering an event at the time of his arrest, has maintained that he did not breach any of the COVID-19 regulations. He has been detained indefinitely on the basis of orders 'from above'.

“The police officers who arrested Mr. Omoyele Sowore in Abuja on January 31, 2020, subjected him to severe beating and left him with bruises all over his body. As if that was not enough, he has been locked up in the midst of armed robbery suspects at a notorious detention facility called abattoir maintained by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja.

“The physical torture to Mr. Sowore was prolonged by the refusal of the police to provide him with medical attention. Although Mr. Sowore’s injuries are being treated by his personal physician, the police authorities have refused the application of the detainee for bail even though the alleged offence of breaching COVID-19 regulations is bailable,” Falana had said.

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We’ll Renew Campaign Against Government If Sowore Is Not Released – HEDA

3 January 2021 - 5:44am


A human rights group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, has demanded that human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and his colleagues be released from police custody.

The HEDA Resource Centre, in a release on Sunday, stated that the group would renew its campaign to embarrass the government if it continues to keep Sowore in custody over trumped-up treason charges.

See Also Sahara Reporters Arrest, Assault on Sowore, Others Confirm #EndSARS Protest Demands Not Met—Group 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

HEDA, in a statement by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said the arrest of Sowore on New Year’s Eve was an ill-thought action that was uncalled for.

The group said, “The police authorities have been asked to release Mr Omoyele Sowore without delay.

“The police arrested Sowore on December 31 while he was leading a political vigil organised against corruption and bad governance. Sowore ought to have been granted bail by the police but instead, he was kept behind bars and compelled to spend the traditional crossover night behind bars. 

“We may be compelled to renew another global campaign that will embarrass the Nigerian government if he is not released or charged to a competent court of law.

“We call for the unconditional release of Sowore. He was arrested on December 31 and has yet to be taken to court. The police should release him without any further delay.”

HEDA noted that Sowore is a victim of political persecution whose tormentors are anxious to bring down because of his online medium which is noted for being critical of the Nigerian authorities.  

“Since 2019, the Nigerian government has been keeping Sowore in detention on trumped-up charges. His recent ordeal, leading to his arrest on New Year's Eve is in furtherance of a plot to ensure his continuous incarceration by the Nigerian government,” Suraju said.

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COVID-19 Kills Five In Oyo

3 January 2021 - 3:05am


COVID-19 Test

Five persons reportedly died of COVID-19 complications in Oyo State on Saturday, SaharaReporters gathered. 

The figure was part of the latest data released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Saturday night.

COVID-19 Test Google

Oyo, the fifth most affected state by the virus in Nigeria, with 3,994 cases now has a death toll of 51.

According to PM news, Kano also recorded two deaths on Saturday, taking its death toll to 68.

In southeastern state of Anambra, one person also died of the virus, which pushed the death toll in the state to 20.

Overall, Nigeria’s death toll is now 1,302, from 1,294 on Friday.
 

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Arrest, Assault on Sowore, Others Confirm #EndSARS Protest Demands Not Met—Group

2 January 2021 - 3:24pm


Injured Sowore in custody of the Nigeria Police

The Socialist Workers and Youth League, a civil society organisation, has joined the growing voices calling for the immediate release of human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and his colleagues, Juwon Sanyaolu, Michael Adenola, Peter, and Kimrere. 

The SWL on Saturday described the arrest and brutalisation of Sowore and others by the police on New Year's Eve as a clear indication that "the basic conditions for the #EndSARS revolt last year still persist". 

Injured Sowore in custody of the Nigeria Police

The SWL, in a release by its National Secretary, Lai Brown, said, "The Socialist Workers and Youth League calls for the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore, Juwon Sanyaolu, Michael Adenola, Peter, and Kimrere.

The five activists of the African Action Congress were unjustly arrested at Gudu junction in Abuja during a peaceful crossover demonstration. 

"We want to make it abundantly clear to the Nigerian police and the ruling regime that protest is a fundamental democratic right. A violent attack on peaceful protesters is an attack on one of the most important tenets of democracy. 

"It must also be pointed out that protests and mass uprising become inevitable with the continued failure of the current regime and neoliberal capitalism. 

"The arrest and brutalisation of Sowore, Juwon and Michael in the early hours of the New Year by the police from Abattoir Division, Abuja, are a clear indication that the basic conditions for the #EndSARS revolt last year still persist. 

"The retired Major General Buhari-led government continues to attack poor people and violate fundamental rights. But also, the arrest demonstrates the weakness of the bosses’ state given the failure of their system to address the genuine agitations and demands of the Nigerian masses."  

SWL noted that people who are in the working class and the youth had the power and the will to change the oppressive system and win their total liberation through struggle. 

The group said, "The #EndSARS revolt demonstrated to us the power to bring to birth social change from below and a Nigeria that works for all and not for the interest of some few. 

"It is on this basis that we call on working-class people and student organisations to join in demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested comrades. 

"And also that we mobilise to fight for a real and total change. Obviously, the current regime and bosses generally have resolved to intensify attacks and place more burden on the people." 

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Police Refused Sowore's Bail Application, Awaiting Order From Above – Falana

2 January 2021 - 1:01pm


Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, who is also lawyer to the detained human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, has said the police authorities have flagrantly refused his client's application for bail. 

Falana noted on Saturday that his client had given his counsel permission to sue all the police officers involved in the brutality. 

In an interview with Punch, the renowned human rights lawyer said, "Since Mr Sowore’s fundamental right to dignity has been recklessly violated by the police, we have his instructions to press for charges against all the officers who subjected him to physical and mental torture in contravention of the letter and spirit of the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017. 

"Sowore, who was covering an event at the time of his arrest, has maintained that he did not breach any of the COVID-19 regulations. He has been detained indefinitely on the basis of order ‘from above.’”

The lawyer said his client had been tortured and locked up in a detention facility along with armed robbery suspects. See Also ACTIVISM EXPOSED: Police To Detain Sowore Illegally Till Monday, Shop For Magistrate To Do Bidding 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Falana added, “The police officers who arrested Mr. Omoyele Sowore in Abuja on January 31, 2020, subjected him to severe beating and left him with bruises all over his body. As if that was not enough, he has been locked up in the midst of armed robbery suspects at a notorious detention facility called abattoir, maintained by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja.

“The physical torture of Mr. Sowore was prolonged by the refusal of the police to provide him with medical attention. Although Mr. Sowore’s injuries are being treated by his personal physician, the police authorities have refused the application of the detainee for bail even though the alleged offence of breaching COVID-19 regulations is ‘bailable.’"

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Youth Group Tackles Buhari Over Continued Police Detention Of Sowore, Others

2 January 2021 - 1:00pm


The author, Omoyele Sowore

The Youth Rights Campaign has condemned the arrest of human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and his colleagues, Juwon Sanyaolu, Damilare Adenola, Peter and Kimrere by policemen on New Year’s Eve, for staging a peaceful protest.

The YRC added that such a repressive action showed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year speech to listen to the youth and Nigerians with divergent opinions lacked sincerity.

The campaign in a release signed on Saturday by its National Coordinator, Adaramoye Michael, and National Secretary, Francis Nwapa, noted that Sowore’s arrest showed that the Buhari government was not about to change its “dictatorial tendencies, rather it intends to sustain its attacks on democratic rights and state repression in 2021”.

The YRC said, “YRC condemns any form of continuous repression and attack on democratic rights by the Buhari-led government and demands the immediate and unconditional release of Sowore and other arrested ‘crossover’ protesters.

“We also call on the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and all pro-labour organisations to condemn the arrest and demand their release. We call on the youth and the working people to wage relentless mass struggles against capitalist exploitation, corruption and attacks on democratic rights in the New Year.

“It is our belief that Omoyele Sowore’s earlier call on Nigerians to register their grievances against the Buhari-led Government in what he tagged #CrossOverProtest did not warrant the arrest and the level of brutalisation he and others were made to suffer.

“Protest, alongside rights to freedom of speech and assembly, is an inalienable fundamental human right. YRC reliably gathered that they were almost done with the procession before being rounded up by men of the Nigeria Police Force at Gudu junction, who brutalised and injured them before being whisked away to Abattoir Police Station in Abuja.

“We have also gathered that the police authorities are planning to arraign them in court on trumped-up charges. These heavy strong-arm tactics adopted by the Buhari regime to suppress freedom of assembly and dissent voices against the regime are a sign of a jittery regime which has lost its social base and can only keep itself in office through repression. 

“YRC reiterates its opposition towards the Buhari-led government’s style of repressing activists and demands an immediate and unconditional release of Omoyele Sowore, Juwon Sanyaolu, Michael Adenola and others arrested now.”

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Real Enemy Of Biafra Is British Government – Nnamdi Kanu

2 January 2021 - 12:58pm


IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu

Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has identified the enemies of the agitation for the secession of the South-East from Nigeria as the British government and not the Fulani.

Kanu revealed this in his New Year address to members of the proscribed IPOB in a broadcast on Radio Biafra on Friday.

IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu

The statement was made available to SaharaReporters on Saturday by the Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful.

Kanu described the British government as hell-bent on supporting the unity of Nigeria, at the detriment of the “South-East region that is part of the components that hold the centre”.

“You people think we are fighting Fulani. Who is Fulani? Those stopping Biafra is (sic) Britain because they know what Biafra is all about. Because (Governor Dave) Umahi wants to be the vice president, then I must allow Fulani from Mali to come and kill our people.”

Kanu also said IPOB would resist any attack on its members.

He said, “Happy new year to all of you, according to the Gregorian calendar. It is even unfortunate that I am unable to come to you live on Facebook. We have done everything humanly possible, all to no avail.

Those that are for Facebook in Lagos and everywhere have compromised themselves.

“This evening broadcast is to take stock of what we have been able to accomplish so far.

“As the Janjaweeed are coming down from the North to engage us which I know they will, their (will) land be vandalised by the bandits.

“As I told you, there is a way to our madness. The Janjaweed army will come to the South to engage us, but this time around, we are waiting for them in our bushes, we are not going to fight them in our township.

“We will fight them in the bush and we will kill them, I want you to watch and see what we are going to do to the zoo.”

In September 2017, the Federal High Court in Abuja gave judicial backing to the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing IPOB and its activities in Nigeria.

The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, granted the order proscribing the group, which declared that the activities of the group constituted an act of terrorism and illegality.

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It’s All Lies, Blackmail – Ogun Commissioner Denies Sexually Harassing 16-year-old

2 January 2021 - 11:00am


Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun

Embattled Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun, has denied that he sexually molested a 16-year-old girl, Barakat, saying some people are trying to blackmail and destroy him. 

The commissioner added that it was “just lies, blackmail and falsehood”, saying there was more to the allegation than meets the eye.

Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun

Abdul-Balogun had been in the eye of the storm after a teenager alleged that the commissioner lured her to his apartment and allegedly fondled her breasts while muttering some incantations.

In the video confession to the police, the teenager noted that the commissioner’s aides lured her to his house and his bedroom, after which the commissioner came in, bolted the door and sexually assaulted her.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, the commissioner noted that it was a “game of local politics” some people were trying to play on him. See Also Sex He Fondled My Breasts, Recited Incantations – 16-Year-Old Recounts Alleged Sexual Harassment By Ogun Commissioner 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

He said, “You know we are politicians and you know the game of politics, especially local politics, as people would want to destroy you once you have the visions. This is happening from my homestead. I have been in Ijebu for the past one week for the festivity. So, I am just getting back. So, it is all about some people; so, I know the game. But I can tell you that there is more to this than what we are seeing. It is just lies, blackmail and falsehood.

“Look at the video and see that somebody was asking leading questions from the girl in question. They are not her original words.”

In the video recording, believably done by a police investigator and obtained by SaharaReporters, the victim, a Senior Secondary School 3 student, had alleged that the commissioner allegedly caressed her body and offered her money. 

She said she screamed, before she was eventually allowed to go. See Also Police We Invited Ogun Commissioner For Alleged Sexual Harassment Of 16-year-old – Police 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

She had said, “On December 31, one Mr Lasisi came to my grandparents in the area, and said he knew someone who needed a computer operator and asked if I knew how to operate a computer. I said yes. He now said I should get dressed and that we would go together to the place.

“When we got there, it was the honourable’s house. A lady, Maryam Odunnuga, came to pick me and took me to a living room. Mr Austin now came out and asked me to come over to a room. The honourable now came inside and Mr Austin went outside immediately.”  

The teenager narrated further that the commissioner tried to entice her with money to get a chance to sleep with her but she resisted it.

She said, “The honourable locked the door instantly and put the key in his pocket. So, he now moved close to me and asked for the name of my school. He asked for the amount of money I was paying as school fees. I replied by saying N30,000. He asked me who was paying my school fees, I told him my daddy. He asked if I had thought of starting a business before going to school.

“I said I wanted to go to a higher institution. Then he said if I would need some money now, how much would I need? I said, any amount. He said I should state an amount. He now moved closer and pressed (fondled) my breasts. So, I moved his hand away. He now said won’t I cooperate. He now started pressing (fondling) my breasts and my body.

“I was struggling to free myself from him. Then he started reciting some incantations. He wanted to touch my head. I now moved his hand away so that he would not touch my head. He now wanted to force me inside his bathroom.

“But I struggled with him and started shouting. He did not want people around his house to know what was going on. He now left me and gave him four, N500 notes, that is N2,000 as my transport fare. I rejected the money.

“He said if I didn’t collect the money, he would not let me go. So, I collected it. He now asked Austin to drop me in our house. I want Nigerians to help me to take up this matter against him. This had never happened to me in my life. Right now, I am so shocked. I had never been harassed like that in my life.” 

The police at Abigi Police Station had already invited the commissioner to come and answer to the allegations against him.

In the police invite sent to Abdul-Balogun, dated January 1, 2021, and signed by the Divisional Police Officer, the commissioner was to appear before 1pm on same day.

“You are invited to see the officer in charge of crime at the above-named police office in connection with a case reported, which this office is investigating.

“It is just a fact-finding invitation and your very cooperation will be appreciated. Upon arrival, please report to the Divisional Crime Officer, Abigi. Looking forward to seeing on or before 01/01/2021 at 1pm,” the police invite read.

'He Fondled My Breasts' –16-year-old Recounts How Ogun Commissioner Sexually Harassed Her@dabiodunMFR @OgsgTweets
WATCH FULL VIDEO: https://t.co/dVstLWMs7v

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 2, 2021

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COVID-19: Why God Spared My Life —Obasanjo

2 January 2021 - 10:53am


Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday asked Nigerians who survived COVID-19 and witness the New Year to thank God for His mercies.

Obasanjo said he knew why God spared his life to witness the New Year despite the turbulence and challenges posed to humanity in 2020 by COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ex-president, he was spared by God purposely to “serve Him and humanity more and more”.

Obasanjo, the Asiwaju Onigbagbo of Ogun State, spoke at the second annual thanksgiving service of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.

The former president said he survived 2020 not because he was more righteous or cleverer than any of those swept away by the pandemic in Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world.

He said it dawned on him that God purposely kept him alive to serve Him and humanity more and more.

He said, “We must give thanks to God. You will be the most ungrateful person if you do not perform the duty of giving thanks to God.

“In all circumstances, give thanks. Therefore, if you fail to give thanks, you are failing a very significant duty of yours as a Christian.

“The last year 2020 was a very challenging year not only for us in Nigeria, not only for us in Africa but for the whole world.

“The fact that you are alive calls for giving thanks to God. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, that those who you know as a result of Covid-19 are no more here with us. It is not because you are better than they are, more knowledgeable than they are, it’s just by the grace of God.

“And if God gives you that grace, to remain on earth, maybe for a purpose, I believe part of the purpose is for you to continue to serve humanity and to serve God. You cannot be a servant of God if you cannot give thanks to him.

“The purpose of being here is to perform our duty as Christians by giving thanks to God," Punch quoted him to have said.

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Bandits Kill Chief Imam, Two Others In Fresh Kaduna Attacks

2 January 2021 - 10:42am


Armed bandits have killed Sheikh Danleeman Isah, Chief Imam of Kawaran Rafi village in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.

Aruwan said the bandits invaded the village and moved straight to the Chief Imam’s residence, and in what appears to be a premeditated attack, shot him dead and left the location without taking any item or hostage.

He said the murder of the cleric has been linked to his vocal stance against the killing and kidnapping of people by bandits.

In a similar development, bandits also killed the Ardo Musa Layi of Kajuru Local Government Area, who was kidnapped by armed men in October 2020, reportedly for his stance against killing, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

In another development, security agencies have reported the murder of the Sarkin Yaki of Godogodo, Yohanna Abu, by a gang of kidnappers.

According to the report, the gunmen attacked Nisama village in the Jema’a Local Government Area of the state late on Friday night and abducted Mr Abu along with another resident, Mr Charles Audu.

A struggle ensued between the duo and the kidnappers, and while Mr Audu was able to escape, the kidnappers shot Mr Abu dead.

The commissioner disclosed that five persons have been arrested in connection with the killing, as security agencies continue to investigate the incident.

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We Invited Ogun Commissioner For Alleged Sexual Harassment Of 16-year-old – Police

2 January 2021 - 9:21am



The Ogun State Police Command invited the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun, for allegedly sexually harassing a 16-year-old lady, Barakat, at Ita Otu, Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state on Friday for questioning.

The command, through the Abigi Police Station, sent an invitation to the commissioner to come and answer questions regarding the allegations against him.

In the police invite sent to Abdul-Balogun, dated January 1, 2021, and signed by the Divisional Police Officer, the commissioner was to appear before 1pm on the same day.

The teenager had recounted that the sexual harassment occurred on Thursday, December 31, in the commissioner’s apartment, where he allegedly fondled her breasts and ranted incantations, while she screamed and struggled to free herself from his grip.

The victim, in her confession statement to the police at the Abigi Division, had narrated that the commissioner’s aides lured her to his house and his bedroom, after which the commissioner came in and bolted the door. See Also Sex He Fondled My Breasts, Recited Incantations – 16-Year-Old Recounts Alleged Sexual Harassment By Ogun Commissioner 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

In the video recording, believably done by a police investigator and obtained by SaharaReporters, the victim, a Senior Secondary School 3 student, added that the commissioner allegedly caressed her body and offered her money.

She said she screamed, before she was eventually allowed to go.

“You are invited to see the officer in charge of crime at the above named police office in connection with a case reported, which this office is investigating.

“It is just a fact-finding invitation and your very cooperation will be appreciated. Upon arrival, please report to the Divisional Crime Officer, Abigi. Looking forward to seeing you on or before 01/01/2021 at 1pm,” the police invite read.

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