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Buhari should apologise for Lekki Tollgate massacre, declare October 20 #EndSARS National Day: Judicial Panel

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The Lagos judicial panel on #EndSARS has recommended that President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime tender a public apology for the Lekki Tollgate massacre perpetrated by the Nigerian soldiers.

The panel added that Mr Buhari’s regime should declare October 20 a national remembrance day to honour young Nigerians massacred and brutalised during the #EndSARS protests.

“That October 20 of every year be made #EndSARS day nationally for the remembrance of our falling youth. That for the purpose of restitution, healing and reconciliation, the federal government needs to publicly apologise to the youth for abruptly undermining the protest with their state actors,” the panel recommended in its report.

The panel pointed out that the manner of the unprovoked and unjustifiable killing of unarmed and peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020, was a massacre.

“At the Lekki Tollgate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenceless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre,” the panel said in its report.

This damning verdict was released on Monday after the panel’s more-than-a-year investigation into the allegations of the abuses and human rights violation of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was extended to cover the events of the night of October 20.

During the Lekki Massacre’s first anniversary, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had described the massacre as “phantom” and “the first massacre in the world without blood or bodies.”

The report submitted to the Lagos government by the panel shows there were blood and bodies of massacred protesters, revealing that the Nigerian soldiers stole the corpses and wiped clean the crime scene to hinder further investigations by the panel.

The investigation also found that the soldiers’ unprovoked violence against the protesters was worsened by soldiers’ refusal to allow ambulances to provide medical treatment to victims who needed it.

The panel matter-of-factly said the “army grossly violated its own rules of engagement.”

Despite shreds of evidence submitted by eyewitnesses and credible organisations, including a forensic pathologist from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, John Obafunwa, who presented autopsy reports of 99 bodies, three recovered from the tollgate, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime repeatedly denied there was a massacre on that night.

After the Nigerian soldiers unleashed war-grade violence on the protesters, killing several of them, the Nigeria Police Force took over from them and continued the unprovoked, wanton violence. The police killed more protesters as they fled into shanties and Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki tollgate.

Both the army and the police denied firing shots at the protesters, asserting the only shots fired were into the air to scare off the unarmed protesters.

The military chiefs under whom the heinous crimes were committed have had non-career ambassadorship conferred upon them, which Nigerians condemned as an attempt to shield the ex-military leaders from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

National

FCT-IRS rakes in N118 billion, targets more in 2022: Official

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Abdullahi Attah

The Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) said it remitted N118 billion into the federal government coffers as of November with a projection of N202 billion in 2022.

Acting Executive Chairman of the service, Haruna Abdullahi, told newsmen on Wednesday that the figure meant the organisation surpassed its target by 108 per cent.

“In spite of the challenges faced by the Service and FCT due to the impact of Covid-19, we were able to achieve and surpass our revenue target of N109 billion by 108 per cent as at the end of November 2021.

“With this, the Service has so far collected and remitted the sum of N118 billion,” Mr Abdullahi stated.

He also said that within the year under review, the Service engaged some consultants to conduct a six-year back duty tax audit of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), enterprises and corporate organisations in the FCT.

Mr Abdullahi said the engagement had started yielding fruits because liabilities have been established and demand notices have been issued in accordance with Section 54 PITA, CAP P8, LFN, 2004 (as amended).

“It is also important to let you know that we are currently meeting with about 250 MDAs for the review and reconciliation of IPPIS/Personal Income Tax/PAYE.

“This is to address issues of wrong remittance, non-remittance and under-remittance of employees of MDAs in the FCT.

“We are carrying out this exercise in collaboration with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and Joint Tax Board.

“Let me use this medium to invite all the MDAs that are yet to come for the exercise to please turn up before the deadline of December 10, 2021,” he said.

The acting chairman said the Service would not rest on its oars until it becomes the highest sub-national revenue-generating agency in the country.

He, therefore, solicited the support of all major stakeholders, including the media, in order to achieve the target.

“Though it is a huge task but with determination and commitment of board members, management, staff and stakeholders like you, we shall achieve the 2022 target,” he said.

He said the Service planned to embark on an aggressive public enlightenment campaign to educate and mobilise prospective taxpayers with a view to boosting the revenue base of the FCT.

The acting chairman explained that since the inception of the service, it had been educating and sensitising the residents and taxpayers to their civic responsibilities.

Mr Abdullahi said that in collaboration with the relevant law enforcement agencies the service would also embark on enforcement of its mandates in 2022.

“This is in accordance with section eight and Part V of the FCT-IRS Act 2015. This resolve has become necessary to address defaulters who insist on shortchanging the FCT Administration,” he said.

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National

Brothers docked for beating police superintendent

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Hakeem Odumosu

Two brothers, Claire Alaga and Vincent Alaga, appeared before an Ojo Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State on Wednesday.

They are accused of alleged assault on an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).

The defendants were arraigned before Magistrate Ademola Adesanya on a four-count charge of conspiracy, assault, breach of peace and resisting arrest.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecutor, Simeon Uche, told the court that the defendants committed the offence on December 1, at ABS Bus Stop on Isashi Road in Ojo.

According to the prosecution, the defendants resisted arrest by a police officer, Adeniyi Clement.

He told the court that the defendants also slapped the police officer and injured him on the left hand in a bid to resist arrest.

The alleged offence contravenes the provisions of Sections 168, 117, 172 and 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

The court granted the defendants bail in the sum of N50,000 each, with two sureties each in like sum.

He adjourned the case until February 11, 2022. 

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Wakanow evolves business model, now offers protection services to South-East travellers

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Renowned travel Agency Wakanow has added a new tactic to its travel menu, offering protection services to South-East travellers in its new package.

In a flyer advert seen by Peoples Gazette on Tuesday, the travel agency named the new plan Home Coming to the East. The new plan is expected to motivate South-East travellers of the habit of visiting their hometown to embark on their customary trip despite security worries.

Priced N320,000 for trips from Lagos to any southeastern state, the package is expected to cater for the safe commuting and welfare of passengers and details attached to the trip.

The organisation said the fee will cover transportation in a Toyota Hilux vehicle, two police escorts and a driver.

The travel agency also revealed that those travelling within the South-East region could get access to the special service at a reduced cost of  “N260,000 per day”.

Confirming the development to The Gazette via the organisation’s official WhatsApp page, a customer care representative  who corroborated the travel rate on the flyer said “if you want a one way, then it is NGN 320,000, if it is a round trip then it is NGN640,000.”

“If you require the service within the East, the fee is NGN 260,000 per day,” the care rep added.

Wakanow’s new strategy comes amidst the expected influx of Igbos to their country homes this Yuletide. The parlous security situation of the region remains dreaded for multitudes of indigenes  who traditionally return home from abroad for end-of-year festivities.  

In May, Inspector General of Police Usman Baba to launched Operation Restore Peace in the region as strategy to quell incessant attacks on the police and other government establishments by unknown gunmen.

However, the in security in the region did not abate, even threatening the conduct of Anambra governorship election which eventually held after back channel negotiations with separatists.

Though attacks on government facilities have largely quietened since the conduct of the November 6 election, cases of violence and fatal confrontation continue to occur between gunmen and security operatives.

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