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Chief Of Defence Staff, Irabor Faults How Lagos #EndSARS Panel Report Was Released To Nigerians

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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has faulted the procedure adopted in the release of the report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters.

According to the report submitted on Monday by the panel, at least nine persons were confirmed dead at the Lekki toll plaza on the night soldiers stormed there to disperse #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.

Titled, ‘Report of Lekki Incident Investigation Of 20th October 2020’, a copy of the report which was leaked said at least 48 protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullet wounds or assaulted by soldiers.

Speaking to journalists after a courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki in Benin City on Tuesday, General Irabor explained that he could not, at the moment, comment on the content of the document because he has not seen the official report.

He maintained that the Nigerian Armed Forces are committed to their constitutional mandate and do not engage in ignoble acts.

“I am sure those of you in the media must have seen a report that was released through, in my view, a wrong channel, that is making the rounds in the social media,” the CDS said.

“Whether it is a true report, I can’t tell. But I’d like to indicate that the normal procedure is to have such a report submitted to the convening authority. And then there will be a white paper that will be presented, based on which one can make informed comments.

“But whatever it is currently, I’d like to indicate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional armed force. We are peopled by Nigerians and we remain committed to the constitutional mandate. So we will not at this point think that Nigerians should make disparaging remarks regarding the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in the sense that we are professional armed forces. If there are issues, of course, we address them within the ambit of the provisions.

“It would not be right to disparage men and women who have worked so hard to ensure that the territorial integrity of this nation is kept intact. So in the meantime, until I see the full extent of the report… 

“I can assure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are well-disciplined and we do not engage in any ignoble acts. If Nigerians do not trust us, then we won’t be doing what we are doing, and in any case, it is the Armed Forces of Nigeria; we are not talking of the police. So when the Armed Forces are called out, it is because there is a need; there is no one who doesn’t desire to live in peace.

“We need to understand that the Armed Forces are there to keep the peace, to provide the ambience that will enable each Nigerian to live his or her desires in peace and harmony. So let us not make inciting comments that will put the entire space on fire. That’s not right.”

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Intoxicated Sheriff Who Damaged 2 Boats When Trying to Dock Sentenced to Home Confinement

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An Arizona county sheriff pleaded guilty Thursday to driving a boat and hitting two others trying to dock the boat while intoxicated and was sentenced to probation and two days of home confinement, according to The Associated Press.

Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes, 48, was trying to help a friend dock a boat on Lake Powell in August with a blood alcohol well level over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

He was sentenced to one year of probation, two days of home confinement, about $500 in fees, and was banned from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which houses Lake Powell, along with not being able to drink alcohol while on probation.

Rhodes allegedly tried to park the boat multiple times with a blood alcohol level that tested at 0.119 percent and 0.113 percent, hitting two other boats nearby which the police report estimated to cause about $2,000 in damages. Rhodes said he paid for the repairs that totaled about $400.

The sheriff in his first term said he deeply regrets the mistake and has completed the required boating safety course and substance abuse treatment program that was part of the plea agreement.

“I should have said no and I didn’t, and that’s my responsibility,” he told U.S. Magistrate Judge Camille Bibles, hearing his case. “Not accepting responsibility was never an option for me.”

Bibles said she appreciated that he took responsibility for his actions and didn’t try to use his position of authority to avoid punishment. The judge added she would potentially consider ending his probation early if it goes smoothly.

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.

This photo taken Aug. 10, 2017, then-Yavapai County sheriff’s Chief Deputy David Rhodes, right, speaking with then-Arizona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, center, during a tour of an area threatened by a wildfire. Rhodes pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol at Lake Powell.
Bob Christie/Associated Press File

Rhodes received two citations — one for operating a boat under the influence and another for operating with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent, the legal limit for driving a vehicle in Arizona.

Each misdemeanor citation carried a maximum of six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Rhodes, a Republican, ran unopposed last year and is accountable only to the public. He cannot be disciplined or fired.

Rhodes said he was drinking with family members and friends at the lake on the Arizona-Utah border and they had designated boat operators who weren’t drinking.

When his friend had trouble docking a boat, Rhodes said he tried to coach him and they tried to get someone from the marina to help but were told everyone had gone home for the day.

Rhodes tried to do it himself but had difficulty operating the boat amid swirling wind, according to a Coconino County Sheriff’s Office report.

The owners of the damaged boats did not seek restitution through the court.

Rhodes, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for 28 years, issued a statement days after he was cited, acknowledging wrongdoing.

His lawyer, Stephen Glazer, said that made it a little difficult to defend Rhodes.

“He makes public statements admitting liability — not necessarily great for his defense — but that’s just the way he is wired,” Glazer said during the hearing. “A wrong was committed, he’s going to accept responsibility and make it right.”

Bibles said she considered his lack of criminal history, cooperation with law enforcement and taking responsibility in accepting the plea agreement.

“That is something I would expect from an individual in your position,” she said.

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Emirates Airline Lifts 11-Month Flight Suspension On Nigeria

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Emirates Airline has said that it will resume its passenger operations between Dubai and Nigeria from December 5 2021.

The decision by the Dubai based airline is coming days after the Federal Government lifted its flight ban on the United Arab Emirates.

UAE has also dropped the Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) for COVID-19 as a prerequisite for travelling to the Middle East country for Nigerians and some other countries five days ago.

In the fresh development, the airline announced on Thursday in a statement on its website seen by THE WHISTLER that it has dropped its 11-month flight suspension to Nigeria.

Emirates said, “The world’s largest international airline will operate to and from its Nigerian gateways with daily flights, providing travelers from Nigeria convenient access to Dubai, which remains a highly popular holiday and business destination.

“Emirates will operate to Abuja with EK 785 and 786. EK 785 will depart Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs. The return flight, EK 786 will take off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day.

“Emirates flight EK 783 to Lagos will depart Dubai at 1030hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1540hrs. The return flight EK 784 will depart Lagos at 1810hrs, arriving in Dubai at 0415hrs the next day. All flights can be booked on emirates.com, with OTAs and via travel agents.”

The fight between the FG and the UAE began when UAE directed Nigerian travelers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to conduct a Rapid Antigen Test which was opposed by the FG.

The FG also retaliated by banning Emirates from operating in Nigeria since February 2021.

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Alec Baldwin Hits Back at Trump and George Clooney in Explosive Interview

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Six weeks later, Alec Baldwin claims he still has no idea how he ended up shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his ill-fated western Rust.

The actor spoke out for the first time this week—outside of a heated run-in with paparazzi in Vermont—in an exclusive primetime special with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that aired Thursday night. And in the tearful interview, he denied actually pulling the trigger in the deadly shooting and at the same time described the incident as the “worst thing” that has ever happened to him. He said he is taking solace in the fact that he believes he was not “responsible” for Hutchins’ death and that he might have killed himself had he really felt her death was his fault.

Baldwin said he was doing the interview to clear up “misconceptions” around the shooting and that he really felt like he couldn’t “wait” until all of the official law enforcement reports are released months from now. His biggest concern, he said, is that he doesn’t want to “come across like I’m the victim, because we have two victims here,” referring to Hutchins and director Joel Souza, who was injured by the same bullet.

Talking about Hutchins and her work, the actor was quick to break down in tears, something he did repeatedly throughout the hour-long special. He similarly sobbed when he talked about how he “used to love making movies” and Rust made him “love making movies again” before the tragic accident occurred.

Despite complaints from crew members about the safety conditions on set, Baldwin, who also served as a producer on Rust, told Stephanopoulos that he never heard “one word” about those concerns before the shooting. Getting into the nitty-gritty of what happened on the day in question, Baldwin revealed, devastatingly, “This was a completely incidental shot, an angle that may not have ended up in the film at all.”

He explained that the gun went off when he cocked the hammer and then let go—hence the assertion that he never actually pulled the trigger. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them,” he said. “Never, ever. That was the training I had.”

Now, he says he “can’t imagine” ever doing a movie again that even has a gun in it. “I really can’t,” Baldwin added.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, the film’s assistant director Dave Halls backed up Baldwin’s claim via his attorney. “The entire time Baldwin had his finger outside the trigger guard, parallel to the barrel, and that he told me since day one he thought it was a misfire,” lawyer Lisa Toracco told Good Morning America. “And until Alec said that it was just really hard to believe. But Dave has told me since the first day I met him that Alec did not pull that trigger.”

“The gun was supposed to be empty,” Baldwin added. “I was told I was handed an empty gun.” When Hutchins collapsed, he said he first thought maybe she had fainted or had a heart attack, because “the idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun” was unthinkable.

The gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun.

Baldwin also addressed the “torrent of criticism” that came his way once the story went public. In response to those who have said actors are never supposed to point a gun directly at anyone on a set, he said, “Unless the person is the cinematographer who is directing me where to point the gun for her camera angle.”

The actor also hit back at George Clooney, who recently told podcaster Marc Maron that it would be “insane” for an actor not to check a prop gun to make sure that it doesn’t contain live rounds.

“Well, there were a lot of people who felt it necessary to contribute some comment to the situation, which really didn’t help the situation at all,” Baldwin said, pointedly. “If your protocol is you’re checking the gun every time, well, good for you. Good for you.”

Despite not wanting to play the victim, Baldwin did complain about how “tough” it has been to have people calling him a “murderer” on social media and elsewhere. That includes former President Donald Trump, who Baldwin famously enraged with his long-running Saturday Night Live impression.

“In my opinion, he had something to do with it,” Trump said of Baldwin, even suggesting that “maybe he loaded” the gun himself.

“He said that I did it deliberately,” Baldwin replied in disbelief. “Just when you think things can’t get any more surreal, here’s the president of the United States making a comment on this tragic situation.”

As for what happens next, Baldwin says he’s been told by people “in the know” that it’s “highly unlikely” he will face any criminal charges related to the shooting. And while he has some “ideas” about how a live round got onto the set in the first place, he said he would be leaving those questions to the investigators.

Now, Baldwin said that he is focusing on his family and doesn’t “give a fuck” about his career anymore. Asked if that career is over, he replied, “It could be.”

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