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Comedian Leads Protest In Ejigbo

Ejigbo LCDA chairman, Hon. Monsuru Bello Obe, appealed to the youths protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police today (Wednesday), assuring that federal and state governments are working together to address their demands.

Addressing the protesters led by Otoloorin Kehinde Peters also known as Kenny Black in Ejigbo, the chairman advised them to conduct their activity peacefully. He was represented by the Secretary to the Local Government, Mr. Paul Fregene. 

 Speaking on their behalf, Kenny Black said the atrocities of the SARS personnel were getting out of hand because they infringed on the fundamental human rights of citizens, adding that the protesters joined the protest to ensure that their voice in Ejigbo was heard.

Responding, Fregene urged them to conduct their protest in a peaceful manner so as to maintain law and order, cautioning them not to allow those with sinister motives to hijack the situation. 

The council chairman further implored the protesters to go about their lawful businesses as the authorities from the federal government has announced the disbandment of SARS division of the Nigeria Police. Ejigbo LCDA chairman, Hon. Monsuru Bello Obe, appealed to the youths protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police today (Wednesday), assuring that federal and state governments are working together to address their demands.

Addressing the protesters led by Otoloorin Kehinde Peters also known as Kenny Black in Ejigbo, the chairman advised them to conduct their activity peacefully. He was represented by the Secretary to the Local Government, Mr. Paul Fregene. 

 Speaking on their behalf, Kenny Black said the atrocities of the SARS personnel were getting out of hand because they infringed on the fundamental human rights of citizens, adding that the protesters joined the protest to ensure that their voice in Ejigbo was heard.

Responding, Fregene urged them to conduct their protest in a peaceful manner so as to maintain law and order, cautioning them not to allow those with sinister motives to hijack the situation. 

The council chairman further implored the protesters to go about their lawful businesses as the authorities from the federal government has announced the disbandment of SARS division of the Nigeria Police.

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Thugs Attack Protesters In Lagos

Armed thugs yesterday disrupted a protest against police brutality and extortion in Lagos State. The thugs, who arrived at the planned venue of the protest at Alausa, caused a commotion in the area.

A commuter, who witnessed the disruption, Adebimpe, said, “Some of the protesters are here already with some of us waiting for a bus. When the bus arrived, we were about to enter when we suddenly saw some men with knives and sticks running towards us.We all ran to safety. I was later told that they are after #EndSARS protesters.”

There have been protests in most parts of the country since Wednesday last week by Nigerians, mostly youths, who called for disbanding of SARS, accusing the police squad of corruption, high-handedness and harassment

On Sunday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, disbanded the squad and on Tuesday, he set up the Special Weapons and Tactics Team to replace the disbanded SARS.

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Adeboye Endorses Protests

Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has endorsed the #EndSARS protests rocking the nation. Adeboye said this in a tweet on Wednesday evening.

The respected cleric tweeted, “Our daughters will not be able to prophesy and young men will not see visions if we don’t keep them alive. “I support the youths in this peaceful protest as they “speak up” to #EndPoliceBrutality #EndSARS #ENDSWAT.”

 Adeboye, who is a mentor to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, had earlier in the year embarked on a protest against the killings in several parts of the country.

He had two weeks ago called for restructuring the country, a move which was criticised by the Presidency. Thousands of youths have been protesting against the extrajudicial killings by policemen perpetrated mostly by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The protests have continued despite the disbanding of SARS. About 10 persons have been killed in the protests according to rights group, Amnesty International.

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Ekweremadu demands State Police

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to see the decentralisation of policing and the institution of state police as the lasting solution to the impunity and shortcomings he is currently trying to fix in the federal police.

Ekweremadu regretted that the Bill to amend the constitution to create state police departments, which he sponsored in the 8th Senate as well as the current Senate, had not received the required political support.

Reacting to the disbandment of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and proposed setting up of the Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT), Ekweremadu, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, on Wednesday, said the Federal Government was still addressing the symptoms rather than the real illness.

He said: “The ongoing street protests over the excesses of elements in the Nigeria Police did not come to me as a surprise. As a matter of fact, I had always known, and warned severally that a day would come when Nigerians would no longer tolerate the worsening insecurity in the land and the excesses of those charged with protecting lives and property.

“The problem with our policing and the attendant insecurity and excesses are engraved majorly located in Section 214 (1) of the 1999 constitution, which provides that ‘There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section, no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof’.

“It is also worsened by Section 215 (2), which goes further to declare that ‘The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a state shall, subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, be under the command of the Commissioner of Police of that state.

“This informed my Bill for the Creation of State Police with adequate provisions in the mode of financing, control, and appointments of the high commands of such state police services to insulate them from any forms of abuse and give citizens roles in the various State Police Service Commissions. Unfortunately, this has not received the requisite political support, I call on the President and political stakeholders, once more, to seize the opportunity of the widespread demands for police reforms by Nigerians to do the right thing, addressing the structural challenges”.

Continuing, he stated: “Nigeria is the only federal state with unitary police. It has never worked anywhere. It is not working here and it will never work.

“Therefore, whether we call it SARS or SWAT, we will only be addressing the symptoms instead of the diseases until we decentralise policing to allow citizens and the states take charge of the security of lives and properties of its people.  

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#EndSARS: Wike Defends Stance

Residents of Port Harcourt last Tuesday defied the order by Rivers State Government banning protest and marched through major roads seeking an end to police brutality.

The state government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, had said it was needless for the people to go ahead with the #EndSARS protest since SARS has already been scrapped by the Inspector-General of Police.

The statement said law enforcement agencies have been directed to enforce the ban and “bring violators to book.”

The Protesters, carrying placards, marched through major streets in Port Harcourt to the Government House, where they presented their grievances against police brutality to the Rivers State Government.

Addressing the protesters, Gov. Wike called for a “total” reform of the Nigeria police, adding that he is committed to the security and welfare of Rivers people.

He said, “If we do not reform the police, the same SARS officers will be deployed to other unit of the force to continue their evil acts. It is not only to end SARS, already there is a pronouncement to scrap it. But every Nigerian should support the total reform of the police.”

“SARS cannot and has never been our friend in Rivers State. What we find in this country is that people play to the gallery. They hate people who speak the truth. Irrespective of the pressure, I will continue to protect my people,”he added.

Speaking to The Vortex, one of the organizers of the protest, popularly known as K.O. Baba stated that the “overwhelming” number of people who participated in the protest was an indication that Governor Wike’s ban on protest in Rivers State “fell on deaf ears,” as youths were determined to put an end to police brutality and all forms of oppression.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had announced the “dissolution” of SARS, following a nationwide protest.

Despite the announcement on the dissolution of SARS, protesters continued to march through the streets in various parts of the country expressing their grievances and calling for a total reform of the Police.

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Imminent Return of Biblical Famine

The Covid-19 pandemic may lead to a calamity of epic scale, with millions facing starvation worldwide, the head of the UN’s hunger-fighting body has warned.    Accrding to David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), “All the data we have, including WFP forecast that the number of people experiencing malnutrition will grow by 80 percent by the end of the year, … points to a real disaster.”

The rapid increase in the number of people who can’t feed themselves will be just an immediate outcome of the pandemic, which caused a disruption of food growth and logistics worldwide. More long-term damage is bound to materialize in the years to come.

WFP projections say Latin American nations face the most dramatic change in their situation, with the number of malnourished people increasing by as much as 269 percent, Beasley said. The same metric for countries in Eastern and Central Asia stands at 135 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa may see the number of their hungry almost double.

Global hunger is already high, Beasley warned. Unless bold action is taken now, “many will die, children will suffer from the consequences of malnutrition for many years, and the world will lose all the progress made in fighting hunger over the past decade,” he said.

This year some 138 million people in 83 countries rely on WFP for their food supply, the official said. For many of them the UN humanitarian body is the “last hope for survival”. In South Sudan 1.6 million people were added this year to the 5 million already requiring assistance. In Yemen, the WFP feeds 13 million.

The situation in Lebanon became particularly grim after a devastating blast two weeks ago in Beirut. The explosion not only destroyed stockpiles of grain, but also cut supply chains because the damaged port was used to deliver some 85 percent of the food that Lebanon needs.

Beasley called on international donors to provide additional funding to the organization to deal with the looming disaster.

The WFP needs $4.9 billion over the next six months to keep its humanitarian programs running.

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Celebrating Humanitarian Workers on the Front Line

That humanitarian workers put their lives at risk in the cause of rendering selfless service could be underscored by the recent killing of 5 aid workers by Boko Haram in Borno State in July. The sect had released a video of the murder to demonstrate their callousness for human lives including humanitarian workers.      

The United Nations General Assembly in 2008, designated 19th of August as World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness about humanitarian assistance worldwide and to pay tribute to the people who risk their lives to provide it. 

In this year’s  World Humanitarian Day, the world honours all humanitarians – many working in their own communities – who are going to extraordinary lengths in extraordinary times to help women, men and children whose lives are upended by crises and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The dedication, perseverance and self-sacrifice of these real-life heroes represent the best of humanity as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis and the massive increase in humanitarian needs it has triggered.

First responders are often people in need themselves — refugees, members of civil-society organizations and local health workers. They bring food, shelter, health care, protection and hope to others amid conflict, displacement, disaster and disease.

But humanitarian workers are being tested like never before, struggling with unprecedented movement restrictions and insufficient resources as needs are outpacing funds. And all too often, they risk their own lives to save the lives of others.

In recent weeks alone, despicable attacks have killed aid workers in Niger and Cameroon, and since the onset of the pandemic, scores of health workers have come under attack across the world.

According to Humanitarian Outcomes’ Aid Worker Security Database, major attacks against humanitarians last year surpassed all previous years on record. A total of 483 relief workers were attacked, 125 killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped in 277 separate incidents. This is an 18 per cent increase in the number of victims compared to 2018.

This is the eleventh World Humanitarian Day, designated by the UN General Assembly. It falls on the day of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, which claimed the lives of 22 people including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Since then, nearly 5,000 humanitarians have been killed, wounded or abducted, and the 2010-2019 decade experienced a 117 per cent increase in attacks compared to 2000-2009.

Mark Lowcock, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said: “To humanitarian workers everywhere doing important, courageous work on the front lines we say Thank You. You are saving lives every day, and as new challenges and crises are piling on to existing ones, your perseverance is an inspiration. Your protection is also paramount to making sure we can deliver to people most in need. The best way to pay tribute to humanitarian workers is by funding their work and ensuring their safety.”

This year’s World Humanitarian Day comes as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. To pay tribute to the efforts of humanitarians, OCHA and its partners present the personal stories of some of the #RealLifeHeroes who are stepping up to meet the challenges, particularly local humanitarian workers.

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Ghandi’s Glasses Sold For £260,000

A pair of glasses belonging to Indian icon Mahatma Gandhi have sold for £260,000 after they were discovered hanging halfway out of an auction house’s letterbox.

East Bristol Auctions had estimated the glasses would sell for about £15,000.

The seller had inherited them from an uncle who worked in South Africa around the same time Gandhi was there – between 1910 and 1930.

They were given to him by the famous civil rights leader, and were passed down from generation to generation.

Announcing the sale on Friday on social media, the auction house described it as an “incredible result for an incredible item”.

The glasses were left in an envelope in the auction house’s letterbox, with a note inside saying: “These glasses belonged to Gandhi, give me a call.These are probably the most famous pair of spectacles we’ve ever had, and the most important historical item we’ve found,” said Andrew Stowe, one of the auctioneers. 

He added: “A few hours later, we were digging around and doing some research and we discovered that they are a very important historical find. I phoned the gentleman back… his exact words were ‘if they’re no good, just throw them away’. I told him I thought they were worth £15,000, and I think he nearly fell off his chair.”

Gandhi was a lawyer and political activist who led the campaign for Indian independence from British rule through a non-violent protest movement.

His style of attire – a loincloth, shawl, sandals and glasses – became firmly associated with the nationalist movement.

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Cars without Drivers To Hit Roads Next Year

The British Government has launched a consultation that could pave the way to driverless cars being introduced on British roads as early as next year.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued a call for evidence for the ‘Automated Lane Keeping System’ (ALKS) – an automated system that can take over control of a vehicle at low speeds, keeping it in its present lane on motorways.

When activated, the system keeps the vehicle within its lane, controlling its movements for extended periods of time without the driver needing to do anything, although the driver is expected to be ready and able to resume driving control when prompted by the vehicle.

The Government is seeking views on whether vehicles equipped with such a system should be legally defined as an automated vehicle, which would mean the technology provider would be responsible for the safety of the vehicle when the system is engaged, rather than the driver.

It is also considering proposals to allow the safe use of this system on British roads at speeds of up to 70mph.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean said: “Automated technology could make driving safer, smoother and easier for motorists and the UK should be the first country to see these benefits, attracting manufacturers to develop and test new technologies.

“The UK’s work in this area is world leading and the results from this call for evidence could be a significant step forward for this exciting technology.”

While automakers have already begun testing driverless technology on UK roads, surveys suggest that people are still wary of the technology and its safety implications.

A study in June suggested that driverless vehicles may not be as safe as previously thought as most crashes are due to more complex errors than just perception or driver incapacitation – the areas in which the technology largely excels.

Nevertheless, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) believes that ALKS and other automated driving systems could prevent approximately 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next 10 years.

The technology has already been approved by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – of which the UK is a member – and could be available as early as next Spring.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Over the last 50 years, leading-edge in-car technology from seat belts to airbags and ABS has helped to save thousands of lives.

“The Government is right to be consulting on the latest collision-avoidance system, which has the potential to make our roads even safer in the future.”

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NDDC to provide ventilators, oxygen

The acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, has promised that the agency will provide ventilators and oxygen as part of its contribution to the fight against coronavirus.

He said they would intervene to protect the people of Niger Delta from the dreaded disease.

Speaking at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Pondei said as an interventionist agency, the commission would collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “We have started looking at different isolation points in the nine states of the Niger Delta region. We are interacting with the states to find out what is on the ground and we are taking stock of the ventilators and oxygen in health facilities across the region.”

Pondei said the treatment of the disease was not limited to drugs, but included the ability to make sure that the patients were able to breathe properly and this should be done using ventilators.

Pondei said, “This morning we found that there are about 500 ventilators in the entire country. We are exploring avenues to see if we could intervene in providing ventilators. Similarly, oxygen is difficult to procure in the country.

“The Federal Government through the ministry of health has a policy on oxygen, which has not been disseminated very well. There are very few oxygen production plants in the country and some of the existing ones have actually broken down. But the provision of oxygen is key to the treatment.”

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