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This Afternoon's Breaking NEWS (18/10/2020)

2020-10-18 10:29:02

1) 302 Nigerians, SERAP sue Buhari, Lawan, Gbajabiamila

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 302 concerned Nigerians have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly.

The litigants are asking the court to “declare illegal, unconstitutional and unfair the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel price”.

They contend that top level public officers cannot continue to receive the same salaries and allowances and spend public money to finance a life of luxury for themselves while asking poor Nigerians to make sacrifices.

Joined in the suit as defendants are the Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

President Buhari had while presenting the 2021 budget proposal of N13.08 trillion to the National Assembly reportedly stated that: “The new petrol pricing has freed up resources that were used for subsidy payments, while the new cost-reflective pricing in the electricity industry is meant to address the liquidity challenges in the sector.”

2) Nigeria May end if #EndSARS protesters are slaughtered – Fani-Kayode

Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has warned of the grave consequence of using soldiers to slaughter #EndSARS protesters across the nation.

The Nigerian Army had on Saturday said it would kick off its Operation Crocodile Smiles across the nation on Tuesday.

There are fears that the army may descend on the protesters in a bid to cage them.

Reacting to this, Fani-Kayode said the plan to deploy soldiers to slaughter #EndSARS protesters as they did to Shiite Muslims and IPOB youths would be counter-productive.

“The plan to deploy soldiers to slaughter #EndSARS protesters just as Shiite Muslims & IPOB youths were once butchered will be Burutai & Buhari’s gravest error.

“It will turn the #Endsars movement into the #EndNigeria movement. We warn again: Do not kill these innocent youths,” he warned in a tweet.

The Nigerian Army had on Saturday said it would begin its annual operation tagged ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ nationwide on Tuesday.

The Army, in a statement by its Acting Director of Public Relations, Sagir Musa, emphasized that Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is traditionally conducted in the last quarter of the year.

He added that this year’s Exercise is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020.

But the assertion in the statement that the 2020 Exercise is deliberately intended to be all encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace will also likely raise a red flag.

3) Tinubu denies sponsoring #EndSARS protests, condemns Police brutality

The national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has denied been among the sponsors of the #EndSARS protest.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by Tunde Rahman, spokesman of the APC chieftain, Tinubu could not have sponsored a protest that is affecting the economy of Lagos state.

He added that it is impossible for the former governor of Lagos State to sponsor the protest in all the states where it has occurred.

“There is a need to set the facts and record straight for fear that such a fake story may be taken on its face value by some unwary and gullible persons,” Rahman said.

4)We Must Celebrate Our Sporting Icons – Buhari

The President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians, particularly sportsmen and women, that the country will no longer abandon past and present professionals.

The President gave the assurance in his speech at the unveiling of Nigeria’s 60 Sports Icons, one of the events scheduled to celebrate the country’s diamond jubilee, at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

The President said the recent re-branding of sports from recreation to business has the objective of ensuring professionals benefit fully from their talent and hard work.

“This event is the beginning of deliberate and sustained efforts to correct the errors of past neglect of our sports heroes and heroines,” President Buhari said.

“We would continue to lend the necessary support to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development towards the actualisation of the dreams of our sportsmen and women.”

“The recent re-tagging and approval of sports from mere recreation to business is an attestation of this administration’s commitment to ensure that sports is used to the maximum benefit of the athletes and our economy. Sports without doubt have the potentials to create job opportunities for our teeming youths, take them off the streets, and grow our gross domestic earnings.”

5) EndSARS: FG blows hot after hoodlums hijacked protests

Following the violence that has trailed the #EndSARS protests in some parts of the country, the Federal Government has warned that it will not allow the country to be thrown into anarchy.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Saturday when he featured on a late-night Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) news programme, “Weekend File: “EndSARS Protest: The Way Forward.”

The minister said Saturday’s assassination attempt on the Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, while addressing the protesters was a clear confirmation that the protests had been hijacked by hoodlums and people with ulterior agenda.

He noted that while the original conveners of the protests might have meant well, it was obvious that they were no longer in control of the initiative.

“Peaceful protest is an integral part of democracy and that is why the Federal Government in the last 11 days has treated the protesters in a very civilised manner.

“But, if you look at what happened to the governor of Osun state,it has gone completely beyond peaceful protest against excesses and abuse of power by the police.

“There is no where in the world where a government will folds its arms and allow the country to descend into anarchy.

“We are no longer dealing with #EndSARS but a volatile situation that can lead to anarchy if government does not take some very firm steps to protect the lives and livelihood of innocent Nigerians,” he said.

Specifically, he said because the protesters are blocking the roads and highway, workers are finding it difficult to get to their offices and back home while many Nigerians are stranded on the roads.

“We have nothing against peaceful protest but there are civilised ways of doing so.

“This is by going to a venue where you are not going to disturb other Nigerians because where your own right stops, other persons’ right begins,” he said.

Mohammed said Nigerians should also see the protests as a smokescreen staged to undermine the administration and destabilise the country because all the demands by the protesters had been met by the government.

He reiterated that after the government had responded and met all the demands of the protesters, they ought to have nothing doing on the streets.

6) Fashola approves reopening of Eko, Marina Bridges on Monday

Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, has directed the reopening of both Eko and Marina Bridges to traffic in Lagos on Monday.

Fashola gave the directive as the ministry was expected to have concluded the first phase of repair works on the bridges in Lagos by mid-night on Sunday.

Mrs Blade Akinola, the ministry’s Spokesperson, said in a statement that the reopening followed the report by the contractor, Messrs Buildwell Plant & Equipment Industries Limited, that the repair works on the First Phase was 100 per cent completed.

In his directives for the reopening of the Bridges, Fashola thanked Lagosians for their patience, understanding and cooperation while sections of the Bridges were closed.

He also directed that members of the public should be informed of any restrictions to traffic while work is ongoing on the Second Phase of the project.

The minister added that while the completed section of the Eko Bridge (Lagos Island Bound) should be reopened to traffic, work should commence immediately on the Alaka Bound side of the project.

Explaining further on the next phase of repair works on the Bridges, the Director Highways

(Bridges & Designs) in the ministry, Mr Emmanuel Adeoye, said work was taking off without the need for either partial or complete closure of the Bridges.

7) Army will not disrupt ongoing #EndSARS protests — Rep. Adefisoye

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Army, Hon. Tajudeen Adefisoye has assured EndSARS protesters that personnel of the Nigerian Armed forces will not disrupt the peaceful protests that are currently ongoing across the nation.

Adefisoye also described the Army exercise of Operation Crocodile Smile VI as an annual military event that is not in any way targeted at peaceful protesters. The federal lawmaker gave this assurance on his Twitter handle on Saturday where he also sought public understanding of the annual operational exercise of the army.

Moreso, Adefisoye has also given his support to the efforts of Nigerian youth which he described as a struggle to reposition the Nigerian nation. He, however, pleaded for coordination amongst the youth as well as their preparedness for discussion with the government.

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