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Lagos wants to profit from blood of slain victims – #EndSARS lawyer

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“How could you say that you have approved N61 million to bury 103 degraded bodies in a mass grave?” was the question with which Adeshina Ogunlana, lead counsel to EndSARS petitioners, called out the Lagos State Government, for attempting to profit on the blood of the dead.

Ogunlana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), all but described the whopping N61million budgeted for the proposed mass burial of the victims as blood money, while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television in reaction to the leaked memo, which revealed the project on Sunday.

On Sunday, a leaked memo addressed to the Lagos State Ministry of Health indicating that the State Government approved N61,285,000 for the mass burial of 103 persons identified as 2020 EndSARS victims went viral on social media and sparked outrage.

The Lagos State Government, however, responded to the leaked memo and maintained that the victims to be buried are not from the controversial Lekki Tollgate shooting.

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Reacting to the development on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Ogunlana said the Lagos State Government is being clever by half.

“Government is being clever by half and they are not telling the absolute truth. Yes, I agree with the position that the 103 bodies were said, not all of them were picked up from Lekki toll gate and its environs.

“To use the word the pathologist used at the panel, that is professor Obafunwa, he said bodies were scavenged, and corpses were picked from different places. But around the area of Lekki Toll Gate, they were corpses too, some of them were dumped at the General Hospital, Lagos Island and all that.

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He further condemned the government for saying that there were no named citizens from the Lekki Toll Gate, arguing that the 103 about to be buried by the government have no names as well.

“For the government now to be saying oh no there is no named citizen, the question I want to ask them is this, even the 103 corpses that they want to dispose of, do they have any names? There was no name.

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“The bodies that were taken around the environment of Lekki toll gate when Baba Fafunwa was speaking, he at least identified three that were perforated with missiles,” he said.

The legal practitioner, however, corrected the impression from some quarters that all 103 bodies were from the Lekki Toll Gate, saying that is also not correct.

“People saying that the 103 is proof that actually 103 people were killed at the Lekki toll gate is a very grave error and I will not join anybody saying that. But to say that there was no body recovered in the environs of the Lekki toll gate incident of 2020 is completely wrong,” he said.

Ogunlana asserted that government was attempting to “profit from the cruel loss of lives” by approving as much as over N60 million for the mass burial.

“Even now the system of government that we have in Lagos State and by extension Nigeria is showing that they want to profit by cruel loss of lives. How could you say that you have approved N61 million to bury 103 degraded bodies in a mass grave? People that are unidentified, people that nobody came up to claim and all that, I mean that is horrendous,” Ogunlana lamented.

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There has been controversy over the number of deaths recorded during the EndSARS protest, resulting in the governor setting up an inquest led by Justice Doris Okuwobi.

Since the protest in 2020, both the Lagos Government and the Federal Government have consistently denied any mass killing during the EndSARS protests.

The memo is coming over two years after the widespread protest across the country. The Lagos Government has yet to comment on the leaked memo.

Thousands of Nigerians across the country took to the streets to protest police brutality and called for far-reaching reforms, particularly with regard to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police.

The weeks-long protests, which gained international attention, culminated in the controversial shooting of protesters at the popular Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, one of the rallying points for those who partook in the demonstrations.

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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