Amnesty International Calls for Coroner’s Inquest on 103 #EndSARS Victims in Mass Burial; VP Shettima Asserts Nigeria Doesn’t Need Handouts But Real Partnerships at UN Summit | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Amnesty International Calls for Coroner’s Inquest on 103 #EndSARS Victims in Mass Burial
  • 4 Suspected Boko Haram Members Arrested in Foiled Plot to Attack Atiku’s Residence in Yola
  • Nigeria Police Force Stands Firm on Decision to Withdraw Officers from VIP Duties
  • VP Shettima Asserts Nigeria Doesn’t Need Handouts But Real Partnerships at UN Summit
  • Tragic Fuel Tanker Incident Claims Eight Lives in Ondo State

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

Amnesty International Calls for Coroner’s Inquest on 103 #EndSARS Victims in Mass Burial

Amnesty International Nigeria has taken a firm stance, demanding a transparent coroner’s inquest into the deaths of 103 #EndSARS protesters set to be buried in a mass burial by the Lagos State Government. The call comes after a leaked memo addressed to the Lagos State Ministry of Health revealed that the government had approved N61,285,000 for the burial of these victims, sparking outrage when it surfaced on social media.

Dated July 19, 2023, the leaked memo outlined the steps for processing the funds after the governor’s approval, raising concerns about the secretive manner in which the burial plans were being handled. Amnesty International expressed its objections, insisting that the mass burial should be put on hold in favor of a comprehensive and independent investigation into the killings, ensuring that those responsible face fair trials.

In response to the leaked memo, the Lagos State Government has clarified that the victims to be buried were not related to the contentious Lekki Tollgate shooting. Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, confirmed the authenticity of the letter and stated that the victims were from incidents of violence that occurred after the EndSARS protests.

Amnesty International’s Director in Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, emphasized the urgency of halting the proposed secret mass burial and called for complete transparency in conducting coroner inquests and autopsies on the 103 #EndSARS victims. The organization stressed the importance of making their identities and the circumstances of their deaths public knowledge.

Highlighting a distressing fact, Sanusi expressed dismay that the Lagos State Government had not publicly acknowledged that it had held the bodies of these victims in custody since October 2020. The call for justice extended beyond the burial plans, with Amnesty International demanding the immediate release of all individuals detained due to their involvement in the #EndSARS protests.

Additionally, they urged the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the victims and their families receive access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation.

Amnesty International has been closely monitoring developments in Nigeria since the inception of the #EndSARS protests on October 8, 2020. Their on-the-ground investigation at the time confirmed that Nigerian security forces had opened fire on thousands of peaceful protesters who were calling for good governance and an end to police brutality. Tragically, at least 12 protesters were killed at the Lekki toll gate and in Alausa. The investigation further revealed that pro-government supporters had instigated violence during the demonstrations, providing a cover for the police to employ lethal force against peaceful protesters.

On November 16, 2020, a Judicial Panel of Inquiry was established to investigate the Lekki toll gate killings, and its report found the military and police culpable for the killings of unarmed protesters who were sitting on the floor, waving Nigerian flags, and singing.

As public outcry intensifies following the leaked memo, Amnesty International’s call for a transparent inquest and justice for the slain #EndSARS protesters resonates, pushing for answers and accountability for the tragic events that unfolded during the protests.

4 Suspected Boko Haram Members Arrested in Foiled Plot to Attack Atiku’s Residence in Yola

The Adamawa State Police have made a significant breakthrough by arresting four suspected members of the notorious Boko Haram group, who were allegedly hatching a plot to attack the residence of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State. The incident was confirmed by the Adamawa police spokesperson, Yahaya Suleiman, who provided details of the arrest to TheCable on Monday.

In a statement released by Abubakar’s media office, it was revealed that the prime suspect, identified as Jubrila Mohammed, was caught attempting to locate the former vice president’s home in Yola on Sunday. Following police interrogation, the suspect, a 29-year-old man from Damboa in Borno state, confessed to being a member of Boko Haram. Subsequently, he disclosed information about his collaborators, leading to the apprehension of the other suspects.

The media office’s statement also indicated that the suspects had sinister plans to attack organizations associated with Atiku Abubakar, as well as other sensitive locations in Yola. Prompt action by the authorities prevented their nefarious scheme from unfolding. All four suspects have been handed over to military authorities for further investigation.

In response to the incident, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised concerns about the potential motives behind the planned attack. The opposition party suggested that the orchestration of the attack might be linked to unsettled forces opposing Atiku Abubakar’s efforts to seek justice for his mandate at the presidential election petition tribunal. The PDP further expressed fears that the planned attack was an attempt to silence their presidential candidate and create chaos, confusion, and anarchy in the country.

In light of the severity of the situation, the PDP called on security agencies to launch a thorough investigation to identify and apprehend the culprits behind this sinister plot. The incident highlights the ongoing security challenges in the country and the need for vigilant efforts to combat terrorism and safeguard the lives and properties of Nigerian citizens.

Nigeria Police Force Stands Firm on Decision to Withdraw Officers from VIP Duties

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has reasserted its unwavering stance on withdrawing officers from very important persons (VIPs) duties across the country. The decision, announced by the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Olukayode Egbetokun, in June, marked a significant shift in police strategy, prompting the force to conduct an evaluation of all mobile police duties to ensure optimal utilization of resources.

In a statement issued by Muyiwa Adejobi, the Force spokesperson, the NPF reaffirmed that the policy to withdraw personnel from VIP escort and guard duties remains valid, and there is “no going back” on this critical policy change.

Adejobi clarified that a special committee, responsible for overseeing the seamless implementation of this directive, had submitted its report to the IGP. Additionally, the process to create a police quick intervention squad has been activated.

The withdrawal of Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel from VIP duties is part of the NPF’s continuous efforts to enhance its core mandate of safeguarding the lives and properties of all citizens. By optimizing the allocation of resources, the force aims to improve its overall efficiency and effectiveness in providing security across the nation.

While firmly committed to the withdrawal policy, the NPF assures that VIPs entitled to security protection will receive adequate arrangements to ensure their safety. To bridge the gap created by the withdrawal, the police will consider the provisions of sections 23 to 25 of the police act 2020 in recruiting more supernumerary officers to handle VIP security responsibilities.

The force has emphasized that the new policy will not leave any VIP or critical infrastructure unprotected. The establishment of a police quick intervention squad is part of a carefully planned transition to ensure a seamless process and maintain security standards.

VP Shettima Asserts Nigeria Doesn’t Need Handouts But Real Partnerships at UN Summit

Vice-President Kashim Shettima delivered a resolute message at the ongoing UN Food Systems Summit in Rome, declaring that Nigeria is no longer in need of handouts from developed economies. Instead, the country seeks genuine partnerships and investments to foster economic growth.

In a statement released on Monday, Shettima highlighted recent economic policies implemented by President Bola Tinubu, which have positioned Nigeria for meaningful collaborations rather than relying on external aid.

Drawing inspiration from the words of French military commander and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte, Shettima referenced China as a “sleeping giant” and compared Nigeria’s awakening to shake the world positively.

He praised President Tinubu’s leadership, stating that it is poised to redefine the concept of modern governance in Nigeria, the Giant of Africa.

Shettima emphasized that Nigeria’s transformational journey had led to the removal of fuel subsidies and the unification of the country’s foreign exchange system. These policy shifts have unburdened the nation from financial constraints, signaling a shift towards seeking investments and partnerships that offer mutual benefits rather than relying on handouts.

President Tinubu’s critical reforms, particularly the termination of petrol subsidy payments declared on May 29, and the unification of all forex exchange segments announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria on June 14, have been instrumental in driving the country’s economic prosperity. Despite the challenges and rising prices following these policies, renowned economists have applauded Tinubu’s actions.

David Malpass, former president of the World Bank, commended Tinubu for taking concrete steps to eliminate Nigeria’s harmful government subsidies and multiple exchange rates. He acknowledged that these measures would promote currency stability, lower inflation, and reduce corruption in Africa’s most populous country.

Tragic Fuel Tanker Incident Claims Eight Lives in Ondo State

A horrifying accident involving a petrol-laden tanker has claimed the lives of eight individuals along the Ore-Benin Expressway in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State. The tragedy occurred when the tanker lost control due to overspeeding and spilled its contents, prompting residents from a nearby village to rush to the scene to scoop the fuel.

The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ondo State, Ezekiel Son-Allah, confirmed the incident, stating that the fuel tanker, which bore no registration number, ignited in a deadly explosion. Unfortunately, eight people who were scooping fuel were burnt to death in the tragedy.

Following the devastating incident, the FRSC rescue team swiftly responded, depositing the remains of the victims at the morgue of the General Hospital in Ore. The tanker driver and motor boy managed to escape unharmed.

This incident is a grim reminder of the dangers associated with fuel tanker accidents in Nigeria. Fuel-related accidents occur frequently in the country, often due to poor road maintenance and reckless driving by tanker drivers. Tragedies also ensue when residents attempt to siphon oil or petrol from pipelines, as seen in this devastating incident.

Fuel tanker explosions have claimed lives and caused destruction in previous incidents across the country. In June 2021, five people lost their lives, and 13 others were injured in Lagos due to a tanker explosion caused by gas leakage. In April 2022, a fuel tanker overturning in central Nigeria’s Benue state resulted in the death of 12 people and the burning of dozens of houses. Additionally, in January of the same year, a tanker explosion in Agbor, a southern city, claimed four lives and injured 11.

The incident highlights the urgent need for improved road safety measures and stricter regulations to prevent such tragic occurrences in the future.

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