Lagos Government Confirms 103 Bodies from #EndSARS Protests, Says None From Lekki Tollgate; Oshiomole Slams N30,000 Minimum Wage as ‘Criminal’ | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Lagos Government Confirms 103 Bodies from #EndSARS Protests, Says None From Lekki Tollgate
  • Shettima to Represent Tinubu at Global Summits in Italy and Russia
  • Oshiomole Slams N30,000 Minimum Wage as ‘Criminal’
  • ‘Terrorists and Bandits Afraid of New Army Chief’ – El-Rufai
  • Notorious Kingpin Caught Redhanded as NDLEA Unravels Massive Cocaine and Cannabis Network

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

Lagos Government Confirms 103 Bodies from #EndSARS Protests, Says None From Lekki Tollgate

In a surprising twist, the Lagos state government has vehemently denied that the bodies of 103 victims prepared for mass burial were linked to the infamous Lekki tollgate incident during the 2020 #EndSARS protest. The revelation came to light in a statement released by the Lagos Ministry of Health, signed by the esteemed Permanent Secretary, Olusegun Ogboye.

The controversy unfolded after a leaked letter surfaced on social media on Sunday, indicating that the Lagos government had sanctioned a staggering sum of N61,285,000 for the “mass burial” of the 103 individuals who lost their lives during the 2020 #EndSARS demonstrations. The contract approval was officially granted to Messrs TOS Funeral Limited, as stated in a letter of no objection signed by Onafowote Idowu, the Director-General of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency.

Dated July 19, 2023, the letter addressed the permanent secretary of the Lagos Ministry of Health and asserted that the bodies in question were not retrieved from the Lekki tollgate. Instead, they were reportedly recovered from various locations across the state, including Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo, and Ajah.

The Lagos government corroborated the authenticity of the contract, stating that the bodies had remained unclaimed for nearly three years following the #EndSARS protest. It further clarified that the casualties mentioned in the leaked document were a result of the violence and community clashes that occurred in the mentioned areas, as well as the Ikoyi prison jailbreak. Surprisingly, no bodies were retrieved from the Lekki tollgate incident, contrary to the popular belief.

The aftermath of the #EndSARS violence saw the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit collecting bodies from various locations, and the office of the chief coroner made public appeals in November 2020 for anyone who had lost loved ones or had relatives declared missing between October 19th and 27th, 2020, to come forward for identification purposes. However, despite these efforts, no relatives claimed any of the bodies, and they have since remained unclaimed, causing a significant burden on morgues in the state.

Interestingly, during the #EndSARS judicial panel on June 6, 2021, it was revealed that out of the 99 bodies examined for autopsy, only three were linked to the Lekki tollgate incident. The remaining bodies were received from different parts of the state, including Surulere, Ikorodu, Ajah, and Fagba, among others.

The revelation of the Lagos government’s denial and the leak of the contract documents have sparked intense reactions on social media, with citizens seeking answers and demanding transparency.

Shettima to Represent Tinubu at Global Summits in Italy and Russia

Vice President Kashim Shettima has been assigned the crucial task of representing President Bola Tinubu at two major international summits in Rome, Italy, and St. Petersburg, Russia. In an official statement released by Olusola Abiola, the Director of Information at the Vice President’s office, it was confirmed that Shettima will embark on his diplomatic journey on Sunday, departing Nigeria for Rome.

The first summit on Shettima’s itinerary is the “Transforming food systems for people, planet, and prosperity” themed event, known as the first stocktaking moment (STM) summit. This gathering of global leaders will take place from Monday, July 24, to Wednesday, July 26, in Rome.

During the summit, Vice President Shettima will chair a high-level session focused on “Innovative financing for food system transformation: the case of Nigeria.” The event is a collaborative effort between the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, and the broader UN system.

Following the Rome summit, Shettima will proceed to St. Petersburg, Russia, to represent President Tinubu at the Russia-Africa summit scheduled from Wednesday, July 26, to Saturday, July 29. The 2nd Russia–Africa summit and Russia–Africa economic and humanitarian forum aim to strategize ways to enhance relations between Russia and the African continent, among other benefits. The Vice President will engage in bilateral meetings with representatives of relevant Russian senior government officials and business leaders to discuss relations between Russia and Nigeria.

Accompanying Vice President Shettima on this critical diplomatic mission will be senior government officials from various ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs). The trip holds significant importance in strengthening Nigeria’s ties with the global community and fostering partnerships for mutual development and progress.

Oshiomole Slams N30,000 Minimum Wage as ‘Criminal’ 

In a recent live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, representing Edo North senatorial district, made waves by labeling the N30,000 monthly minimum wage as a “criminal wage.” He argued that the wage’s value has significantly dwindled over the years and fails to meet the current cost of living, especially when exchanged at a higher rate against the dollar.

The outspoken lawmaker further stunned viewers by revealing the generous pay he extends to his cleaner. Despite her minimal qualifications, Oshiomhole pays her an impressive N60,000 per month. He emphasized that his decision to offer such a substantial salary is driven by a deep sense of conscience and consideration for her well-being, particularly since she supports four children.

“I found myself unable to pay her less than N60,000 – in fact, N60,000,” Senator Oshiomhole candidly admitted. “It’s about my conscience. I’m trying to imagine what she has to pay for a house and look after those children, and I cannot question why she should have four children.”

Oshiomhole believes that responsible private-sector employers generally provide better remuneration than the Federal or state governments. He emphasized that the salary he offers his cleaner represents an “irreducible minimum” required for her survival and basic needs.

The 71-year-old former governor of Edo State expressed a keen understanding of the realities of the cost of living, which shaped his decision to provide his cleaner with a higher wage. He believes that the pay, although not offering a luxurious standard of living, ensures that his employee can sustain herself and her family.

‘Terrorists and Bandits Afraid of New Army Chief’ – El-Rufai

In a Twitter post on Saturday, former Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed unwavering confidence in the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Taoreed Lagbaja, stating that under his leadership, terrorism, and banditry in Nigeria would face a relentless and decisive onslaught.

El-Rufai hailed Lagbaja as a distinguished military leader, revealing that the new COAS had served as his last General Officer Commanding (GOC) during his tenure as governor of Kaduna State. Known for his hands-on approach, Lagbaja always led his troops from the front, exemplifying courage and commitment to confront various criminal elements in different regions of the country.

“He personally led troops to confront bandits in Kaduna State. He did the same in the north-east and south-east. The operatives of Boko Haram, IPOB, ESN, and the bandits know him well and fear him,” El-Rufai tweeted, emphasizing Lagbaja’s track record of taking the fight directly to the heart of criminal activities.

As Nigeria grapples with the menace of terrorism, banditry, and secessionist agitations, the appointment of Lagbaja as COAS has raised hopes for a more robust and resolute approach in addressing the nation’s security challenges. El-Rufai’s endorsement of the new army chief further amplifies the expectations of a determined and unyielding effort to dismantle and neutralize these criminal elements.

With the weight of this bold endorsement, Nigerians are eager to witness how the new COAS, Taoreed Lagbaja, will steer the Nigerian Army in its mission to eradicate terrorism and banditry. His leadership will undoubtedly be closely scrutinized as the nation looks to find lasting solutions to the ongoing security crisis.

Notorious Kingpin Caught Redhanded as NDLEA Unravels Massive Cocaine and Cannabis Network

In a groundbreaking operation, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) dealt a significant blow to drug trafficking networks as they apprehended a notorious drug kingpin in Lagos State. The 48-year-old suspect, Charles Uwagbale, had been masterminding the trafficking of cocaine from Nigeria to Europe by recruiting young couriers to ingest pellets of the illicit drug.

The operation took place in a hotel room in the Okota area of Lagos State, where Uwagbale was preparing one of his recruited couriers, Uju Dominic, to swallow 93 pellets of cocaine intended for distribution in Italy. However, the NDLEA, acting on credible intelligence, swooped in and arrested the duo. A staggering 1.427 kilograms of cocaine were recovered from them, leading to a significant breakthrough in the agency’s fight against drug trafficking.

Further crackdowns by the Lagos State Command of the NDLEA led to the discovery of 37.5kg of cannabis in the Akala neighborhood of Mushin. The agency also foiled an attempt to smuggle 98 cartons of Tramadol 225mg pills, valued at N3.7 billion, into Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. This consignment was traced back to India and Pakistan, with Freetown, Sierra Leone, as its intended final destination.

In Bauchi State, NDLEA operatives arrested three suspects, Emmanuel Onyebuchi, Uche Iyida, and Chinedu Ezeanyim, alongside a truck driver and his assistant for being in possession of 6,265,080 pills of opioids. Additionally, 999,500 tablets of Exol-5 were seized from a shop in Adamawa State, while 46,000 capsules of tramadol were confiscated from a suspect, Paul Ajaegbu, in Imo State. Notably, Ajaegbu had been arrested previously for the same offense in February 2023.

The fight against drug trafficking extended to Ondo State, where NDLEA operatives destroyed 29 hectares of cannabis farms in the Ofosu forest. Four individuals, including Osamezu George Chukwuemeka and his wife Kate Osamezu, were arrested, and 118.5kg of processed cannabis was recovered from the farm. Another raid in Elegbeka, Ose LGA, resulted in the recovery of 107 jumbo bags, weighing 1,132.5kg, of the illicit substance.

The relentless efforts of NDLEA operatives also led to the arrest of a suspect, Charles Nwankwo, with 610kg of cannabis in Sokoto State. Meanwhile, in Yobe State, the agency apprehended Shaibu Musa, who attempted to bribe anti-narcotic agents with N500,000 after they seized 36kg of skunk in his house.

In Edo State, the NDLEA raided the Utese forest in Ovia North East LGA, arresting Victor Asukwo Jack with 59 bags of processed cannabis sativa, while his two cannabis farms were destroyed. Additionally, Endurance Chukwuma was arrested with seven bags of processed cannabis sativa, and his cannabis farm was also destroyed.

The series of successful operations demonstrates the NDLEA’s unwavering commitment to combating drug trafficking and dismantling illicit drug networks across Nigeria. The agency’s resolute actions send a clear message that the war on drugs remains a top priority, as it strives to protect communities from the devastating effects of drug abuse and smuggling.

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