The sitting of the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate was frustrated on Saturday due to the absence of the two youth members of the panel, Oluwarinu Oduala and Temitope Majekodunmi. Oduala, who is one of the promoters of the #EndSARS protest, failed to show up for the Saturday sitting in protest against the freezing of her bank account by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The chairman of the judicial panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, said the panel had no other option but to suspend Saturday sitting as it could not form a quorum in the absence of the two youths. Justice Okuwobi said, “We are confronted with a situation which prevented her (Oduala) from coming. We do not know if the two youths’ representatives will eventually pull out. “We don’t want a situation where proceedings would go on and later it is impugned with controversy for lack of quorum.” Counsel for #EndSARS protesters, Mr Adesina Ogunlana, described the development as an embarrassment to both the panel and lawyers. “Government cannot approbate and reprobate. This disconnect must be addressed immediately,” he said. Justice Okuwobi adjourned further sitting of the panel till next Saturday, November 14.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has said there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute 33 operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad indicted in a report by a presidential investigative panel last year. The AGF’s office said it has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to set up “a special investigation team” to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the cases. In a report issued by a committee set up by Abubakar Malami, to review the individual cases recommended for prosecution by the special presidential panel. The Presidential Panel led by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu had between 2018 and 2019 probed complaints of brutal activities of SARS and submitted a report to President Buhari in June 2019. The report indicted 35 police operatives in 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory for various rights violations including, extrajudicial killings, deaths in police custody, unlawful arrest, biased investigation, unlawful intimidation, harassment, criminal assault, torture, cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment, threats to life, extortion and confiscation of property, among others. The report recommended 33 for prosecution and punishment, including sanctions like reduction in rank and dismissal. It also recommended that 57 victims be paid about ₦249 million as compensation while the police should tender a public apology to 35. But after reviewing the panel’s report, the committee set up by the AGF said the report “does not meet prosecutorial needs” as it was lacking in vital exhibits, such as “medical evidence and statements of the suspects”.
The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit has asked owners and occupiers of illegal structures and shanties around Fagba along Abattoir New Oko-Oba area of the state to “remove them with their belongings immediately”. The task force gave the owners a seven-day ultimatum to vacate the affected areas. It quoted the Chairman of the Agency, Olayinka Egbeyemi, as giving the directive when he led the enforcement team of the Agency to the area. Egbeyemi said that “over 2500 illegal structures/shanties including containerised shops were served removal orders around the area. These illegal shanties were occupied by miscreants and hoodlums who burnt and destroyed both public and private properties along that axis during the last protest”. Egbeyemi said the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has “directed that immediately after the expiration of the seven-day removal order, any miscreants or hoodlums arrested be charged to court for prosecution”.
Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are seriously expected to “soon slip into famine” if conditions there undergo any more deterioration in coming months, the World Food Programme has said. In a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the WFP, the latter warned the four countries face acute food insecurity. “Parts of the population in the four hotspots of highest concern are already experiencing a critical hunger situation, with the report warning that escalations in conflict, as well as a further reduction in humanitarian access, could lead to a risk of famine,” the WFP said. The UN agency said the four countries are not the only ones, as “another 16 countries are at high risk of rising levels of acute hunger.” The countries include Venezuela, Haiti, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe. “Acute food insecurity levels are reaching new highs globally, driven by a combination of factors, “ the WFP said, adding that “a toxic combination of conflict, economic decline, climate extremes and the COVID-19 pandemic” is driving people further into the emergency phase of food insecurity. “We are at a catastrophic turning point. Once again, we face the risk of famine in four different parts of the world at the same time. When we declare a famine it means many lives have already been lost. If we wait to find that out for sure, people are already dead,” Margot van der Velden, WFP director of emergencies warned.