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43 Nigerian Women Repatriated From Lebanon1 minute read

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The Lebanese community in Nigeria has sponsored the repatriation of 43 Nigerian women stranded in their country.

The women landed at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 2 pm on Sunday, aboard Middle East Airlines aircraft with registration number OD-MEA/sub.

Mr Philip Wehbe, Public Relations Officer of the Lebanese Community, commended aviation minister Hadi Sirika for the approval granted for the flight towards achieving the feat.

Wehbe further commended members of the committee that gathered funds for the flight.

He listed sponsors of the trip to include the Chairman of Silverwings, Mr Mahmoud Said, and Chairman of RIACTA Ltd, Mr Elie Aboufarhat.

Others are the Chairman of S.J. ABED Ltd, Mr Donald Abed, and Chairman of Apple and Pear Ltd, Mr Habib Jaafar.

Some of the women regretted ever going to Lebanon to seek for greener pasture.

They claimed that they were “severely maltreated” in Lebanon and had to “run for our lives”.

“We are happy to be back home. We shall remain in Nigeria and do any legitimate business to survive. We appreciate those that arranged for this repatriation and shall continue to pray for them,” they said.

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Anthony Joshua and Odion Ighalo Weigh in on Violence in Nigeria as Soldiers Open Fire on Protesters

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Sports stars of Nigerian heritage have taken to social media to condemn the brutal crackdown on protesters in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and other cities following days of protests in the country.

Since October 8, protesters have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the nation and social media calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.

However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja. And on Tuesday 20 October, the violence escalated with 43 protesters and six policemen reportedly killed. There were also reported cases of arson and looting.

Two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua posted on social media that he was praying for peace in the country and doing his best to support victims. The WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion, whose full name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, was born in Watford, England to Nigerian parents.

In a video uploaded on his Twitter handle, he said:

“This is a message to the people of Nigeria. Even though i’m no there with you in the physical, we’ve been making some tangible efforts to try and support your protests on the ground.

“I know it’s getting to a stage where things are heating up and tensions are high, but in my prayers at night, i’m praying for peace and positivity, because i know that the people on ground aren’t trying to be heard for their own benefit. It’s for the benefit of the next generation.

“Me myself, i’ve had to take time to understand the issues that people in Nigeria are facing. Why sometimes i’m silent is because i’ve learnt that my silence can’t be misquoted. So me and my family and my close friends have been trying to do something tangible things and we’re organizing many care packages for the people on the ground. So even if i’m in my training camp and we’re in London, we can support you guys from a distance.

“December the 12th, i’m competing and after that i’m going to try and make some plans to come to Nigeria to meet my friends and family and meet some of the people trying to make long lasting change. But for sure, from London and far and wide, your voices are definitely being heard.

“So keep on pushing, keep on striving. You have my support through and through. My ears and my eyes have been opened. I understand the issues that you guys are facing and for some people what i’m going to do will be enough. And for some people it may not be enough. But together as we hold hands and push for a better change, we all move forward in a positive direction. So keep on pushing. Your voices have definitely landed in my ears. And you definitely have my support.”

It was announced last week that Joshua would make a mandatory title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena in London.

However, Manchester United and former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo was particularly scathing of the authorities, condemning the violence and urging the UK government, the UN and world leaders to act.

Also speakng in a video posted on his Twitter handle, he said:

“I’m sad and heartbroken and i don’t know where to start from. I’m not the type of guy that talks about politics but i can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria.

“I would say to the Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens. Sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their rights is uncalled for.

“Today 20th October 2020, you people will be remembered in history as the first (civilian) government that sent the military into cities to start killing its own citizens.

“I am ashamed of this government. We are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore. I’m calling on the UK government, calling on leaders all over the world, to please see what is going on in Nigeria and help us. The government is killing its own citizens. We are calling on you guys and the UN to see to this matter. And i want to call on my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe. Stay indoors and don’t come out because this government are killers and they will keep killing if the world does not talk about this.”

Ighalo posted the video after Manchester United won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain in their opening Group H match of the UEFA Champions League. He was an unused substitute.

In the Lekki area of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, armed soldiers allegedly shot sporadically at protesters, killing no fewer than seven persons in the process. The soldiers had been deployed to enforce a curfew announced by the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Many protesters were also said to have sustained bullet wounds as a result of the attack that occurred suddenly after the giant video billboard on a tollgate where the protesters have been demonstrating for days and the streetlights within the area were switched off.

The Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, had announced the scrapping of the SARS unit as well as a raft of reforms over a week ago. Officials called for the demonstrations to be suspended to give the authorities time to make good on their pledges. However the move failed as protesters responded that they had no trust or faith in the government.

Around half of Nigeria’s 200 million population is estimated to live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is widespread among the youth who have been reportedly targeted for arbitrary arrests, extortion, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings by the security forces, especially the much loathed and dreaded SARS.

Africa’s biggest oil producer is currently facing a recession as the fall in crude prices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic has battered government finances creating much social unrest.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) estimates the Nigerian economy could have lost an estimated N700 billion (over $1.7 billion) to the #EndSARS protests in the last 12 days.

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#EndSARS: Edo Governor Imposes 24-Hour Curfew In State

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Edo State will be under a 24-hour curfew until further notice beginning from 4pm, October 19, 2020, the Godwin Obaseki-led government confirms.

According to a press statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, on Monday, schools and businesses will also be affected.

The government also advised parents to “rein in their children, youths and wards, to forestall further breakdown of law and order.”

The statement read in part, “This decision has become necessary because of the very disturbing incidents of vandalism and attacks on private individuals and institutions by hoodlums in the guise of #ENDSARS protesters.

“While the government of Edo State respects the rights of its citizens to undertake legitimate protests, it cannot sit idly when hoodlums have taken laws into their hands to cause mayhem on innocent citizens and the state.

“By the directive, schools and businesses are to shut down activities accordingly. Those who cannot move safely are to stay put between now and 4pm till calmness is restored.

“Parents are advised to rein in their children, youths and wards, to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

“The responsibility of government is to protect lives and property and maintain law and order, therefore, anyone found outside in violation of the curfew would be dealt with according to the law.”

It would be recalled that hoodlums, pretending to be protesters, on Monday broke into the Benin Custodial Centre at Sapele Road, Benin freeing inmates.

The hoodlums’ action on Monday at the facility, popularly called “White House’’ saw many prisoners escaping, though the number could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.

It took the efforts of the prison’s armed guards to quell the riots while some prisoners who fled the centre were caught.

Benin metropolis was on total lockdown as banks, private and government-owned schools were under lock and key following continuous youth protests.

A correspondent who monitored the protest reports that all the major roads leading to the city centre were all blocked by the protesting youths.

Some of the youth were seen chanting solidarity songs and playing football, while others were busy cooking on the road.

Mr Osagie Obamogie, one of the protesters who spoke with newsmen said: “We are tired of the hardship, no sector of the economy is working and we can no longer continue like this.

“I graduated since 2012 with no job in sight. I managed to open a barbershop and there is no adequate electricity supply to run it properly.

“They have increased fuel and increased electricity tariff. Everything is on the high side. We are no longer protesting only # EndSARS, it has metamorphosed into End bad government”.

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Nigerians Protest Ghanaian Government Refusal to Open Locked Shops

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The Nigeria Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG), has carried out a peaceful protest over Ghanaian authorities’ refusal to open shops owned by Nigerians in that country.

The President of NUTAG, Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, who led the protest, said in a telephone interview that Ghanaian authorities’ refused to open their shops since 2019.

He noted that the Ghanaian authorities’ refusal to open the traders’ shops was despite several meetings between top officials of both governments of Nigeria and Ghana.

He said that the protest was to press the Ghanaian authorities to open shops owned by Nigerians living in Ghana, to enable them tackle economic challenges amid COVID-19.

According to him, the shops owned by Nigerians under lock and key since past one year should be opened to enable the traders return to normal businesses, urging the Nigerian central overnment to evacuate them.

Nnaji said: “I am in talks in with my leader, Mr Ken Okoha, National President of Nigerian Traders, and he has assured us that he will take our case up to the highest level in Nigeria.

“In fact, plans are on for him to move to institutions that are related to trade; I have known him for five years now and I know what he is able to do.

“I am rest assured that the leadership of Nigerian traders are working towards achieving this goal; some of you, who still have funds, should also continue to help other traders.

“Be law abiding citizens, COVID-19 is still on and lots of businesses are affected; many of us are living from hand to mouth due to the downturn.

“If you do not have anything to do, stay at home; rest assured that at the end of October, if we are not evacuated, we will keep ourselves at the border.”

Receiving the traders, Mrs Easter Arewa, Charge de Affair of Nigeria High Commission in Ghana, said that government would remain committed to protecting Nigeria citizens.

According to her, the letter by Nigerian traders has been well received and their message will be conveyed to the highest authority.

“Government is not resting on your case; it is because of you Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives, came to Ghana.

“Likewise, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was here. In spite of his busy schedule, he came here and met with the leadership of NUTAG. He promised to continue with the cause on his return to Abuja.

“He has not failed; very soon your situation will be addressed because a hungry man is an angry man. It is not nice to hear that in a brotherly country as Ghana, you are being treated like this.

“We have Ghanaians in Nigeria too and they are treated as brothers, so do not worry. It is a government-to-government dialogue.

“I believe, very soon, we will get to the end of this matter and we will all be at peace,” Arewa said.

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