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Lekki TollGate Shooting: Panel Urges Victims To Come Forward As Inquiry Begins

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The Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and the Lekki Tollgate Incident has urged victims of the October 20 shooting of #EndSARS protesters by members of the Nigerian Army to come forward with their petitions.

The body made the call on Monday in Lagos during its sitting.

The chairperson of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) said that the judicial panel had so far received 15 petitions from abuse victims of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Okuwobi said that the panel is independent of the Lagos State Government and will ensure that individuals with valid complaints of human rights violations will receive immediate compensation.

“If their cases are disposed of in a month or two, compensation if recommended should go to the victims immediately to assuage their pain.

“We are looking forward to memoranda from those affected by the unfortunate incident of the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate plaza by the military.

“The panel has received not less than 15 petitions relating to the disbanded SARS.

“We are indeed ready to commence the public sitting. The petitions are here without the petitioners around, the panel will start full proceedings tomorrow (Oct. 27).

“We are relying on the civil society to assist the panel with credible evidence of the killings at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza.

“This is to ensure that there will be good evidence to assist the panel make appropriate recommendations in respect of all terms of reference of the panel,” she said.

Okuwobi said the panel could not begin proceedings immediately because the nominations for the two youth representatives who are to sit as part of the eight-man panel was sent in late.

She noted that the two nominated youth representatives had not yet been sworn-in and could not join the panel for Monday’s proceedings.

“The panel will most definitely sit tomorrow (Tuesday) because they would have been sworn-in and the composition will be complete,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Olumide Akpata, the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who was present at the proceedings said that the NBA will be partnering with the judicial panel and will also be providing pro bono services to affected victims.

“The NBA is here to help victims of the now disbanded SARS and other human rights violations to properly articulate their petitions to this panel pro bono. This will be done in Lagos and around the country.

“The NBA will participate in observatory capacity to ensure that all goes well and ensure that justice is actually served. Our best hands will be available throughout the sittings of the panel.

“We look forward to justice being done and the recommendations of the panel for those who have been badly treated by institutions that have been set up to protect them,” Akpata said.

The panel is made up of the Chairman Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd), Mr Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN), Mr Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police and a founding member of SARS.

Other panelists are Mrs Oluwatoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos State Directorate of Citizen’s Rights and Ms Patience Udoh, a representative of the civil society groups and Mr Segun Awosanya (segalink) a human rights activist.

The panel is designated to sit for six months.

The sitting days are Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:am to 4:pm and the venue of proceedings is the Lagos Court of Arbitration, No. 1A, Remi Oluwode Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

East Africa News

South Sudan Launches Fresh Attack on SPLA-IO Base

South Sudan’s army has on Thursday launched a fresh attack against forces of the main armed opposition group and peace partner, SPLA-IO

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SOUTH SUDAN FRESH ATTACKS

South Sudan’s army on Thursday launched a fresh attack against forces of the main armed opposition group and peace partner, SPLA-IO at the Morota Unified Training centre. 

The deputy spokesman of the SPLA-IO in Juba, Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel said the attack was ordered by General Moses Lokujo who defected from the group to join the SSPDF in September.

According to Colonel Lam Paul Gabriel “… this morning November 26, at about 6:00am, the defected force of Maj. Gen. Moses Lokujo who is now under the command and control of the SSPDF attacked the SPLA-IO component of protection force for Morota Unified Training Centre, in complete violation of the permanent ceasefire,”  

The statement also confirmed the death of one SPLA-IO soldier and two others injured as the fighting continues.

Last week, the ceasefire monitoring body, CTSSAM-VM identified General Moses Lokujo as being responsible for the recent displacement of civilians around Kajo-Keji area. He was also accused of blocking access to a military training camp.

The revitalized peace deal expects all the parties to desist from actions that may obstruct or delay the provision of humanitarian assistance, protection of civilians, or restrict the free movement of people.

The armed opposition group further urged the SSPDF to cease attacks against it while urging that security mechanisms established under the revived peace agreement be implemented to halt the attacks.

He called on the SSPDF command to restrain Maj. Gen. Lokuj from incessant attacks against the SPLA-IO.

“It should also be noted that the forces in Morota Training Centre are not only SPLA-IO forces but a component of the unified forces under the command and control of the JTSC and JDB. Therefore, attacking this force is not only a violation but a direct attack against the Security Arrangement in particular and the R-ARCSS in general.”

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Over 40 People Trapped in Zimbabwe Mine Collapse

Takavarasha said those who were rescued said there were about 40 people in the mine shaft at the time of the incident, and that rescue efforts were ongoing.

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At least 40 informal miners in Zimbabwe have been trapped underground after a shaft in a disused gold mine collapsed, this is according to Zimbabwe’s miners’ federation.

This was disclosed by the head of Zimbabwe’s Miners Federation Wellington Takavarasha who said the incident occurred late Wednesday in the town of Bindura, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of the capital Harare.

Takavarasha told reporters that the miners were working inside the unused Ran Gold Mine when a shaft caved in.

Six miners have since been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

Takavarasha said those who were rescued said there were about 40 people in the mine shaft at the time of the incident, and that rescue efforts were ongoing.

Read also: 12 Illegal Miners Feared Dead in Zimbabwean Collapsed Mineshaft

Mining is a major source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, where gold alone accounts for 60 per cent of exports.

The landlocked southern African country is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.

The gold sector provides jobs to nearly 10 per cent of the country’s population, according to the International Crisis Group.

Small-scale miners often operate illegally to avoid selling their bullion to the state-owned buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, as they are paid only 55 per cent in foreign currency.

The remaining 45 per cent is paid in Zimbabwean dollars, which is notorious for its weakness.

Accidents are relatively common in decommissioned mines, particularly when the ground is loosened by rain.

 

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80 Final Year Students Quit School in Kenya, Say Principal Was Too Strict

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No fewer than 80 final year students of a secondary school in eastern Kenya left the school in a day over claims the principal, Joseph Makau, was too strict.

The students also told local media that they were tired of studying.

They also raised concerns over the poor diet offered at the school and the recent withdrawal of entertainment sessions that ran on a weekly basis.

Local media also reported that the incident left only 36 final years students in Matungulu Boys Secondary School compound.

The students, who had earlier boycotted meals during the day, were said to have walked out of the school on Wednesday evening without staging any form of a riot.

Makau said some of the students had been undergoing counselling due to the use of hard drugs before the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those who walked out of the school are suffering from ‘freestyle’ kind of living where they don’t want to adhere to basic regulations for conducive learning. We will remain firm and as a school, we will not entertain any indiscipline that threatens smooth learning.” he said.

Some of the students told local radio stations that the principal was too strict and they were tired of studying. They said they would prefer to come back just to sit for final examinations scheduled for next year.

The principal said parents had been informed and asked to bring back the students.

Schools reopened in October for final-year students after being closed because of coronavirus, while other classes will resume in January.

The ministry of education advised administrators to minimise interaction between students in boarding schools and people outside to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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