#ENDSARS

#EndSARS: NEC Directs Govs to Prosecute Indicted Persons

Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja; Chiemelie Ezeobi, Segun James, Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie in Lagos; Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt; Fidelis David in Akure; Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba; and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The youth of the nation made good their threat to hold memorial marches yesterday commemorating those who died during the nationwide anti-police brutality protests last year. This was despite warnings by the Nigeria Police that marches to mark the one year anniversary of the #EndSARs protest would not be condoned.

As the memorial rallies held in some states yesterday, the National Economic Council (NEC) directed state governors to forward final reports of the panels of inquiry into the protests to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of the indicted persons.

In Lagos State, youths gathered at the Lekki tollgate to mark the EndSARs anniversary. But the rally was marred by police brutality and clampdown on journalists covering the peaceful event.

In Abuja, security operatives acting on the order of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, pushed a procession to the National Assembly complex back.

But Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, inaugurated a Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in the state with an appeal for more citizen participation in peace and nation building.

In Rivers State, over 200 youths staged a candlelight procession at the popular Waterline junction in Port Harcourt.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, who revealed the decision of NEC in Abuja, during a media briefing, also accused those he labelled “champions of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate,” including Amnesty International and CNN, of holding on to “their unproven stand.”

The federal government said where incidents in the inquests related to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC had urged the Nigeria Police to take disciplinary action against the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020.

Mohammed spoke on measures that had been taken to improve the efficiency of the police and other security agencies’ architecture. He explained that NEC had called on the leadership of the security agencies to ensure that persons recruited into arms-bearing security organs underwent psychiatric evaluation and drug test before enlistment.

He also said personnel of the agencies had been advised to dutifully observe rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties.

While acknowledging the various initiatives introduced by the federal government to strengthen police accountability through the Police Service Commission, the minister said the council had urged the government to prioritise the general welfare of security agencies.

“In particular, it advocated the review of pension and gratuity of retired police officers and attainment of parity of remuneration by police officers with sister security agencies,” he stated.

Mohammed also said the council advised the government to “undertake a comprehensive assessment of all police stations across the country with a view to ensuring that they are fit for purpose.

“Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies should deploy cutting-edge technology in the fight against crimes.”

The council also urged the police to ensure that all those detained as a result of the #EndSars protests were expeditiously processed with due regard to the principles of fair hearing.

However, the federal government maintained its stance that there were no evidence of massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate a year ago.

The minister stated, “Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums.

“At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the toll gate the farce. On Monday, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry that was set up by the Lagos State Government after the #EndSARS protest wrapped up its sitting.

“During the sitting, CNN was summoned but it never showed up, thus, missing a great opportunity to prove its allegation of massacre at the toll gate. Also, Amnesty International had a golden opportunity to convince the world, but it rather opted for issuing meaningless press releases.”

Mohammed claimed that in its latest attempt to grasp at straws and, “redeem whatever is left of its battered credibility on this issue, CNN has continued with its baseless report that soldiers shot at protesters.

“In a report currently running on the network, CNN brazenly and unashamedly held on to its flawed narrative, relying on an unidentified mother whose son was reportedly shot dead at Lekki, but without convincing evidence of who shot him dead.”

The minister said the federal government remained proud of the security agencies for acting professionally and showing utmost restraint all through the #EndSARS protest and the ensuing violence, an action he said saved lives and property.

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#EndSARS: Nigerian youths’ve right to demand better future –Sanwo-Olu

LAGOS State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, said Nigerian youths have enough reasons to demand a better life and future, adding that such demands have heightened their inability to live and prosper, due to the existing socioeconomic and political conditions, amongst other factors rocking the country.

The governor, who spoke at the Lagos youth

symposium organised by the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, themed, “Rebuilding For Greatness, Peaceful Conflict Resolution”, noted that the symposium was organised to engage over 1,500 youths drawn from various voluntary organisations, uniformed organisations, non-governmental organisations and the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, among others.

He said the primary objective is to use the plat- form to network and learn new ways of contributing their quota to rebuilding Lagos and achieving the greater Lagos dream.

The governor, who reminisced that about this time, last year, the state and, in- deed, the whole country witnessed a mass protests against police brutality tagged #EndSars, pointed out that the movement saw a majority of Nigerian youth population participating in one of the largest movements since the country’s democratic transition in 1993.

Sanwo-Olu explained that despite the massive destruction of properties as a result of the protest and economic downtown occassioned by the COVD 19 pandemics, the state was able to cope with the challenges.

Meanwhile, the Lagos and Osun States Police Commands have warned against any form of protest or gathering to commemorate one year anniversary of End- SARS in the states.

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#EndSARS anniversary: Police occupy Lekki toll gate, others, activists set for protest

There are strong indications that security agents and protesters will clash in many cities across the country today (Wednesday) as activists and youths insist on gathering in public spaces to commemorate the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, which rocked the nation last year.

For instance, heavily armed police personnel, on Tuesday, took over the Lekki tollgate area, which was the hotbed of last year’s protests.

The PUNCH also learnt that some policemen in plain clothes would join the protesters in a bid to monitor them closely.

#EndSARS memorial protests are planned to take place in Lagos, Abuja, Aba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Enugu, Yola, Ibadan, Benin City, Jos, Ilorin, Asaba and Osogbo, among others.

In October last year, spontaneous protests had erupted in different parts of the country against police brutality, especially by the personnel of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad, and the #EndSARS movement soon garnered international support.

The protests, however, turned bloody on October 20, 2020, when soldiers and policemen fired at the protesters in Lagos.

In Abuja, the nation’s capital, hoodlums attacked the protesters and injured many of them. They also looted warehouses and set ablaze over 18 cars and vandalised more than 12 vehicles.

In response to the outcry, the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad police unit, the fourth time the Federal Government had disbanded it.

On October 19, 2020, the President accused the protesters of trying to cause anarchy and warned that the government would not tolerate that.

The police have, however, warned the organisers and attendees of the commemorative protests to desist from going ahead with their plans as they will be arrested and prosecuted.

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#ENDSARS:Memorial Car Procession to hold tomorrow at Lekki Tollgate

Popular Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana, better known as Falz, has directed Nigerians to come out and participate in the #EndSARS Memorial Car Procession scheduled on 20th October 2021.

Falz, on his Instagram page, stated that there will be no protest but a procession of Nigerians through the Lekki tollgate in order to remember those who died on 20th October 2020 during the #EndSARS protest.

According to him, it is impossible not to “memorialize our fallen heroes”.

His post read: “We will never ever forget that Innocent Nigerian citizens waved flags and sang till they were shot at, injured, and killed.

“We must never forget we are rolling up in cars tomorrow to drive through the tollgate. We know their way, so a procession of cars is the safest option to minimize police harassment.”

He assured those participating of safety in their cars.

“We will stay in our vehicles throughout. We have rides for people that need them. Each and everyone’s safety is very important so please let’s move together,” he said.

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#EndSARS: FG to compensate victims of protest, urges protesters to reconsider marking anniversary publicly

The Federal Government has said that it will compensate the victims of the EndSARS protests with each State in collaboration, with the Federal Government establishing the modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the panels. The government also urged protesters to reconsider marking the anniversary of the protests due to national security concerns.

This was disclosed in a statement by the National Economic Council (NEC), which is composed of all state governors in the federation, representatives of the FG, and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

They also unanimously resolved to ensure the prosecution of persons indicted by the panels. The Council specifically directed States to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons.

What the NEC said about EndSARS

“The National Economic Council have resolved that payment of compensation to victims should proceed with each State, in collaboration with the Federal Government, establishing the modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the panels,” the statement read.

The Council said it specifically directed States “to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons.

“Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020.”

“The NEC also urged that those planning protests to mark the anniversary of the ENDSARS to reconsider the option in view of current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues,” the statement read further.

The NEC resolutions on ENDSARS panel reports across the country

On the reports of ENDSARS panels set up across different states in the country by the FG to address injustices meted out to citizens by law enforcement agents, the press statement read:

At its meeting today, 15th October 2021, the National Economic Council (NEC/Council) received an update on the Reports of Judicial Panels of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations against Members of Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies.

2. It may be recalled that following the October 2020 #EndSARS protests, which later transformed into violent demonstrations, in furtherance of resolution of NEC, twenty-eight (28) States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) (under the auspices of the National Human Rights Commission) had set up Judicial Panels/Commissions of Inquiry (Panels) to investigate allegations of violations of human rights levied against members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, especially members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

3. The 28 States that set up these Panels were Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Taraba.

4. Out of the 28 States, 11 States (Abia, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, and Rivers) have submitted their final reports to Council; with Lagos, set to finalise its sittings on 19th October 2021, submitting an interim report. Governors of other States including Delta and Ebonyi at today’s meeting also indicated that their reports would be submitted soon.

5. Following deliberations on the recommendations of the panels, NEC agreed/resolved as follows, (and this applies to all the States and FCT that set up the panels):

  • Payment of compensation to victims

6.  Each State, in collaboration with the Federal Government, shall establish modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the Panels. Already, as resolved by NEC, a number of States have set up Victims Compensation Funds, from which several victims have already received payments of sums awarded to them by the panels.

Prosecution of indicted persons (Security personnel and civilians)

7. Council directed State Governors to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons.

8. Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020.

  • Improved Efficiency of Nigeria Police Force and Other Security Agencies’ Architecture

9.  NEC called on the leadership of the security agencies to ensure that –
a. Persons recruited into arms-bearing security agencies undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment and periodically after enlistment to ensure that the personnel are psychologically fit to carry live weapons and to identify behavioural tendencies that may require psycho-social interventions.

b. Personnel of the agencies dutifully observes Rules of Engagement in the discharge of their functions/duties around and within the civilian populace.

c. While acknowledging the various initiatives introduced by the Federal Government to:

*strengthen police accountability through the Police Service Commission,
*sustain improved funding and budgetary allocation to the Nigeria Police Force and other securities agencies,
*and the lifting of the ban on recruitment of police officers.

  • Council urged the Federal Government to give priority to the general welfare of police officers and personnel of other security agencies.

In particular, it advocated the review of pension and gratuity of retired police officers and attainment of parity of remuneration by police officers with sister security agencies.

d. Undertake a comprehensive assessment of all police stations across the country with a view to ensuring that they are fit for purpose.

e. Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies should deploy cutting-edge technology in the fight against crimes.

f.  Nigeria Police Force to, in line with the mandatory training provisions of the Police Act 2020, prioritize the training of Police Officers on procedures for the entrenchment of Human Rights Provisions guaranteed by the Constitution and on the professional handling of weapons.

g. All those detained by the Police as a result of the EndSars protests are expeditiously processed with due regard to the principles of fair hearing.

h. The system established within the Nigeria Police Force for receipt and handling of complaints or petitions is strengthened, and all police officers on duty should be in police-approved uniform with their full names and force numbers boldly written for easy identification.

i.  The States should, as resolved by NEC:

i)  Properly utilize and support the community policing programme of the Federal Government, with active collaborative efforts and participation of traditional rulers, elders, youths, vigilante groups, etc.;

ii)  Establish standing committees under States Ministries of Justice to address human rights violations on a continuous basis; and

iii)  Take measures aimed at flushing out miscreants squatting in uncompleted buildings, and other blackout spots that serve as hideouts for criminals.

The National Economic Council also issued an advisory on public protests saying that while they appreciate the role of lawful peaceful protests in the advancement of public discourse under democratic governance, they strongly advise those planning public protests across the country to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement. They cited security concerns across the nation and the possibility of protests being hijacked by miscreants as the reason for urging for a rethink on planned protests.

The NEC also added that it has undertaken the following measures in the aftermath of the protests of October 2020.

  • the disbandment of SARS;
  • broad police reforms;
  • establishment of judicial panels of inquiries to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies;
  • the recommendations from the panels of inquiries are already at various stages of implementation including the setup of Victims Compensation Funds from which several victims have received payments of sums awarded to them by the panels; and
  • the prosecution of police personnel indicted by the panels.

They appealed to organizers of the planned protests to explore the various channels of communication with governments at various levels to advance their positions and avert the breakdown of law and order that may result from such public protests.

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#ENDSARS: Osinbajo, Govs Beg Youths to Halt Commemorative Protests

The federal government and the 36 states have resolved to compensate victims of the #ENDSARS protests that rocked several states in October last year, as well as prosecute all persons indicted by the panels set up to investigate the protests.

They also urged youths planning to commemorate the one year anniversary of the protests with another round of protests, to shelve the idea and seek other lawful alternative to drive home their point.

These were some of the resolutions of the National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday at its monthly virtual meeting, attended by the state governors with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presiding.

A communiqué issued at the end of the NEC meeting, signed by the Media Assistant to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, stated that upon the receipt of reports from judicial panels, regarding EndSARS protests, set up in 28 States across the country and in the FCT, the NEC resolved that payment of compensation to victims should proceed in each state, in collaboration with the federal government, establishing the modalities for the settlement of all monetary compensations awarded by the panels.

The NEC also unanimously resolved to ensure the prosecution of persons indicted by the panels.
“The Council specifically directed states “to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons.

“Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020,” states the communiqué.

NEC members also strongly advised those planning protests to mark the anniversary of the ENDSARS riots to reconsider the option in view of “current security situation across the country and the possibility of such protests being hijacked by armed hoodlums and other opportunistic criminals to cause mayhem at such protest events and venues.”

It adds: “Organisers of the planned protests should explore the various channels of communication with government at various levels to advance their positions and avert the breakdown of law and order that may result from such public protests.”

Other issues discussed at the NEC meeting included the presentation of the draft National Development Plan (2021-2025) memo from the federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, which is a successor plan to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020.
Among other highlights, the presentation and memo were to acquaint Council with the need for linkage between Annual Budget and Plans.

The plan also targets an average of 5% GDP growth, the creation of 21 million jobs, and lifting 35 million people out of poverty within the duration of the Plan.

NEC also received a presentation from the Governor of Kebbi State on behalf of the Grazing Reserve Audit Committee: “The summary of the presentation was to brief NEC on the essence of the audit which is to document available land in order to aid the implementation of the 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan approved by NEC in 2019. The presentation clarified that the audit committee is not mandated to recover grazing reserves.”

On COVID-19, NEC received a progress report from the Chairman of the Committee and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who informed the Council that the Federal Ministry of Health was establishing oxygen plants across the 36 States in the country, but currently, six states had been provided with oxygen cylinders so far.

Governor Okowa further said the federal government had paid for 40 million doses of COVID -19 vaccines coming in batches and that a considerable amount of the vaccines would come into the country between now and January 2022 while Nigeria is now classified among the 50 countries in the green zones.

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Buhari once took part in protests, shouldn’t disrupt #EndSARS – Falana

HUMAN rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to abide by his oath of office by calling on the police not to disrupt upcoming #EndSARS protests.

Falana, who is the Interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, said this in a statement on Thursday titled, ‘Nigeria Police Force lacks power to ban public protests in Nigeria’.

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, had said the police would not allow anyone to stage another #EndSARS protest ahead of the one-year anniversary of the protests of last year.

However, Falana said Buhari, who himself took part in protests while he was running for office, should call on the police to respect the rights of citizens.

He added, “It is public knowledge that General Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was) and other leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress took part in public rallies against fuel hike in January 2012 and protests against insecurity in November 2014.

“To that extent, the Buhari administration ought to restrain the police from banning peaceful rallies against police brutality on October 20, 2021 in any manner whatsoever and however.”

Falana noted that the law guarantees Nigerians the right to hold public meetings, rallies and processions in the country.

“The threats against peaceful rallies oozing out of the police headquarters and state commands are illegal as they constitute a gross infringement on the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly guaranteed by Sections 38 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution as well as Articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

“In view of the fact that the police authorities have been notified of the public rallies scheduled to hold on October 20, 2020 to mark the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, the Nigeria Police Force is required to make arrangements for the provision of adequate security for the participants at the venues of the rallies,” Falana said.

He, however, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali, to direct the Commissioners of Police to ensure that adequate security was provided for all citizens who might wish to protest against the policies of the government considered inimical to their interests.

Panel proposes N304.5m compensation to police brutality victims.

Meanwhile, the judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Benue State Government to investigate right abuse and brutalities by the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad, on Thursday submitted its report.

Submitting the report, Justice Adah Onum (retd.), said the committee received 72 petitions, maintaining that some were dismissed and withdrawn.

He said the committee discovered some cases of right abuse by men of SARS in various parts of the state and recommended the sum of N304,535,095.85 compensation to be paid to various categories of victims of police brutality in the state.

He said, “Some persons were brutally murdered by the police in cold blood, leaving families without respective heads and breadwinners.

“Some persons died in police custody, owing to complications arising from torture and/or other forms of abuse of police powers, including unwarranted denial of rights to bail.

“Some persons suffered grievous bodily hurts, or non-grievous bodily hurts, as defined under law, in the hands of the police. Some items or property were destroyed by the police or unjustly seized and confiscated by the police.”

Justice Adum added that the committee also recommended various police officers to the Attorney General of the state for discreet investigation with a view to prosecuting them for respective crimes arising from respective conducts.

Receiving the report, the state Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, said the state government would hand over the report to the Federal Government who had given them the mandate to set up the panel.

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One Year after EndSARS# , Group Appeals against Protest

A civil rights group, the Defend Lagos Coalition (DLC), has appealed against any plan to stage violent protests in commemoration of one year anniversary of EndSARS# protest because it would be counterproductive in the end.

The DLC insisted that if any such action to take place, it should to be done within the confines of the law.

Addressing the press at the International Press Centre, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos State, the leader of the DLC, Mr. Nelson Ekujumi, said the protesters should ensure that the protest did not lead to crisis, because the state could not afford to suffer again the losses it recorded during the protest staged last year.

“Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, and nobody will allow anything that will destroy the state. We can’t tell them not to protest. They have right to protest. But you must protest within your right and respect other people’s right,” Ekujumi said.

The group, which went about with the banner “EndSARS never again” said a lot of things have been said about killings during last year’s EndSARS protest, but there is no evidence to substantiate that there was any massacre.

He said: “What happened on that day, (sic) a massacre never occur, we are waiting for the panel set up to tell us what happened.”

Ekujumi said the protest staged last year left a sad note in the history of Lagos State and set the state backward economically and socially because the protest was not well coordinated.

“We are veteran when it comes to protest. They have the right to protest, but we will not subscribe to a protest that will lead to anarchy and killing of people. They must do it in a peaceful way, it should be a peaceful protest,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, a member of the group, Declan Ikharea, said: “We won’t subscribe to the fact that Nigerians should not protest. In a situation where protest is not coordinated, lack leadership, it leads to anarchy. The EndSARS protesters lost the trust of the protest, when the so called leaders lost control of those they were leading. I do not subscribe to any sort of anarchy, destruction; protest is our language to express grievances.”

The group also called on the Nigeria Police Force to recognise the fundamental rights of citizens and exhibit professionalism in its effort to protect the economic and human rights of Lagosians to move about without hindrance. It added that its commitment is to ensure peace reign in Lagos.

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#EndSARS: Lagos CP warns against planned protest

The Commissioner of Police in Lagos, CP Hakeem Odumosu, on Monday warned against any planned protest in the state.

A statement signed by the State Police Command’s Spokesperson, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, revealed that the command had received information of a planned protest to mark one year of the #EndSARS protest.

Ajisebutu warned that the police would not hesitate to use all legal means to stop the protest from taking place following the experience of the last #EndSARS protest.

“Credible intelligence at the disposal of the command has revealed clandestine plans by some youths, individuals or groups to embark on a protest today in commemoration of the one year anniversary of #EndSARS.

“Lagosians and indeed Nigerians cannot afford to relive the distasteful experience of last year’s protest which caused pain, anguish, needless loss of lives and wanton destruction of public and private property.

“In view of the volatility of the present situations in the country and the breakdown of law and order which the planned protest might cause, the Lagos State Police Command sternly warns against any form of protest today.

“The command wishes to use this medium to warn the youth, groups or associations planning such protest to jettison the idea forthwith.

“The police in the state will not fold their arms and allow some misguided elements disrupt the peace and serenity currently being enjoyed in the state.

“To forestall breakdown of law and order, the police will use all legitimate means within their constitutional powers to suppress the planned protest,” he said.

Ajisebutu also urged parents and guardians to advise their children against participating in the planned protest.

He said individuals or groups sponsoring such a protest were also warned to desist from such unpatriotic plan or face the full wrath of the law.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, assures all law-abiding residents of the state to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of harassment or intimidation.

“Adequate and additional security measures have been put in place to ensure protection of their lives and property today and even beyond ,” he added.

(NAN)

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Baby born in prison, special boy, says Ooni’s wife at christening of released #EndSARS protester’s son

The #EndSARS protester Kemisola Ogunniyi, who delivered a baby in prison had her baby christened on Wednesday in Ondo State.

Recall that Ogunniyi was arrested and charged to court  alongside three others for allegedly vandalising a property belonging to the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress during the October #EndSARS protest in Akure, was remanded in Nigeria Correctional Service Centre in Akure.

She delivered the baby boy last week Wednesday.

The state High Court sitting in Olokuta, Akure , granted her bail on humanitarian ground on Tuesday.

At the christening of the child held at Vera Christian Assembly, Ayedun Quarters, Akure, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, Olori Naomi Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who said she was touched by the circumstance in which the baby was born, presented him with baby items and foodstuffs for the baby’s family.

The Olori said , “When I heard the news, I was touched to hear that the lady gave birth in the prison custody. That was why I am here today (Wednesday).  The baby is a special boy. I will stay with the family. Kemisola should see me as her mother, her sister and her friend.

An Akure-based medical practitioner, Dr Thomas-Wilson Ikubuse, also offered the baby scholarship from nursery to secondary school level.

Some of the names given to the baby boy include Elijah, Eriaanu, Oluwadarasimi, Okikioluwa, Oluwajomiloju and Temitope.

In her remarks, Kemisola expressed appreciation to all who were involved in securing her bail after the baby was born.

“I thank God for my life and I also appreciate the government and all who participated in my case. God will be all of you,” she said.

Her mother, Mrs Felicia Ogunniyi, who said she was not aware that her daughter was pregnant, appealed to the state government to assist his daughter in ending the legal matter.

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