Anti-Democratic Forces And The Mockery Of Democracy In Lagos By Sulyman Buhari

In the past few days, the news stories emanating from Lagos State, particularly on the primary election organised by the All Progressives Congress, are unsettling and disturbing.

I have read headlines like: Two shot dead in fresh outbreak of violence at Lagos APC primary, Violence Erupts at APC Primary Election in Lagos, Ex-senator Manhandled, Aggrieved leaders call for fresh election, Two killed as violence erupts at Lagos APC primary, Aggrieved Candidates Attack Senator Afikuyomi During APC Local Gov’t Primaries In Lagos, Tension at Oshodi over killing of NURTW boss Hamburger, Rigging allegations rock Lagos APC as group demands cancellation of ‘sham’ LG primary and many other worrisome headlines.

At the risk of being misunderstood, I wish to state that I am concerned about the matter due to two fundamental reasons.

Firstly, as a member of the APC, I am concerned the state chapter of the party has not portrayed APC in good light. It is clear the APC primary election in Lagos State was not properly handled. I believe the uprising, protests and deaths were avoidable. The APC is a party that is well footed and rooted on the foundation of internal democracy. If the Lagos State chapter of our party had adhered strictly to the value the APC places on internal democracy, the protests and deaths would not have occurred.

Secondly, the ugly development is coming at a time our country is commemorating Democracy. Certainly, there are many ways to mark and celebrate democracy, but what was reported to have happened at the Lagos APC primary election is not one of them. It is pure mockery of democracy.

Before the primary election, the Lagos Democratic Forum (LDF) had warned against imposition and impunity. The Forum specifically accused former governor Bola Tinubu of issuing an undemocratic directive “to the party rank-and-file to jettison party primaries for the forthcoming local government elections in the State”. The Forum concluded that such directive contradicted the provisions of APC’s constitution. The aftermath of the primary election has shown that the accused either disregarded the warning or, perhaps, the accused is not interested in what the constitution of APC has stipulated about internal democracy.

Meanwhile, the LDF was not alone and lonely on the warning against imposition. Dr Muiz Banire, SAN, the National Legal Adviser of All Progressives Congress, APC, was a worthy ally. He warned that the LG primaries should not be manipulated in favour of certain aspirants. He kicked against the decision of the Lagos State chapter to conduct primaries election for all the aspirants in a centralized location. He declared that the decision was alien to the party and not in the APC constitution. His warnings fell on deaf ears.

Against the warnings of the wise men, the primary election was conducted in such an undemocratic manner that led to an outbreak of widespread violence. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that some aggrieved party supporters engaged one another in a free-for-all midway into the election, smashing ballot boxes over allegations of imposition of candidates at the election. People were killed. Public peace and order have been disrupted. Tension is reported to have enveloped many parts of the State.

On the other hand, It remains a tough task to reconcile the ugly development emanating from Lagos State with the message issued on Democracy Day by the Leader of APC in the State, Senator Bola Tinubu. He warned Nigerians to be vigilant and wary of anti-democratic forces. He enjoined to keep and nurture democracy, nor for the sake of democracy but for the sake of the country.

This is the same man that has been fingered to be at the centre of the political crises that has led to protests and deaths. He enjoined Nigerians to nurture democracy while reported to have taken deliberate actions to manipulate and kill democracy in Lagos State. Without any iota of doubt, it is now clear that desperate men in uniform are not the only threat to democracy, the demagogue in progressive gown is also a threat to democracy.

Getting inspiration from the title of late America Singer Barry White’s number one R&B single in the album, “The Icon Is Love”, it is time to tell political leaders to “Practice What You Preach”.

The government, the Party and political leaders in the State need to take full responsibility for all that transpired before, during and after the botched primary election. The people are aggrieved, the people are mourning, yet, there is dead silence from the Party and political leaders. The Party stands to lose more if it continues to pretend like nothing has happened. People have not been killed, and their families deserve some forms of consolation and commiseration.

Conclusively, there is need for concerted efforts and interventions to ease the reported tension in some parts of Lagos State. This is not one that can be done only by security agencies. The core issue of the agitations and protests should be addressed. Therefore, It will not be out of place for the National leadership of the APC to intervene and restore normalcy because the political leaders have not only desecrated democratic ethos, they have also excreted on democratic tenets.

Sulyman Buhari is the publicity secretary of All Progressives Congress in Kwara State.

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Lagos State Halts NURTW Activities At Oshodi

The Lagos State Government has suspended the activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Oshodi and its environs, over the recent assassination of one of the union members.

Prince Lanre Elegushi, the Acting Commissioner for Transportation, announced this on Monday at a news conference at Ikeja.

Elegushi said that all union activities in the seven branches of the union affected by the crises have been suspended indefinitely.

This order follows the continued violence that attended the death of Alhaji Rasaq Bello, a leader of the Motorcyclists Operators Association of Lagos State (MOALS), an affiliate of the NURTW at Shogunle area of Oshodi.

“While this order lasts, there will be no collection of tickets or fees from commuter buses operating in the area,’’ he said.

Elegushi said that a team of state government officials and security personnel had been mandated to oversee and monitor the activities of the transport operators within the seven branches.

The acting commissioner said the union should not to collect any tickets or fees from transport operators therein.

He said that the suspension would remain until peace and tranquility returned to the area, based on security reports.

Elegushi said police investigations were ongoing over the murder of the union leader, adding that any person found culpable would be prosecuted in line with the dictates of the law.

“It is important to also emphasise that all rumour mongering, insinuations and unfounded facts should be avoided, for the sake of peaceful co-existence.

“Any escalation of the crisis arising from the ban will lead to government taking sterner actions against the branches where violence is recorded,’’ he said.

In his response, Alhaji Tajudeen Agbede, Chairman NURTW, Lagos State, said he supported the suspension, pending the period when peace and tranquillity would return to the area.

Agbede said that the government had taken the right step to ensure peace in the community.

The chairman also advised union members in the area to embrace peace and shun any form of violence that might arise as a result of the suspension.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bello, popularly called `Hamburger’, was allegedly murdered on May 29, during the primary election to pick a councillor for Shogunle Ward E1.

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Equality And The Right To Freedom Of Conscience By Ade Ilemobade

The drama of anointing at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Lagos State, is a drama that will not go away quickly even though Lagos State Government and Christian Association of Nigeria have given us an adulterated version of events, we the skeptics are not willing to buy into such falsity and cover-up.

According to Bob Marley ”You can fool some people some times but you cant fool all the people all the time.”

The principle of equality is a recognition of the fundamental rule in human social interaction predicated on the affirmation that all homo-sapiens are created free and equal by God. This equality in God’s creation in respect of human beings translates into sameness of rights and respect before God and amongst fellow humans.

The Constitution of Nigeria Art. 17 : Equality and Protection from Discrimination is very vivid on this issue and it states:

(1) The State social order is founded on ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice.

(2) In furtherance of the social order-

(a) every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law;

(b) the sanctity of the human person shall be recognized and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced;

(c) governmental actions shall be humane…

It is germane to mention categorically here that equality is not only God’s mandate but also constitutionally guaranteed to avoid arbitrariness of public authority actions Art. 17. (2)(c) governmental actions shall be humane… is very instructive.

Please, note that this article is not against positive discrimination because sometimes the need might be there to apply positive discriminatory policy to achieve equality. However, the crux of the matter here is TO QUESTION the inhumane mannerism or tendency of public authority and officialdom in Nigeria when dealing with disagreements between government and citizens.

Recently, in the news Lagos State Government, Governor’s wife Bolanle Ambode and Chaplain Femi Taiwo saga has opened up the need to ask fundamental question about the abuse of governance paraphernalia in discharging private matters.  Religion and religious activities are purely private engagements and government should not be seen tampering with protocol in theological environment by an appeal to preferential treatment for an unelected, constitutionally not recognised Governor’s wife.

Is Bolanle Ambode in the service of Lagos State government as paid employee or what is the relationship of the office of the First Lady of Lagos State with the supervision of churches that is under the Ministry of Home Affairs? Is this not usurpation of the function of the Commisioner or Director in the Ministry of Home Affairs?

What is government business in the establishment of Mosques and Churches anyway. Why did Lagos State Government not establish a citadel for worshiping traditional gods and deities. Is this not ”Prefentialism” a state sponsored religious discrimination?

In addition to Nigeria constitutional guarantees Art 38. (1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

There are other international human rights treaties like the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights that protect the right to follow one’s own beliefs in matters of religion and morality.

The right to have freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief is contained in article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 18 of the ICCPR protects the right to  hold positions based on conscience and that in my opinion is exactly what Chaplain Femi Taiwo did going by the reports in the public space and from the congregation.

Chaplain Femi Taiwo of Chapel of Christ the Light, conscientiously holds the view that there is no superiority in the house of God amongst the congregants, everyone is equal before God. This is a conscientious opinion of the Chaplain which Lagos State Government or Governor’s wife Bolanle Ambode cannot regulate because any attempt to do such is a violation of the rights to freely express religious freedom and conscientious views as constitutional guaranted rights, also it is sacrilegious by tampering with Biblical injunctions that guide theological environment of conscientious opinion.

I would like to draw the attention of my readers to the following verses of the Bible as justification for my viewpoints on this subject matter though they are not exhaustive but would help in guiding our compass.

Genesis 1:27, ”So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Deuteronomy 10:17, ”For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Galatians 3:28, ”There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” These are some of the equality related injunctions in the Bible preaching egalitarianism.

In my view the Chaplain refusal to participate in compulsory preferential discrimination in the house of God in this case given unwarranted preferential treatment during anointing service to Bolanle Ambode is not an offence punishable neither is disrespecting Governor’s wife who is not an elected official nor has any constitutional significance is a punishable action rather it is purely a question of private moral signification.

If Bolanle Ambode felt disrespected in any manner the onus is on her part to seek legal redress according to the rule of law principles stating her case and showing justification according to law why anyone or citizens of Nigeria should respect her just because she is the Governor’s wife.

Discrimination in the house of God is sacrilege. Chaplain Femi Taiwo’s actions on conscientious egalitarian grounds conform to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of Christianity. No legislation or government directives, actions, must encroach on this fundamental rule in the process of discharging private matters as it is/was the case in Lagos State Government, Bolanle Ambode vs Chaplain Femi Taiwo.

OTUNBA ADE ILEMOBADE IS A PHILOSOPHER.

TWITTER: @PEARL2PRINCE

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Oba of Lagos Urges Nigerians To Shun Political Bitterness

The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Osuolale Akiolu, has advised Nigerians not to interfere with the public or political differences of Politicians.

The royal father made this remark at the 60th Birthday Islamic prayers and lecture held in commemoration of the 60th Birthday of Mrs Folashade Ashafa, the wife of the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, which took place at the Grand View, Magodo Lagos on Sunday, 28th May, 2017.

The event, had in attendance various dignitaries and friends of the family, including the His Excellency, the President of the Senate, Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki who was represented his deputy Chief of Staff, Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola, Former Governor of Lagos State and Hon. Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, Former Minster of Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Otun Are (Amb.) Demola Seriki, Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Hon. Wasiu Ehinlokun, Commissioner for Wealth creation, Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmietti, Senators Abdulfatai Buhari, Soji Akanbi,  Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, Alhaji Sulaiman Adegunwa, Alhaja Sherrifat Andu, Yeye Fausat Gbadebo, Hajia Abba  Folawiyo, Hajia Binta Tinubu amongst others.

Oba Akiolu further mentioned that while people would take sides with Politicians and develop permanent enmity or deep grudges for the supporters of the adverse party, the Politicians never take their differences personal and always know how to reconcile behind closed doors. He therefore advised all Nigerians to learn how to allow Politicians settle their Political differences without interference or unnecessary sensationalisation of issues.

The Lagos Monarch also spoke glowingly of the Celebrant, Mrs. Folashade Ashafa and her husband. He said “that Senator Gbenga Ashafa could only have achieved so much in all his years in of public service as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands in Lagos State and then as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without any stain to his reputation because he has a good wife who gives him peace and keeps the home front solid.”

 

 

 

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Police Arrests SLOT Driver Who Stole N5.95m Goods

The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) attached to the Lagos State Police command  have apprehended a driver, Olumide Babajide for allegedly stealing laptops, mobile phones and accessories worth N5.95million.

According to RRS the suspect who was recruited in March 2017 by the popular Nigerian phone retail outlet, SLOT Nigeria Limited, made away with the goods after he was directed to move the consignment to another Slot Outlet in Victoria Island, Lagos. He was traced to Kaduna State, where he diverted the goods after taking them from the Slot Nigeria Office based in Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos.

During interrogation with the police, the suspect ,who claimed to have a diploma certificate, disclosed that he had plans to abscond with with the company’s goods right from the time he joined the company and was just waiting for the right moment to strike.

According to Babajide, “I took the goods from Slot’s outlet in Ikeja. I was to deliver it to another outlet in Victoria Island, Lagos, but instead I took the goods to Pam-Pam Hotel, Ikeja, while I returned the company’s Hilux car to R & S hotel, where we normally park the company’s vehicles.

 He continued, “at about  5:00 p.m. that very day, I took a drop from the hotel with the consignment to Ejigbo, where I boarded a Kaduna bound bus. Before I got to Kaduna, I already contacted one of the buyers. She bought N1.4 million worth of phones, laptops and phone accessories while I also sold in unit to other buyers as well.”

Sources disclosed that the suspect at Kaduna gave out about 10 mobiles to passers-by. He also gave out two phones to a new mistress while he bought a Peugeot 206, 1999 model with new registration number DKA 859 KA from the proceeds of his sales for N912, 000.

It was learnt that the RRS operatives have arrested two major buyers of the stolen phones in Kaduna.

Source: Omojuwa

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APC Primaries; KOWA Concerns And The Role Of LASIEC By Victor Terhemba

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State held it’s primaries for the forthcoming Local Government Elections in Lagos state and that the event turned violent is not news anymore. The question to ask now is what next?

The election was initially meant to be conducted via votes using the open-secret ballot system as was evidenced by the voting booths at the venue, however the party in it’s wisdom decided at some point decided to abandon that for the voice votes system. How APC conduct its internal democracy is not really our business as an opposition party but we are very interested in the results of the elections and its effects on the conduct of the forthcoming elections. We wonder what report the LASIEC officials present at the event would take back to the commission.

Would LASIEC report that candidates were duly elected/selected by the party for the elections when evidence abounds that that is not so? Would the report indicate that the event was conducted freely and fairly when even members of the party viciously attacked each other?

LASIEC had made it clear at various times that it would not tolerate factions within parties and violence during any part of the events and proceedings leading to the elections. Would APC be the exception to the rule? Would LASIEC allow the party to field its selected/elected candidates on the 22nd of July? These are many more are questions begging to be answered.

A major take away for KOWA Lagos and we believe for other parties (including the APC) and the general public is that it is difficult to force the will of one man or a group of people on a larger majority for long. At some point the majority would revolt. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for APC to listen to the voice of Lagosians who are saying “NO MORE BABA SOPE!”

 

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Unknown Gunmen Kidnap Six Lagos Pupils

Reports reaching Abusiqu.com says unknown gunmen suspected to be militants have attacked Igbo-Nla Model College, Epe and kidnapped six children.

While details of the kidnap are still sketchy,  security forces have been deployed to comb surrounding bushes to rescue the children.

This is the second time kidnappers will be storming the school to abduct children.

In October 2016, as pupils of Lagos Junior Model College, Igbonla, Epe, were rounding off their assembly on Thursday, five gunmen and a woman invaded the school and abducted six persons.

The six victims were the Vice-Principal, Mr. A.O. Oyesola; the English Language/Civil Education teacher, Mr. Lukman Oyerinde; and four Junior Secondary School 1 pupils.

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Lagos Council Polls: When Peanuts Are Preferred To Young People

“If I am young and wrong, then you are right [to look down on my youthful ignorance.] But if I am young and right, what does my age matter? – Antigone Aesculus ?

For so many decades, the Nigerian youths have lost their touch in governance, while some are battling with the position of personal assistants, so many others resolve to touting to take stipends from the politicians in the name of “na our money”. This is a sad tale of youths inclusion in governance in Nigeria, the black most populous nation and in extension Africa, an under-developed continent.

The story of France’s youngest president, Emmanuel Macron, 39, swept the media with the youths across the world seeing the development as encouraging and a model to other young people.

Emmanuel Macron some days ago became newest president of France after his inauguration at the Elysee Palace in Paris.? The 39-year-old former banker has taken over from his predecessor, Francois Hollande, after the official handover at the palace.?

Macron won the French presidential election in a landslide last week, beating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen with 66% of the vote.

He ran as an independent candidate, having previously served in Hollande’s Socialist government as France’s economic minister. He quit the Socialists in August last year to launch his independent “En Marche!”, or Onwards, movement.?

?In voting for him, Macron said France chose “hope,” and “looks to the future.”

Not to long after that, the Executive Governor of a state in the north central of Nigeria, empowered youths with wheel barrow. The story of the wheel barrow governor arrested the wave of the media in the country, so many agitating that it’s not a fair representation of the worth of the youths in state and the country in extension, behold, the youths in their numbers turn out to appreciate dignitaries in the state under the wheelbarrow pushers association in the north – central of Nigeria.

So many cases of abuse of Youths right, do I say right for the youths? This is imperative to the perceived shortchange of youths by themselves, knowing quite well that the right to elect is bestowed on the former and also defending the votes is a choice to choose.
We have various youths union, association, organisation, but it is another money generating source and empowerment structure as many had termed it?. These bodies are fond of organising awards for politicians and leaders that have deprived them of good governance and quality representation, giving the politicians leverage over abnormalities.

Lagos poll is another opportunity to access the youths readiness for governance, many people have seek change of caliber of the leaders in the country but it’s untrue that we can have a youthful president when the local administrations are controlled by men that have been in existence far before the independence of the nation. An evidence can be refer to that of Ekiti state, when a sitting Governor would prefer to pick an octogenarian over a young graduate. Lagos as a model to other states in the nation have proved it’s readiness to have youths on board, this can be cited from the appointees who are very handy yet it’s a call for serious consolidation.

On the platform of political parties that will feed aspirants for the local elections in Lagos state, aside the ruling party, the all progressives congress (APC), we have many others that have proved over the time by winning the minor positions in the state.

The former Lagos state Governor and Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in a public function  directed party leaders in all the 57 councils to give special concession to youths and women. This is commendable but not the benchmark for youths seeking power, whose hoax rest in recommendation rather than commendation for their energetic stride and readiness for governance.

Fund is another factor that determines the success of election in Nigeria politics but not all the time as proved in some cases by people winning popular votes. The youths have no excuse not to bring their peer to leadership and letting the revolution start from grassroot.

Lagos local council election is another testing ground for the readiness of youths to take over leadership of the nation and the continent at large.

Eniola Opeyemi writes.
eniolaopeyemi@gmail.com

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Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni Gives Ultimatum To Lagos DPOs

The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni has on Tuesday order all Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in the state police command to decongest their cells and for no reason detain anybody for more than 48 hours.

Speaking at a lecture on Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officers at the Police Officers’ Wives’ Association (POWA) Hall in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State, the police boss said he would conduct checks on the cells to ensure the order is carried out.

He also further warned that the era of impunity and corruption among cops was gone, appealing to his subordinates to come for transfer if they would not want to play by the rules in the state.

Owoseni, in his statement said: “I am tired of hearing about shooting or killing of innocent persons. No one has the right to take another man’s life. It is only God that has the right to take life,” the spokesperson for the Lagos Police command, Olarinde Famous-Cole, quoted Mr. Owoseni as saying.
“It is your responsibility as a DPO to know those who are collecting bribe under you. If you refuse to stop them, they will stop you from being a DPO.

“It is embarrassing to see policemen collecting bribes and chasing yahoo yahoo boys for a DPO. I would not cover any DPO. I will expose you. Just leave Lagos before I get to your station. I cannot share out of your misconduct. I will give your photographs and details to journalists to expose you.

“I am shocked to hear that some Area Commanders and DPOs are on the pay rolls of fraudsters. I am investigating. Just pray that I don’t get you. Just know that you are causing pains for taxpayers if you are intimidating them and collecting bribe from criminals.

“It is a curse to build a house with the money. The building would collapse on your head. Some of you even take people to the bank to collect money. If you train your children with the money, they won’t be useful to you.

“If those who were in the force before us bastardized it, we would not have the opportunity to be enlisted in the police. I am tired of pleading with police victims because you are doing what you are not supposed to do. Remember, one day, you are going to die and give account to your creator.

“Go back to your areas of jurisdiction and warn your men against brutality, indiscriminate use of handcuffs on pregnant women, elders and persons with disability.

“Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) should take note. I will not tolerate any act of indiscipline.

“Learn a lesson from DPO Ijeshatedo, who shot dead a fashion designer. He is in our custody and we are compiling charges against him. He would soon be arraigned in court.

“All DPOs in Ikorodu should use all resources within their disposals to fish out Badoo cult group that has been causing havoc in the community. I am giving you all 48 hours to decongest your cells. Nobody should be detained more than 48 hours. I will conduct checks on the cells.”

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Osun Records Increased IGR in 2016, As Lagos Emerge Top Earner Again

Osun State recorded a 10% increase in its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR in 2016, a report by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS has revealed. This is as Lagos continues to dominate the table with the highest IGR generated in the country.

Lagos with a population of above 20m, generated a whopping sum of 302,425,091,964.78 and earned 81,097,954,616.12 from federal allocation, FAAC.

In the NBS report published yesterday and titled ‘Internally Generated Revenue At State Level (2016)’, it was gathered that Osun recorded an improvement in its Internal revenue by 10% between 2015 and 2016.  (14th State in % Growth).

Osun with a population of just above 4m, generated the sum of N8.07bn in 2015, but recorded an improved figure of N8.88bn in 2016 representing a 10% growth in a space of one year.

It was also noted that Lagos, Abia, Kano, Benue, Bauchi, Osun and Akwa Ibom emerged top 7 earners of Self-Assessment tax across the country.

An economist, Dr. Taofeek Tijani who spoke to this reporter revealed that economic activities slowed down in 2016 due to several factors, chief amongst being the recession that gripped the nation by its throats. He however noted the prospects are good for 2017.

Meanwhile, several states internal revenue service boards continues to aggressively implement tax laws in order to boost their states IGR. Recall the Osun Internal Revenue Service, OIRS yesterday shut over 82 organisations that refuse to pay their taxes to the state government.

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Falomo School: Lagos May Charge Pupils With Attempted Rape

Arrested final year secondary school pupils of Ireti Grammar School, Falomo, Lagos State, may face charges bordering on physical assault and attempted rape after police investigations.

It was gathered that the pupils, if found guilty, might be sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment.

investigations had shown that some of the pupils were over 18 years.

Sources who spoke to our correspondent said more arrests would be made in the coming days as regards the incident, adding that the four arrested pupils were still under investigations.

One of the sources said the underaged pupils would face different punishment.

One Michale Matthew had posted on social media how some female pupils of Falomo Senior High School were molested by their fellow pupils from Ireti Grammar School in broad daylight upon the completion of their final exams.

Two of the perpetrators were identified simply as George and Abiodun.

Matthew described how the pupils chased the girls at the back of her office in the Obalende area on Wednesday, tearing up the skirt of one of the victims with a pair of scissors. Two boys had attempted to rape the girls to the cheers of other boys before the eyewitness raised the alarm.

“…I see pockets of people, actually pupils, and girls running with palpable fear on their faces. At this point, I quickly enter my car to leave so one doesn’t meet whatever the problem is and to avoid traffic too. And as we enter the car, I look a bit closely at a crowd of boys who have surrounded two persons on the floor who appear to be fighting. Their shouting overpowers any other sound and looking closely, I see the most unreal thing. It’s actually a boy trying to force himself on a girl with his trousers partly down and the boys are cheering him on.

“People are looking and some security guards in the office near us are recording it. I open my car in disbelief and shout at the boys to break it up, while shouting at my security and the second driver to assist me. I walk towards them and as I make my way towards them, I see another group and this time, they have cornered one of the girls who falls while running from them. In almost a surreal way, I am looking but not quickly processing.

“I see her kicked down, she bravely pushes herself up and another guy tries to clear her legs and she lunges at him and then a guy takes a pair of scissors in his hands and with one swoop, tears her skirt from the bottom and also a part of the black ‘spanx shorts’ she has on underneath…” the woman’s post read in part.

Apart from the police, the Social Welfare Department of the Lagos State Ministry of Youths, Sports and Social Development, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) of the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Lagos State Deputy Governor, among others, were said to be following the case.

A source told our correspondent on Sunday that the police were still on the trail of other pupils involved in the act, adding that the Adeniji Adele Police Division was investigating the case.

He said, “The four arrested pupils have made their statements to the police, while efforts are ongoing to arrest other suspects. It is a serious matter and the state government is not taking it lightly.

“Pupils, who are of age, will be prosecuted after investigations. It is a criminal offence no doubt.”

The Coordinator of the DSVRT, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, said the agencies involved in the investigations would make their findings known.

She said, “But we will continue to senstise and engage communities, children and schools on sexual violence.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said, “Investigation is ongoing into the incident.”

He was, however, silent on whether some of the pupils would be prosecuted or not.

Punch

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