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Soldier Shoots Motorist Dead for Flouting Lockdown Order in Delta

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A motorist, identified as Joseph Pessu, was shot dead in Warri, Delta State, on Thursday, by a soldier for allegedly flouting the state government’s sit-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Eyewitnesses said the middle-aged motorist, who was cruising in a black Toyota Camry car without number plate, failed to stop at a military checkpoint on the NPA Road when the soldiers ordered him to halt.

Our correspondents gathered that rather than stop, Pessu allegedly accelerated the car in a bid to beat the security personnel.

But a soldier in the security team, who was apparently infuriated by the motorist’s effrontery, fired at the right rear tyre of the car in order to force the driver to a halt.

Pessu was alleged to have continued driving for several metres until he got to a location and abruptly parked the vehicle in the middle of the road.

He was said to have jumped out of the car to escape into the nearby bush, but a bullet from the gun of one of the soldiers pursuing him hit him.

His corpse was taken to the Police Area Command, from where it was transferred to the Warri Central Hospital’s morgue.

Meanwhile, two naval personnel, who were riding on a motorcycle in the area, were attacked by an angry mob few hours after the incident.

The angry mob, who had earlier made bonfires on the road to prevent vehicular movement, poured petrol on the motorcycle and set it ablaze to the astonishment of onlookers.

When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, confirmed the killing.

“Yes, a motorist was killed, but I have not got the details of the incident,” he simply told Punch correspondent on the telephone.

Commenting on the incident, the Warri Area Commander, ACP Mohammed Garba, stated that the soldier, who pulled the trigger and killed Pessu, had been identified, and gave assurance that justice would be served.

Garba also advised residents of the state to strictly obey the government’s stay-at-home directive.

He assured residents of Warri and its environs of adequate protection of their lives and property.

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said in a statement that the government was worried by Pessu’s killing.

He stated that the government had sent a delegation to the deceased’s family to condole with them over the loss of their son.

Aniagwu added, “The military authorities have been contacted to carry out an investigation into what led to the killing of Pessu.

“We, however, call on the people to remain calm and not to take the law into their own hands, while the government conducts an investigation into the killing.”

Reacting to the incident, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), condemned Pessu’s killing.

Keyamo described the incident as barbaric in a statement posted on his official Twitter handle.

The minister promised to petition the relevant authorities to investigate the matter.

The statement read, “I condemn the killing of innocent person(s) in Warri by soldiers enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I have received disturbing reports and images of the high-handedness and shooting of innocent citizens by men of the armed forces deployed to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown in my state, Delta.

“Specifically, I have received reports of the killing of an innocent young man, Mr Joseph Pessu, in Warri. I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces, who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace.

“I am appealing to the youth and Deltans in general to obey the sit-at-home order by the state government in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic coronavirus.

“I will be forwarding a petition to the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the officer(s) to justice. In the interim, let us not take the law into our own hands, please.

“I will also use this medium to sincerely appeal to my brothers and sisters in Delta State to be law-abiding and obey the orders of restriction imposed by both the Delta State Government and the Federal Government. They are lawful orders and they are for our own good.

“Images and reports of attacks on law enforcement agents by the civilian populace do not help our cause. I call on all and sundry in the entire country too to exercise utmost restraint at this point.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has condemned Pessu’s killing.

Omo-Agege called for the arrest and prosecution of the trigger-happy soldiers, noting that the authorities must ensure that the law took its course.

A statement on Thursday said Omo-Agege spoke directly with the army and police authorities in the state, while calling on residents of the state not to take the law into their own hands.

He was quoted to have said, “I condemn in strong terms the extrajudicial killing of Joseph Pessu by men of the Nigerian Army. I call on the army authorities to fish out the culprit or culprits and hand them over to the police for prosecution.

“Those who are authorised to bear arms in defence of the nation ought to understand that this comes with responsibility, especially as human life is sacrosanct. The killing in Warri today (Thursday) is one too many as the issue shouldn’t have led to what, in my opinion, amounted to extrajudicial killing of yet another future hope of this country.

“I have heard that the army arrested the soldier that shot the deceased. It is my belief that thorough investigations will be carried out and adequate punishment will be meted out to those involved in the heinous crime.

“Yes, we are in strange times and nerves are high with all the issues surrounding the coronavirus lockdown in the country. Be that as it may, there are better ways of making Nigerians obey the government’s directives without the resort to violence or extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agents.”

The Punch

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Metro

Police Officer Goes Berserk, Shoots Sergeant Dead in Lagos

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A police officer, Inspector Monday Gabriel, on Sunday shot dead a sergeant, Felix Okago, in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that both policemen were on special duty in a Federal Government facility in Ikoyi when Gabriel reportedly went berserk and started firing indiscriminately and one of the bullets hit Okago.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said in a statement that Okago died from the injuries he sustained during the attack, adding that men of the Bariga Police Division arrested Gabriel in the Akoka area, while he was attempting to escape.

He stated that Gabriel, who presented signs of mental depression after being arrested, was taken to hospital for examination, adding that the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with Okago’s family, ordered an investigation into the incident.

Elkana said, “On Sunday, May 31, 2020, around 4.30pm, the Area ‘A’ Command received a distress call that one Inspector Monday Gabriel attached to the No. 21 Police Mobile Force Squadron in Abuja, while on special duty in a Federal Government facility in Ikoyi, Lagos, went berserk and started shooting indiscriminately.

“One Sergeant Felix Okago, who was on special duty with the inspector, died from the gunshot injuries, while others escaped unhurt.

“In an attempt to escape, Gabriel took a patrol van and headed for the Third Mainland Bridge and was shooting as he was escaping. He was intercepted by policemen from the Bariga Division at Akoka, disarmed and handcuffed. The rifle and  the vehicle were recovered.

“The corpse of the deceased sergeant was deposited in the mortuary for autopsy, while the inspector has been taken to a police hospital for medical examination as he presented signs of mental depression.

“The CP has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of investigation to take over the investigation. The command deeply condoles with the family of our fallen colleague, who paid the supreme price in the service of his fatherland.”

The Punch

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Metro

Like George Floyd, Nigerians Can’t Breathe

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By Eric Elezuo

The video which went viral depicting a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a suspect until he died did not only sent chills down the spines of well meaning individuals, it created a yet to be answered question on ‘where is humanity’?

On Monday, May 25, 2020, the Minneapolis Police department received a call from a store, reporting a supposed felon, who was allegedly issuing a fake cheque for his purchases. The man, 46 year-old George Floyd, was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody at the arrival of the officers of the Police Department. The video did not show any evidence of a struggle between the black gentleman, and the officers.

Floyd was later pinned to the ground, close to the tyre of the police patrol car, with his hands cuffed behind his back. The arresting officer, who was identified as Derek Chauvin, then placed his knees on his neck against the hard surface. Floyd protested in pains, but he couldn’t move his body as the entire weight of Chauvin flowing into his knees rested on his windpipe in addition to the immobility of his cuffed hands. His protest now coming in muffled speech of ‘I can’t breathe’ and his breathe coming in irregular spasm, Floyd was gradually going numb. But Chauvin and his co travellers showed no mercy. Onlookers, who noticed the pains Floyd was in prevailed on the officers to release from his neck since he was already in custody and harmless, but they paid no heed. A particular bystander pleaded, and asked that his pulse be check, when he noticed that Floyd was no longer moving, but the officers refuse. And suddenly, the man went completely numb. He was dead. They showed him mercy. A visit to the hospital afterwards was to fulfill all righteousness and get a confirmation. An innocent soul was killed in broad day light for no just cause.

The death of Floyd for no verifiable offence amid his pathetic plea of I can’t breathe, is a typical situation with Nigerians. For years, the government has compelled the citizens to tighten belts in the face of obvious hardship, dearth of infrastructure, social amenities and all the rest including education. But the authorities, even with the plea we can’t breathe, has continued to tighten the noose, or this time the knee to the neck of hapless Nigerians.

In the education, Nigerians can’t breathe as Academic Staff Union of Universities and other educational unions are constantly at loggerheads with the government over one issue or another, and so strikes have become the order of the day.

The health institutions have completely suffocated the people, as hospitals are more like glorified mortuaries. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse as more deaths have recorded from other sources other than the pandemic. No health worker seem to care about a patient for fear of the disease. No one is listening. The only health matter at the moment is to listen to the new cases of coronavirus every night. Nigerians can’t breathe!

The Police are out there snuffing life out of citizens either from accidental discharge or outright shooting over refusal to part with bribe as low as N20. Nigerians can’t breathe!

In the last couple of days, almost all Nigerians, especially in Lagos State, turned members of vigilance group as bold faced armed robbers, who called themselves one million boys, threaten the peace of residents. Nigerians can’t breathe!

A journey of not more than 15 minutes will take a motorist or commuter as much as three hours to complete because of the dilapidated nature of the roads which breeds unprecedented traffic jam. Nigerians can’t breathe!

It is no longer news that every Nigerian resident is the sole provider of his own electricity, water, education, road and many more. Nigerians can’t breathe, and yet the knee is pressing harder down the neck. And like Floyd, the voice is becoming muffled, the breath is coming in spasm, movement is highly impossible, and soon silence may occur. Who cares?

Please take urgent steps cause Nigerians, like Floyd, can’t breathe!

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Metro

COVID-19: Lagos BRT Increases Fares by 50%

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Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Primero Transport Services Limited, operators of the Bus Rapid Transport, has said fares will increase by about 50 per cent.

The company on Thursday said it got approval from the regulator of the sector, the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, to increase the fares.

Earlier, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the company withdrew its services on Monday due to losses caused by the new guidelines of government which restricted the number of commuters on BRT to 20 per trip instead of 70.

The BRT Managing Director, Mr Fola Tinubu, told NAN that the management of the company would resolve the issues after a meeting with government.

After the meeting, Tinubu said agreement had been reached for the fares to be increased.

He said, “We are going to increase our pricing effective from Friday, May 29 (today). We agreed on this after our talk with the Lagos State Government.

“Everywhere commuters are paying N200 for a trip, it is going to be N300 and everywhere commuters are paying N300 per trip, it is going to be N500.

“We are increasing our fares. We have secured the permission of the regulator, Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.”

He said the number of passengers on the buses would also be increased to 42, with no passenger standing on buses as against 20 earlier approved by the government.

The LAMATA External Relations Specialist, Kola Ojelabi, confirmed the development.

The Punch

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