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Lagos pepper seller dies in police custody

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The family members of a Lagos trader, Mrs Basirat Akinmushire, have demanded an investigation into her death while in the custody of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, Lagos.

They said the 54-year-old, who was arrested at a market on Isolo Housing Estate, Isolo, was hale and hearty until the police called to inform them that she had died.

Our correspondent learnt that a rights group, Network for Police Reforms in Nigeria, had written the Police Service Commission on behalf of the family, alleging that the suspect was extra-judicially murdered.

PUNCH Metro had reported that a man, Olatunde Adetunji, was arrested by the police team in the Ikeja area for alleged robbery and cultism.

Adetunji, an alleged member of the Eiye Confraternity, was said to have claimed that Basirat, aka Area Mama, kept the gang’s weapons.

The 31-year-old allegedly said they usually paid her N5,000 after every successful operation.

The pepper seller, who was subsequently arrested, was said to have told the police that she was coerced into keeping the guns used by the gang.

She allegedly confessed to have transferred two guns belonging to the gang to one Junior, aka Jungle.

Basirat, according to a statement she allegedly made to the police, said the gang threatened to kill her if she leaked their secret.

The police had claimed that the woman, while leading detectives to Junior’s hideout, attempted to escape and fell into a ditch where she got injured.

The deceased’s younger brother, Babajide Lateef, while denying the allegation of arms keeping, said the mother of three was arrested on September 13.

He said, “Since that Thursday that she was arrested, we started going to their office in Ikeja, but we were prevented from seeing her. This was ongoing when we read it in the newspapers that she was attempting to escape when she fell into a ditch.

“On Friday, September 28, the police called us and announced that she was dead. On October 2, we were taken to a morgue to see her corpse. We were told that it was when she was running away that she fell and she was taken to a hospital, where she was admitted to until her death.

“She was not the kind of woman that would keep guns for robbers. She was a gentle woman and did not make trouble with people. I am not saying this because I am a family member; ask from her church members and co-tenants and everybody will testify to her good character.

“Initially, we decided to take her corpse for burial after we were asked to write a letter for the release of her corpse; we had called a lawyer who drafted a letter for us. But when we were told to swear to an affidavit that after the body was released to us we would not make any trouble, we consulted some lawyers who advised against it because the police could use it against us and arrest family members.

“At this point, what we want is the help of the government to unravel the cause of her death and the reason for the affidavit.”

Lateef lamented the effect of the death on the deceased’s husband, a retired head teacher.

He said the widower, Samuel Akinmushire, was admitted to a hospital for three days and had suffered depression.

The National Coordinator of NOPRIN, Okechukwu Nwanguma, in a letter to the Chairman of the PSC, asked that an autopsy be conducted on the corpse.

“The police claimed to have carried out an autopsy, but the family did not know when and where this happened. The family demands a thorough and impartial investigation to unravel the actual cause of death. As part of this investigation, the family demands a transparent autopsy where the family medical and legal representatives will be present.

“NOPRIN calls on the PSC to ensure a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into the cause of death and that necessary actions should be taken against any officer involved if a case of extrajudicial killing is established,” he said.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, said there was no foul play in the death.

He said, “The police were investigating a very serious case of armed robbery and gunrunning. Along the line, the woman became a suspect in the case. She was arrested on the suspicion that she was the gang’s armourer and she admitted to the crime.

“She mentioned the name of another suspect whom she claimed had some of the guns. She was taking police operatives to the place when she suddenly jumped out of the vehicle and started running. They chased her and she fell and broke her leg.

“She was taken to the Police College Cottage Hospital, Ikeja, from where she was referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, for better treatment. LASUTH further referred her to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi. Days later, the woman died at the hospital.”

Oti explained that the affidavit demanded by the police was only a requirement by law to ensure the deceased’s family did not return to deny receiving the corpse.

SOURCE: PUNCH

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Buhari appoints new FIRS chairman

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Muhammad Nami to replace Babatunde Fowler as chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Fowler, whose tenure ended on Monday, was confirmed for a four-year tenure by the senate on December 9, 2015.

He is expected to hand over to the most senior director on the board until the senate confirms Nami as FIRS chairman and the new board.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Nami is a tax, accounting and management professional with three decades of practical working experience in auditing, tax management and advisory and management services.

“He is an expert in rendering advisory support services to investors in respect of new business start-ups and management of existing businesses. He has also continuously rendered outsourced services to clients in trading, service and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy,” the statement read.

Muhammad Nami attended Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology (1991) and a masters of business degree (2004) respectively.

He is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Institute of Debt Recovery Practitioners of Nigeria and Associate Member of Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.

He started his career with PFK in 1993 and rose to the position of a senior consultant in charge of tax management and advisory services.

He is currently the managing consultant of Manam Professional Services (chartered tax practitioners and business advisers) based in Kaduna, Abuja, Niger state.

Muhammad was appointed as a member of the presidential committee on audit of recovered stolen assets in November 2017.

The FIRS board is composed of a member representing each of the six geographical zones and statutory representatives from a select number of ministries and government agencies.

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Heads of Akiogun ruling house, community leaders, others pick Aremo Adesegun Oniru as next Oniru of Iruland

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There appears to have been a breakthrough in the search for the next Oniru of Iruland in Lagos State as the heads of Akiogun Ruling House, community leaders, elders and youths of Iruland have picked a former commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development in the state, Prince Aremo Adesegun Abiodun Oniru as the next Oniru of Iruland.
Heads of Akiogun Ruling House, community leaders (baales) of some settlements in Iruland including Baale of Ilabare, Chief Ahmed Basorun, Baales of Oko Kuku, Ipewun, Osolu, Alakoto, Mosafejo, Falomo, Abule Ode amongst others unanimously agreed that Prince Adesegun Oniru should be installed as the next Oniru of Iruland.
Others including women, youths and several residents of the area, who were present at the venue of the declaration lent their voices to the choice of Prince Adesegun Oniru, son of the late Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Oniru, who died in September, 2019, as the next Oba of Iruland.
This declaration was however, preceded by a traditional rite, where kolanuts were thrown on the floor for a sign of approval or rejection.
The traditional rite was declared positive in favour of Prince Adesegun Oniru as the kolanuts turned to the positive side, an indication that his tenure as Oba would be peaceful and favourable to the town.
Prince Adesegun Oniru, an engineer, and administrator was born on March 11, 1965.
He attended Kafy Cross School, Lagos, St. Berriaden Private School, Ibara, Abeokuta, Hall School, Sussex, England, and Stafford House Tutorial College, England.
Adesegun Oniru also attended Waltham Forest College, U.K in 1989 and University of Westminster, U.K in 1991.
Prince Oniru was the Managing Director of Lagos State Waterfront and Tourism Development Corporation between 2003 and 2005, and Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure to Lagos State Governor in 2005.
He served as the Commissioner for Housing in Lagos State and later Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development in the state between 2007 and 2011.
It will be recalled that there had been wars amongst the various ruling houses in Iruland shortly after the demise of Oba Abiodun Oniru.
Just last week, a ruling house in the area, Abisogun Family described a report in a section of the media that the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to ex-governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Mr. Hakeem Ajasa has been picked as the next Oniru of Iruland in Lagos State as fake news.
According to the family, the selection of Ajasa, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) as the next Oniru of Iruland, is kangaroo and it was not known to the entire family.
The family said in a public notice titled; “Fake News By A Section of Abisogun Ruling House” that the “public and all interested parties are put on notice of the kangaroo selection of a person unknown to the entire Oniru Family to rule over their land and fill the currently vacant Oniru Chieftaincy stool.”
The family, who described themselves as Cheated Members of Abisogun Ruling House, alleged in the notice that was released to the media on Friday that being a policeman, they had information from reliable sources that Akeem Ajasa had harassed, intimidated and threatened other members of his ruling house.
The family insisted that from time immemorial, no member of any royal family could impose himself on the community.
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Why Sowore was re-arrested – DSS

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has explained why it re-arrested Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement.

The secret police in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya and made available to The Witness on Saturday said Sowore was re-arrested because he “resorted to acts inimical to security”.

The statement further disclosed that its officers did not arrest the activist in court, claiming that the journalist’s supporters were only acting an “orchestrated drama”. The security agency said there were none of its officers involved in the incidents recorded in the courtroom.

 

Read the full statement below:

It has become important that the Department of State Services responds to the serial misinformation being circulated in the media about its involvement in the incident that occurred on 6th December, 2019 at the Federal High Court, Abuja. It is instructive to note that during the court proceeding of the day under reference, Defence Counsel, Femi FALANA (SAN), called the attention of the Judge to a suspicion that the Service was planning to re-arrest Omoyele SOWORE immediately after the court session. The Court discountenanced his alarm and asserted that the Service was law abiding and would not engage in such and subsequently adjourned to February, 2020.

However, when SOWORE stepped out of the court and sighted operatives of the Service within the premises, he ran back into the courtroom. In a bid to shield him from an imaginary arrest, his uncontrollable supporters mobbed him while chanting “you can’t arrest him” thus the pandemonium that ensued.

A critical look at the videos in circulation would convince any objective viewer that there was no DSS personnel during the entire period the Sowore crowd acted out its orchestrated drama. Its personnel were never, at any time, involved in the incident. In actual fact, it was his people who seized him. And from the latest developments, it has become obvious what the intent for such mischief was meant for – simply to serve a propagandist purpose as well as bring the Service to disrepute.

Eye witness and several media accounts have disclosed that the Court had adjourned peacefully without an untoward incident when suddenly the unruly crowd imported into the Courtroom went into frenzy on the mere suspicion that DSS was sighted at the court premises. The eventual re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS was effected outside the courtroom. His lead counsel has affirmed this.

The DSS, as a professional, responsible and law abiding Organization, could not have invaded a courtroom including the one presided over by a respected Judge who is not only handling its case but whose Order was unconditionally obeyed within a 24 hour ultimatum. The Service holds the judiciary in utmost respect and will continue to work with it for national peace and public safety in Nigeria.

It has therefore become unarguable and raises a moral question as to who, between Sowore and the Service, dislikes or disobeys the Courts. In this regard, public attention may be drawn to the 25th July 2019 statement of SOWORE that “I’m not talking of protest. I’m embarking on revolution… Don’t tell me about legal implications or what a Judge will say. I don’t care …” On 5th December when SOWORE was released, he had, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja addressed a group of persons who, he reassured of his cause to create anarchy in the country.

It may be recalled that the Service had on 3rd December, 2019 raised alarm about a plot to destabilize the country. It is quite remarkable that the plot has already started playing out. To ensure this objective is further achieved, some persons and groups are scurrying to seize the opportunity of the misleading court incident and the wrong narrative against the DSS to organize an insurrection in the country. They have continued to falsely curry and mobilize international sentiments and attention, through clear misrepresentation of the facts, for their selfish ends.

For emphasis, it should be noted that SOWORE is facing trial not as an activist, journalist or a politician, but for his resort to call for violence, forceful takeover of government and suspected transnational illegal activities. It is most unfortunate that SOWORE, shortly after being released from custody, based on court order, resorted to acts inimical to security. To this effect, only SOWORE has been re-arrested as his co-defendant, Olawale BAKARE, was not picked up even when FALANA had promised to deliver him to the Service that is not presently interested in him.

Though sections of the populace have been fed with spurious narratives about these developments, Nigerians and the International Community should not be gullible or even vulnerable to the machinations of groups desirous of misleading them.

The Service is committed to the discharge of its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of Nigeria. It supports democracy in the country and will do all that is legal to protect it. It will also ensure that efforts of anti-democratic forces are frustrated.

 

Peter Afunanya, Ph.D
Public Relations Officer,
Department of State Services,
National Headquarters,
Abuja
7th December, 2019

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