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One Feared Killed, Dozens Injured, Many Arrested As Shiites Protest in Abuja

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At least one person was killed and over 30 injured as protesting Shiites were dispersed by security operatives in Abuja on Monday, the Islamic group has stated.

The Shiites spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa, told PREMIUM TIMES the victim was yet to be identified as “the protesters came from various towns.”

Mr Mohammed also stated that over 200 protesters were arrested by the police, who he accused of being the first to attack the protesters.

“We were carrying out a peaceful protest starting from the Unity Fountain. All of a sudden, they began to attack us. They were the ones who started firing (at) us with teargas.

“We were not violent in our procession but we had to defend ourselves somehow and that was why we attacked back.

“So far, we’ve been able to confirm about 200 persons arrested, over 30 injured and one person is dead,” he told PREMIUM TIMES via telephone.

The protesters took to the Unity Fountain, beside Transcorp Hotel to demand the release of the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been detained without trial for over two years.

The Nigerian government has kept the Shiite leader in custody since 2015 when his group had an encounter with a convoy of the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, leading to the massacre of about 300 Shiite members, including Mr El-Zakzaky’s sons.

Several security officers from the army, police as well as civil defence on Monday forcefully dispersed the protesters as eyewitnesses said the officers fired teargas and gun shots into the air.

Videos and footages have also been released by eyewitnesses showing the dispersal of the protesters and some of them throwing stones at police vehicles.

Monday’s action came a few days after the the Abuja police commissioner, Sadiq Bello, placed an indefinite ban on daily sit-outs at Unity Fountain by pro-democracy and good governance advocates across Abuja, a move that was condemned by activists.

Mr Bello told PREMIUM TIMES he took the decision because he sees the the groups, including the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ movement, as public “nuisance.”

“All of them are in the same category, they’re disrupting people’s activities and infringing on their human rights by blocking the roads and other things. They’re constituting a nuisance” the commissioner told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Friday night.

The Shiites spokesperson, however, vowed not to relent until their leader is released.

“We are demanding the release of our leader and we are going to continue our peaceful protest. If they attack us, no problem. We will continue with our protest. Tomorrow, insha Allah, we are coming out to continue the protest,” he said.

When contacted, the Abuja police spokesperson, Manzah Anjuguri, said the police would soon release a statement on the incident.

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Lagos Govt Warns Schools, Teachers Against Extension Classes, Fee-Paying Tutorials for Students

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The Lagos State government has issued a stern warning to teachers and schools against extending official hours for fee-paying extra lessons.

This directive was announced by the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Jamiu Tolani Alli-Balogun, during the unveiling of a block of classrooms and furniture at Amuwo Odofin Junior High School complex.

Alli-Balogun emphasized that the extra hour after the official closing time – typically used for paid lessons – ought to be for extracurricular activities. The activities, the commissioner said, include clubs such as the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Boys Scouts, Boys/Girls Brigade, STEM Club, Writing and Debate Club, are essential for the well-rounded development of students.

Expressing his disapproval of the practice where the first lesson of the day is often neglected by teachers, Alli-Balogun warned that any teacher found derelict in their duties would face strict consequences.

“Do your job at the right time between 8.00am and 2.00pm and leave the extra hour for reading or extracurricular activities.

“We will no longer condone using that time for fee-paying extra lessons in our schools. Education is free in Lagos State, and nobody should be charging any fee for anything,” he warned.

The commissioner made these remarks during the inauguration of new classroom facilities and furniture at the Amuwo-Odofin Junior High School Complex, a project sponsored by Grimaldi Group and Ports & Terminal Multiservices Ltd.

He urged students to fully engage in the various social activities and clubs available to ensure their holistic development.

Alli-Balogun’s stern message underscores the government’s commitment to free education and the importance of extracurricular activities in fostering a balanced educational environment.

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Declare State of Emergency on Power Sector Now, Barth Nnaji Tells FG

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By Morakinyo Ajibade

Chairman, Geometric Power Limited, and former Minister of Power, Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji, has said that only a state of emergency on the power and gas sector will restore the comatose energy and electricity crisis in the nation.

The former Minister, who just commissioned a power station in Aba, Abia State, made this call while speaking as a guest lecturer at the inaugural Dele Momodu Leadership Lecture, held at the Nigerian Institute of International and Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos.

According to him, a state of emergency needs to be declared in the gas sector as this declaration will save the power sector and allow the government and other stakeholders to address fundamental issues in the gas sector in a robust manner.

“The issues will include how to strike a healthy balance between producing gas for export and gas for domestic consumption. Gas is equally needed in both markets.

“There is not enough natural gas or even liquefied petroleum gas used in the kitchen. Even the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company, a major foreign exchange earner that also has a guaranteed market, has been operating at 60% capacity on account of insufficient gas supply.

“The petroleum companies supplying gas to power-generating companies are in a tighter position. Because they are performing sub-optimally, there are now longer periods of electricity blackouts throughout the country. This is despite the spirited efforts of the NNPCL, the Ministry of Power and the Presidency,” he said.

The event, which attracted the who’s who in the nation’s political and economic climate, was held to mark the 64th birthday of Aare Dele Momodu, a veteran and seasoned journalist, who has dedicated most of his life time in the pursuit of equity and food governance in Nigeria.

Among dignitaries that graced the all important gathering were the former President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. John Dramani Mahama; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke; former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; traditional rulers, captains of industries, and the general public.

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Adeleke Hails Glo, Adenuga for Enormous Contributions to Economy

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The governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has praised Globacom for its enormous contributions to Nigerian society. He also lauded the company’s chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jr., for his strong faith in the country.

Governor Adeleke, who made the remark while entertaining a Globacom team in his office in the state capital, insisted that “the subnational entities are where your market is and even though the regulatory body is national, your market base remains the states and the local governments. You must deliberately prioritize partnership with the state government”.

“The telecom community must understand that giving full support to the states in terms of payment of right taxes and corporate social responsibility is an investment in your market. The more robust the state governments are, the more buoyant your market will be,” the governor averred.

He extolled Dr Adenuga, who he described as a “great Nigerian whose impact on the Nigerian and the African economy cannot be quantified.”

He told the Globacom team that his administration was prepared to work with the corporation on a business partnership. “Be rest assured that this partnership is already a reality. We just need to work out the details”, the governor added.

The Glo Public Sector team leader, Niyi Odejobi assured the governor that the telecom behemoth is prepared to support the state to flourish.

He said Globacom is prepared to roll out digital and internet infrastructure to support companies and government in the state, promising that the cooperation will transform Osun state.

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