A civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for an independent forensic investigation into the reported grenade explosion in Afikpo right inside a secondary school field. The group rejected the official explanation given by the Ebonyi State government and the contradictory explanation by the police on the same incident.
In a statement by the group’s National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, he said : “Whereas the Ebonyi State government called it an accidental explosion of a grenade in his (police man’s) body, the police called it a teargas canister that exploded. So between the Ebonyi State government and the police command in Ebonyi State that gave contradictory explanations on the same matter, one of them or both is/are lying. This is because there is a wide chasm between a grenade and a teargas canister.
This is because a teargas isn’t technically a ‘gas,’ It’s a powder that is heated and mixed with a liquid or solvent and released from canisters as an aerosol. There are different types of teargas. The two commonly used by law enforcement are – chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) and chloroacetophenone (CN). A grenade is a small bomb thrown by hand or launched mechanically (according to Oxford dictionary). A grenade is a military grade weapon, say multiple security experts.
“We invite the world to see the lies in the two claims thus: The Ebonyi State government has denied that there was a suicide bomb explosion in the state.
“The Ebonyi State government has flayed the reports that a particular suicide bomber had detonated explosives attached to his body in the state.
“A statement by the Special Assistant to the Governor, Media and Publicity, Francis Nwaze said the news was the handiwork of mischief makers.
“He said : ‘My attention has been drawn to news making the round in some section of the media that there was an explosion of a suicide bomb in Afikpo, Ebonyi State this afternoon.
“The above news is in sharp contrast to the reality as the incident was a GRENADE of a security personnel carrying out his duties at the said location that accidentally exploded.
“ A similar incident equally occurred in front of the Ebonyi State Old Government House as some mobile police officers were servicing their APC machine. The first incident took the life of a passerby while the second caused injuries on the affected person, who has been taken to the hospital, where he is currently receiving treatment.
“The general public is, therefore, charged to disregard the fake news as it is the handiwork of enemies of the state who are bent on causing panic where none exists.
“Furthermore, Ebonyians and residents of Ebonyi State are reminded that generating and spreading of fake news aimed at causing panic in the state is actionable.’ This was the version rendered by the Ebonyi State government.
“On the contrary and in direct opposition to the police’s explanation , as aforementioned, this is what the Ebonyi State police Command claimed happened : The Police Command in Ebonyi said there was no incident of suicide bombing in the state as being circulated in the social media.
DSP Loveth Odeh, Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO) told journalists on Tuesday in Abakaliki that the pictures were not in connection with a suicide bomber.
“She said : ‘There is no bomb explosion in Ebonyi, but regrettably, this morning, one of our mobile police personnel attached to Afikpo on special duty was wounded by teargas.
“The officer mistakenly hit a teargas hung on his belt, and unfortunately, the device exploded and wounded him and he died.
“The lifeless body, the man in the picture is Inspector Idi Aminu, attached to 32 PMF Abakaliki but on special duty at Afikpo.
“So, there is no bomb blast or explosion in Ebonyi. The general public should disregard the information.’
“But as a thinking being can decipher for himself/herself, can we ask these questions: These two things (1) grenade (2) teargas are they the same? We want the Ebonyi State Governor David Nweze Umahi and Commissioner of police to answer us because one of them or even the two of them have lied to us through their aides.
Now, the bigger question is this:- (1) Assuming without conceding that the policeman was carrying a grenade, as we were told by the Ebonyi State Government, what is a lone, and indeed very low-level policeman doing with a military grade weapon in a civilian-populated area such as a secondary school with children? Is Afikpo in a state of war and are the school premises the theatre of war?
(2) Supposing we go by the line of the Ebonyi State police that the policeman was carrying teargas canister that exploded and killed him, the question is: What was a policeman doing alone in a peaceful school environment with a teargas that exploded and killed him? Was there a riot in that school envirinment that only him went to quell?
The Ebonyi State government and the Ebonyi State Command are twin evils and haven’t told Nigerians the whole truth and nothing but the truth and Nigerians should take their conclusion with a pinch of salt. We in HURIWA see the two accounts as very poor crafting of a badly delivered propaganda.
So, millions of Nigerians that have rationality do not believe it. So, this is why we are calling for an independent investigation by forensic investigators.
Because on our own what happened look like someone wants to bomb the school but the God of those school children that would have been bombed to death turned around and killed him instead. Nigerians await the real story.”
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BREAKING: Fire Guts Supreme Court
A section of the Supreme Court complex in Abuja, was gutted by fire on Monday morning.
It was learnt that the fire, which started around 7am, caused panic among staff members of the court who scampered to safety.
Though no human casualty was recorded, however, it was not clear whether sensitive documents and files were destroyed by the early morning fire at the court situated at the Three-Arm-Zone, Abuja.
It was learnt that the fire might have been caused by electrical malfunction in one of the offices within the administrative wing of the court.
The source confirmed that three offices, including that of Justice Mohammed Saulawa, was touched by the fire before it was eventually put off.
Abiodun Pays Tribute To Alaperu’s Late Wife, Harps On Enduring Legacies
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun has extolled the exemplary virtues of the late wife of the Alaperu of Iperu, Olori Kehinde Idowu Basibo-Odoru, describing her as a strong pillar for her husband and a unifying factor for the entire royal family while alive.
The late queen was born on April 23, 1962, and passed on at the age of 61 on 27th July 2023. Her funeral and thanksgiving service was held on Friday at the St. James Anglican Church, Iperu.
The governor, in his remarks, expressed his heartfelt condolences to the royal father, Alaiyeluwa, Oba Adeleke Idowu-Basibo, and the people of the town over the loss, as he prayed for necessary fortitude to carry on in her absence.
He recounted the enviable attributes of the late Olori while alive as bold, lovely and supportive; with passion to help those around her, adding that she would be sorely missed by her immediate family, the entire town of Iperu and Ogun State in general.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Ogun State, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to my brother, the Alaperu of Iperu, Oba Adeleke Idowu-Basibo, on the passing of his adorable wife.
“The late Olori was a friend and reliable companion to her husband till death. She was also a doting mother to her children. We are going to sorely miss her; may the good Lord repose her soul,” Abiodun said.
The governor counselled the congregation on the need to be fair to all in all ways while alive, to leave worthy legacies after death as exemplified by the late Queen.
He continued: “Life is a journey; we all have our exit points. We have no power over that, it is inevitable. What is important is what we do while we are here, what type of tribute would be written about you when you are no more.”
BREAKING: Govt Increases Salaries Of University Lecturers, Others
In a bid to improve the lot of tertiary education, the Federal Government has increased the salaries of the lecturers and non-academic staff in the nation’s public universities.
The increase was approved by the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
This includes payment of a newly approved percentage increment in salaries for academic and non-academic staff of all Federal Government’s tertiary institutions in the country.
This is as the percentage increment for junior staff of tertiary institutions was raised from 23.5% which was reviewed last year to 25%. Our correspondent gathered that the arrears of the increment from January 2023 will also be paid.
Though nothing was said about the withheld salaries of the academics and non-academics who embarked on strike in 2022, it was learnt that the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, earlier wrote the Chairman of the NSIWC, Ekpo Nta, to demand the status of the collective.
According to sources within the Ministry of Education, the decision of the minister to write the NSIWC might not be unconnected from visitations by some of the academic unions and intervention by some pressure groups.
When asked if polytechnic lecturers were aware of the new development, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said that the union heard of the news and were looking forward to the implementation.
“Definitely, we heard of it and we are looking forward to it. There will be 25% increment for junior lecturers while chief lecturers and professors will benefit from 35% increment,” he said.
The National Vice-President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Chris Piwuna, disclosed that such a letter would be addressed to the management of universities and not ASUU.
A letter by the Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the NSIWC, Eyo Nta, which was addressed to the Minister of Education on September 14,2023 shortly before his departure to the United Nations General Assembly in New York
tagged ‘RE: Implementation of the 35% and 23.5% salary increment for staff of tertiary institutions,’ reads: “I refer to your letter No. FME/IS/UNI/ASUU/C.I/IT?/90 dated 8th September 2023 in respect of the above-subject. Find attached the circulars pertaining to the four salary structures in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education for your information (attached).
“The 23.5% earlier reflected in our letter SWC/S/04/S.149/I/59 of 28 July 2022 and stated in paragraph 2 of your letter, has been increased to 25% which accounted for the increased cost implications. This Commission is really pleased with the success your informal discussions have achieved. We shall endeavour to support all your efforts aimed at repositioning the Education Sector. Please accept the assurances of my warm regards.”
Consequently, the commission proceeded to issue a circular also dated September 14, 2023 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation among others informing them of the implementation of the newly reviewed salaries.
The circular reads: “ The Presidential Committee on Salaries at its 13th meeting having taken into consideration the various stages of collective bargaining in various sectors, and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions, and consequent upon the Federal Government’s approval, as well as 2023 budgetary provisions, approval is hereby conveyed for the revision of the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for academic staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January 2023.”
Also, a letter from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation dated September 21, 2023 which was made available to our correspondent on Friday in Abuja confirmed the increment.
The letter which was signed on behalf of the Director, Human Resource of the office, Ajanaku F.O reads, “I am directed to inform you that the Presidential Committee on Salaries at it’s 13th meeting having taken into consideration the different stages of collective bargaining in various sectors and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions and consequently the Federal Government’s approval, is hereby conveyed as revised for the following:-
“Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure II for non-Academic Staff of Federal Universities, with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated Tertiary Education Institutions Salary Structure for non – Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January, 2023.
“Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure II (CONUASS II) for Academic Staff of Federal University with effect from 1st January, 2023.”
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