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ENDSARS

Lagos judicial panel rejects LCC’s request to take back Lekki Tollgate

LCC’s request to take back Lekki Tollgate has been rejected by the Lagos State judicial panel of inquiry.

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The Judicial Panel of Inquiry which was set up by the Lagos State Government to probe police brutality and the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos has turned down the request of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), the operators of the tollgate to take back possession of the tollgate.

While declining the request by LCC, the Chairman of the panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, in a short ruling on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, said the tollgate plaza would still remain closed.

READ: LCC strikes back, says many e-tag users owe money from February glitch

The judge said the panel might have a need to pay another visit to the tollgate plaza after watching the video footage from a surveillance camera submitted by the LCC on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

The legal counsel for LCC, Rotimi Seriki, had urged the panel to allow the firm to take over the tollgate plaza to evaluate the level of damage for the purpose of insurance claims.

READ: President Buhari to address Nigerians on Lekki toll plaza shootings after investigation 

Seriki was reinforcing an earlier request at the proceeding by the LCC Managing Director, Abayomi Omomuwa, who said save for last Friday when he led the panel on a visit to the toll plaza, the place had been inaccessible to LCC management.

Omomuwa pointed out that from what he saw during his last visit on Friday, it would take LCC not less than 6 months to fix the damages on the tollgate plaza as the level of destruction was so much.

READ: #EndSARS: Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to include Lekki toll gate incident – Sanwo-Olu

While answering a question on how soon the tollgate would resume operation, Omomuwa said, “Any projection made here will just be guesswork. When we went there that day, I saw the level of damage. The whole tolling system is completely destroyed. It will not take anything less than six months to fix. I want to plead that they let us have access so that we can process insurance.”

READ: #EndSARS: US should stand with Nigerian people to demand justice – US Senate leader

Reinforcing Omomuwa’s request, LCC lawyer, Seriki, said, “My humble request is that if the tribunal doesn’t have further need to visit the plaza, the LCC should be permitted to take back possession of the toll plaza for the purpose of evaluation of the damage and commence the process of carrying out necessary repairs.”

But ruling, Justice Okuwobi said the panel agreed that it was necessary for LCC to go and evaluate the level of damage, but we will not grant that access yet. The need may arise for the panel to revisit.

The panel chairman encouraged LCC to make the application after the panel must have watched the video footage submitted by the firm.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Business

ICPC Chairman reveals #EndSARS protests was financed with cryptocurrency

ICPC Chairman has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.

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School feeding, ICPC, FIRS moves to stop tax evasion with newly launched intelligence system 

The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.

This is as he said there are strong indications that it could be used to fund Insurgency in the country.

According to a report from Vanguard, this disclosure was made by the ICPC Chairman, during an interactive session with Senate Joint Committee on Banking, ICT, Cybercrime and Capital Market led by Senator Uba Sani on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

READ: ICPC uncovers N9.8 billion Government money hidden in Aso Savings

The Joint committee was mandated to look at the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban Cryptocurrency in Nigeria.

The ICPC boss while supporting the position of the CBN, said that the nature of operations of Cryptocurrency exposes it to money laundering and terrorism financing.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has said that the agency averted a $3million fraud linked to 20 bank accounts.

READ: ICPC moves against NDDC top management over corruption allegations, quizzes directors

Owasanoye further explained that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.

He brought the attention of the Senate to a period in 2018 when a number of globally rated financial institutions said their financial statements had been hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.

ICPC Chairman noted that the CBN as a regulator has the responsibility to ensure sound financial stability and it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the players are anonymous.

While sharing the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it does not know what it is, he urged the Lawmakers to as a matter of urgency, take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies.

READ: Most powerful financial leader takes side with CBN, says Bitcoin is untrustworthy

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the CBN had directed the financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of such persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
  • The apex bank warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
  • The latest directive is coming after the CBN had in 2018 stated that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and as such are illegal.

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ENDSARS

#OccupyLekkiTollGate: Lagos Attorney-General explains large police presence at Lekki toll gate

Lagos Attorney-General has stated that the State does not support the abuse of peaceful protesters.

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The Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo says that the reason for large numbers of policemen at the Lekki toll gate during Saturday’s protest was to prevent the protest from getting hijacked by hoodlums.

The Attorney-General of the State disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.

“Our duty is to face the dictate of the law.

“The state does not derive any joy from seeing people brutalized, but we must ensure that we have a society where law and order prevails and where everyone is free and secure to go about their businesses.

“Your right to protests only extends to where the other person’s freedom of association starts,” Onigbanjo said.

READ: #EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu presents Buhari report on Lagos destruction by hoodlums

He added that the State Government wanted to prevent any problems during the protests, citing Covid-19 regulations preventing the mass gathering of people and hoodlums hijacking the protests.

“I believe that was the desire of the state government yesterday that people can protests, but think about the Covid-19 regulations, the existing laws.

“We cannot afford the sort of vandalism we saw before, the state was genuinely apprehensive that hoodlums might take over a peaceful protest, we have seen this before. And that was why the police came out in large numbers that this did not degenerate the last time,” he added.

READ: #EndSARS: Freezing of accounts may trigger further protests – Tunde Bakare

What you should know 

Nairametrics reported over the weekend that Officers of the Nigerian Police Force arrested #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters at the Lekki toll gate on Saturday morning.

This was confirmed by multiple media images and videos on social media, showing the protesters being arrested and loaded inside police trucks and van, popularly known as Black Maria.

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