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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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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

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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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500 jobs could be lost if toll gate is not reopened – LCC

LCC, operators of the Lekki Toll Gate stated that they are “also a victim” of the EndSARS crisis.

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The Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has appealed to leaders of movements planning a protest at its destroyed Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza to give peace a chance.

Last weekend’s decision by the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry to return the Tollgate to the LCC had generated strong reactions from youth movements with a group threatening to occupy it and another pledging to defend it.
Speaking at a Press Conference at its head office on Thursday, Managing Director of the LCC, Yomi Omomuwasan, explained that the company had refrained from commenting since the unfortunate event of October 20, 2020, because it realised that “tempers were high, and truth had become a major casualty.”

The MD, who empathised with individuals and businesses that suffered losses, said that as a peace-loving organisation and also an institutional victim, it was distressed that more protests would hold at the Toll Plaza.

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

He explained that the LCC approached the Judicial Panel of Inquiry to return the Tollgate to it in good faith and stem its losses.

Omomuwasan said: “To set the records straight, LCC never prevented the protesting Nigerian youths from occupying our plaza before the unfortunate incident of Tuesday, October 20, 2020, even as we incurred huge losses from the forced closure of the facility by the protesters who chose to make our facility their protest ground.

“It was in a bid to halt further losses, especially given our subsisting financial commitments to local and foreign lenders, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), that we approached the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry for permission to repossess our facilities.”

He added that the LCC requested the Toll gate’s return to evaluate the damages, process insurance claims, and rebuild the burnt facilities before the commencement of operations to continue to fulfil its loan repayment and other financial obligations.

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

“We want to place on record that we cooperated fully with the Panel and made a strong representation through our lawyers concerning the return of our assets, a request the Panel graciously granted on Saturday, February 6, 2021.

“We are distressed by the reactions the decision of the Panel has elicited from some members of the public and their resolve to again forcefully take over the already destroyed Plaza on Saturday 13, January 2021.”

The MD, who appealed to well-meaning Nigerians from across the divide to sheath their swords and give peace a chance, said the LCC is “also a victim of the unfortunate circumstance.”

LCC, he reiterated, “had nothing to do with the protest against police brutality, which was the central point of the youth agitation. As an organisation, we were unlucky to have been caught in the web,”

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READ: US embassy shuts down consulate in Lagos over violent #EndSARS protests

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He said that the LCC, incorporated as a special purpose vehicle to build, operate and maintain the Eti-Osa Lekki Toll Road under a 30-year concession, is the first successful PPP intervention in road infrastructure in Nigeria.

Omomuwasan noted that not returning to full operations within the shortest possible time would result in loss of jobs for the LCC’s over 500 direct staff and thousands of others across its business value chain.

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“We appeal to the leaders of the protest movement to cooperate with us as we gradually restore and commence operations. To every sored heart and scared body, we at LCC ask for divine comfort and speedy healing. As we grieve together, let us find warmth in the embrace of one another with a common resolve to rebuild a better Lagos upon the ashes of our yesterday,” he said

Omomuwasan disclosed that despite the tolls not being operational since October 2020, LCC has continued to render essential services including free 24/7 emergency assistance, and vehicle breakdown and recovery services to all road users.

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