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Students target Apapa port after airport road blockade

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Students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, on Monday made good their threat to ground activities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos when they defied early morning downpour to block access roads to both the international and domestic terminals of the airport.

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The action was in continuation of their protests against the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

The blockage of the access roads left air passengers stranded, forcing airlines to reschedule most of their flights.

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The students, however, said that they will be taking their protest to Apapa Ports on Tuesday.

The association’s South West Coordinator, Adegboye Olatunji, disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Monday.

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“We will be moving to Apapa seaports on Tuesday if the Federal Government refuses to do the needful. Students are tired of staying at home,” Olatunji said.

As of 8am on Monday, NANS members stopped passengers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Toll gate plaza from accessing the airport to board their flights.

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The students later moved to the domestic airport, causing a standstill situation along the airport road and Mobolaji Bank Anthony Road leading to the local airport.

Activities were affected at both Domestic Terminal I also known as the General Aviation Terminal and Terminal II as the students prevented passengers from accessing the airport.

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The protesting students wielded placards with inscriptions such as ‘Our education is more important than your election’ and ‘Education is a right, open our schools,’ among others.

The blockage led to traffic gridlock around Ikeja environs as motorists and commuters were stranded.

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As the gridlock persisted, most commuters and air travellers resorted to trekking with their luggage on their heads.

There was also a heavy presence of security operatives at the location.

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The immediate past president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata was also caught up in the protest as he had to walk towards the Hajj Camp where he joined his driver.

Speaking to our correspondent, Akpata said he would have done the same if he was a student.

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“I was a student in this country, if I had sat at home for close to a year for whatever reason, I would be on the street,” he said.

Meanwhile, a mild drama played out when some military men later approached the protesting students, asking them to round off their protest. This was met with stiff resistance by the students who insisted on barricading the road for eight hours.

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The security operatives said the protesting students had exceeded the time they were meant to stay on the road.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Airport, Kayode Sunday, said “We had an agreement that they were going to leave the road by 2 pm, and they have exceeded the time. This is an international corridor. We are managing the situation and I believe they are going to vacate this place anytime from now.”

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A Deputy Senate President, NANS, Elvis Ekundina, said the government’s action was killing students gradually, saying many had become a nuisance to their families and society due to the strike.

Speaking on the conduct of security agencies during the protest, Olatunji said, “Securities agencies complied and I can say it’s the best I have ever witnessed. NPF and Nigerian Army all did well and were in solidarity with us.”

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The protest forced airlines to reschedule their flights.

Arik Air, in a notice of flight disruption cited by one of our correspondents, asked passengers who were affected to approach its contact centre to reschedule their flights.

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The notice titled ‘Notice of flight disruption due to NAS action,’ read in part, “Please be informed that you may experience disruptions to your flights, especially out of Lagos, due to the protest by the National Association of Nigerian Students. Should you want to reschedule your flight, kindly call our contact centre.”

The Kwara State Police Command on Monday said there was no plan by NANS members shut down the Ilorin International Airport.

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The command’s Public Relations Officer, Ajayi Okasanmi, in a statement said the state branch of NANS has assured the command that there is no such plan.

Okasanmi said the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Paul Odama, on hearing the news of the planned shutting down of the airport held a meeting with the president and some executive members of NANS in the state and they denied planning any protest.

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But the President of the Student Union Government, University of Ilorin, Taofeek Opeyemi, denied that student leaders in the state met with the police boss.

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After 138 days: Journalist detained for allegedly exposing Ogun state Gov, finally released

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Prince Olamilekan Hammed, blogger and publisher of Eagles Foresight has been released on bail after spending 138 days in detention.

His lawyer, Habeeb Whyte, confirmed his release to The PUNCH in a phone conversation.

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“Yes, he has been released. The case was struck out,” he said.

The journalist was detained by the DSS, also known as the State Security Service (SSS), on the orders of Dapo Abiodun.

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According to his lawyer, he was invited by the agency over a report he published exposing the criminal activities of Abiodun.

The Ogun State Command of the State Security Service (SSS) has arrested and detained blogger and publisher of eaglesforesight.com.ng, Prince Olamilekan Hammed (Lahbash) for reasons yet to be disclosed,” the lawyer had said in a statement.

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However, it was reported that Ogun State Government denied Governor Abiodun’s involvement in the blogger’s arrest and detention.

He was detained for publishing a story relating to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun’s credit card fraud in the United States of America.

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It was gathered that Hammed, who appeared before the Federal High Court 1, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, was released on Tuesday.

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Confusion as Court nullifies all PDP primaries in Ogun elections

governorship, Osun, campaign
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* Bars INEC from recognising
as governorship candidate

*Orders another primary in 14 days

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By Francesca Iwambe

A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, on has nullified all the primary elections conducted by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in choosing candidates for the 2023 general elections in the State.

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The presiding judge, Justice O. O Oguntoyinbo in his judgement ordered the party to conduct another primaries within the next 14 days.

The court also barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Hon. Ladi Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.

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The party had on May 25 conducted the primary election which produced Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party.

But three members of the party, Taiwo Olabode Idris, Kehinde Akala and Alhaji Ayinde Monsuri had dragged the party, Ladi Adebutu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court challenging the authenticity of the delegates’ lists used for the conduct of the primaries.

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The plaintiffs argued, the persons on delegates’ list used by electoral panel for the primaries were not democratically elected at the ward, local government and state congresses, hence the panel “cannot unilaterally or arbitrarily impose” the list on the party for the primaries.

The plaintiffs in their originating summons, had prayed the court among others to nullify or set aside the state congress/indirect primary election, held by the 1st defendant (PDP) on 25th of May, 2022 “for the purpose of choosing the candidate which the 1st Defendant intends to nominate/sponsor at the 2023 Governorship election in Ogun State based on the list of delegates who were not democratically elected at the ward congress.”

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They also sought an order directing the 2nd Defendant (INEC) “to disregard and/or refrain from giving effect to the results of the alleged 1st Defendant’s indirect primary election held on the 25th of May, 2022 based on the list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected at the ward congresses constituted by the 1st Defendant for that purpose”.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to the plaintiffs, Thaddeus Idenyi said, the court nullified the election “because it was conducted using a list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected.

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“The implication of the judgement is obvious, the PDP will have to put their house together and then conduct a fresh primary as ordered by the court.

“This time around, the court was specific that they have to use the list that has been certified by INEC because after the primary, those lists were submitted to INEC as parts of its report of covering those ward congresses held, so the court has now said that is the list which must be considered in the conduct of the fresh primaries, so the PDP had to just put their house together and use those lists to conduct a fresh primary.”

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The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Akinloye Bankole said, the party would study the judgement before any action is taken.

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Jubilation in Rivers as Wike receives aircraft abandoned in Germany

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By Francesca Iwambe

There was Jubilation in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday as governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said the recovery and eventual return of an asset of the State, Legacy 600 Aircraft, was a reality and not mere politics.

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The governor had earlier on Tuesday morning returned to Nigeria from London, where he had traveled to for an undisclosed reason, along with his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom.

Wike spoke after receiving the Legacy 600 aircraft that touched down on Tuesday at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre local government area of the State.

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He explained that it took intelligence report for his administration to discover such asset, owned by the state government.

“The immediate past administration flew the aircraft to far away Germany, without any record of it made available to his administration.

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“To the glory of God, the plane is back and Rivers people can see, Nigerians can see. It is not that we are playing politics. All we are saying, we never knew, nobody told us until we got intelligence that we have this asset somewhere”, he said.

Wike recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili-led administration to serve the interest of Rivers people, but was abandoned with the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany by the Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi-led administration since 2012.

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The governor said: “What is very important to all of us here today is that when we came into power in 2015, nobody handed over any report or gave us handover note to let us know where such asset of the State was, only for us to hear in 2019 that this asset is somewhere.”

He said that because air transportation is a more technical area, great care was taken to put the Legacy 600 Aircraft into its best form to undertake air travel effectively.

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Wike stated that so much money was expended by the state government on the aircraft, money that would have gone into other development projects if his administration had known of the Aircraft quite early.

“In fixing the aircraft, certificate of air worthiness issued by the Nigerian government, was secured for the aircraft to return to Nigeria.

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“Of course, we did everything we could do and we told Nigerians that by the grace of God we will not allow this asset to go that way. We must return it for the people of the State to decide what they are going to do with it.

“I am so elated that at the end of the day, all of our struggles are not in vain. I thank Rivers people for the support. I thank the Rivers State House of Assembly for the support. I thank the Executive for the support.

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“But for their support, it would not have been possible to spend the money we spent. If you hear the money we spent, it’s money that would have been put in other development projects if we were told on time of it.”

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