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Amnesty International urges federal government to issue moratorium against executions



Amnesty International has called on the federal government to issue a legally binding official moratorium against executions as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty in the country.
It said this will be in line with global trends.
The country director of the civic group, Osai Ojigho, said this during a launch of Amnesty International Global Report titled “Death sentences and Executions 2017” in Abuja on Thursday.
According to her, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind and must show a great commitment for protecting lives and ensuring that the criminal justice system is fair.
She said there is need for reforming the judiciary in order to strengthen the system.
“Nigeria imposed the highest number of death sentences in the sub-Saharan Africa region in 2017,” she said, with 621 people sentenced to death.
She said Amnesty International believes that these death penalties are retrogressive, unjustifiable as there is no evidence to suggest the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishment
“In our reports, it is obvious that executions are reducing and death sentences with death penalty is also reducing but the reverse is the case in few countries in the world and unfortunately Nigeria is among those countries with increasing rate in death sentences and the potential for death penalty is still a risk many people face in the country.”
She said it is essential for the federal government to invest in security agencies on the use of technology in the prevention of crime thereby limiting people going through the justice system that is weak, which can be described as discriminatory against the poor and the vulnerable.
Similarly, Damian Ugwu, a researcher with the group said 2285 people were on death row as at December 31, 2017 which includes four foreign nationals.
According to him, Nigeria recorded no known executions in 2017 as compared to 2016 where it executed three death row inmates, although, 621 people were sentenced to death in 2017 compared to 527 in 2016.
Mr Ugwu said death penalty is discriminatory and often used against the most vulnerable in society which includes the poor, ethnic and religious minorities and people with mental disabilities.
“Some government use it to silence their opponents. Where justice system are flawed and unfair trials rife, the risk of executing an innocent person is ever present and when death penalty is carried out, it is final. Mistakes that are made cannot be unmade. An innocent person may be released from prison for a crime they did not commit, but an execution can never be reversed,” he said.
But a legal practitioner, Olayinka Ogunmodimu, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday evening, said death penalty should not be totally abolished.
“Once someone is found guilty of a capital offence, the governor should not have the discretion of choosing whether or not to sign. Death penalty should not be abolished. Once a life have been taken, the punishment can only reduce from death sentence to life imprisonment,” Mr Ogunmodimu said.
“By Nigerian law, the death penalty will serve as justice for someone who has taken the life of another but the disadvantage is that most governors refuses to sign death warrants by the reason of values, culture and beliefs as they prefer the inmates to die a natural death.”
He said Nigeria lacks effective legal system that can quickly dispense justice without considering factors like favouritism, power among others while noting that the judiciary system needs to be strengthened.
“A crime can be prosecuted in Nigeria for 20 years but (that) cannot happen in a developed country. The only case in Nigeria’s legal system in which you can know the starting and finishing is election petition and it is because the law have said that it must start and finish within 180 days,” he said.
“It is a matter of here and there, when you look at event around you, one might have to agree with existing laws in which death penalty is part of the punishment but Amnesty International is right to say that in most cases, most people at the back end of the law are always victims of the law. Let us look at the case of Offa, will we say death penalty is not an option if the offenders were captured?” Ola Adeosun, a legal practitioner and political analyst said
Mr Adeosun said the law should be reviewed that the manner of offence should be put into consideration before pronouncing death penalty.
“Someone who robbed with a toy gun, blade and knife if arrested, prosecuted and found guilty will be sentence to death, for me it is too harsh. The manner of the offence should be put into consideration but there are some people who are serial murderers and since there are no forests to keep them, such people should be taken out legally,” he said.
He said most leaders in African countries sign all kinds of treaties without reading them, which is the problem the country faces in domesticating most international treaties.
Amnesty International is a world-embracing movement working for the protection of human rights. It is independent of all governments and is neutral in its relation to political groups, ideologies and religious dividing lines.


We have been generous to all 36 states of Nigeria’ — Osinbajo



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Buhari-led Government has been generous to all 36 states within the Federation.

Osinbajo said this in Imo State on Thursday, while addressing a crowd at the commissioning of Mother and Child Hospital located in the State‘s capital, Owerri.

At the commissioning exercise where he represented President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo noted that the series of projects executed by Governor Rochas Okorocha, are laudable but it won’t be out of place to point out that the Federal Government has been good to Imo and every other state in the country.

“The Federal Government has been extremely generous not just in Imo State but all other states,” the Vice President said.

Osinbajo thanked the First Lady of the state for being the inspiration for the Mother and Child Project which would be of great benefit to expectant mothers and children.

He also said that the hospital project encapsulates the passion of Governor Okorocha for people of the state especially those who cannot afford many of the services and things that will make them comfortable.

The Vice President commended the project and the many initiatives of Okorocha, noting that if governors are sincere to themselves, they will be able to deliver the dividends of democracy to their people.

“The Federal Government and indeed the APC family are proud of you. By what you have achieved, it is possible for governors to develop their respective states without looking for assistance from the Federal Government.”

On his part, Governor Okorocha thanked Professor Yemi Osinbajo who had earlier visited the state to commission other projects.

Okorocha said there are more projects to be commissioned and hoped that when called upon the Presidency would as always show support.

Some of the recent projects commissioned in Imo State include the Sam Mbakwe Airport, New Police Headquarters and Mother and Child Hospital, all located in the state capital, Owerri.

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Presidential Election Tribunal: What Buhari told court about Justice Bulkachuwa before she stepped down



The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, has told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that he was not aware that biological son of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, Aliyu Haidar Abubakar, campaigned for him during the electioneering period.
According to the President, he only got to know that Abubakar was his supporter after he read a copy of the motion the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

PDP and Atiku had filed the motion to disqualify Justice Bulkachuwa from presiding over the five-man panel tribunal that is hearing petitions challenging the declaration that he won the February 23 presidential election.

Buhari, who is the 2nd Respondent in Atiku and PDP’s petition marked CA/PEPT/02/19, claimed that his attention was further drawn to exhibits that contained newspaper cuttings, indicating that Justice Bulkachuwa son canvassed for votes in his favour.

However, in his 11-paragraphs written address he filed to support affidavit he lodged to counter Atiku’s motion, President Buhari, insisted that the petitioners failed to prove that Justice Bulkachuwa had in any way, exhibited any form of bias against them since the petition was entered before the tribunal.

Buhari’s affidavit was deposed to by one Kolawole Andrew Aro, a litigation officer in the chambers of President Buhari’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN.

Buhari, who was represented at the tribunal on Wednesday by a team of lawyers led by seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, told the Tribunal that he had since his emergence to power, refrained from dabbling into the membership of any judicial panel.

President Buhari said he never interfered with the constitution of any tribunal, “whether the panel is adjudicating on election petitions relating to the office of President, Governor, National or State Assembly, or sitting in any civil or criminal matter howsoever.”

He maintained that Atiku and the PDP, had no reason whatsoever to be apprehensive about the involvement of the Court of Appeal President in the adjudication of their dispute with regards to the outcome of the 2019 presidential election.

He said: “Having said that, and bearing in mind the sole issue distilled for determination by the respondent supra, it is the Respondent’s humble submission that whether or not the honourable President of the Court of Appeal should rescue herself from further sitting or participating in the proceedings in this petition and be replaced by another justice of this honourable court to sit in his place to hear and determine petition, as prayed by the petitioners, is within the prerogative and discretion of the honourable President of the Court of Appeal.

“What is to be taken into consideration in coming to one decision or the other in respect of the application is also within the exclusive discretion of the honourable President.

“This is not a decision that can be dictated to her by either the petitioners or respondent or any of their counsel.

“When it comes to matter of discretion, the judge or justice involved is the sole determinant.

“The honourable President of the Court of Appeal had not displayed any bias in favour of any or the parties, particularly the Respondent.

“For the respondent, it has no reason whatsoever to complain about any of the justices sitting on the panel or any Justices of Court of Appeal for that matter.

“It is not the constitutional responsibility of the Respondent to appoint or nominate Justices of the Court of Appeal sitting or adjudicating on a presidential election petition.

“We submit that the Respondent has no say, in whatsoever manner, in the appointment or Justices who are adjudicating on the present presidential election petition.

“As the Chief Executive of Nigeria, the Respondent respects the doctrine of separation of powers and does not dabble into the membership of any judicial panel, whether the panel is adjudicating on election petitions relating to the office of President, Governor, National or State Assembly, or sitting in any civil or criminal matter howsoever.

“The Respondent was not at any time privy to the said exhibits, he only became aware of them on being served with the Petitioners’ present application”.

“May we submit that from the totality of the Petitioners’ processes, we notice that the Petitioners do not deny the truism as provided by the constitution, regarding the prerogative of the President of the Court of Appeal, to constitute this panel.

“In other words, it is still within the constitutional prerogative of the same President to either decided whether to recuse herself and if he does, to nominate or appoint a replacement or to leave the panel of four, having regard to the clear provision of section 239(1) (a) of the Constitution”, President Buhari added.

On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which is the 1st Respondent in the matter, through its team of lawyers comprising five SANs led by Mr. Yunuz Uztaz, urged the tribunal to dismiss Atiku and PDP’s motion, contending that it was in breach of section 42 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. INEC, argued that the motion was discriminatory in the sense that it sought to disqualify Justice Bulkachuwa on the basis that she was married to a politician.

Noting that many male judicial officers are equally married to politicians, INEC, maintained that granting the instant application would set ”a very dangerous precedent”.

“My lord we vehemently oppose the application. And we have filed a five-paragraphed affidavit to show that exhibit 2 to 4 that was attached my the petitioners, is of no moment.

“We urge your lordship not to be lured into accepting or succumbing to the argument of the petitioners. We humbly urge your lordship to dismiss the application”, INEC’s lawyer added.

Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, through its team of nine SANs, led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, accused the PDP and Atiku of engaging in “cheap blackmail”.

While adopting its 15-paragraphed affidavit, the APC, said it was appalled that PDP was in the habit of engaging in “unpardonable and regrettable attacks” on Judges, saying it did so during a governorship election petition case that involved Osun State.

“This application is nothing but cheap blackmail. On facts and law, the application is most unmeritorious”, Fagbemi argued. Nevertheless, noting that Justice Bulkachuwa will retire by next year, Fagbemi, while concluding his argument, said, “My lord, we urge you to lead the matter”.

Meanwhile, replying on point of law, counsel to the petitioners, Dr. Uzuokwu, SAN, argued that none of the Respondents disputed the allegation that Justice Bulkachuwa was connected to key members of the APC which is the 3rd Respondent in the matter.

However, DAILY POST reported that the judge stepped down shortly after Buhari’s claims.

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Atiku vs Buhari: Why I stepped down – Justice Bulkachuwa



The Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has rescued herself from participating in adjudicating petitions challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has rescued herself from participating in adjudicating petitions challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Zainab, who is also the President of the Appeal Court made the announcement on Wednesday in Abuja after the tribunal had delivered ruling against an application challenging her membership of the tribunal.

On why she stepped down, she said: ”I have allowed the ruling on the application urging me to rescue my membership of the tribunal to test the position of the law.
“Now that the application has been dismissed on account of incompetence, I hereby announce my withdrawal from the panel.

“The remaining four members of the panel would remain while step would be taken to appoint my replacement’’, she said.

Recall that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate in the Feb.23 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had approached the tribunal to challenge Bulkachuwa’s membership.

They prayed the tribunal to order the discharge of the chairman of the tribunal.

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Nnamdi Kanu Raises Alarm Over Arrest Of IPOB Members In Enugu Today



The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has raised an alarm over some people allegedly arrested by the army in Enugu on Wednesday (today).

Kanu, who said he was putting the world on notice over the arrest called on the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai to release those his men arrested.

He also told the CAS to rather focus on “the banditry, kidnapping, murder, mayhem, land grabbing, ethnic cleansing, illegal gold mining and extortion rackets ravaging his Fulani controlled North.”

The IPOB leader used the micro-blogging site Twitter to pass his message while also sharing a video of the alleged arrest.

Kanu leads the IPOB which has been at the forefront of the agitation for an independent state of Biafra. The group had been involved in so many squabbles with the Nigerian security operatives in the past and had since been proscribed by the Nigerian government.

The recent development might not be unconnected with the tension building up in many parts of the South East ahead of the sit-at-home order by IPOB on May 30.

Below is Kanu’s tweet:

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Just in!! Atiku vs Buhari: Appeal Court President Justice Bulkachuwa steps down



Appeal Court President Justice Zainadine Bulkachuwa has recused herself from Presidential Election Tribunal on Thursday, NAN reports.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has insisted that she step down in their petition against the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Recall that the Access to Justice had also in a statement on by its Convener, Joseph Otteh, stated that Bulkachuwa is been married to a Senator-elect of the ruling All Progressives Congress (PDP), Mohammed Bulkachuwa.

Otteh’s statement read: “Of late, there have been strong speculations that the Buhari government is heavily invested in efforts to achieve the best possible outcomes from electoral courts in any election litigation involving the ruling party through any means possible.

“Many believe this is the reason the government worked hand in glove with the Code of Conduct Tribunal and removed Justice Walter Onnoghen from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria applying bizarre legal procedures. The dust has not settled from that incident.

“The Court of Appeal President, Hon. Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa is married to a Senator of the ruling APC and she has not publicly denied this claim. We note that the Court of Appeal President is not however sitting on an election petition involving her spouse personally but that involving her spouse’s political party and platform.

In ordinary circumstances, there would be no question of whether the President of the Court of Appeal can, or should participate in tribunals adjudicating election petitions involving her spouse’s party. But these are no ordinary or normal times.

“The Nigerian judiciary is facing very heightened levels of public scrutiny, and the performance of some judicial bodies have raised red flags concerning judicial independence and integrity. There are now far more than normal anxieties about the Judiciary’s strength of character.

“Many keen observers of the Judiciary are already worried that the Judiciary has been overawed by the government given, particularly, the example of the bizarre way the removed Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was “guillotined” by a supposedly “judicial” body.

“Given the present context, it may be difficult for judicial officers to bank on the moral capital of the Judiciary as an institution as a basis of comfort when they sit on cases where some familial, fiduciary or other interests are implicated, for the stock value of that capital has descended a few notches over time and survives mostly through its clichés than its substance.”

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Former Johnathan’s Aide Finally Reacts To His Arrest In US Amidst Uncertainty



Dr. Kingsley Kuku, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Johnathan on Niger Delta Affairs has finally refuted the viral report that he was arrested in the United States of America.

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The former aide who was the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme stated that the news is a figment of the imagination of both those that originated it

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In a press statement by Yemi Akintomide,spokesman to the former presidential aide he advised his friends, business and political associates to disregard the story and those propagating it as it is capable of heating the polity.

The press statements reads below.

“In the last forty eight
hours, the social media has been awash with an evil story of the arrest of Dr. Kingsley Kuku.

It was orchestrated by a blogger whose main stock in trade is blackmail and extortion of politicians and top public servants. His platform is not credible and therefore does not require us wasting time on him.

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“As a matter of fact, there are so many such bloggers in the social media space who daily, churn out fake and unsubstantiated stories. We urge the public to disregard the story as it is completely false.

“We are using this medium to advise all those who wish to indulge in this brand of irresponsible journalism to desist from it. Those who wish to practice journalism should do so in line with ethical standards.

Image result for Dr. Kingsley Kuku and jonathan“This descent into outright falsehood with the intention to blackmail and extort is not only ridiculous but very pedestrian. We shall not hesitate to take legal action against such persons and their platforms, if only to make them comply with minimum standards prescribed by law and the journalism profession.

“It would be recalled that Dr. Kingsley Kuku served Nigeria meritoriously as SAPND/Chairman of PAP for four years. Kuku and his competent team complemented our security infrastructure significantly in the Niger Delta and helped to raise Nigeria’s revenue base as well as saved the world trillions of dollars.

“He deserves commendation, not blackmail or political persecution. Once again, we urge all our friends at home and in the Diaspora to disregard the news of Kuku’s arrest, because it is not true but rather a political hatchet man’s job.”

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Leah Sharibu spends another birthday in Boko Haram custody



Exactly one year ago, Leah Sharibu, the only Christian among the 112 female students kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents in Yobe clocked 15 then – her first birthday since being frisked away. There were no cakes nor birthday songs. Just horror.

Another May 14 is here and that dark moment is on repeat. This time, Sharibu is 16 and, just like in 2018, she won’t be celebrating that milestone as a free girl. There is not even the luxury of spending time with family and friends — the least she could ask for.

Sharibu was abducted alongside some other girls from Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe state, on February 19, 2018. All the girls who were captured were subsequently released, except five who reportedly died in detention, but Sharibu was held back for “refusing to renounce her faith”.

Tuesday makes it a year and three months after her kidnap; a year and three months of living in fear, sorrow and anguish. She is somewhere enveloped in fear, in the company of the same persons that took her away from her friends and family; from every good thing.


In August last year,  a recording of Shaariibuu begging the president to come to her rescue and reunite her with her family was obtained

She had said: “I am Leah Sharibu, the girl that was abducted in GGSS Dapchi. I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation.

“I also plead to the members of the public to help my mother, my father, my younger brother and relatives. Kindly help me out of my predicament. I am begging you to treat me with compassion, I am calling on the government, particularly, the president to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”

Shortly after the other girls were released, President Muhammadu Buhari had promised his government would not abandon her.

“The lone Dapchi girl, Leah, will not be abandoned … President Buhari assures the Sharibu family that he will continue to do all he can to ensure that they also have cause to rejoice with their daughter soon,” a statement from Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, had read.

Since then, Buhari has continued to restate his commitment in bringing her home.

After alleged neglect from government officials, the president  called Leah’s mother in October last year and promised her the daughter would return peacefully.

But the waiting game continues.

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Herdsmen taking over South-west — Yoruba group cries out



A pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation, has raised the alarm over alleged taking over of states in the South West region by some people suspected to be herdsmen.
The group made this known via a statement sent to the current and governors-elect in the region, a copy, which was obtained by DAILY POST on Monday.
There are six states that make up of the South West region. They are Oyo Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos.
Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation in the statement sent to the Governors and Governors-elect, urged the chief executive officers in the states to be vigilant, stating that the entire region has been surrounded by criminals from within and outside the shores of Nigeria who pretend to be herdsmen.
The group called on the governors to rise above partisan interest and take actions aimed towards safeguarding their people against internal and external aggressions, stressing that posterity and history would never forgive any of them who, for the sake of party politics, stare helplessly while their land is annexed.
In the statement signed by Otunba Deji Osibogun (Convener) and Senator Tokunbo Ogunbanjo (Trustee), the group urged the governors to as a matter of urgency, call for an emergency meeting and invite relevant stakeholders to take a common position on how Yoruba Nation will be protected against attacks.
The group said, “We say with all sense of responsibility and without any fear or intimidation devoid of sensationalism that the entire Yoruba Land has been encircled by external criminals masquerading as Herdsmen. Empirical intelligence available to us has it that these criminals who are mainly from Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto and some West African Countries, are being dropped daily in Yoruba Land by Heavy Duty Trucks.
“Presently, these criminals are in multitude living inside forest in Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State; Ido/Osi, Ikole, Oye, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ijero and Efon-Alaaye areas of Ekiti State; Obafemi Owode, Remo and Ayetoro-Imeko in Ogun State; Ife/Ijesha in Osun state and Akoko-Owo-Akure land in Ondo state, pretending to be Herdsmen who rear cows during the day but investigations conducted by our intelligence team have it that these criminals are responsible for 80% of the recent reported cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in Yoruba Land.
“Recently, some Farmers in Imeko, Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State were attacked by these hoodlums and even killed a Police DCO and an Inspector who dare challenged them.
“Deyoruwa, a village in Isara-Remo, Ogun State was completely exterminated by these criminals because the villagers resisted them. School, Church and 25 buildings were totally burnt down without resistance despite that a police post is less than 2 kilometres to the village.
“A Canadian, Jurgis Morris was kidnapped recently at this same Deyoruwa Junction, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Isara-remo, Ogun State in April. The victim claimed to have paid N2.5million to regain his freedom from the Herdsmen who railroaded him and his wife into the bush and later released his wife, a Nigerian to go look for money to secure his release.
“On May 5th, an orthopaedic Surgeon from Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile/Ife identified as Professor Adeyinka Adegbehingbe, was kidnapped while on his way to Ile-Ife in the company of his wife, Victoria. Also, an Ibadan-based senior lawyer, Musibau Adetunmbi was on April 16th 2019, kidnapped at Iwaraja junction, Osun State while on his way to attend a court session in Akure.
“Our on the spot assessment reports have it that at least, five people who are mostly farmers are kidnapped daily in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State. We were also informed that Herdsmen are already threatening to crown an Emir at Iseyin, Igbeti and Otu in Oke-Ogun.
“The Baale of Apese, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, Chief Razak Olaseinde Adamson was on April 28, 2019 kidnapped within his community. Also, a Director in Lagos State Fire Srvice, Mr. Rasaki Musibau was on April 7th 2019 kidnapped along Itokin-Epe road.
“The Chairman, Ikosi-Ejinrin Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Mr. Ajijedidun Samson Adebisi and the Vice-Chairman, Lekki LCDA (name with-held) were both unlucky as they were kidnapped along this deadly Itokin-Epe road in the month of March, an indication that the commercial nerves of Nigeria has been enclosed.”
“Consequently, we call on all Governors in Yoruba Land, including the incoming ones, to as a matter of urgency, set machinery in motion to ensure that these criminals are flushed out from all forest in South West through formulation of policies that will protect and safeguard their people from attacks.
“To start with, we suggest that all heavy duty trucks and trailers coming into Yoruba Land are thoroughly searched at border towns before they are allowed in. All herdsmen in Yoruba Land must be duly registered, wear jacket/uniform and their thumbprint taken. Additional intelligence made available to us has it that these criminals are now penetrating into Lagos State under the guise of riding commercial motorcycle whereas, they are digging for information to be delivered to their partners in crime.
“We, therefore, suggest that a law is enacted to ensure that all Okada riders operating in Lagos State be registered at designated centres across the state with their Bank Verification Numbers and thumb-printing taken. Jacket with registration number must be issued to them after meeting all requirements and payment of registration fees done. Thus, anyone riding commercial motorcycles in Lagos state without uniform will be taken as a criminal who must be arrested and charged into court in accordance with edit law.”

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