By Agency Report
Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty to the eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide filed against him in a Kaduna High Court.Justice Gideon Kurada took the plea of the IMN leader at the resumed hearing of the motion in a no-case-submission filed by El-Zakzaky on Aug. 7.J
ustice Kurada had, however, fixed Sept. 29, for ruling in the motion, after counsel to the defendant, Abubakar Marshall, holding the brief for Femi Falana, SAN, asked the court to quash the charges preferred against El-Zakzaky by the government for not “disclosing an offence known to law contrary to sections 36 (8) and (12) of the 1999 constitution as amended”.
At the resumed sitting, Kurada again reserved ruling in the motion until hearing in the substantive suit.Also, the Judge, after taking the plea of the defendant adjourned until Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 to enable the prosecution present it’s witnesses.
The IMN leader filed the motion seeking the court to quash the State government’s case against him for lack of evidence.The IMN leader and his wife Zinat are standing trial on allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges.
Mr Dari Bayero, who led the prosecution, told reporters shortly after the hearing, that the State has assembled more than 20 witnesses to give evidence before the court.
Bayero said personnel of Nigerian Army and that of the Nigeria Police were among witnesses assembled to give evidence in the case against the defendant.
The IMN leader and his wife Zinat are standing trial on allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges.
Abubakar Marshall, counsel to the defendant, holding brief for Falana, also told reporters shortly after the adjournment that his motion on no-case submission had been reserved until the end of hearing in the main suit.
He said that his client had taken a not-guilty-plea and ” we are waiting for the prosecution to present it’s witnesses”.(NAN)
Policemen Assault Journalist in Delta
A journalist with the Vanguard newspapers was on Saturday morning, assaulted by policemen attached to the Ovwian/Aladja Police Division in the Udu council area of Delta state.
The journalist, Akpokona Omafuaire, claimed that after presenting his identity card, he was pounced upon by the eight operatives led by one Sergeant Godspower, who reportedly hit him with a machete.
He said his car was also vandalized in the process.
According to Omafuaire, he was on his way for an official assignment, when he met a roadblock.
“I was driving out of my street. They blocked near my street entrance, that I cannot go out. I told them I am a journalist and showed them my ID card.
“Before I knew it, they started attacking me, about eight of them and that I can go and write whatever I liked. I begged them to allow me to pass but Sergeant Godspower refused and harassed me.
“His other colleagues joined him and he (Sergeant Godspower) cut my back with a machete, saying we journalists are supporting the #EndSARS protesters. They vandalized my car. I don’t know what to do now,” Omafuaire stated.
In a swift reaction, the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has condemned the attack on the Vanguard reporter.
In a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Comrades Michael Ikeogwu and Patrick Ochei respectively, the Union called on the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Hafiz Inuwa, to immediately fish out the policemen involved in the molestation of the journalist and sanction them.
The NUJ further reminded the CP that journalists are part of those on essential duty as enunciated and clarified by the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in his address while declaring the 48 hours curfew to restore sanity in the state after hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS Protest.
“Journalists should not be objects of attacks by the police while carrying out their legitimate functions. The #EndSARS protesters are attacking journalists and media houses and at the same time, the police are assaulting us. Where do we run to?
“We insist that the Police Commissioner must fish out Sergeant Godspower and other accomplices in this show of extreme power, otherwise we will sever ties with the police in the State,” parts of the statement read.
It also cautioned the Police to leave journalists out of their quagmire, positing that Nigeria is in this dire situation today because of police recklessness and brutality.
Access Bank Announces N50b Interest-free Loan For Businesses
Access Bank has announced N50 billion in support of Nigerians through interest-free loans and grants to support communities, the youths as well as micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
The bank posted this on its official LinkedIn page.
It said the move was to support businesses following the crippling COVID-19 lockdown as well as the looting and arson that trailed the #ENDSARS protests.
According to the bank; “Now more than ever, we remain committed to our purpose of impacting lives positively.
” In light of the recent occurrences, we will be supporting Nigerian businesses with N50billion interest-free loans and grants. Watch this space for more information.”
The support by Access Bank is expected to help business owners and entreprenuers alleviate and stimulate economic activities, as well as produce many positive multiplier effects on the economy.
“As a way of supporting SMEs and the working class of the country following the recent damage of properties and livelihoods experienced across the nation, @myaccessbank has rolled out interest free loans of up to N50bn.
“The fund is expected to serve as a kickstart to these affected communities, people and businesses. #AccessCares #All4One,” the bank added.
#EndSARS: Eagles Should Boycott AFCON Qualifiers, Says Ogu
Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu has called on his national teammates to boycott next month’ s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone in protest against the government ’ s attitude towards its citizens.
The game is billed to hold November 9 in Nigeria with the reverse fixture in Freetown a week later .
There ’ve been ongoing mass protests in the last two weeks in the country , with the youths agitating for police reforms, following extortion and extrajudicial killings by the dreaded Special Anti – Robbery Squad unit of the police force .
Several lives have been lost in the protests , and Ogu , 32 , believes the boycott will “ make a statement ” for the lives that have been lost during the protests across several parts of the country .
Ogu told BBC World Football , “ What is the point in representing the country if this is what the politicians , the people we’ re representing, can do to us?
“ I feel like this is the best thing to do right now until they get back to their senses and listen to us.
“ We want a good government , the police brutality to stop , we want the SARS to stop , we want the killings to stop , we want good laws , we want job opportunities. It ’s just crazy.
“ I believe most of my colleagues understand where I am coming from , I wish we could do this . There are games coming up and if we boycott these games , I’ m sure they will know we ’ve made a statement .
“ I haven’ t really spoken to any of my team -mates about this . They feel for the people here, their loved ones , those that have died. I ’m sure the players are aware . ”
“ I don’ t know ( whether there will be a boycott ) . I don’ t know what is in the heart of the other boys . I’m sure everyone is thinking about this now . We have a match next month. If this thing continues to next month we won ’ t play .
“ How can I go to the national team to represent my country , to represent the government and the people when I think of the lost souls of those who have been killed?”
“ In Lagos , it ’s brutal now ; burning banks , cars , police stations . It ’s dangerous to go out . The country is in shambles .
“I ’ ve been in protests six or seven times . It ’ s always peaceful .”