‘Banning #EndSARS Protests Is A Gross Infringement Of Nigerians’ Rights’ – Weekly Quotes

 

Rights have often been termed the most important characteristics of democracy and they are a defining identifier of what nations are truly free.

Freedoms, however, cannot exist without checks, for by doing so, one may infringe on the rights of others. Hence, the need for laws and the tenets as enshrined within the constitution.

Drawing a line between the people’s rights and the upholding of laws tends to have been the bane of what was experienced in the passing, and might as well be for a few more days to come especially as the new week marks the anniversary of the #EndSARS movement.

While there are propositions to hold another match in honour of those who lost their lives last year, the authorities have warned against such an initiative, fearing that things might degenerate as they did the last time.

As with all debates regarding rights, the issue of infringements was a major theme explored by thought leaders in Nigeria and across the globe, last week.
Here are some quotes from various engagements at different occasions; when pieced together, these sayings give a perfect sense of what the pressing issues are both here in the country and across the world.

1. “Lagosians and indeed Nigerians cannot afford to relive the distasteful experience of last year’s protest which caused pain, anguish, needless loss of lives and wanton destruction of public and private property.”

Police in Lagos State have warned against planned protests in commemoration of last year’s #EndSARS protests.

#EndSARS: Police Vow To ‘Suppress Planned Protests’ In Lagos

2. “The police’s stance is “illegal as they constitute a gross infringement of the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly guaranteed by sections 38 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution as well as articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.”

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, says the police lacks the power to ban public protests in Nigeria.

Police Cannot Ban #EndSARS Protests – Falana

3. “Restructuring is possible without violence”

Pastor Tunde Bakare says although Nigeria is better off as one nation, such unity must be based on equity, justice, fair play and the rule of law.

Restructuring Possible Without Violence, Zoning Debate Immature – Bakare

4. “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened.”

“Star Trek” actor William Shatner speaks about his experience after finally becoming a real space traveler on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission, making him the oldest person to reach space.

Shatner Becomes Oldest Person To Reach Space

5. “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”

Britain’s Prince William ignites controversy by blasting space tourism and saying that more attention should be paid to problems closer to home ahead of the COP26 climate summit.

Fix Earth Instead, Prince William Tells Space Tourists

6. “We’re… facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”

Microsoft announced the shutdown of career-oriented social network LinkedIn in China, citing a “challenging operating environment” as Beijing tightens control over tech firms.

Microsoft Shuts Down LinkedIn In China As Rules Tighten

7. “We must move away from so-called ‘youth empowerment programs.’ The youth do not need handouts. They need investments.”

President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has advises Nigeria to make its youths drivers of the new economy through the creation of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.

Youths Need Investments And Not Handouts, Says Adesina

8. “Once the National Assembly has finished the process of reviewing the Consolidated Insurance Bill 2020 and is forwarded to me, I would speedily subject it to the necessary executive checks and sign it into law.’’

President Buhari says he will hasten the signing of the Consolidated Insurance Bill 2020 once it lands on his desk.

Buhari Promises Speedy Signing Of Insurance Industry Bill

9. “In the same spirit, I say to President Muhammadu Buhari: Mr President, stop passing the buck to the National Assembly. Tear down this inhibiting concoction of a constitution; tear it down so we can build a truly great nation”.

Pastor Tunde Bakare urges President Muhammadu Buhari to do away with the 1999 constitution, saying it is a great inhibitor of the nation’s progress.

Tear Down 1999 Constitution And Build A Great Nation – Bakare Tells Buhari

10. “I have seen the great Obafemi Awolowo. The charismatic Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa). Shehu Shagari. Amino Kano. M.K.O Abiola. Bashir Tofa, and many others in action. But I have not seen anyone with the kind of attraction, magnetic pull, that Muhammadu Buhari has. And that is round the country, north and south. People swarm around him as bees do to honey.”

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says President Muhammadu Buhari has attained greater acceptance among Nigerians even more than some fathers of the federation.

Buhari More Popular Than Azikiwe, Awolowo, Aminu Kano – Adesina

11. “I tested them and fired them before our election. When I was asked that I would lose the second term, I said if losing second term in office will give Kaduna State children a future with better primary education, I am ready to let it go.”

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, explains how he was willing to sacrifice his second-term ambition in order to give children from his state quality education.

How Sacking Kaduna Teachers Nearly Cost Me Re-Election – El-Rufai

12. “We have defended our championship and brought back the cup in 2019 and 2021 which is historical but still no invitation has been extended to the team to visit Aso Rock or a presidential handshake, why?”

One of the D’Tigress players, Victoria Macaulay speaks as the team protests over their unpaid wages and allowances.

D’Tigress Protest Unpaid Wages, Allowances

13. “November 6 election will be won by APGA and it is going to be a landslide victory.”

National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) predicts a landslide victory for the party in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.

Anambra Election: APGA Chairman Predicts Landslide Victory For Party

14. “The Police Mobile Force will as usual, form a critical component of the operational plan, to deter any subversive elements that could threaten or disrupt the smooth conduct of the election”.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba discloses that the Force is set to deploy over 34,000 personnel to Anambra State, ahead of the November 6 polls.

Police To Deploy 34,587 Personnel For Anambra Governorship Election

15. “Persons recruited into arms-bearing security agencies (should) undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment, and periodically after enlistment to ensure that the personnel are psychologically fit to carry live weapons and to identify behavioural tendencies that may require psycho-social interventions.”

The National Economic Council recommends psychiatric evaluation and drug tests for those seeking to be enlisted into various security agencies, especially the arms-bearing outfits.

NEC Proposes Psychiatric Evaluation, Drug Tests For Police, Army Before Enlistment

16. “I think I’ve shown that I’m a politician with integrity and I have made it very clear that I didn’t leave the other party on my own, I was pushed out of the party, and someone else gave me cover, gave me an opportunity.”

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, again says he has no intention of returning to the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he was pushed out.

NEC Proposes Psychiatric Evaluation, Drug Tests For Police, Army Before Enlistment

17. “The account holder shall be prohibited from all electronic channels such as but not limited to ATM, POS, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, USSD including the issuance of third-party cheques.”

In line with its objective of promoting financial system stability, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issues a Revised Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry.

CBN Gives New Framework, Set To Bar BVN Violators From Banking Services

18. “Professor Osinbajo is not calling for the devaluation of the Naira. He has at all times argued against a willy-nilly devaluation of the Naira.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says he is not calling for the devaluation of the naira contrary to some reports that trailed his speech at the opening session of the mid-term ministerial performance review retreat.

I Am Not Calling For Naira Devaluation – Osinbajo

19. ‘‘The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway and the East West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this 2nd term of our Administration.’’

Buhari assures Nigerians that the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) will be completed within the second term of this administration.

2nd Niger-Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway To Be Completed Before 2023 – Buhari

20. “Nigeria will remain undaunted in adopting dynamic strategies to counter new approaches adopted by organised criminals, in order to make drug trafficking unattractive while ensuring forfeiture of the criminally derived assets, a tested and powerful deterrent to the proliferation of drug crimes and criminalities.”

Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) assures the international community of Nigeria’s preparedness and determination to go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers in any part of the country.

Nigeria Determined To Target Assets Of Drug Cartels, Marwa Assures At UN

21. “While appreciating the role of lawful peaceful protests in the advancement of public discourse under democratic governance, the National Economic Council (NEC) strongly advise those planning public protests across the country to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS, to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement.”

The National Executive Council (NEC) advises organisers of the #EndSARS protests to reconsider their plan to stage any protest in commemoration of the one-year anniversary since the demonstrations were held in various parts of the country.

#EndSARS: NEC Asks Organisers To Reconsider Planned Protest

Gunfire Kills Two, Wounds 12 At Beirut Protest

Lebanese Army soldiers take a position in the area of Tayouneh, in the southern suburb of the capital Beirut on October 14, 2021, after clashes following a demonstration by supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal movement. JOSEPH EID / AFP

 

Gunfire killed two people and wounded 12 at a Beirut rally organised by the Shiite Hezbollah and Amal movements Thursday to demand the dismissal of the Beirut blast lead investigator, a doctor said.

One man died of a gun shot to the head and the other of a shot to the chest, said Mariam Hassan of the Sahel Hospital in Beirut’s mainly Shiite southern suburbs.

Twelve wounded are in critical condition, the doctor said, reporting a continued influx of casualties.

AFP correspondents in the area heard heavy gunfire.

Lebanese television broadcast images of men carrying rifles and heavy weaponry.

The army reported  “bursts of gunfire in the area of Tayouneh – Badaro”.

“The army rushed to cordon off the area and deploy in its neighbourhoods and their entrance. Patrols started as did the search for the shooters to detain them,” it said.

READ ALSO: Taiwan Building Fire Kills 46, Dozens Wounded 

Lebanese Army soldiers take a position in the area of Tayouneh, in the southern suburb of the capital Beirut on October 14, 2021, after clashes following a demonstration by supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal movement. JOSEPH EID / AFP

 

In a follow-up statement, the military warned that it would open fire at anyone firing live rounds, calling on civilians to evacuate the area.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for calm to be restored and warned against attempts to drag Lebanon into violence.

AFP

OAU Shut Down After Protests Over Student’s Death

A file photo of the front gate of the Obafemi Awolowo University.

 

The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in Osun State, has closed down the school “until further notice” following protests that rocked the varsity in the aftermath of a student’s death. 

In a statement on Friday evening, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abiodun Olarewaju, said the move was aimed at preventing the breakdown of order as the students, who were protesting over the death of a Year 4 student, Adesina Omowumi Aishat, blocked the Ife/Ibadan and Ife/Ede roads. 

“Therefore, having exhausted all necessary avenues to call the students to order and allow normalcy to return to the campus and its environs, the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, have accordingly closed down the school until further notice. This is to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

“In view of this, all students are hereby directed to vacate their halls of residence and the Campus latest by 12:00 noon on Saturday, 2nd October 2021.”

The swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected Students’ Union members has also been suspended, the statement added. 

RELATED: UNIBEN Students Block Highway, Protest Increased Late Registration Fee

“In the meantime, the University management has put in place the machinery to unravel the circumstances surrounding the immediate and remote cause(s) of the crisis,” it said. 

Narrating how the late 24-year-old Aishat died, Olarewaju explained that the student of the Department of Foreign Languages, “reported to the Health Centre with signs and symptoms of a severe infection. 

“She was promptly treated with some drugs prescribed and asked to report back as an out-patient. She reported back to the Health Centre in the morning of Thursday, 30th September 2021. Upon examination, she was referred to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital for further management where she regrettably died on Thursday 30th September 2021.”

Olarewaju, while condoling with the parents, “the parents, friends, colleagues and the entire students of the University on this sad loss”, prayed for the repose of her soul.

Nollywood Actors Picket Hotel In Ikeja

 

Top Nollywood actors including Jide Kosoko, Fred Amata, Yemi Solade, Emeka Osai and many others joined other filmmakers to Picket Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja.

The creatives led by the Copyright Management Organisation, Audio Visuals Right Society on Tuesday disrupted services at the hotel for what they have described as the management’s refusal to pay royalties for its use of audio-visual contents in its chain of hotels.

Read Also: Buhari Asks Senate To Amend PIA Over ‘Unbalanced Geographical Representation’, Others

According to movie producer and Chairman of the Copyright Management Organisation, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, picketting became a last resort after months of dialogue and negotiations broke down without any agreement being reached.

Management of the hotel declined to make comments on the incident.

UNIBEN Students Continue Protest Amid Closure Of University

UNIBEN Seeks Better Funding As FG Delegation Inspects Projects
A front view photo of the UNIBEN campus.

 

Students of the University of Benin have continued with their protest for the second day to air their grievances against a recent decision of the school authorities to impose an additional N20,000 for late registration.

Following the increment, the aggrieved students had stormed the Benin-Lagos expressway in protest on Tuesday, causing gridlock on the ever-busy federal road.

They also ignored the call by the management of the school for all students to vacate the campus as the Students Union Government (SUG) is reported to have blocked the school’s entrance preventing the students from leaving the premises.

The institution’s management had ordered all students to vacate their hostels and the campus no later than 12 noon on Wednesday following what they considered to be security concerns after they (students) blocked the main gate of the school in protest.

Speaking to Channels Television, a student asked the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lilian Salami to consider their plight and reverse the decision.

READ ALSO: UNIBEN Students Block Highway, Protest Increased Late Registration Fee

“We came out today and we are telling you that we want you to take this fee back to normal,” he said.

“What we want, you know it. Take the school fees back to normal,” he said amid support from other students.

Another student of the school asked for kind consideration from the school authorities, insisting that things are tough.

She said, “It is anti-student. We all know what the situation of the economy in the country is. It is not easy for anybody, including our parents. All we are asking from our Vice-Chancellor is to be lenient with us.

“It is not as if we are not going to pay, we are going to pay.  There is no money anywhere; we are struggling to feed in school.”

Meanwhile, on arriving at the Ugbowo campus of the institution, Channels Television observed that a student had collapsed from an epileptic seizure while protesting.

UNIBEN Students Block Highway, Protest Increased Late Registration Fee

A screengrab taken on September 14, 2021, shows the Benin-Lagos expressway blocked by protesting students of the University of Benin in Edo State.

 

Students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) have rejected the N20,000 increase in the late registration fee recently imposed by the school’s management.

They took to the Benin-Lagos expressway in protest on Tuesday, causing gridlock on the ever-busy federal road.

During an interview with Channels Television, while the demonstration was ongoing, some of the students described the increment as impromptu and asked the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lilian Salami, to consider their plight.

“You are asking us to top up an extra N20,000 which is actually impromptu on our part,” an aggrieved student said. “It is an injustice to us. We have not afforded the school fees and now, you are talking about an extra N20,000.”

UNIBEN students protest the increased late registration fee on the Benin-Lagos expressway taken on September 14, 2021.

 

The protesting students who carried placards with various inscriptions such as ‘Oppression Comes In Different Forms’ and ‘We Didn’t Sign For This Injustice’, played solidarity songs with a public address sound system.

Another student told Channels Television that they were aggrieved that the additional sum to their fees came barely two weeks when the portal was opened.

He lamented that the same platform had been frequently down, thereby denying access to those who want to pay.

Efforts made by Channels Television to contact Professor Salami proved abortive as she was unavailable as of the time of filing this report.

In this screengrab taken on September 14, 2021, UNIBEN students occupy the Benin-Lagos expressway to protest the increased late registration fee.

 

Similarly, the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, could not be immediately reached for reactions.

But the event took a turn for the worse during later attempts to reach the vice chancellor’s office as Channels Television’s crew was denied access.

Some young men at the entrance of the university also manhandled our cameraman.

Protests In Ibadan Over Alleged Killing Of Teenager By Amotekun

 

Protests rocked Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital, on Wednesday after a teenager was allegedly shot in the early hours of the day by Amotekun operatives.

Angry protesters brought the corpse of the 16-year-old boy to the state secretariat as they demanded justice.

According to them, he worked for a printing press around the Mokola area where late-night printing usually takes place.

The boy was reportedly on his way to buy food around 2:00 am when he was shot allegedly by the Amotekun operatives.

Traffic and commercial activities were brought to a halt on Wednesday as the protest went on.

Meanwhile, the state Amotekun Commander Col. Adeyanju Olayinka, has denied the involvement of his operatives.

According to Col Olayinka, his men were at different areas in Sango responding to a distress call around the time the incident occurred.

He asked members of the public who have evidence of the incident and the involvement of the Ametokun officers, to come forward with such, promising that justice would be done.

FUTA Students Protest Death Of Colleague, Blames Institution

A file photo of the entrance gate of FUTA in Akure, Ondo State.

 

Students of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in Ondo State staged a protest on Tuesday over the death of their colleague, Daniel Adeyinka.

Adeyinka was the 200 level student of the Department of Software Engineering at the institution who died in an auto crash on Monday.

During the demonstration to condemn his death, the visibly angry students barricaded the main road to the school and set a bonfire at the main entrance of the university.

They carried placards with various inscriptions, chanting songs to express their anger with the university management.

The protesting students described the death of Adeyinka, who died as a result of injuries sustained in the auto crash in Akure, as very unfortunate.

According to them, what angered them is that there was no ambulance to convey the victim and others involved in the accident to a hospital in Owo town.

In a chat with reporters, the President of the Students Union Government of the university, Ibiyemi Abiodun, decried in the matter in which Adeyinka died.

He wondered why there was no fuel in the ambulances of the university’s medical centre to convey the accident victims to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo for better treatment.

Efforts made to reach the university management on the incident yielded no positive result as no one was available to speak with the reporters.

But the institution later issued a statement in which it described the death of the student as unfortunate and regrettable.

It noted that the other three victims were treated and stabilized but late Adeyinka was not responding to treatment.

“The medical report from a private hospital which was brought along with him (Adeyinka) indicates that the student was clinically not responsive by 1:30am, well before they got to the health centre at about 3:20am.

“The university has ordered an immediate review of the incident in order to ascertain the circumstances leading to it,” the statement said.

PHOTOS: ‘Dreams Shattered,’ Disqualified Nigerian Athletes Protest In Tokyo

 

Nigerian athletes disqualified from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games hit the streets of the Japanese capital in protest on Friday.

They had prepared to represent the country in the track and field events but were declared ineligible to participate in the games.

On Wednesday, Channels Television reported that the 10 athletes were declared ineligible to compete at the games by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

 

AIU is an independent body created by World Athletics to manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping.

In its reaction, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) took responsibility for the lapses recorded during the process and reassured Nigerians that the nation’s performances at the Olympics would not be negatively impacted.

While participating countries continue to celebrate heroic achievements and medals in the Japanese capital, it’s a sad tale for the affected athletes would condemn what they described as the negligence by sports administrators.

Those affected are Ruth Usoro, Favour Ofili, Annette Echikunwoke, Chioma Onyekwere, Glory Patrick, Chidi Okezie, Tima Godbless, Rosemary Chukwuma, Yinka Ajayi, and Knowledge Omovoh.

 

They marched through some of the streets of Tokyo carrying placards with various inscriptions as they registered their displeasure over the situation they have found themselves in.

Some of the inscriptions read: “Why should we suffer for someone else’s negligence”, “All we wanted to do was compete”, “We are not just alternates but potential medallists”, “We are not just alternates, but potential medallists”, “Dreams shattered”, and “10 out of 23, we can’t continue this way”.

The protests by the athletes were captured in photos shared by a Facebook user, Kuti Dare Gattuso.

 

‘God Has Greater Plans For Me’

Ofili, in an emotional message, was quoted as saying she and her counterparts were punished for the unknown offence committed by some persons.

She said:

Hi everyone. It’s with utmost disappointment I share the news that I won’t be competing at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic game after coming this far.

Firstly, I give God Almighty all the thanks for the journey thus far and all my accomplishments this season prior to the Olympics. Thanks to my family all my fans and all those that intercede for me in their prayers.

I feel it’s right that everyone out there knows the truth. I was punished for the crime committed by those who are supposed to be looking out for me because of incompetence and selfishness.

I worked really hard to qualify for the Olympics and in the end, this is the payment I got in return, ineligible to compete.

I am a product of grace and God always got my back. #Though_Sorrow_May_Come_at_Night. #Joy_Will_Definitely_Come_in_the_Morning.

Y’all negligence can’t demoralise me for I know God has greater plans for me. Forgiveness is of the Lord. I pray God gives me the grace and enablement to do so ASAP.

Thanks, everyone, and God bless

 

 

AIU announced that the affected Nigerians were disqualified along with eight athletes from other countries while two others were replaced prior to the submission of their entries to World Athletics.

It explained that the affected athletes, who represented some ‘Category A’ Federations, were disqualified from the final entries for the Olympics for failing to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules.

AIU listed the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations to include Nigeria, Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

Nigeria was listed in ‘Category A’ at the start of 2020 after a continued period of weak domestic testing levels.

See more photos below:

Rare Anti-Government Protests Erupt In Cuba

People take part in a demonstration to support the government of the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana, on July 11, 2021. YAMIL LAGE / AFP
People take part in a demonstration to support the government of the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana, on July 11, 2021. YAMIL LAGE / AFP

 

Thousands of Cubans took part in rare protests Sunday against the communist government, chanting, “Down with the dictatorship,” as President Miguel Diaz-Canel called on his supporters to confront the demonstrators.

The anti-government rallies started spontaneously in several cities as the country endures its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with chronic shortages of electricity and food.

Several hundred protesters marched through the capital Havana chanting, “We want liberty,” with a heavy military and police presence deployed after demonstrators massed outside the Capitol building.

Police used tear gas to disperse crowds, and at least ten people were arrested, while officers used plastic pipes to beat protesters, AFP journalists witnessed.

Several thousand protesters — mainly young people — also took to the streets of San Antonio de los Banos, a town 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Havana.

Security forces arrived soon after the protests began, and Diaz-Canel later visited the town himself surrounded by party activists as residents heckled him, according to videos posted online.

The president delivered a combative television address, saying: “The order to fight has been given — into the street, revolutionaries!”

“We call on all revolutionaries of the country, all communists, to go out in the streets where these provocations occur… and to face them in a decisive, firm and courageous way.”

Government supporters held some counter-demonstrations in Havana.

Social media showed several anti-government protests around the country, and mobile internet — only introduced in Cuba since 2018 — was largely cut off on Sunday afternoon.

The United States reacted swiftly to the day’s events.

“The US supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Twitter.

Boiling public anger

One local in San Antonio de los Banos, on condition of anonymity, told AFP that she participated in the demonstration as she was exasperated by “the situation with electricity and food.”

Public anger has been driven by long food lines, worsening power shortages for several hours a day and a critical shortage of medicines since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, with Cuba under US sanctions.

Cuba is experiencing its toughest phase yet of the coronavirus epidemic, and on Sunday reported a new daily record of infections and deaths.

“The energy situation seems to have produced some reaction,” Diaz-Canel told reporters in San Antonio de los Banos, blaming US sanctions imposed by Donald Trump and left unchanged by President Joe Biden.

He accused “a Cuban-American mafia” of whipping up the protests on social media.

“People have come to express their dissatisfaction with the situation they are living in,” he acknowledged.

Diaz-Canel has been president since 2018, succeeding Raul Castro, who served as leader after his brother Fidel Castro.

The only authorized gatherings in Cuba are normally Communist Party events.

The country of 11.2 million people was left relatively unscathed in the first months of the Covid outbreak but has seen a recent hike in infections, with a new record of 6,923 daily cases reported Sunday and 47 deaths for a total of 1,537.

“These are alarming numbers which are increasing daily,” said Francisco Duran, head of epidemiology in the health ministry.

Under hashtags such as #SOSCuba, calls for assistance have multiplied on social media, with citizens and music stars alike urging the government to make it possible for much-needed foreign donations to enter the country.

An opposition group called Saturday for the creation of a “humanitarian corridor,” an initiative the government rejected by saying Cuba was not a conflict zone.

Ernesto Soberon, a foreign affairs official, denounced a “campaign” he said sought to “portray an image of total chaos in the country which does not correspond to the situation.”

 

AFP

Police Deny Killing Teenager In Lagos Protest

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, speaks during a protest in Ojota on July 3, 2021.

 

The police in Lagos have denied killing a teenager during a protest in the Ojota area of the state on Saturday.

Agitators of the Yoruba nation had defied the presence of security operatives and converged at the Freedom Park, chanting different songs of freedom and flying their flags.

They said the nation is bleeding and they need Oodua Nation, insisting that it is time to have a separate nation for the Yoruba ethnic group because they are suffering and are being marginalised.

Reports emerged that a 14-year-old girl was hit by stray bullets as policemen dispersed the protesters in the nation’s commercial hub.

But the Lagos State Police Command distanced itself from the incident, describing it as a rumour being circulated to cause confusion and fear amongst residents of the state.

In a statement, the spokesman of the state police command, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the police was not responsible for the lady’s death.

READ ALSO: Despite Heavy Security Presence, Yoruba Nation Protesters Storm Freedom Park

While claiming that the lady’s corpse is not fresh, the police spokesman maintained that no live bullet was fired during the protest.

“The Command hereby wishes to debunk the rumour and state categorically that it’s a calculated attempt to create confusion and fear in the minds of the good people of Lagos State and the country at large,” the statement partly read.

“The Command did not fire a single live bullet at Ojota rally today. The said corpse was found wrapped and abandoned at a distance, far from the Ojota venue of the rally, behind MRS Filling Station, inward Maryland, on the other side of the venue, with dried blood stains suggesting that the corpse is not fresh.

“After a close look at the corpse, a wound suspected sustained from a sharp object was seen on it,” Adejobi said adding that investigation to unravel the incident will commence immediately.

Lebanon Protests Leave Nearly 20 Wounded – Charity

Demonstrators burn tires to block the Martyrs’ Square in the centre of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on June 26, 2021, as they protest against dire living conditions amidst the ongoing economical and political crisis. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

 

Nearly twenty people were wounded in overnight scuffles in northern Lebanon between security forces and protesters angered by a spiralling economic crisis, a medical association said on Sunday.

The protests in the city of Tripoli came as the Lebanese pound plumbed fresh lows on the black market due to a financial crisis that the World Bank says is likely to rank among the world’s worst since the mid-19th century.

Calm returned to the city on Sunday after protesters tried to storm official buildings, including a branch of the central bank, overnight, forcing the army to deploy.

“18 people, both civilians and soldiers, were injured, including four who were hospitalised,” said the Emergency and Relief Corps, a local medical charity that dispatched ambulances to treat the wounded.

Rubber bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades accounted for some of the injuries, a spokesperson for the charity told AFP.

READ ALSO: Thailand To Reimpose COVID-19 Curbs To Contain Outbreak

The army said 10 soldiers were wounded in the Tripoli clashes, the majority in a single incident that it said involved a group of protesters on motorcycles throwing stun grenades at personnel.

The southern city of Sidon and the capital Beirut saw smaller demonstrations against the ongoing dramatic fall in living standards.

The Lebanese pound, officially pegged to the dollar at 1,507 since 1997, traded at 17,300-17,500 to the dollar on the black market on Saturday — a record low.

Some social media users said it had fallen as low as 18,000, down from 15,000 earlier in the week.

The country is also grappling with a fuel crisis that has led to seemingly endless queues at gas pumps in recent weeks.

The price of fuel is expected to rise after the government said it would fund fuel imports at a rate of 3,900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, instead of the official rate.

The move effectively reduces subsidies on fuel as the central bank tries to shore up fast-diminishing foreign currency reserves.

The financial collapse has sparked outrage at Lebanon’s political class, seen as woefully corrupt and unable to tackle the country’s many difficulties.

Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government since a massive blast in Beirut last summer that killed more than 200 people and ravaged swathes of the capital.

The government stepped down after the disaster, but efforts to agree on a new cabinet have repeatedly foundered.

AFP