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Third Mainland Bridge to be reopened February 15



A petitioner at the Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police brutality has narrated how officers of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad demanded the sum of N1.5m to secure his release from detention in 2016.

Alhaji Adanku Oyinlola, the Baale of Olobedu community of Ota Efun area, Osogbo, who spoke during the sitting of the panel, on Thursday, claimed that he was arrested at his residence, without any notification of his offence.

Adanku explained that he suffered inhumane treatments in the hands of the police officers who moved him from one division to another intra-state, inter-state and inter-region.

He recounted how the police officers who moved him in a white Hummer bus, had hand-cuffed him, veiled his face and extinguished cigarette butts on his head.

He further recounted how he was moved to Abuja (Area 3, Abbattoir) and the division demanded the sum of One Million Five Hundred Naira (N 1,500,000) to process his bail.

He said because he could not afford the demand, he was forced to give a directive for the sale of his sister’s plot of land for the sum of N 700,000 which he used for settlement.

Corroborating Adanku’s story, Busari Quadri Adetunji, one of the witnesses (PW3), said Adanku was initially arrested and taken to Zone 11 in Osogbo.

According to him: “When we got to Zone 11, we met Superintendent Omoyele, who told us that they had an order from Abuja to arrest Alhaji Adanku, although he claimed that his offences had not been ascertained. The other people we spoke with, including CSP Adesokan, said they didn’t know what the case was about.

“After about four days of repeated visits, Superintendent Omoyeley eventually claimed it was a murder case and that we could settle it at the Zonal level with N 600,000, but we were only able to raise N 200,000.

“After receiving the money from us, he said that we should come the following day by 10:00am, so that the matter could be resolved with the team from Abuja. We appeared as agreed some minutes before the specified time, with the Ataoja of Osogbo (who we had volunteered to help us wade into the matter), but we were told that the Abuja team already left with Alhaji Adanku”, Busari stated.

He added that after the petitioner was taken to Abuja, he went to Abuja (in the company of other community representatives), to the Area 3 office (Abbattoir) where he met one Inspector Muyiwa who said the matter could be settled out of court upon the payment of the sum of N 1,500,000.

He continued: “Inspector Muyiwa told us that the requested sum was not the bail but a fee required to process his release. We gave him N 300,000 that day, and he asked us to come back in six days with the balance. After six days, we returned with N 400,000 and it took the plea of one Superintendent Balogun for the money to be received from us.

“We were thereafter given a bail form to fill and asked to reappear with Alhaji Adanku in eight days with the balance of N 800,000. We didn’t return after eight-day, rather, Alhaji went to court to file for unlawful detention and abuse of fundamental human rights.

“The officers didn’t appear before the court. Judgment was eventually given in his favour and he was awarded the sum of N 100,000 (although he made claims for the sum of N 10,000,000)”, Busari added.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry has asked Inspector Muyiwa and Superintendent Omoyele to appear before the Panel on the next adjourned date, being Thursday 18th February 2021.

The Petitioner, Adanku, has also expressed his confidence in the activities of the Panel, stating that although the verdict of the court was yet to be enforced till the time of his appearance before the panel, the processes of the Panel gives him confidence that the matter will receive the deserved attention.

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Belmullet GP working remotely while sick with Covid due to lack of cover



A GP in Belmullet is continuing to work over the phone while sick with Covid because he is unable to find cover.

Dr Fergal Ruane told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the Co Mayo town was shell-shocked with the high levels of Covid-19 in their community. There were 700 cases in the last two weeks with deaths “in the double digits”.

While the rise in cases had been inevitable, the high numbers had been a shock. The community was living in fear, he said. The town was a Covid enclave, in a remote area with a small population. “We’re a remote community on its own.”

Belmullet has the highest incidence of Covid-19 in Ireland. New figures released on Thursday night show the disease spreading in the remote area at a rate more than four times higher than the national average.

Some 700 people from the population of 12,600 had tested positive for the virus in the last fortnight, giving an incidence rate of 5,555. The national incidence rate currently stands at 1,334 cases per 100,000 people.

Covid had devastated the area, Dr Ruane said. The elderly were dying and people in their 50s were ending up very sick, with many in intensive care facing a slow recovery.


Mayo village rocked by death of nurse from Covid-1…

The community was under severe strain, one of the two local paramedics was in hospital and a local pharmacy had to open with only three staff, he added.

“I have Covid myself, I can’t get a locum, so I am working on the phone.” He said he had no choice but to work as there was no cover available. The first few days of his illness “were not pleasant”, he said.

Dr Ruane said that in the week after Christmas “from 9am to 8pm the phone did not stop ringing.”

The community was rallying together, as they always did in difficult times, but people from outside the area were not welcome in Belmullet at the moment, he said.

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Some regional countries lost four years depending on Trump



Some regional countries lost four years depending on Trump

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks on Friday, noting that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always sought to have friendly relations with Persian Gulf littoral states.

“This region belongs to all of us and its security is in the interest of all of us,” he added.

He expressed the readiness of the Islamic Republic to hold talks with regional countries, underlining that Iranian officials have repeatedly suggested holding dialogue with Persian Gulf countries.

He went on to say that a number of regional countries lost four years depending on the former US President Donald Trump.

“Countries of the Persian Gulf must know that they and Iran will stay in this region and Trump will be gone,” he maintained.

FA/ 5127766

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Special schools could be allowed to reopen on voluntary basis



The Department of Education is understood to be exploring whether to allow individual special schools to reopen if enough staff are willing to return on a voluntary basis.

However, sources told The Irish Times that there are concerns that such a move would be divisive and antagonise school staff unions.

Most stakeholders feel the fastest pathway towards reopening special education rests on building confidence among staff over the safety measures and seeing a decline in virus transmission rates in the community.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) and Fórsa, the union which represents special needs assistants, resumed talks on Thursday with the Department of Education over reopening schools.

All sides have reaffirmed their commitment to the earliest possible resumption of services to school students with additional needs.

It follows the collapse of plans to reopen schools earlier this week amid rancour and acrimony.


Nothing rushed about special education reopening s…

While Minister for Education Norma Foley accused unions of rejecting public health advice that schools were safe environments, unions insisted the Government move to reopen schools was premature.

On Thursday, Ministers and the unions were keen to emphasise that they were willing to re-engage and work towards solutions.

INTO general secretary John Boyle said talks with the department were “constructive” and the union hoped to raise the reasonable concerns of members to find a route towards a “safe and orderly reopening”.

Fórsa said it shared the goals of the department in making in-school provision for students with special education needs available as soon as possible.

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