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Protesters Disregard Social Distancing, Storm Busiest Hong Kong Street, As Police Fire Tear Gas

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Police fired tear gas at protesters in one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts on Sunday as growing numbers took to the street.

The protesters are in opposition to Beijing’s plans to impose a national security law that bypasses the local legislature.

Water cannon and armoured trucks were deployed across the city before protests even kicked off, as police prepared for mass protests, the first of their kind since the city got COVID-19 under control.

While some protesters dug up bricks from walkways, scenes largely included dozens of riot police, moving people on or blocking roads in line formations, determined to keep traffic moving for as long as possible.

READ ALSO: FRSC Rescues Pregnant Woman In Labour

The demonstrations are expected to intensify throughout the day.

The Police issued two statements in quick succession, condemning protesters for turning up and flouting social distancing laws, after calls to gather were advertised online, despite not having the official go-ahead.

The Police also appealed to the public to get out of the area and stay safe, as they undertake “enforcement actions against rioters’’.

Widespread outrage has engulfed the city as new laws concerning national security led the discussions on Friday at the National People’s Congress rubber-stamp parliament in Beijing.

READ ALSO: Saudi Declares Sunday Eid el-Fitri

Many Hong Kong citizens feel the new laws would infringe on the freedoms widely enjoyed by the semi-autonomous city as it would allow Chinese companies to set up security agencies.

Protesters, who can currently be arrested and fined for flouting social distancing laws and for illegal assembly, may also be charged with “local terrorism” under the new national security law if it is passed by Beijing.

International human rights organisations say the laws would mean the end of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, the 1997 understanding implemented when Britain handed control of the city back to China, which left Hong Kong a degree of autonomy.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam and Andrew Leung, the President of the territory’s Legislative Council (Legco), welcomed the move.

READ ALSO: Sex For Rent Rises With Coronavirus Poverty

Both politicians have been embroiled in a political stalemate between pro-establishment and pro-democratic camps in the local parliament, amid ongoing anti-government protests.

Tensions came to a peak last week in the Legco when opposing sides battled it out during an election for Chair of the House Committee, which reviews bills.

Some pro-democracy legislators were carried out of the chamber by security guards during the hour-long debacle.

The coronavirus pandemic temporarily shut down protests, but now that there are no new COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, some have accused the government of keeping social distancing measures in place to quash the return of protests.

A heavy police presence could be seen throughout the day on Sunday, with the Police stopping and searching individuals, while groups of riot police could be seen loading weaponry with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.

READ ALSO: CAN Explains Why Churches Should Remain Closed

The Police came under fire during the protests last year for their use of tear gas as a dispersal weapon in densely populated areas.

(DPA/NAN)

(Photo: file)

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Obaseki Warns Against Open Grazing, Solicits Stakeholders’ Support

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the ban on open grazing in the state still remains, warning that anyone found wanting will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The governor said this while addressing stakeholders during an interactive session on the Edo State Regional Development and Benin City Master Plan, held at Iguobazuwa, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the State.

Obaseki who reassured the government’s commitment to the safety and security of residents, called for the collaboration and support of all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful, secure and prosperous Edo State.

He said, “Any herdsman in our bush without permission is working against the law of our State, and anything that happens, they can’t blame anyone.

READ ALSO: Edo Police Parade 21 Suspects Over Alleged Murder, Cultism, Pipeline Vandalism

“Let us be sure that nobody gives that person the permission to enter our forest and if permission will be granted, let us know the type of permission given to them to come into our bushes or forest to graze with their cattle.

“Open grazing is banned in Edo State. If they are in your forest, let us know where they are because we have police and vigilantes who will help us get them out through a number we will give you to call.”

Obaseki added, “Anybody that wants to do ranching business should contact you, the community people and you will decide on the land to use and method of feeding their cattle. They should do the business with you and not invade our forest indiscriminately as if there are no owners. The forest and bushes belong us.”

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Nigeria Air: EFCC Arrests Ex-Buhari’s Minister Over N8bn Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arrested Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over an ongoing N8 billion money laundering probe of Nigeria Air.

Vanguard gathered that Sirika arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday.

Sirika is currently being quizzed by the EFCC investigators over alleged fraudulent contracts awarded by him to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Dangote Further Crashes Diesel, Aviation Fuel  Price

Recall that, in February, EFCC investigated the activities of the Aviation Ministry under Sirika for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Others are criminal breaches of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.00 during Sirika’s tenure in office.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar is said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union Banksy.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: EFCC Chair Vows To Follow Yahaya Bello’s Prosecution To Conclusion

It was gathered that the ex-minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested and detained by the commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Engirios Nigerian Limited’s, bank account by the former minister.

It was noted that there is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

Sirika was arrested Sunday February 4 to assist the commission in its probe of the Aviation Ministry’s financial expenditures during his tenure.

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BREAKING: EFCC Freezes Over 300 Accounts Over Suspicious FX Flows

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, says the anti-graft agency has discovered another worse scheme other than crypto trading platform Binance and its system.

He said the agency has frozen about 300 accounts to ensure the safety of the foreign exchange market.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: EFCC Chair Vows To Follow Yahaya Bello’s Prosecution To Conclusion

The scheme popularly called the “P to P” peer- peer financial trading scheme has operated outside the official banking and financial corridors and there was a looming disaster that could further crashed the Naira value that has continued to gain.

“There are people in this country doing worse than Binance,” he said, adding that over $15bn passed through one of the platforms in the last one year, outside the financial regulations.

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