Tag: pressure

Nigerians pressure government over police brutality vow

Nigerians protested Monday to pressure the government to follow through on disbanding a feared police unit after authorities made the rare concession in the face of widespread anger over abuses.

Around 2,000 people blocked one of the main highways in the country’s biggest city Lagos, demanding officials make good on an announcement on Sunday that the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was being scrapped.

The decision to dissolve the unit, which has been accused of unlawful arrests, torture and extra-judicial killings, followed a week of nationwide protests that saw police use tear gas and water cannons.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday insisted that the “disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms”.

“The purpose of law enforcement and the purpose of policing is for the safety of lives and livelihood of Nigerians,” he said. 

But protesters in Lagos and the capital Abuja vowed they would keep up the pressure after previous pledges to disband the unit and punish officers responsible for abuses were not honoured. 

“We are not scared to take to the streets, we are tired,” protester Fareedah, 27, said, as traffic snarled up in Lagos. 

“They have said they would end SARS four times in four years, nothing came out.”

Ajebola Ayoade, 31, said that the younger generations were not scared after decades of intimidation and brutality from law enforcement.

“We are starting what our fathers couldn’t do — because they were intimidated, we are oppressed,” he said. 

“Look at our country, infrastructure zero, electricity, zero. They didn’t give us education, but we are not illiterate, and we know our rights.”

Rights group Amnesty International said the government needed to ensure any abusive officers were prosecuted promptly.  

“A clear and concise timeline for the implementation of the reforms to end police atrocities is key to safeguarding trust between Nigerians and the authorities,” Osai Ojigho, Amnesty’s Nigeria director, said in a statement. 

The eruption of long-standing anger over police brutality has been fuelled by an online campaign that has drawn support from some of Africa’s biggest stars. 

Afrobeats icon Davido said he was set to meet the inspector general of police after giving the campaign his high-profile backing. 

“Sars ending is a great start but the task is far from completed!”, the musician tweeted on Sunday.

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Senate Dems ask government watchdog to investigate ‘political pressure’ on FDA, CDC

ABC News Corona Virus Government. Response

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 212,000 Americans.

The Democrats urged the Government Accountability Office to “conduct an investigation to determine whether the CDC and FDA’s scientific integrity and communications policies have been violated and whether those policies are being implemented as intended to assure scientific integrity throughout the agency.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump listens to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn speak on the latest developments of the coronavirus outbreak, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 19, 2020, in Washington, DC.

President Donald Trump listens to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn speak on the latest developments of the coronavirus outbreak, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 19, 2020, in Washington, DC.

President Donald Trump listens to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn speak on the latest developments of the coronavirus outbreak, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 19, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Since the early days of the pandemic, the Trump administration has faced criticism about its coronavirus response, including downplaying the severity of the virus and undermining the opinions of the country’s top scientific experts.

The administration also has faced allegations that it put pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to change their guidance on important subjects.

Earlier this week, for example, The New York Times reported that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ office stalled an effort to greenlight more stringent guidelines for the eventual approval of a vaccine.

A spokesperson for the White House budget office denied that report to ABC News, and the tougher guidelines were later approved. That decision angered Trump, who tweeted Tuesday that the “New FDA Rules” amount to nothing more than “another political hit job.”

PHOTO: In this July 11, 2017, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Gary Peters greet Richard Spencer before his confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

In this July 11, 2017, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Gary Peters greet Richard Spencer before his confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

In this July 11, 2017, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Gary Peters greet Richard Spencer before his confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The senators also cited reports that political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services published information to the CDC’s website — without consulting experts at the CDC — recommending that asymptomatic people did not need to be tested for COVID 19 — guidance that was later reversed.

Also highlighted in the letter is a report that the White House pressured the CDC to downplay the risk of COVID transmission in schools, despite

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Government to face pressure over planning changes

HousingImage copyright
PA Media

The government will face pressure over proposed changes to the planning system in England later when MPs debate a new formula for assessing housing need.

Tory backbenchers have expressed concern about the formula, which analysis says could see big rises in the number of new homes for some areas.

Conservative MP Bob Seely said the plan would “hollow out our cities and suburbanise the countryside.”

The government said the plan was “still part of a consultation”.

But a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said they needed to make sure the formula was “set up to deliver the new homes the country needs”.

MPs will debate Mr Seely’s motion on Thursday afternoon, which urges the government to delay the introduction of the new system until the Commons has a chance to fully debate and hold a meaningfully vote on it.

Members may get a chance to vote on Mr Seely’s motion on Thursday – but the result would be non-binding.

The Isle of Wight MP argued the new formula would lead to increased numbers of homes in the rural shires and suburbs, while housing in the urban North and Midlands would fall.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Seely described the plans as “the worst of all worlds”, adding: “This is not levelling up, it is concreting out.”

He said: “Tory shire voters will be furious [and] red wall voters will feel betrayed”.

The MP called on the government and MPs to find “a better way to balance new housing for first time buyers with protecting communities from urban sprawl”.

‘Speculative’

According to research carried out by Lichfields Consultants for the House of Commons Library, seen by the BBC, the revised formula could mean major increases in the number of new homes for some areas.

For example, in each of the county council areas of Norfolk, Leicestershire, Kent and Worcestershire, it translates to around an extra 2,000 homes a year over 15 years.

But a spokeswoman for the MHCLG said, as the plan is still out for consultation, “the figures reported are entirely speculative”.

She added: “It has been over two years since the current formula was introduced, so we need to make sure it is set up to deliver the new homes the country needs.

“What we are proposing are not targets, they would provide a guide for councils on how many homes may be needed in their area.

“This would be first stage in the process to measure demand, and as before, environmental constraints like Green Belt and land availability will be taken into account.”

The formula is part of wider government plans to overturn the planning system.

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Media captionBoris Johnson has defended his proposals for overhauling the planning system.

The government said its proposals – which are open to consultation until 29 October – included allowing more building on Brownfield land, ensuring all new streets are tree-lined and requiring new homes

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