Members of the Police Community Relations Committee have accused a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, James Opara, of refusing to vacate the lodge meant for the Divisional Police Officer in the Ilupeju area of Lagos State for over 20 years.

PUNCH Metro gathered that Opara acted as the DPO of the Ilupeju Police Division for three months in 1999, and during that period, he occupied the lodge until he was transferred.

However, after his transfer from the division, it was learnt that Opara denied subsequent DPOs the opportunity of occupying the lodge by allegedly refusing to vacate the apartment.

The Chairman, PCRC, Ilupeju, Fredrick Silva-Rotimi, told PUNCH Metro that efforts to make Opara vacate the lodge had proved abortive, adding that a woman was currently using the lodge at the instance of the retired DIG and at the expense of subsequent DPOs of the division.

Silva-Rotimi said, “I have been very courteous in order to avoid making this impropriety on the part of retired DIG James Opara a public affair. It’s very bad and an act of corruption. We have petitioned the Commander, Area ‘F’; the CP, Hakeem Odumosu; and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, and Opara could not give a reason as to why he refused to vacate the lodge. He always says he’s going to vacate the place, but instead, he told a woman to occupy the place.

“This is unacceptable; he was a Divisional Crime Officer, who acted as the DPO for three months after which he was transferred. But he has been occupying the place since that time till now. It is morally wrong for him to do so as an officer and his actions have tormented other DPOs, including the present one. We want him to leave the lodge.

“Opara has been ignoring my calls, but responded on Sunday and during our conversation, I told him that we were disturbed by his action of not leaving the lodge for other DPOs and I was surprised that he said it was a police matter and that when he was ready, he would vacate the lodge, and that is what he had been saying.”

Another member of the PCRC, Alarape Alimi, said subsequent DPOs deployed in the division and whose places of residence were far from Ilupeju usually slept in the office or take up a room in a nearby hotel to stay night.

He stated, “The current DPO in Ilupeju came from a very distant place and had been sleeping in his office after Opara denied him access to the lodge. We felt very bad and the Patron of the PCRC, Yomi Olajide; the Chairman, Fredrick Silva-Rotimi; and his secretary and I met with the AIG Zone 2, Ahmed Iliyasu, and he sent our letter of complaint to the DC admin to treat.

“The woman occupying the lodge on the instructions of Opara usually visits the place once in a while, and the DPO, who is meant to be occupying the place cannot. Opara is a retired DIG and the lodge is for the serving DPO; so, he should leave the place.”


When contacted by our correspondent, Opara refused to comment on the matter. He also had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile telephone as of the time of filing this report. Similarly, a WhatsApp message sent to him had not been responded to.

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The state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said, “I am not aware of the letter written by the PCRC, but I am sure that if they have written any letter, the AIG and the CP must have acted on it.

“So, I will find out and discuss with the CP on how we will go about the matter since there is a house like that, which is meant for the DPO and is being occupied by someone who was kept there by a retired senior officer. We are going to look into it departmentally and see what we can do.”

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DPO LODGE RETIRED DIG


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4′
Pol Lirola

SPORTS
Fiorentina’s Lirola joins Marseille on loan
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Marseille announced on Tuesday they have signed Fiorentina right-back Pol Lirola on loan until the end of the season.

The French club have an option to buy the former Spain Under-21 defender for a reported fee of around 12 million euros ($14.6 million).

Coach Andre Villas-Boas said Lirola had been on sporting director Pablo Longoria’s radar since the summer.

“Pol was already on our list in August. He’s a player who Pablo appreciates. It wasn’t difficult to do, he was interested himself too,” Villas-Boas said during a press conference.

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Lirola, 23, has started just four games for the Tuscan club this term after joining from Sassuolo in September.

He will compete with Japan’s Hiroki Sakai for a starting berth in Villas-Boas’ side, who are sixth in Ligue 1.

On Wednesday they head to Lens to face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions Trophy, the French equivalent of a Super Cup that in normal times is the curtain-raiser to the season.

(AFP)

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ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi

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Lecturers can’t ensure social distancing in crowded classes, hostels –ASUU
Published January 12, 2021

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ASUU President, Prof. Biod

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Tuesday, said it cannot guarantee social distancing in crowded classes and congested hostels.

The union also said the government was yet to put safety measures in place at learning centres amid the second wave of the pandemic.

According to ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, the safety of university lecturers and students is a priority, adding that the union is worried that university professors are dying of COVID-19.

Ogunyemi spoke in Abuja while featuring on a television programme monitored by The PUNCH.

He said, “We have not seen government and university authorities taking concrete steps to access the level of safety for our members and for our students.

“In as much as we are ready to go back, we are ready to put in extra efforts but it appears that government is not doing enough to address the two emergencies that we have – the emergency in the health sector as well as the emergency in the educational sector.

“Take for instance, how can we ensure or assure social distancing in crowded classes and congested hostels? Our hostels, are they fumigated? The classrooms, what flexible arrangements should be in place? I’m not sure universities can cope.”

The PUNCH had earlier reported that ASUU, on December 24, 2020, conditionally suspended the nine-month-long strike by the lecturers after a lot of foot-dragging by the union and the Federal Government.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 subsequently ordered schools to remain closed till January 18, 2021 to contain the spike in COVID-19 infections in the country. The National Universities Commission later asked universities to comply with the directive but the PTF on Monday said the January 18 date is subject to review.

But speaking on Tuesday, the ASUU president said the NUC and the government were yet to enforce all Covid guidelines in the universities. The don also said the government should visit universities in the country and ensure all Covid protocols were in place just as it did before the reopening of the aviation sector.

Ogunyemi further said lecturers are working on an alternative mode of learning, noting that some lecturers will blend virtual and physical classes to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing at universities.

“But the universities don’t have functional ICT (Information Communications Technology) infrastructure and you need some huge funds to do this,” he stated.

“People are saying start virtual classes but we know that more than 60 per cent of our students will run into problems because they cannot afford data on their own and the wifi you are expected to see on campuses are not there. We have this limited capacity where government should come in and ensure that the university environment is conducive for alternative models of teaching and learning,” Ogunyemi added.

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