Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

 1:17
Gun control discussed after Florida school shooting

Politicians and others discussed gun control on Feb. 18, following a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead. 

 February 19 at 10:34 AM 
President Trump signaled support for one piece of gun control legislation on Monday, five days after a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead and scores injured.“The president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, wrote in a statement Monday morning.

Sanders said the president spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) on Friday to express support for the bill Cornyn has introduced with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). The bill is still being amended, the White House cautioned.

The statement did not address how the president would react to more aggressive gun control measures.

 2:09
The calls for action get louder as the Parkland community grieves

Grieving students, friends and family gathered outside of the Federal District Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale to demand stricter gun control laws. 

The senators’ bill is narrow in focus, reinforcing the requirement that federal agencies report all criminal infractions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and creating financial incentives for states to do so, as well.

Federal agencies are required to report various felonies, indictments and other crimes — including domestic assaults — into the federal database, but Congress has no power to compel states to do the same. The Murphy-Cornyn legislation would offer direct financial incentives, as well as favorable future access to other federal assistance programs, to states that report infractions into the system.

The powerful National Rifle Association has not opposed the bill like it has more exhaustive pieces of legislation, such as banning assault rifles or limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines.

It’s unclear whether the legislation will go forward. After a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, officials said they were studying a ban on bump stocks, an attachment that allows a rifle to fire more frequently.

Over the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump weighed gun control measures in conversations with friends, according to people who spoke to him. He told them he was affected by seeing victims at a Florida hospital on Friday evening.

Trump has faced two of the country’s deadliest mass shootings as president, including a gunman opening fire from his hotel room in Las Vegas in October and the shooter at the Parkland school last week. Police say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz admitted last week that he walked into the school — where he had been a former student — and began shooting at students and staff.

Thus far, Trump has not mentioned limiting gun access in his response to the most recent shooting. He initially focused on mental health issues, calling the shooting suspect “mentally disturbed” and saying that he wanted to support local jurisdictions in addressing mental health issues. He said that fixes in the system could prevent future crimes.

Trump also said that people needed to report more to law enforcement. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” he said Thursday in a tweet.

After the FBI admitted last week that it failed to investigate a warning from a person close to Cruz that he spoke about violence and might be capable of shooting up a school, Trump criticized the agency’s response. He accused the bureau of being too focused on finding wrongdoing related to him and his 2016 presidential campaign to follow up on a tip. His claim that the Russia investigation had anything to do with the Florida office’s failures was widely denounced.

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The president has publicly said little about the victims, but he refrained from golfing, which aides said was to show respect. On Monday, Trump arrived at his gold course around 9 a.m.

“Have a great, but very reflective, Presidents’ Day!” he tweeted.

Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

10 incredibly useful online sites you didn’t know about until now

If you had to guess, how many different websites do you think exists in the world today? From simple blogs to complex businesses, the internet spans the gamut dispensing and gathering a myriad of information. Keep your answer in your head because, at the very end of this article, I’ll tell the closest estimate we have.

Luckily, all kinds of websites exist that offer free ways to perform simple yet essential tasks. These websites can tell you what’s streaming, clean up your email, fix your grammar, edit your photos, and test your router, and most of them require only one or two steps. Here are some lesser-known sites you’ll use time and time again.

 

1. A search site just for streaming movies and programs

You want to watch a movie. What’s the easiest way to find out if that movie is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Now, CW, Starz, Showtime, PlayStation, or another streaming service? Most importantly, if it’s free on Netflix or HBO Now, then there is no need to pay to rent it on iTunes or Amazon.

 

Who knew that browsing online movies could be so arduous? Actually, finding which streaming service best suits your channel and programming needs is in itself very confusing. Click here for a streaming chart that lets you see exactly what channels are available per service.

 

The site JustWatch sifts through almost every streaming service out there to find a specific title or show you what’s new on a particular service. In just a few clicks, JustWatch will tell you where to find it, whether it’s available on a subscription service, and how much it costs to rent or buy. Since platforms like Netflix vary around the world, you can also search by country for available content. Click here to check out this streaming service’s search site for yourself.

 

2. Simple way to send large files privately and securely

It’s bound to happen. You have a large file that you need to email. Your email program chokes on the file’s size and your service provider politely posts a message that says, “The file size exceeds the limit allowed.” Thanks.

To the rescue is Send. It lets you share files in a fast, safe, and temporary way. Upload a file – up to a gigabyte, in almost any format – and Send will create a URL, which you send to the recipient. Once the file is downloaded somewhere else, it’s deleted from the internet, and it automatically vanishes after 24 hours.

 

This, as well as Firefox’s respected encryption software, ensures that your file won’t fall into the hands of some hacker. You can also check and see whether the file was downloaded on the other end, so you don’t have to wait for the recipient to send confirmation. Click here for this file sending site you’ll want to bookmark now because the time will come when you need it.

 

3. Make sure hackers are not lurking in your router

You’re using internet security software. You have secured your wireless network. You’ve enabled your network’s firewall. You’ve got complex passwords that contain an upper case letter, a number, a sign, and the name of your 4th grade teacher. All done, right?

 

One of the most overlooked vulnerabilities is your router. Hackers can break into this device as easily as any other, a process called “DNS hijacking,” and most victims wouldn’t think to check whether it’s secure.

 

This site offers a free service that’s specially designed to scan your router for break-ins. You may be surprised how easy and fast this diagnostic is; just click the “Check Your Router” icon, and you’ll receive a near-instantaneous report.

Click here to test your router now for any vulnerabilities.

 

4. Write like your English teacher wants you to

Ernest Hemingway was great at a lot of things: hunting wild animals, out-drinking his friends, and writing very concise sentences. Hemingway was famous for his stripped-down literary style, omitting any adjective and passive verb that wasn’t necessary.

Hemingway Editor is designed to mimic his minimalist prose. Copy and paste a few paragraphs into the site’s text box, and the editor will outline problematic parts such as long sentences, obscure words, and confusing passages.

For an all-encompassing grammar checker, Grammarly has taken homes and offices by storm. You can paste a document and have it checked at the Grammarly site. The app and browser extension works across programs and platforms, pointing out your split infinitives in email, word processors, web sites, or on social media. After all, using bad grammar on Facebook can create a tense situation.

5. For the tinkerers among us

Apps, browsers, devices, smart gadgets – they all come in different forms, and they don’t all cooperate with each other. We often struggle to hook up one service to another, especially when they were created by rival developers. Sure, some adept people can easily figure out in minutes how to tell their Amazon Echo to start their Roomba vacuum and lock up the house. But then, there’s this gem for the rest of us.

 

IFTT is short for “if this then that,” and the site is designed to help different devices and services talk to each other. These so-called “recipes” can make your gadgets do things as in a chain of events. Want your smart lights to blink three times when you are tagged in a photo on Facebook? Or how about getting a notification on your phone when your favorite artist tweets about tickets to a concert?

 

IFTTT can automate web-based tasks, and you can set up “triggers” and “applets” to set certain behaviors in motion. If you’re ready to take your tech to the next level, click here to learn more about creating your own recipes.

 

6. Powerful photo editor that doesn’t require a graphics degree

Adobe’s Creative Cloud boasts some of the most sophisticated multimedia software on the planet. But not everybody wants to muddle through Photoshop, with its complex suite and thousands of minute visual options. That’s probably why Adobe acquired Aviary, the simple-to-use site that can turn ordinary images into photographic masterpieces.

 

Aviary has many familiar tools, such as the cool filters of Instagram and the corrective tools of Apple Photos. But Aviary has a particularly friendly interface and can be used both on your desktop and portable device. If you like to edit photos, you’re going to love this site. Click here and prepare to be amazed at what you can do with a photo in only a few clicks.

 

7. A truly boring site that you’ll tap into a lot

Many people struggle to convert a Word document into a PDF. Or they have a WAV file that they need to condense into an MP3. What about a PNG that you want in JPG form, an XLS to CSV, or EPUB to MOBI?

 

Don’t sweat it. I’ve used this site for years. It is designed to handle all sorts of file format conversions, from one type to another type and back again. Simply upload your file, decide the output format, and click “Convert,” and the website will do the rest. This is a real godsend if you work with lots of different media.

Click here for a functional site that simply does what is says it will do and nothing more.

 

8. Be the inbox envy of your friends

If you are failing at obtaining the zen-like “zero inbox” status, this site might help. It doesn’t take long for a busy person to accumulate a few thousand emails. As I write this, I have 156 unread messages waiting for my attention.

When you apply Clean Email to your inbox, you receive a detailed (but readable) report, with sophisticated data about your correspondence. You learn about the senders, your response rate, and which emails can be safely eliminated. Clean Email is free for the first thousand emails, and then there’s a monthly subscription fee. You can also use it across multiple accounts.

 

Or you can do what I have done to obtain zero inbox status. Simply delete all the inbox email and see who reaches again because they will if it’s that important.

 

9. Get your stuff organized

Whether it’s your baseball card collection or bowling league teammates, you’re keeping a list of things. When it comes to technology, lists can be put into a program called a database. The individual items are called records. Once you enter the records into a database, you can categorize, identify, total, and sort all kinds of ways.

Using a secret URL, Sodadb gives you a template to build an online database, and you can manage up to 10,000 individual records for free. There’s no signup or subscription fee; you don’t even have to sign into anything.

 

Sodadb (which stands for “Simple Online Database”) arranges your data and keeps it safe from hackers, using SSL security. You could use this online database for business, collectibles, sports teams, gifts – anything you like.

 

10. Print online articles without all the ads

You would think, after all these decades, it would be easier to print pages off the internet. But printers and websites have never been on good terms, and you never know what kind of garbled papers will scroll out of your machine.

 

Print Friendly takes the headache out of this process: Just paste a URL into the field and hit “Preview.” Print Friendly trims away a lot of the extraneous information and gives you the meat of the page, and you can review your document as a PDF before hitting

“Print.” The service works better for some websites than for others, but it’s shockingly effective, especially for software that’s free.

Click here to save yourself from printer frustration as well as wasted ink and paper.

 

Alternatively, you can use the browser extension CleanPrint. Technically, this is not a website but it works like a charm. Click here for the download links for the major browsers.

 

Here’s the answer to the number of websites in the world today. InternetLiveStats has been tracking this data for many years. There is a live ticker right on their site. At the time of writing, that number was 1,331,525,090. You can click here to see the most recent number of websites around the world.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

 

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

COURTESY: Fox News

Corporate powers team up to fight cyberthreat

You don’t have to be a digital whizz kid to know that the wars of the future are likely to be fought somewhere in cyberspace. The threat from cyberattacks has grown rapidly — and corporate Europe is urging action.

Symbolbild Cyberattacke Virus Wurm Virusattacke (picture alliance/dpa/M. Skolimowska)

The digital revolution has made techies of millions of people around the world, hooked up and logged on to an overarching superstructure practically all the time.

For all the benefits it has brought, it has come with costs and few have more profound consequences than the growing risk of serious cyberattacks. Everything from critical infrastructure, such as power plants, electricity grids and public transit systems, to software and IT systems, be they corporate, governmental or personal, are in the firing line.

Few can be in much doubt anymore that the threat is real. Last year’s massive “WannaCry” ransomware attack affected over a quarter of a million computers in 150 countries and continued the trend, starkly evident over the last decade, that cyberattacks are on a sharp rise.

The threat posed is seen as so severe that it is estimated by the World Economic Forum that it could cost as much as $8 trillion (€6.38 trillion) in damage over the next few years alone. Even graver risks than the financial cost, such as those posed to national security and public health and safety, also loom large.

On Friday at a major security conference taking place in Munich, several corporations already invested in fighting cyberattacks signed up to a charter that urges a string of collective intergovernmental, corporate and societal actions aimed at safeguarding digital systems of all kinds.

Watch video02:13

Cyberattacks, drought, natural disasters among biggest global risks

Read more: ‘World on the brink,’ warns Munich Security Report

Siemens, Allianz, Airbus, IBM, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, NXP and SGS are the eight companies signing up to the charter, which lists 10 principles they see as essential for “establishing a new charter of trust between society, politics, business partners, and customers.”

Recognizing the threat

“Failure to protect the systems that control our homes, hospitals, factories, grids and virtually all of our infrastructure could have devastating consequences,” runs a statement from the signatories. “Democratic and economic values need to be protected from cyber and hybrid threats.”

The charter urges several specific measures, for example the routine establishment of governmental ministries tasked specifically with cybersecurity, a comprehensive education drive aimed at improving base level knowledge of issues around cybersecurity and a range of security-based measures aimed at fending off increasingly sophisticated attacks.

The corporations insist that in order for the full benefits of digitalization to be felt — a process currently blowing powerful winds of change through several industries — people need to have full faith in the new technological systems they are expected to place their trust in.

“Digitalization and cybersecurity must evolve hand in hand,” the statement says.

From the common thief to the nation state

The collective move by the companies can be seen in the context of the increasing urgency with which the corporate and political world is treating the issue of cybersecurity.

Cyberattacks vary in form. There are straight up “stand and deliver” style online robbery attempts such as WannaCry, which demanded that users whose systems were beset by a damaging virus wire ransom money via Bitcoin.

China Weltweite Cyberattacke (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Schiefelbein)The 2017 “WannaCry” cyberattack demanded affected users wire ransom money via Bitcoin.

Then there is the political dimension. Several countries, such as the USA, the UK and Japan asserted that North Korea, currently in the eye of a major geopolitical storm, was behind WannaCry. Then there is the ongoing US investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, much of it supposedly orchestrated through hacking and other cyberattack methods.

Read more: North Korea denies US WannaCry cyberattack accusation

Probably the most chilling threat posed by cyberattacks relates to critical infrastructure physical or virtual assets and systems seen as essential to the daily functioning of society.

Cyberattacks on power plants have become increasingly common, with the energy sector having sustained more than any other industry, according to a Siemens report on the issue.  In theory, a sufficiently sophisticated cyberattack, for example by nation-state players acting on behalf of a hostile government, could disable an entire national power grid.

In 2014, Michael Rogers, the Director of the American National Security Agency (NSA), told a US Congressional panel that China and “probably one or two other” countries have the capacity of shutting down the American power grid, and other critical infrastructure systems, via a cyberattack.

Needless to say, this is a capacity unlikely to be beyond the United States itself.

High costs, higher risks

Going by the so-called “charter of trust” being promoted in Munich, there are solutions that can significantly limit the risk posed by cyberattacks.

Watch video01:15

Ransomware cyberattack threatens organizations worldwide

Given that many cyberattacks, even those targeting highly secured software networks, start with attempts to deceive workers into letting a system’s defenses down, constant education and training around the ever-evolving area of cybersecurity is seen as essential.

However such an effort, along with the kind of cybersecurity beefing-up proposed by the charter — such as software which could regularly look out for malware and other anomalies in a network — costs a lot of money.

With the rapid trends towards “Internet of Things” (IoT) technologies across several sectors, the need to adequately upgrade varying forms of equipment to the highest levels of security and technical sophistication possible is expensive. A US Department of Energy report in 2017 put the cost of adequately updating the US power grid to such standards at close to $500 billion.

However, given what is potentially at stake, both in terms of human and societal cost, it’s hard to argue that any figure is too high.

With corporate giants so often at loggerheads over the everyday cut and thrust of business, their coming together over an issue with no obvious, immediate bottom-line financial gain is likely to be taken seriously.

“We have to make the digital world more secure and trustworthy,” said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser. “It’s high time we acted — not individually but jointly.”

COURTESY: DW

Oxfam sex scandal: EU warns charities to uphold ‘ethical standards’

Following the Oxfam sex scandal, the EU says charities risk losing their funding if they do not meet ethical standards. Oxfam’s deputy chief executive has resigned while taking “full responsibility” for the scandal.

The Oxfam logo

The European Union on Monday ordered British aid group Oxfam to explain its handling of a sexual misconduct scandal involving its staff paying prostitutes in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010.

It also warned its NGO partners that the bloc would cut funding if they breached ethical standards, underscoring its “zero tolerance” approach towards misconduct.

“We expect Oxfam to fully clarify the allegations with maximum transparency as a matter of urgency, and we’re ready to review and, if needed, cease funding to any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical standards,” spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.

Read more: Peacekeepers commonly barter goods for sex, says UN study

Oxfam, which received €1.7 million ($2.1 million) in funding from the EU for work in Haiti in 2011, is being accused of covering up the episode and failing to warn other aid agencies about the employees involved, which allowed them to get jobs among vulnerable people in other disaster areas.

Oxfam Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence resigned from her position on Monday, taking ” full responsibility” for the scandal.

Watch video04:12

Oxfam Haiti scandal: DW talks to Jörn Kalinski, Oxfam Germany

“Over the last few days we have become aware that concerns were raised about the behavior of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon,” Lawrence said in a statement.

“It is now clear that these allegations—involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behavior of both the country director and members of his team in Chad—were raised before he moved to Haiti,” she added.

Oxfam has denied accusations of a cover-up, saying it launched an internal investigation the moment it became aware of the allegations.

The probe led to the sacking of four Oxfam employees, the charity said on Friday, adding that three people, including the country director, resigned before the end of the investigation.

Read moreHaiti, the UN and the unintended effects of a peace mission

British government threatens to cut funding

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters that Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt was meeting Oxfam representatives on Monday.

“DFID (the Department for International Development) have taken action in this area to try and further strengthen systems to enforce a zero tolerance approach. There are a number of measures they have taken but we want to go further in this area,” he said.

DFID gave Oxfam nearly £32 million (€36 million) last year.

The British government has also threatened to cut off funding to Oxfam or any other aid agency that doesn’t cooperate with the government’s efforts to rein in misconduct.

Oxfam, which has announced new measures to tackle sexual abuse cases, said it would share with authorities all the information it had relating to the scandal in Haiti.

ap, law/kms (AFP, AFP)

COURTESY: DW

Cleanse White House of Obama’s pagans, demonic items before I enter – Melania Trump reportedly told Paul Begley

NEWS

Published on 

Evangelical Pastor, Paul Begley, has revealed how US First Lady, Melania Trump, demanded that the White House be spiritually cleansed.

He said she also demanded that pagans, demonic items and artifacts from the President Barrack Obama and Clinton years be removed.

Begley revealed this while commenting on President Trump’s very public support for Christianity, as well as the frequent Bible studies and prayer gatherings held at the White House.

Begley quoted Melania Trump as saying, “I’m not going to go into that White House unless it has been completely exorcised.”

He added that, “One thing was left, a cross on the wall. They cleansed the White House. They had people in there, anointing it with oil and praying everywhere.”

Pastor Begley made his remarks during the February edition of Weekend Vigilante, hosted by Sheila Zilinsky.

He added, “I have to say, when the president allowed 40 pastors to come in to the White House and anoint him with oil and lay their hands and pray on him—seven times he’s done this—that is unheard of.

“We haven’t ever – the guy’s got flaws, we all do. But at least he is humble enough and recognizing that he needs God enough that he keeps bringing them in for the prayer.

“And I’ve got to say this; it might have started with the first lady. I’m just being honest with you.”

“The first lady, in that five hours when the Obamas and the Trumps went down to the Capitol and Trump was being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Melania Trump said to her husband – she said, ‘I’m not going to go into that White House unless it has been completely exorcised.’

“Because apparently during the eight years when Obama was there, and maybe even some of the presidents before him, there were all kinds of idol gods and images and all kinds of artifacts in there that were demonic, even some of the stuff from the Clinton era because they were really tied in with the Haitians.

“I can tell you, you can read the Serpent and the Rainbow story and find out just how much Haitian witch-doctor influence was on Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s lives. They constantly went back there. They spent their honeymoon with a witch doctor. Who does that?”

Trump ‘unable’ to declassify key Democrat memo

US President Trump has said he won’t declassify a memo written by Democrats refuting Republican claims the FBI was biased against Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump called the memo “very political and long.”

USA Donald Trump Rede zur Lage der Nation (Getty Images/W. McNamee)

The White House, citing national security concerns, on Friday notified the House Intelligence Committee that President Donald Trump was “unable” to declassify a key memo drafted by Democrats.

The memo challenges Republican allegations contained in the recent so-called ‘Nunes memo’ of abuse of surveillance powers in the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

White House counsel Don McGahn wrote in a letter to the committee that the Democrats memo contained “numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages” and asked the Democrats to revise the memo with the help of the Justice Department (DoJ).

President Trump meanwhile tweeted that the Democrats had “sent a very political and long response memo” allegedly designed to “blame the White House for lack of transparency” and stressing that the Democrats knew the original document could not be released in full. He added that it would need “to be heavily redacted” before being released in any form.

The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!

McGahn meanwhile stated earlier that Trump was still “inclined” to release the memo in the interest of transparency if revisions were made.

Watch video05:50

Former FBI assistant director comments on memo release

Trump taking aim at the FBI

The president has recently ratcheted up his criticisms of the FBI’s handling of probes into Hillary Clinton’s email server, and has called the House Intelligence Committee’s investigations into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election a witch hunt.

He has also reportedly been seeking ways to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the only person empowered to dismiss the man undertaking the investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller — and hence derail, or seriously impede, the probe.

Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI, for example was reportedly pushed out of the bureau last week, over reported accusations of partiality.

FBI special counsel Robert Mueller (picture-alliance/abaca/O. Douliery)FBI special counsel Robert Mueller

War by memo

The release last week of the ‘Nunes memo’ increased speculation that Trump would try to oust Rosenstein.

Republican House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes’s memo — which was declassified by Trump last week — attacked Rosenstein for his role in obtaining wiretap warrants on a member of the Trump campaign with several Russian contacts. The memo described this as an abuse of power.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan have said it shouldn’t be used to undermine the special counsel.

But Democrats on the committee then produced a memo they said would refute some of the claims made in the Nunes document, which they argue was misleading and sought to undermine the Mueller investigation.

Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand (picture alliance/AP/J.L. Magana)Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand

DoJ No. 3 quits

It comes after reports Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand will leave the DoJ after only nine months on the job. An anonymous source confirmed to The Associated Press later on Friday that the department’s number 3 will join the executive board of Walmart, although this has not been officially confirmed.

National security expert Brand was appointed by Trump in May 2017 and has been working directly below Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from involvement with the Mueller investigation due to his work for the Trump campaign, in effect making Brand next in line if Trump decided to sack Rosenstein.

Watch video01:44

FBI challenge White House over secret Memo

jh/bw (AFP, AP, dpa)

COURTESY: DW

Lekki residents protest high toll

Lekki area. Source: lekkirepublic.com

Residents of Lekki, Lagos on Friday made good their threat to stage a protest over the  multiple hikes in tolls collected at two toll plazas in the area, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

On Feb. 1, the Lekki Concession Company effected a hundred per cent increase in some tolls collected at the Lagos-Ajah highway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge, jolting millions of residents.

The convener of the protest, Mr Adedotun Hassan, described the toll hikes as unacceptable, unfair and killing.

He said it was unthinkable for a government to impose such a burden on hapless and poorly paid residents at a difficult moment like now, calling on the Lagos State Government to cancel the toll increases.

Hassan, who led a group known as Eti-Osa Development Forum, argued that imposing the toll on residents was inhuman and amounted to double taxation.

He argued that in a democracy, the residents ought to have been consulted before making such hikes, saying that the development would affect businesses in Lekki and its environs adversely.

“Residents are not happy with the situation. The increment is killing, that is why we are staging this protest.

“We want the government to cancel the tolls because we pay our taxes, the amount is too high, residents are being short-changed.

“We belong to the same Lagos State, ours is not different. Is it a crime to live in Lekki? What have we done to warrant this punishment?’’

Another Lekki resident, Mr Murphy Adebare, lamented that life had not been the same for him since the new tolls came into effect.

He pleaded with Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, to come to the rescue of the residents and show human face in his administration of Lagos State.

“How can an administration impose two toll gates within one Local Government Area in the state? This is the worst form of meanness.’’

A cleric Mrs Ngozi Igbokwe, also called for the cancellation of the tolls, pointing out that no genuine reason had been advanced by the operators of the plazas.

“During rainy season you will pity the residents of this area because of flooding. Government has not done anything on this problem.

“Why would the same government allow its citizens to be devoured by greedy businessmen in the name of toll collection?’’

On Feb. 1, the LCC rolled out a new toll regime at the Lagos-Ajah highway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge.

Motorcycle riders are now to pay N100 instead of N50, while cars are to pay N200 instead of N120.

Sports utility vehicles are now to pay N300 instead of N150 while commercial buses now N100 instead of N80.

NAN reports that anti-riot policemen were deployed in large numbers at the toll plazas to prevent a breakdown of the law and order during the protest.

An attempt by some people to disrupt the peaceful protest was immediately  checked by security operatives.

(NAN)

Courtesy: Punch

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