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From Court To Police Custody: Plight Of Young Investigative Reporter By Alfred Olufemi

Sun, 2020-01-19 17:05


 

Although I have read about victimisation of journalists and repressive attacks on press freedom, last week added to my first-hand experiences of the travails of journalists, particularly some of us who have decided to ply the dreaded route of investigative journalism.

It was hectic journeying to two states just to respond to invitations from two judicial institutions. One was to continue proceedings in a magistrate court in Kwara State and another was the invitation from the zonal headquarters of the police in Osogbo, Osun State, over reports written in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Preamble

I had always expected these would come someday but I did not envisage that they would come this early. Kunle Ajibade’s life imprisonment sentence, Dapo Olorunyomi’s exile, the detention of Babafemi Ojudu without trial and many more are documented testimonials of the hazards that come with critical reporting.

I was about writing my final exams at the Obafemi Awolowo University when I received my first summon by the police in 2019. It was owing to a critical report detailing how the smoking of Indian hemp was permitted in the premises of a rice factory, a subsidiary of HillCrest Agro-allied Industry owned by Sarah Alade, a former CBN chief and an Economic Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari. The story was published on NewsDigest, a news platform I once wrote for as a student journalist, in 2018.

I responded to the summon after consulting Alhaji Yushau Shuaib, owner of Image Merchant Promotions, Idris Akinbajo, my editor at Premium Times, and some other distinguished colleagues. I was quizzed by the police and after I refused to disclose some vital sources, myself and Gidado Yushau, the young editor, were billed for arraignment the following week. I stood by the story as the author and Gidado Shuaib, NewsDigest editor, also vouched for the credibility of the story.

It was a case of defamation of character, which I vehemently denied during the first court appearance last year. Since the case is already with a competent court of law, I would not like to speak more about the proceedings and some of my reservations.

Monday experience

However, the second appearance, which was on Monday, January 13, 2020, came with a twist. Since we are already undergoing a criminal prosecution in the magistrate court, we had expected that the complainant would await the verdict of the court but no! The company had filed another lawsuit at the Kwara State High Court, requesting for N500m damages amongst other things.

Gidado, who received the writ of summon as a co-defendant adjusted his cap upon the sight of the demands of the company. Of course, it was mouth-gaping but I was not too surprised trusting some of our evidences and logical arguments. Meanwhile, on a lighter note, I do not think I can raise N200,000 from my personal savings at that moment let alone N1m. I smiled moving to the dock with mustered courage.

While facing the magistrate, thoughts of how I started writing in 2017 as a 200-level student in the university ran across my mind, I could recall the threats, impacts and accolades that some of my reports have earned me and the masses.

“We are bringing our witnesses next sitting,” the prosecutor said, informing the court after a failed attempt to provide the witnesses that Monday. Without much ado, the next date of adjournment was fixed but I could not help but to glance through the writ of summon intermittently, the lengthy pages are enough to make any young journalist back out of the struggle. Alas! For me, not anytime soon.

With a good friend and colleague of mine, Adejumo Kabir, we laughed over some events in the courtroom and reflected on some national issues, essentially the Amotekun kerfuffle. It was in high spirit that we left the court premises after some discussions with our legal team ready to fire back with a detailed response to the writ of summon.

What next? Amala joint. The dose of Amala was to prepare us for another journey to the zonal headquarters of the police the following day.

A Tuesday for the police

The appearance in the zonal headquarters of the police in Osogbo, Osun State, was sequel to a 2019 report exclusively published by Premium Times. It was about one Abdulrahman Habeebulah who admitted to have slept with a 16-year-old girl. He claimed to have married the teenager but my interviews and investigations proved otherwise.

The paper also reported how the cleric apologised to the victim’s family and the controversies that led to a settlement out of court. None of the updates, from the beginning to the out-of-court settlement, went without being reported. In fact, when he was rearrested by police in November 2019, this paper updated the public.

Nonetheless, in December 2019, five months after the report, I got a call from one Sergeant Adisa, a police officer in the zonal headquarters. I initially doubted the credibility of the call because all he provided was “there is a petition against you sir and we need you to appear in our office.” The caller could not answer the question of who wrote the petition and the content of the allegations.

I had written so many controversial reports that the aggrieved party may have loved to petition me. So, I needed a background information of the petition for me to know the right documents and materials to go along with. Sergeant Adisa promised to call back but did not.

The next I heard was on January 8. The family of the victim contacted me through the uncle of the victim, Muyideen Oloyede, that morning. I was told that the police had claimed that I did not respond to the calls and as such written the Vice Chancellor of my Alma Mata.

I requested that the phone was passed to an officer, identified as Mr Tanimola, and we fixed the next Tuesday for the meeting.

It was around 1:00pm when I reached the premises of the police headquarters in the company with my colleague, Mr Adejumo. I wore the most civil and humble countenance following telephone calls from friends and colleagues, who had advised that I thread softly. But in the real sense, have I committed any crime in reporting atrocities? Indeed, that shows how journalism has been criminalised in Nigeria.

After signing in at the station, we were welcomed by Sergeant Adisa and Mr Tanimola.

When given a copy of the petition, I could spot a lot of factual errors. That was after we schooled the police officers about the process of sending such summons. If not for my magnanimity and Premium Times' commitment to transparency and accountability, I would not have honoured the invitation because of the flawed process. It should be noted that the petition was against the uncle of the victim, Premium Times and myself. And guess who the complainant is? The embattled Islamic cleric. His major claim was that he never granted any interview with me. I laughed. After recording my statement and answering questions from the 'bullying' Sergeant Adisa, we proceeded to some senior officers' offices. It was a confrontation with all parties – the family of the victim, Mr Abdulrahman and myself. This was the moment I was proud of ethical journalism. Mr Abdulrahman contradicted himself even in his narration.

“He was disturbing me. I told him to stop calling me. I gave him some numbers to call” these were the words of the cleric, who earlier claimed that his reaction was not sought in some of the reports. He tried to shift the focus of the police from the rape allegations by saying “It has been settled out of court.”

The senior police officer cut in. “We cannot treat the smoke without treating the fire,” he countered the cleric.

At a point, Sergeant Adisa shut my colleague up when trying to make some clarifications. We did not flinch. Not even for a second.

It was almost getting dark and spending the night in the police custody occurred to me but it was not an option. This is because, except for Sergeant Adisa, every other cop was civil.

After minutes of heated arguments, we were transferred to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. The officer, who appears to be in his mid-fifties, also sought every parties’ side of the story. He promised that the newspaper will be contacted officially as against the error of the police officer handling the issue initially. A final meeting was however, fixed for January 30. “I will go through all the documents before me and all you have said,” the DCP assured.

The time was around 6:30pm and the night was really drawing closer but before we reached out to the door, the officer-in-charge of the legal unit asked a question. “But how old is the girl in question?” He asked. Mr Oloyede swiftly replied “sixteen!”

The legal officer, who listened to all the narrations with rapt attention, beamed a smile when the cleric alongside his lawyer countered Mr Oloyede saying the age of the girl is contentious. Perhaps, he was aware of the legal implication of sleeping with a 16-year-old.

If the invitation were to be a stage play, at that point, we drew the curtain. It took me less than five minutes to sign my bail documents and was released by the police officers. I was tired. Unarguably, it was really a hectic day. As we were about to leave the premises, I whispered to my beloved friend; “The truth is bold.” He could not agree less owing to our responses to the questions we were asked at the police headquarters.

From there, we moved!

Alfred Olufemi, an award-winning investigative reporter and campus journalist, writes from the University of Ife

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Alfred Olufemi Disable advertisements : 

Harry, Meghan To Drop Official Titles By March

Sun, 2020-01-19 16:16


 

Megan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, will drop their titles by March, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.

The couple had earlier announced their willingness to withdraw from the royal family, which meant they would no longer live on taxpayers' money. 

The young family said they wanted to live independently. 

In the statement from Buckingham Palace, Megan and Harry pledged to always uphold the sanctity of the royal family even as they live independently. 

The statement reads, “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

"As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.

"With the Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent the Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty.

"The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the royal family."

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ICPC Warns Against Fraudsters As It Begins Recruitment

Sun, 2020-01-19 12:22


The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has warned interested candidates in its recruitment exercise to be careful of fraudsters.

The agency said it has engaged the services of DSCL Corporate Services Limited to conduct the recruitment on its behalf to fill vacant positions approved by government.

It said, "The general public is hereby advised to be wary of fraudulent advertisement of the ICPC recruitment on any portal different from its own.

"Application for the positions is absolutely free and all processes attached to the recruitment exercise shall be in accordance with established parameters.

"Members of the public are therefore urged to report to ICPC any demand for money or other favours by anyone including officials of DCSL Corporate Services Limited.

"Advertisement of the recruitment exercise on any unauthorised portal and demand for money will be investigated and persons found culpable will be prosecuted."

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Facebook’s Auto-translation Changes Name Of Chinese President To 'Shithole'

Sun, 2020-01-19 12:16



Facebook has apologised for the mistranslation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name from Burmese to English  language. 

The social media platform’s autocorrect translated the name of the president to ‘Shithole’ in a post made during his visit to Myanmar.

The error most notably appeared on the official Facebook page of Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Mr Shithole, President of China arrives at 4pm,” said a translated announcement posted earlier on Saturday. 

“President of China, Mr Shithole, signed a guest record of the house of representatives,” it continued.

Facebook said it was sorry and blamed a technical glitch.

“We fixed a technical issue that caused incorrect translations from Burmese to English on Facebook.

"This should not have happened and we are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We sincerely apologise for the offense this has caused,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

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Suspected Serial Killer Appears In Court Wearing Church Tag

Sun, 2020-01-19 11:56


A suspected serial killer, Gracious David West, appeared for his recent court hearing with Salvation Ministries’ ‘5 nights of glory’ tag.

His murder trial was however, stalled due to the absence of his counsel, Vincent Chuku, who was expected to continue the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses.

The state's prosecution counsel, Chidi Ekeh and Lezina Amegwa, counsel to the 2nd defendant identified as Nimi ThankGod, told the court that all effort to reach Chuku proved abortive.

Justice Adolphus Enebeli, who ordered that the hearing notice be served on Vincent Chuku before the next adjourned date, stated that he can’t withdraw from the case on his own.

The case was then adjourned until January 24.

West, who earlier confessed to the killing of 15 women across seven states, made a u-turn and pleaded not guilty to the 10-count of murder levelled against him.

Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State, said West killed one person each in Abia, Edo, Oyo, Imo, Lagos where the act started two months ago and nine in Port Harcourt, Rivers.

West, an alleged repentant cultist, told newsmen that he derives joy in strangling young women in hotels whenever the urge to kill comes. He claimed that he did not cut his victim’s vital parts.

He was apprehended while trying to escape the intense heat his actions had generated in the state after a CCTV of him in a hotel emerged and went viral on the social media.

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I Am Greater Than Obafemi Awolowo By Remi Oyeyemi

Sun, 2020-01-19 11:43


Remi Oyeyemi

Remi Oyeyemi

Everywhere I go, they use Obafemi Awolowo as reference of and for all things. They point to his morality. They celebrate his achievements. They speak glowingly about him. They talk about him in awe. They have turned him into a god. No discussion ever takes place on any matter without him being referenced. Awo this, Awo that! Awo this, Awo that!

I am tired of hearing his name. I am just tired of it. Before you say anything, they would bring up his name. Before you do anything, they would bring up his name. What is the big deal about him anyway? What has he done that I have not done better?

He founded Nigerian Tribune, I founded my own newspapers, too. I even have magazines published in some of my stables, which he never did.

Okay, Awo brought television to Africa. I know he did it first. But he only did it for the Western Region then. But I own a network of several television stations. I believe they are not even giving me enough respect for surpassing him.

Someone had told me that Awo built housing estates in Bodija, Ibadan, and Ikeja in Lagos. As landlord of Lagos State, I personally own more than the two estates put together. I also have properties outside Nigeria and in choice parts of the world. 

Simply because Awo brought Redifusion to Africa, they are also crediting him with the first radio station in Nigeria. Every time I hear that, I just laugh out loud. Do you know how many radio stations I own? I don't have to say out the number. I don't want to give the impression that I am proud.

Every time they would talk about Awo's free education program. Who needs that free education any more? There are many like me, who never even attended any known primary school, but we are smart enough to achieve all we want to achieve. 

They are also fond of talking about free medical care of Awo.In a situation where I could get fantastic health services from India, Germany, UK or elsewhere, why take on the headaches of free medical care?

One of my advisers informed me that Awo introduced minimum wage in the old Western Region. Well, we could congratulate him for that. There was no need for me to do something like that when I was in office. 

Liberty Stadium? There is nothing special about that except that it was the first one. I had three famous ones in my jurisdiction. Though, I did not build any. I didn't have to. I had three great ones. Everybody knows them and I don't have to name them.

Another adviser of mine told me to write a book. He had called my attention that Awo wrote about 15 books or so. I didn't and still don't see any need for that. I have many intellectual goons, who could write for me or write about me. I have delegated that responsibility. Delegating responsibility is a hallmark of a great leader like me.

What I dislike most is that they talk about Awo as if he is special. I don't think so. I have done many things he was never able to do. I have organised a coalition that removed an incumbent president from office. Was Awo able to do that? He did not even come any close.

I have installed governors. I have installed senators. I have installed my relatives in several positions. Many of my friends and loyalists are in various juicy positions. My daughter, my in-laws are beneficiaries of my clout and political genius. Awo never had those skills. He could not do any of that.

I have even selected a vice president for Nigeria. Yes, I have done that. Did Awo ever do that? Was he that smart? I don't want to sound as if I am boasting. I am a political genius. Awo is not close to me in any way. Let's just forget it. You know I am a very humble person.

Then they try to belittle me all of the time. They claim no one knows my primary school's address. That they searched for it they could no find it. I just laughed. The point is that I am the smartest politician in the history of Nigeria.

Others complain that I claimed that I attended Government College, Ibadan. They are upset that I couldn't remember the year I attended or remember the name of my principal. Some of them were even asking me to name any of my classmates. What has all that got to do with my greatness? 

Many of them even accused me of forging my university certificate. Some of them call me "Mr Chicago," out of malice. The bottom line is that I was in Chicago. No one could deny that. It is not my fault that Awo never had the good fortune to be in Chicago like me. People are just jealous of my achievement.

When all is said and done, they look around on what to say about me, they would raise the issue of drug peddling. They call me so many names. I was never convicted of any drug crime anywhere on the surface of the earth. I have never been jailed anywhere for any reason. But Awo was jailed anyway, whether politically motivated or not.

Look, I am greater than Awo. There is no question about it. Some people don't like this idea. But there is nothing they could do about it. When in 2023, I become the President of Nigeria, it would cement my greatness over Awo because it goes without saying that he was never the president of Nigeria.

I am the greatest political gladiator in the history of the Yorùbá race. I am the greatest star ever, in the firmament Oòduà land politics. I am the greatest political strategist in Nigerian history. It would amount to unfairness to even put Oduduwa over and above me, not to speak of Obafemi Awolowo. 

I am greater than Obafemi Awolowo.

 

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Ihedioha Breaks Silence, Says Sack A Mystery

Sat, 2020-01-18 20:41


Ihedioha addressing PDP NWC members in Abuja

Ihedioha addressing PDP NWC members in Abuja SaharaReporters Media


Emeka Ihedioha has described his sack as Imo State governor by the Supreme Court as a mystery that was never anticipated. 

He described the day as black Tuesday, stating that he pitied anyone celebrating the event. 

Speaking when members of the Peoples Democratic Party National Working Committee paid him a courtesy visit in his Abuja home, Ihedioha said that he took solace in the word of God, which says there is a season and time for every purpose under heaven. 

He said, "This is a replica of the kind of attention the event of that black Tuesday 14th January resonated across the country. 

"We are as shocked as yourselves, it was never anticipated. All legal pundits and democratic watchers never imagined and anticipated. 

"So, for us it remains a mystery. 

"I believe that that event will define obviously our democracy. I am certain that the judiciary and electoral system are well aware that they are on trial. And what is fundamental about this is that the facts of the matters as relates to Imo State governorship election is that the foundation of our democratic processes, the elections in Imo were closely monitored, well advertised and everybody in Nigeria followed it through. 

"The results were very clear, the electoral umpire still have the results, and INEC has stated clearly that the results in question and the figures are not summing up.

"It is not about Emeka Ihedioha, it is not about Imo State, its about the future of our country and democracy. 

"This will make history in many ways and so this is a historical process, historical action, and I am sure there will be historical answers at the end of the day."
 

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New Imo Governor Fires Chairpersons Of Boards, Parastatals

Sat, 2020-01-18 18:03


Hope Uzodinma

Hope Uzodinma google

 

Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, has sacked all chairmen of boards and parastatals in the state including their members, a report by PUNCH said.

The governor ordered the affected persons appointed by the former governor, Emeka Ihedioha, to handover government belongings in their possessions to the most senior civil servant in their respective agencies.

“Senator Uzodinma has approved the immediate dissolution of boards of all government parastatals and agencies in the State.

“By the same token, the governor has requested that the outgoing appointees relinquish all government property in their care to the most senior civil servants in the various affected MDAs on or before the close of work on Friday,” a source said.

Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Oguwuike Nwachukwu, confirmed the removal of the chairpersons.

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AFCON: Clubs May Think Twice Before Signing African Stars, Says Liverpool Coach, Klopp

Sat, 2020-01-18 17:26


Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has warned that the decision to move the African Cup of Nations back to January by the Confederation of African Football will have an impact on the club's transfer policy.

The AFCON will take place next winter in the middle of the English Premier League season, even though the last one took place in the summer.

With Liverpool set to lose players like Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita for up to six weeks, Klopp warned that the move will make club think twice about buying African players in the future.

He said, “I couldn't respect the African Cup of Nations more than I do because I like the competition.

“But it is an obvious problem that you play a tournament in the middle of the season. African Cup of Nations going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe.

“It doesn't help African players. We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby just because they have a tournament in January and February – of course not – but if you have to make a decision about bringing in a player, it is a massive one because before the season you know for four weeks you don't have them.

“That's a normal process and as a club you have to think about these things. It doesn't help the players, for sure. 

“But these decisions are made without asking the players, without asking the managers, without asking anyone. It is just a decision.”

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Inter Milan Close In On Loan Deal For Nigeria’s Victor Moses

Sat, 2020-01-18 17:17


 

Inter Milan are on the verge of acquiring the services of Chelsea winger, Victor Moses, after manager Antonio Conte made a specific request for the club to sign the Nigerian international.

Moses, 29, played under Conte when the Italian was in charge of Chelsea and has already expressed his positive opinion on the transfer and wants an immediate move to Inter. 

Fenerbahce, Moses’ current club, has said that they will not stand in the player's way in moving to Italy. 

According to Sky Sport Italia, the Nigerian will return to Chelsea to be immediately loaned out to Inter until June for no cost. 

Inter have already made it known that they will not make a permanent move for Moses this month, but could revisit the situation in the summer if they deem him to have successfully adapted to Conte's 3-5-2 formation.

A fee of €10m (£8.5m) has been mooted as the figure Inter will have to pay if they wish to acquire the player on a permanent basis in June.  

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Robbery Victim Dies From Gunshot Wounds In Abia

Sat, 2020-01-18 16:24


A middle-aged palm oil merchant in Umuahia, Abia State, Mr Basil Odoemelam, who was robbed of over N1m, has died from gunshot wounds, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. 

Odoemelam died around 6:00pm on Friday at the Federal Medical Center, Umuahia, where he was taken to after the attack.

His business ally disclosed that he gave up the ghost in the theatre while doctors were carrying out a surgery to remove bullets that reportedly lodged in his lower abdomen.

The gunmen were alleged to have shot him five times in the leg and lower abdomen before dispossessing him of the bag containing the money.

The deceased’s younger brother, Ejima, who was seen weeping profusely at FMC, also confirmed the death to NAN.

Recalled that the three-member armed gang had allegedly trailed the deceased from an old generation bank after he had reportedly withdrawn about N2m to pay for goods supplied to him.

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Two Persons Killed In Fresh Attack On Kaduna Community

Sat, 2020-01-18 16:19


Two persons have been killed following an attack on Gora-Gan Community in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State by gunmen, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Chairman of the local council, Mr Elias Manza, who confirmed the incident, said the attackers opened fire on some youth playing around the village market square on Friday evening.

He said, “The attackers came on motorcycles and opened fire on the youth playing, killing two females while two males sustained injuries.

“The injured are currently receiving treatment but normalcy has been restored to the area.”

According to him, security operatives had since been drafted to the affected community and advised members of the area to remain calm.

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Loud Applause For Operation Amotekun By Tony Ademiluyi

Sat, 2020-01-18 13:57


 

Insecurity is as old as man. Mortals from time immemorial have devised several means to secure their lives and properties from assassins and bandits who are ruthless and could be fatal if their sinister demands are not met.

Some of this awareness for security could be ideologically driven and violence could be deployed to achieve its purpose. The Irish Resistance Army was formed as a response by the Irish to resist British rule in their country. It secured the lives and properties of the Irish as it was used in intelligence gathering since the members were fellow Irish who knew the terrain better than the foreign British. The Italian mafia started in Sicily in Southern Italy as a response to the constant attacks from the Northern part of the country. It was also exported to the United States where many Italians of southern descent migrated to. It kept the spirit of southern Italy alive in America and greatly protected the interests while attending to their security needs of them even while in exile.

The South-West part of the country has been under vicious attack from the Fulani herdsmen as well as kidnappers and bandits which makes it unsafe for habitation. The Nigerian Police Force is terribly ill equipped to handle the needs of the region due to its defective centralized structure which doesn’t allow for the best intelligence gathering.

The concerned six south west governors came together to form the Operation Amotekun (Leopard in the Yoruba language) to combat the growing menace of insecurity in the land. These men couldn’t sit back and watch their people being mindlessly slaughtered and maimed and so they had to step in, think outside the box while proffering a solution to the nagging challenge.

The idea was well received by the public at the formal inauguration in Ibadan, the former capital of the western region where the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, played host to the other governors of the region.

Just when the region was about to say uhuru at last, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, threw the spanner in the works through a strange legal technicality when he said that it was illegal for any group or organisation to form a group for the defense of any territorial part of the country.

This is ludicrous as one wonders why the chief law officer has suddenly become a kill joy. The Northern part of the country has the Hisbah which functions in the same way as the operation Amotekun plans to operate. Why didn’t he declare them illegal? The organisation is notorious for its human rights violations in the course of its pursuit for a more secure north. They were in the news recently for the confiscation and destruction of millions of bottles of beer in Kano State. They also flog people for all sorts of crimes and there have been protests against their activities especially by the Southerners living in the North as they surreptitiously encroach on their human rights since they are not bound by their religion to live under Sharia law.

The North East which has been under siege from the Boko Haram Insurgents for over a decade which has led to the death of over a hundred thousand and the internal displacement of over two million has been under the protection of the Civilian Joint Task Force. Why didn’t the Justice Minister proscribe them?

It is tragic that Malami is merely playing politics with the lives and protection of South-West residents with a substantial chunk of them even originating from the northern part of the country where he hails from.

The basic constitutional right enshrined in the constitutions of all nations as well as international charters is the right to life which is an inalienable right. All other rights stem from this right. It is insensitive and cruel for him to propose an anti-people policy that purports to truncate this wonderful gift from our maker.

It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian Police Force is not sufficiently equipped to effectively tackle crime in the South-West region. They are grossly inadequate and the centralised and unitary structure makes it difficult for them to be as fluid as possible in the important role of intelligence gathering. How can an Ibibio man who was recently posted to Ekiti effectively gather intelligence when he doesn’t speak a word of Yoruba or is familiar with the terrain? This is the handicap of the current police set up. The operation Amotekun is not replacing the police, civil defence corps or the other security agencies. They are only complimenting their efforts as it is impossible for the police to secure the lives of South westerners alone.

South-Westerners and residents alike should team up as one to protest against this directive from Malami as we owe it to our generations yet unborn to have a more secure region.

Evil must never triumph over good.

Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos

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Amotekun: Majesty In Name Meets Right To Self-Defence By Babafemi Badejo

Sat, 2020-01-18 13:46


 

I lived in Nairobi, Kenya, for 11 years working for the United Nations on peace for Somalia. It meant I went into Mogadishu where I had earlier lived for two years (before the UN’s evacuation), on an as-needed basis.

It used to be nice to take my children and visitors to the Nairobi National Park and once or twice, drive as far as Massai Mara to view wild animals. But in all these efforts, I never saw Amotekun (leopard).

I wanted to record a close picture of majestic Amotekun in the wild but did not succeed. Of course, I knew there were some in captivity at the Nairobi park orphanage but I wanted the real thing. Not a tamed one.

Then came this Saturday early morning about 2003/2004. We had driven to Nakuru Park. As we entered, my camera on my laps in steady mode, and I talked on my obsession on wanting to see a leopard, four in quick succession passed right in front of the car.

They were majestic, with the cat purrs design on their furs allowing them to adapt easily. Much different from the spots of the cheetah and they don’t have the flowing tears of the cheetah either.

Amotekun lacks the speed of the cheetah. The four Amotekun were gone before I could pick up my steadied camera. I was over-awed.

We drove all over the park trying to figure out their path. No success. That was an end to one of the myths I had read about Amotekun to the effect that they are solitary. Here was a community of four.

Not until May 2009 while on an observation stop in Nairobi on my way from Johannesburg did a smart Massai guy take me right before a leopard lounging away in what appeared like sleep mode on a branch of a tree.

I visited the spot twice and it was there for me to snap as many photographs with my camera. It wasn’t yet the time of the ubiquitous smartphone.

This leopard that I saw in the vast Maasai Mara confirmed another characteristic of Amotekun. It is a stealth operator from dusk to dawn hunting for food, generally wandering around its territory that could be in the range of 25km or 75km radius.

A very strong animal that appears lazy and shy to many, Amotekun kills its prey at close quarters through suffocation. It does not engage in the rowdy brawl of a Lion.

It uses its brain to get close enough before pouncing giving the prey, another unlucky animal no chance.

I know that Yorubas pay attention to names. And I think the Southwest governors made a great choice in using the majestic but a specifically angry Amotekun as the insignia for the Western Nigeria Security Network apparatus.

Nigeria may be approaching dusk. Dusk for which there may not be a dawn if care is not taken.

Vicious attacks on the Southwest geopolitical zone (a convenient political terminology that has no constitutional status) of Nigeria in 2019 through maiming, kidnapping, killings and theft of property resulted in what’s called “Operation Amotekun”.

Amotekun, the Yoruba word for leopard, became the code name for Western Nigeria Security Network.

Under this arrangement, the six states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo came together to enhance their security in collaboration with the Nigerian security apparatuses.

On January 9, 2020, the states launched the popularly hailed and appreciated Operation Amotekun with a lot of fanfare

That the Nigerian security forces are overstretched is not in doubt. The Nigerian military forces are bogged down by Boko Haram in the Northeast geopolitical zone without any clear answer to the problem.

Nigeria has no longer been as forthcoming to participate effectively in United Nations peacekeeping operations – a source of stealing for a few Nigerian military and civilian leaders who divert UN payments on equipment and at times entitlements of soldiers.

The inability to cope resulted in collaboration with civilians in what is called Civilian Joint Task Force as well as an AU supported multinational joint task force bringing together Nigeria’s immediate neighbours to face Boko Haram.

Though the President Muhammadu Buhari government has done better in handling Boko Haram than its predecessor, the problem remains.

The police are understaffed and poorly equipped. During the defence of the security service’s 2019 budget, Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, informed us that understaffing was the main problem leading to the comical state of the Nigerian Police Force.

For him, there was also a problem of underfunding resulting in being under-equipped to fight crime. One police officer to 662 citizens, is grossly inadequate.

Comparative figures are Singapore with a ratio of 1:137; Egypt 1:186; South Africa 1:366; Norway 1: 188; USA 1: 298 and Canada 1:188. The United Nations suggests that the ratio should not be less than 1:400.

With such staffing inadequacy, little wonder that some states started self-help arrangements that have been on for over one and a half decades.

Twelve Muslim-dominant states of Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno, Gombe and Jigawa formed Hisbah for the enforcement of Sharia law. Some call them religious police.

They all operate some elements of vigilantism. In this day and age, they enforce the prevention of mixture of gender in public transportation, enforce dress codes, seize and destroy alcoholic drinks etc.

There are variations among them. Some, like in Kano and Zamfara, are based on state law and are funded by the state and some lack legal backing.

The Federal Government continues to keep quiet on challenging the constitutionality of any portion of Nigeria being under a separate and additional criminal law beyond the penal code.

Our constitution knows Sharia law and gives it equality with customary law, i.e, the focus is on the private affairs of individuals.

Of course, Hisbah continues to be in operation. They are expected to complement the police by informing when necessary leaving the police with arrests. But they do more in practice.

The inadequacy of policing in Nigeria did not stop with the complementary religious security arrangements in a constitutionally secular country.

Plateau State, under Governor Jonah Jang, collaborated with the Federal government and assisted by the UN, set up Operation Rainbow as a civil-military complementary arrangement that was aimed at minimizing insecurity in the State.

Though criticised, he continued till he left office with his successor showing less interest.

Even the Federal government itself contracted private companies to form pipeline surveillance security entities to reduce sabotage on the lifeline of Nigeria: petroleum oil and gas transported through pipelines.

So, it is a surprise that the Attorney-General of the Federation through a spokesperson on January 14, declared Operation Amotekun illegal, arguing the exclusive right of the Federal Government to provide security for Nigeria or any part of it.

This development has resulted in a lot of brouhahas. Does the interpreter of the law have the right to make such a pronouncement without a Federal Executive Council meeting to deliberate and reach a decision? Or is this simply cabal-style governance?

Is this statement of the Attorney-General not discriminatory? If it is, why the discrimination against a geopolitical zone that tallies with the Yoruba ethnic group by the Attorney-General?

Is it that what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander? And our constitution declares abhorrence for discrimination.

In my view, the Attorney-General is wrong in claiming backing of a Constitution this government has been trampling on by concentrating leadership of security and financial concerns largely in the Northwest and Northeast geopolitical zones at the expense of the remaining four zones.

As Governor Kayode Fayemi rightly pointed, Section 14 of the Constitution gives the duty to provide security to the government, which terminology the Constitution also defined as federal, state and local governments.

More importantly, the inherent right to self-defence has been an inalienable right of every human being at the individual level.

Russell on crime puts it aptly thus: “…a man is justified in resisting by force anyone who manifestly intends and endeavours by violence or surprise to commit a known felony against his person, habitation or property.

“In these cases, he is not obliged to retreat, and may not merely resist the attack where he stands but may indeed pursue his adversary until the danger is ended and if in a conflict between them he happens to kill his attacker such killing is justifiable…”

One of the things I learnt while I worked with the United Nations was that my security starts with me. I worked in war zones.

I was taught to constantly be observant of my environment and react without waiting for security officer colleagues to prevent my being harmed.

This lesson saved me from being bombed out of existence twice in Somalia (September 26, 1993, and May 1, 2005) and from being kidnapped once in Darfur in 2016.

So, if I have the first responsibility for my security, how can any Attorney-General tell me there is a portion of the Constitution that says Nigeria has the exclusive right to ensure my security?

After all, it is under this individual right of self-defence that I built a fence around my house and constructed security arrangements inside with which I lock myself up overnight like being in a prison.

Then, my house is situated within a housing estate that has many guards, including OPC that I contribute to pay for with the first contact with any government being the mobile RRS police that patrols.

If Lagos State wants to join others to further boost all my efforts, how can anyone tell me that they as Abuja people have an exclusive right on my security? No, definitely not so.

The fact is that my inherent individual right to self-defence is at the core of concentric circles of security.

The community development association and local government come next and a geopolitical zone defence network is welcomed to further assist before the Federal Government wakes up from slumber in the outer core.

That the inherent right to self-defence principle is not limited to the individual is well made under international law.

Section 51 of the UN Charter that gives member-states of the organisation that inherent right of self-defence easily comes to mind.

So, the Southwest governors have a right to collaborate among themselves and work with willing national security apparatuses to ensure the security of lives and properties in the territories under their respective control. Those who elected them into office expect no less.

Self-help by states and geopolitical zones in the face of a nonperforming central government is known to law.

If people build and maintain roads, if they generate electricity and provide water security, etc., as the sovereign state recedes to focus on supervising the stealing of national patrimony, how can a judge in his/her right senses deny the right to defend one’s life and property?

Such self-help is necessarily anticipatory. It includes the efforts to “be prepared” in the spirit of the Boys Scout’s motto.

Some Yoruba leaders are acrimonious that they were not consulted. Where were they at the height of the killings and kidnappings for ransom in the South-West? What did they do to ameliorate the development?

They were comfortable in Abuja and secured their fortresses moving all over with rented policemen who should have been part of the pool to tackle the problem but terrorised us with sirens.

They should not rub salt on the injury. They should suspend their respective ego-based hubris and join the fray on the popular demand of the people for security.

I read that some of the leaders in the Southeast indicated that the Southwest stole their ideas. Even if that were the case, it is time to engage in healthy competition and collaboration.

All should join hands with those in the northern parts of Nigeria who are nursing the same ideas of self-help and requiring assistance on implementation.

The focus now should be on providing knowledge on meeting implementation challenges as negotiations continue getting the Buhari government to operate based on reason.

Operation Amotekun has been launched. That is the status quo. Operation Amotekun should continue to design and operationalise itself in the South-West of Nigeria within the law. It should ally with similarly interested states of Nigeria in ensuring enhanced security.

By the way, security is more than carrying guns. Human security has been broadened to be a multi-dimensional enterprise.

Even in security qua security, there is so much on surveillance, application of modern technologies, sharing of knowledge in general and intelligence gathering that make the AK-47 redundant.

Operation Amotekun need not carry arms to be effective in enhancing the sense of security to allow people to once again feel safe to drive on our unmaintained so-called highways.

The AGF is weak on moral and legal grounds not to talk of politically. Even though this is a political issue, the Attorney-General should go to court if he likes.

However, since it is the style of the President to keep mum on top, then the governors should embark on the sensitisation of their electors on the options the South-West faces.

This is the time for these governors to demonstrate that they are leaders.

Badejo is a lawyer and one-time Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General

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Expatriate Workers Of Gotel Accuses Nigeria’s Ex-Vice President, Atiku, Of Dishonesty Over Unpaid Salaries

Sat, 2020-01-18 13:42


Atiku Abubakar and John Chiahemen tour the Gotel Communications compound in Yola, Adamawa. Members of the international team are present.

Atiku Abubakar and John Chiahemen tour the Gotel Communications compound in Yola, Adamawa. Members of the international team are present.

 

Expatriate workers owed money by Gotel, a company owned by Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, have said they are dismayed by his response to their demands of wanting their salaries, terming it a cheap public relations stunt by his agents to hide the truth from the world.

Atiku while responding to an exclusive story by SaharaReporters on January 9, 2020 exposing how Gotel failed to pay expatriate workers for several months in breach of their contract, had on Thursday channelled the blame to former Gotel Chief Executive Officer, John Chiahemen, of stealing salaries meant for the expatriate staff.

But in a swift reaction on Friday, the affected workers including David Guinan, Ebong Udoma, William Chu, Deven Petley, Susie Illiyan, Teddy Vuong, Hannington Osodo, Kostas Sergeiadis and Richard Spiropoulos accused Atiku of being economical with the truth.  See Also Sahara Reporters Nigeria's Ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Accuses Former Gotel CEO Of Stealing Salaries Of Expatriate Staff After SaharaReporters’ Story 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Udoma, a former Chief Editor of Gotel Africa TV says Atiku’s remarks only confirms that he owes them salaries and that turning the blame on John Chiahemen does not in any way absolve Atiku from paying.

He said, “Besides, there have been newspaper reports of Gotel workers in Yola being owed months of salaries last year, are we to believe that John who had left since 2016 is responsible for that too?”

The affected workers say that final figures for settlement were reached on following an audit called by Gotel board after John left.

Promises were made to pay the salaries owed in 2016 but nothing happened since that period.

Former Gotel COO, Gary Alphonso, said the station’s operations were stalled soon after Atiku left the management financially crippled.

He said, “What does not change is the fact that Atiku left us all including John in a lurch and financially crippled. None of the promises they made to us ever materialised.

“If he (Atiku) makes Paul Ibe release a statement implicating John in having been given payments and not released it to staff, it means he may well have approved payments that never reached us.

“The people who controlled the money flowing to us were Babalele and Abdullahi. Maybe they kept it.”

Meantime Chiaheman, who was on transit when contacted by our correspondent over the matter, said he had instructed his lawyers to issue a statement on his behalf regarding the accusations made by Atiku.

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Imo: The Charade Of A Judgment By Ahanonu Kingsley

Sat, 2020-01-18 12:59


 

The feeling rife everywhere in Imo State currently is of rue; the dolour is palpable on almost everyone, as it concerns what many have described the biggest daylight fraud of the moment. That fraud and the basis of the feeling is the recent verdict of the Supreme Court ousting Emeka Ihedioha as governor.

That verdict by the Supreme Court is one that's very remarkable, but hugely in a sense not impressive. Its remarkableness hinges on its judicial buffoonery; on its misapplication of justice by upturning the majority decision of the people of Imo State in what's seen as the most frivolous and most ridiculous judgment so far.

The approval of conjured figures by the unanimous decision of the seven member panel that sat on the Imo governorship appeal was more frightening and so terrifying than the conjured figures themselves. What that unexplained branded figures, couched in no less a bag than the popular Ghana-must-go which notoriety in corrupt theatrics is well known, did was to push up the eventual numbers of votes cast far beyond the credible number of accredited voters.

What this action essentially means is the ultimate fleecing of credibility in the process that produced a democratically elected governor and the infliction of pains to the genuine Imo electorates, whose votes and whose values were rubbished just by the unanalysed consent of the learned justices to a fraudulent electoral concoction. It's indeed smelling so strongly, the ooze of that manipulated concoction.

Following basic reasoning, of which all judicial processes ought to follow, an electoral process where there's such discrepancy to the extent that the number of accredited voters is dwarfed by what becomes the total valid votes cast is not only legally untenable but one which should be dismissed as so shameful. It's ordinary that whatever number of votes said to have been cast should come from those whose names appear on the register and who are accredited. So it becomes a shady area that requires not just clarification (because such cannot be clarified) but outright condemnation. And this is what the current situation calls for.

In the declaration of the 2019 gubernatorial election of Imo State, the returning officer, Prof Atunta, had given a view of what was the voting dynamics in the state, and which of course should guide the analysis here (as the statutory and credible source). It was given that while the number of accredited voters stood at 823,743, the total number of votes cast was 739,485. There are the invalid votes et al. We might not need bother with the other details, since the following analysis would rely on these principal statistics.

In the breakdown, Emeka Ihedioha/PDP was said to have polled 273,404 votes to win the contest, while their closest rival, Uche Nwosu/AA garnered 190,364 votes. It was said that Ifeanyi Araraume/APGA and Hope Uzodinma/APC scored 114,676 and 96,458 votes respectively to come third and fourth. In adding these numbers of votes to those of the remaining 66 candidates and their parties, the total valid votes tallies to 714,355.

A dissatisfied Hope Uzodinma, coming from the complaint of been denied some lawful votes headed to the tribunal and up to the Supreme Court to seek redress. And on January 14, 2020, the apex court (assumably, after studying the submissions before it), granted audience to the alleged excluded 338 polling units from Uzodinma/APC. The court not only consider the votes from those units as valid, it completely awarded them to the appellate and consequently declared him validly elected governor of Imo State.

That judgment struck like a thunderstorm. How come, everyone wondered? They can't believe this arithmetic jiggery-pokery.

Let's say we admit that the results of those 338 polling units, hauled into a Ghana-must-go bag were valid votes, should we be made to admit also without disbelief that those votes in their entirety belong to just a single candidate? How admissible could that be, and this is a question whose answer definitely would be as hard to grasp as the explanation of how the coconut couched water.

It's highly unfortunate that the decisions of the two lower courts as it regards the credibility of the content in the Ghana-must-go claimed to be the votes from 338 polling units were jettisoned by the apex without a more verified reason and on such ludicrous and imbecilic stand that makes mockery not only of the basic grand norm of electoral conscientiousness but of simple statistics. Wasn't the apex court supposed to review the judicial credibility of the lower courts and correct the errors where necessary? They failed woefully in the review process and instead foisted what can be considered as the most legal folly of the decade. It's laughable as it's painful how such could be procured by the highest temple of justice in the land.

Primarily, it is the duty of the court to interpret the constitution and its processes like the electoral process. But this power of the court to review election processes does not in any way include to delegate the function that it should review, to wit counting and allocation of votes. Given that it has the power to invalidate any perceived wrong in the electoral process (be it exclusion or inclusion of votes), the Supreme Court however, erred in taking upon itself the role to determine whose votes was higher even when such was not given credence by the authority responsible for that. INEC had excluded and never those units on the basis that it was contentious. And this obviously is the haze that the court should have cleared.

The court left it jurisdiction and took upon the power to count those votes, without considering its limitations to determine which and what votes were valid. And this would have necessitate the wholesome allocation of votes from the said 338 units to a single party. Indeed it was so, for the court had stated that by putting into consideration votes from these units, the hitherto 3rd runner up overjumped his leading rivals to secure the highest valid votes to be declared winner. But what were the votes? We were only told that, adding excess votes from the 388 units INEC never declared, Hope Uzodinma garnered an astronomic votes that saw him win the poll.

The thing that follows is the implications of this additional vote numbers to the entire votes statistics certified by the electoral umpire. As revealed by INEC, the total number of accredited voters was 823,743. Imperatively, whatever figure that falls above this is not only fictitious but sternly dubious. And this obviously becomes a burden that the Supreme Court judgment must prove, if indeed it must reliably rest as a fair, just and truly cogent verdict.

Without adducing the obvious possibility of amassing a greater amount of the votes in the 388 units through whatever means possible, it would be unimaginable to assume also that the entirety of the votes went to just one party. Hope Uzodinma's anchor, ab initio, in his fight for perceived electoral justice has been on the reliance of what the 338 units produced. He held them so tightly because they defined what was his stronghold. And it's obvious what stronghold entails in politics. He banked on this strength, and scooped everything that was to be scooped in the excess 103,887 votes, at least according to the Justice Tanko Mohammed-led panel.

But that decision of the Supreme Court to award the entirety of those votes to Uzodinma and thereby raising his total votes to an astronomic amount that wows even the total number of accredited 823,747 voters okayed by INEC, does it not taint and invalidate the entire process of that 2019 governorship poll and punch its verdict? (For, by that inclusion, pushed further the total accredited voters to 927,000).

One fact however, is drawn from the raging verdict of the seven man panel: that the learned justices never took into account serious dynamics in the election that should have led them making a clear judgment. They were hasty and so performed a poor surgery on the case they adjudicated. At best, they succeeded in upturning the mandate of the greater Imolites, and heavily so without taking recourse to the process through which they exercised that mandate. I think that would have been the most appropriate ground to do that (if indeed it was that necessary). For at the end, democracy was slain and justice robbed as far as the Imo people are concerned.

Ahanonu Kingsley writes from Owerri

Twitter: @kings_emz

 

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Election Tribunal: Courts Were Allowed To Do Their Job, Olanipekun Tells Buhari

Sat, 2020-01-18 11:31


A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the independence of the judiciary during the 2019 Election Petition Tribunal. 

Olanipekun, who said this when he visited Aso Rock on Friday, commended the executive council for not imposing on the lawyers while they heard the various petitions filed after the elections. 

He said, “The courts were allowed to do their job, Mr President and I must commend you for that. Nobody whispered to anyone of us, how we are going to see Judge A or Judge B. That’s the way it should be. Judges must be allowed and be given a free hand to do their job. 

“Mr President, we are happy to have been called upon and we are happy that we delivered.” 

On electoral reforms, Olanipekun acknowledged that while the National Assembly was doing something about the Electoral Act, the Act requires some “rejigging and cleansing.” 

He said, “We are happy to know that the National Assembly is doing something about the electoral law. 

“We are ready to cooperate with them without taking a dime, whether as consultants, whether as legal practitioners, whether as experts. If the Attorney-General of the Federation will co-opt us, we are ready to give assistance.”

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Police Arrest Alleged Child Traffickers In Enugu

Sat, 2020-01-18 11:20


The Nigerian Police Force has arrested two suspected child traffickers while attempting to smuggle children out of Enugu State.

According to Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Abdurrahman, one 40-year-old Rebecca Nwachi and Isaac David, an alleged pastor, were arrested for having illegal custody of nine children.

The suspects are said to specialise in moving children from Plateau State in North Central zone to Rivers State in South-South of Nigeria. 

Abdurrahman said that the suspects were intercepted while trafficking nine children on January 4 in a luxury bus coming from the Northern part of the country. 

Abdurrahman explained that they were intercepted at Orba Check-point in Udenu Local Government Area of the state by army personnel on Operation Atilogwu Udo 1 exercise there. 

The commissioner said that the army authorities however, handed over the victims (children) and suspects to the command for further investigation.

A total of nine children including four girls and five boys aged between two and 13 years, he said, were recovered from the suspected child traffickers. 

The commissioner said that the police was still tracking the end receiver of the trafficked children, one “Blessing’’, who allegedly runs an orphanage home in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 

Abdurrahman said, “This is a type of organised crime where children are trafficked from the Northern part of the country to the South-East and South-South. This syndicate runs their illegal business using orphanage as cover-up. 

“We have reached and contacted the parents of the trafficked children and some said that they gave their children to the pastor on condition that he will provide better welfare and education for them. 

“Some other parents said that they did not know when their children moved out of their homes and they have declared them missing for some time now. 

“While at the end receiver’s point, only God knows what these children are used for; some might be used as sacrificial lambs, child labour; and others subjected to a lot of criminal activities. Parents especially people in Plateau State should be wary of the whereabouts of their children. Parents should endeavour to take care of their children themselves.”

The commissioner said that the children would be handed over to their parents after investigation on the matter was over. 

 

But, the suspect, Mrs Rebecca Nwachi told reporters that she was not into child-trafficking but has been operating an orphanage in Elelenwo, near Port-Harcourt, Rivers State over 10 years. She said the orphanage was well-registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission where children of less privileged families are taken care of. 

 

“If you google our orphanage, you may read about our organization. We’re not into what the police and army are accusing us of,” she told reporters. 

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Notorious Kidnapper Voluntarily Surrenders Self To Police In Nasarawa

Sat, 2020-01-18 11:16


Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, said that a notorious kidnapper operating in the state, Buju Bazamfare, has voluntarily surrendered himself to the Nigeria Police Force.

The governor, who said this when he visited the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, also stated that the kidnapper agreed to surrender the ammunition in his possession. 

The governor commended the police in the state for ensuring that peace and harmony reigns.

While describing the feat as a huge progress towards reducing crime and criminality in the state, Governor Sule thanked the IGP for all the support he continues to give the state. 

In his response, IGP Adamu, disclosed that a security summit for the North Central zone was scheduled to hold in Lafia on January 22, where stakeholders will come together to brainstorm and identify peculiar problems associated with security in the zone. 

The IGP said the move was preparatory to deploying community policing fully in the year, stressing however that community policing is not a regional initiative but a state based initiative. 

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NAPTIP Receives Woman Sold To Slavery In Lebanon

Sat, 2020-01-18 11:12


The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons has received a woman, Omolola Ajayi, who was trafficked to Lebanon. 

Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Oka-Donli, said her rehabilitation process will commence immediately with a view to putting her back on track.

She said, “23-year-old Omolola Ajayi who was trafficked to Lebanon has safely returned to Nigeria and is being handed over to officers of NAPTIP. I want to sincerely thank @nigimmigration @ToluSadip @Official_NSCDC and all other parties that made this possible.

“I want to sincerely thank the Chairman House Committee on Diaspora for her unwavering efforts in bringing Omolola back home safely. We will not relent in the fight against human trafficking."

Ajayi had cried out for help in a video that went viral, claiming she was sold into slavery in Lebanon.

The video was seen on many social media platforms where she was pleading for help, a situation that pushed the Nigerian Government to act and rescue her.

 

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