On Friday 29th April 2016, troops of 7 Division Strike Group Team B attached to 22 Brigade, again embarked on aggressive mobile fighting patrol in support of the ongoing offensive operations in Sambisa forest. This is in its bid to finally bring the terrorists' insurgency to an end. In the process, the gallant troops have once again dealt heavy operational blow on the Boko Haram terrorists logistic cells.
The troops invaded Yerwa and Kaluketu, where the Boko Haram terrorists kept rustled cows. The troops also attacked and cleared an enclave which they called “Abuja town” named after Nigeria’s capital city reflecting its significance and bustling life, as well as serving as their Logistics exchange point in the North East.
During the operation the troops killed 4 Boko Haram terrorists and recovered 2 AK-47 rifles with registration numbers 58010938 and 58008270respectively. The troops also recovered 29 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, 1 Dane gun, 1 Bow and Arrow, 2 Laptop computers and 6 mobile telephone handsets. Others include a big truck and 5 motor cycles.
You are please requested to disseminate this information to the public through your medium.
Thank you for your kind and usual cooperation.
Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman Acting Director Army Public Relations
Saturday, 30 April 2016
On Friday 29th April 2016, troops of 7 Division Strike Group Team B attached to 22 Brigade, again embarked on aggressive mobile fighting patrol in support of the ongoing offensive operations in Sambisa forest. This is in its bid to finally bring the terrorists' insurgency to an end. In the process, the gallant troops have once again dealt heavy operational blow on the Boko Haram terrorists logistic cells.
…Visits President In Aso Rock
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, where he lauded the President’s recent overseas trips aimed at attracting foreign direct investments into the country.
Governor Ambode who spoke to State House Correspondents shortly after the visit expressed high optimism that the President’s trips would in no short time begin to yield benefits in the interest of all Nigerians.
The Governor specifically commended President Buhari for his purposeful leadership to restore the nation’s place in the comity of nations, saying his recent trip to China and the profitable discussions will go a long way move Nigeria forward, including Lagos.
He said the investment pact signed with the Chinese Government will benefit the people of Lagos, especially with the coming of the Lagos-Kano Rail Project and the Lagos Metro-rail project expected to cost about $2.5billion.
It would be recalled that President Buhari recently returned from a one week visit to China where Nigeria signed series of investment pact expected to yield about $6 billion investment for Nigeria and also expected to have positively huge impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.
He said the visit was therefore to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his laudable plans for Nigeria and especially Lagos State.
PICTURES: EVENING OF JAZZ MUSIC WITH GOV. AMBODE IN COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY 2016 AT LAGOS HOUSE, IKEJA
Following the collapse of a five-storey building under construction by Lekki Estate Worldwide Limited on Kushenla Road, Ikate Elegushi, Lekki, Lagos State on Tuesday, 8th March, 2016, in which over 30 persons died, the Lagos state government under the able leadership of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode in responsiveness to its oath of office, acted swiftly and responsibly to the situation which was commendable.
Also in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate of ensuring that the law takes its course, the state government arrested and is currently prosecuting the Manafing Director (MD) of Lekki Estate Worldwide and one of the contractors overseeing the collapsed building, sealed off the site of the collapsed building, sacked three senior officials of the state building control agency, as well as ordered the immediate sealing up of other Lekki estate buildings in the state in order to allow for integrity test to be conducted on them as a precautionary action to avert future catastrophe.
As expected the action of the government has continued to generate ripples in the society with people expressing divergent views on the matter in tandem with the constitutional right of expression.
In fact, while some people have applauded the government's action, others have condemned it saying it amounts to double standard in that the same swift measure was not applied to the owner of the collapsed building in the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in which over 120 people including foreign nationals lost their lives, which is very true.
As we reflect on this sad development of needless waste of human lives as a result of collapsed buildings which is not exclusive to only Nigeria, it is important that we place issues in proper perspective in order to fashion out a lasting solution to this problem as a mark of respect to the dead, to prevent a reoccurrence and for our collective good.
In seeking solutions to the problem of building collapse with particular reference to the actions of the Lagos state government on the Lekki Gardens Estate buildings, there are some questions begging for answers in the spirit of objectivity and fairness which must not be compromised for the sake of justice.
We need answers to the following questions and they are:
1. Was any investigation conducted which particularly indicted and recommended the sack of the state building control agency senior officials?
2. Like some people have questioned, why are these officials not on criminal trial for complicity or negligence of duty?
3. Is this not a case of a slap on the wrist for a criminal act which is in violation of the constitution and amounts to injustice, while some persons are standing trial?
4. Does the Lekki building collapse not indict the Lagos State Physical planning and urban authority as being culpable of granting permission for the construction of a three storey building which later became five storeys before collapse?
5. How can the Lagos State Physical Planning and Urban Authority be exonerated of culpability of failure to monitor and ensure conformity of the construction of the building in line with approved master plan?
6. What is the role of the Lagos State Safety Commission in all these developments?
7. Does the safety commission not have a role to play in ensuring that buildings or structures conform to safety standards? Is this not an indictment of the commission too?
8. Is the conduct of integrity tests on already completed and inhabited buildings though commendable, not an indictment of relevant building management agencies for failing in their responsibility initially? The belief is that the integrity test should have been conducted on the buildings before habitation.
We can go on and on listing areas in need of answers but for time and space and this goes a long way to show that the major culprit in the collapse of buildings is the irresponsibility and failure of the appropriate agencies of state to live up to their statutory functions and the inability of the state to do the needful of looking inwards by putting its house in order other than the resort to scapegoatism which has become a recurring decimal in our public life.
Thus, while recognizing that we have a collective responsibility to assist the government in finding lasting solutions to a problem which is within our capability to surmount, it behooves on us in the discharge of this patriotic call to duty to admonish that fairness and objectivity be our watchword for societal good.
In this regard, we are not unmindful of the fact that while we recognize that government has a responsibility to ensuring societal good by upholding the law at all times without fear or favour, it is also important for it to be fair, objective and responsive in the discharge of this function.
Thus we are calling on the government to be flexible and pragmatic in the handling of the Lekki Garden Worldwide Estates issue in view of the fact that the delivery of homes by this estate company is a combination of so many factors which includes borrowing by the company as well as depositors funds by innocent Nigerians who might be the fall guy of this clampdown by the law at this austere times.
The government should therefore as part of its responsibility of being sensitive to the housing needs of Nigerians and the economic plight of depositors as well as the need to ensure that businesses are not killed with sledge hammer because of infractions, allow for the complete demolition of garden estate buildings which do not conform to safety and structural standards and the rebuilding of new structures in line with building regulations and strict monitoring by the relevant agencies in order to prove that fairness and the greatest good of the society is the intent of government in this matter and not persecution.
Nelson Ekujumi, a social commentator is based in Lagos.
Determined to eradicate the scourge of unemployment currently ravaging the country, Fidelity Bank Plc, one of the nation’s highly diversified lender, in strategic partnership with Gazelle Academy and University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), has empowered 300 Nigerian youths with top-of-the-line entrepreneurial skills. The programme, which is part of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is targeted at creating a new breed of entrepreneurs amongst Nigeria’s boisterous youth population.
Speaking at the launch of the 5-day youth empowerment programme held at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, said the programme seeks to empower the university community by creating thriving business owners amongst students. Reiterating the lender’s commitment to continually equip Nigerian youths with requisite skills needed to make them self-reliant, Okonkwo declared that Nigerian youths have been denied opportunities to develop in diverse realms of human endeavours.
“In a national survey jointly sponsored by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Education Trust Fund (ETF), about 61 percent of 20 organisations rated graduates poor in skills needed in the work environment such as literacy, entrepreneurship, analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills”, he explained. Commenting on the scope of the programme, Okonkwo said that the students were trained on tailoring and make-up, explaining that the exercise provided students with knowledge and first-hand experience on the above-mentioned skills.
Okonkwo, who was represented by Leonard Ezugwu, head, Anambra-Enugu-Ebonyi Regional Bank, Fidelity Bank Plc, said, “Nigerian youths are only exposed to Theoretical Education without…practical entrepreneurship, vocational and skill acquisition trainings.” As a leading financial institution with a proven track record of service excellence and integrity, Okonkwo reiterated the lender’s commitment to create a veritable platform for building an entrepreneurial spirit in the nation’s teeming undergraduates. “We want to create a positive mind-set among them, shifting them ‘from paid-labour mentality to business owners and employers’”, he noted.
In a conscious attempt to ensure that undergraduates utilise the skills and experiences garnered at the youth empowerment workshop, Okonkwo pointed out that Fidelity Bank provided students with sewing machines, pressing irons and make-up kits. Speaking in the same vein, Her Excellency, The Wife of the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Mrs Monica Ugo Ugwuanyi applauded the Bank for investing in youth empowerment. According to her, the youths are agents of the future, urging other private organisations to take a cue from Fidelity.
Top government functionaries, captains of industry, media practitioners and the academia all converged on the UNN Campus to witness the birth of this all-important youth empowerment programme. The Vice-Chancellor represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) of Academics, UNN, Professor James; Founder, Gazelle Academy, Muna Uzo and Chairman/Managing Director, Ben TV, Alistair Soyode were some of the dignitaries at the event.
Friday, 29 April 2016
Thursday, 28 April 2016
In line with the current drive by the government to diversify the economic and revenue base of the country, Heritage Bank and Oyo State Government have gone into a multi-billion naira partnership to revive agriculture and boost agro-allied businesses in the state.
Tagged, Oyo State Agricultural Initiative, OYSAI, the state government announced that the project is part of its revolution in the agricultural sector and a massive empowerment programme for both youth and women across the state.
Speaking at the launching of the project in Paago Village, along Igboho – Okeho road, last Tuesday, the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, explained that the state has “successfully secured a viable partnership with some private investors and financial institutions to back up the project in the areas of poultry development, rice production and processing along the value chain.”
The governor thanked Heritage Bank and other partners for electing to support the project aimed at diversifying the state economy and drive self-sustainability by adding value to the lives of about one million beneficiaries. He added that the project will also reposition the state as the food basket of Nigeria and generate massive revenue for economic emancipation.
“Farming is attractive; we want to make it more attractive. The programme will create jobs, wealth and socio-economic productivity. It will link agriculture to small business and manufacturing. The programme will also improve the lot of women, youth and small scale businesses,” Ajimobi said.
The project, according to the governor, will spread across 3,000 hectares of land in 28 out of the 33 Local Government Areas of the State. He added that the project will be in three stages: food crop cultivation, cash crop/horticulture and food processing.
Under the arrangement, land, improved seedlings, fertizer, farming equipment will be made available to participants in the projects, while the banks will support willing agro investors with funds and advisory services.
The bank’s Executive Director, Lagos, South West and Corporate Banking, Mrs. Mary Akpobome, who represented the Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, at the launching stated that the project is in line with the bank’s vision of partnering with individuals, organisations and governments to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.
According to her, “We believe that our youth are the future leaders that will positively reshape and reposition our country in the global environment, and Heritage Bank is committed to contributing her unending quota towards grooming them by facilitating enabling opportunities and platforms as this project.
“This programme will definitely lead to the creation of quality and sustainable employment and livelihood for the youth, which will in turn reduce the crime rate in the society,” she said.
Last month, in furtherance of its commitment to creating jobs and wealth, the bank launched a N500 million Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant in Lagos. The initiative, which is in partnership with the Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), will, according to the bank, support students and young entrepreneurs toward socio-economic freedom.
Before the latest initiative, Heritage Bank is also collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the CBN initiative, Youth Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP
FREEPRESS — Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has sought middle
ground with the State House of Assembly members who were up in arms
against him over who is constitutional empowered to dissolve the local
Prior to the expiration of the local government three years tenure on
the 21st of April, the house of assembly moved a motion, directing the
18 local council chairmen to prepare their handing over notes.
The move by the assembly members angered the governor who has been
used to ridding roughshod over the members since the governor’s
political party mustered the majority in the house.
Governor Oshiomhole fiercely wrote the state assembly last week,
demanding that they desist from interfering in executive functions.
Reading the governor’s letter on the floor of the house, Hon. Kabiru
Ajoto, representing Akoko-Edo Constituency insisted that the house was
right, saying the governor was misled by the Attorney General and
Commissioner for Justice.
Following the lack of truce between the executive and the legislative
arms, the house gave an order summoning the AG, Hon. Henry Idaghagbon
to appear in the house within one week.
The crisis between the two arms of government attracted the attention
of the Labour Party national secretary and legal luminary Comrade
Julius Abure. Comrade Julius chided the governor and the members,
saying both arms have abandoned their call to duty.
“It is shameful that the house of assembly that ought to have
checkmated the illegality, banality and excesses of the governor by
ensuring that local government election is conducted before the
expiration of their tenure only came up to remind the council chairmen
and councillors that their tenures have expired. What is happening in
Edo state can not be said to be democratic or good governance,” he
Comrade Abure queries: “Why should the two arms of government engage
in a fruitless fight when there is hunger and anger in the land, no
electricity, no fuel to power the generators, prices of goods in the
market have skyrocketed, school fees in the state’s owned tertiary
institutions increased above 200 percent?”
Sources in Edo Government House revealed to FREEPRESS that in a bid to
douse the impasse, the governor held a meeting with the house of
assembly members last weekend, soliciting their understanding and
cooperation. The house members, it was learned, pointedly told the
governor that he has been ‘eating alone’, an allegation that the
The governor was said to have told the house members that the dwindled
allocation which affected all the states of the federation also
affected the largesse to the state house of assembly. A member of the
state assembly (name withheld) told the governor that they were aware
that $75 million loan from foreign financial institution, running into
several billions of naira has been accessed and is being squandered
recklessly. The house members rejected the claims that the state is
It was learned that before the meeting came to a close that the
governor promised the house members brown new exotic Honda car/Jeep
each to be delivered this weekend.
Meanwhile, sources at the Benin airport informed us that the
jet-loving governor last week continued his gallivanting around in a
private jet belonging to Access Bank which handled the $75m deal.
Fidelity Bank Plc’s attention has been drawn to reports in the media on investigations into transactions undertaken by the Bank in the normal course of business in 2015.
The transactions are now the subject matter of investigations by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
We can confirm that the transactions were duly reported as required by the regulators and the Bank is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation.
We assure our numerous stakeholders, including our customers that we are working assiduously towards a quick resolution of the issues.
The International Committee of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, in partnership with the African Union Commission, AU, mourns the death of Papa Wemba, real name Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba.
The iconic musician from the Democratic Republic of Congo died in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, during the FEMUA urban music festival on Sunday April 24, 2016. He was 66.
Papa Wemba was considered an African icon and world music star after fusing his Central African musical heritage with Western pop, rock and rap. He pioneered a blend of African, Cuban and Western sounds, which became one of Africa's most popular music styles. This earned him the nickname "King of Rhumba Rock". Besides his musical influence, Wemba popularised Sapeur fashion, an eccentric look with three-piece suits, shiny black leather shoes and flashy accessories.
Reacting to the death of Papa Wemba, President and Executive Producer, AFRIMA, Mr Mike Dada said: "At AFRIMA, we feel a sense of humongous loss since the announcement of the death of Papa Wemba. This is the time we at AFRIMA and Africa at large need him the most. He was one of the African music legends that had shown interest in attending AFRIMA 3.0 in November this year. He was a voice of Africa, an icon of African music and epitome of Africanness. His pride and commitment to African music and sense of dressing were part of the narratives of African culture. These are the African narratives we shared and are propagating across the world."
Dada said further: "The International Committee of AFRIMA recognises the role of African legends, dead or alive, in music, culture and entertainment. In 2014, the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was honoured with a Posthumous Legendary award for his contribution to the narratives of Africa while Ladysmith Black Mambazo from South Africa won the award at the 2015 edition in Lagos, which coincided with the group’s 55th anniversary of telling the African story worldwide."
In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is a project developed to celebrate, reward and showcase the rich musical culture of Africa, stimulate conversations among Africans and between Africa and the rest of the world about the great potentials and values of African culture and artistic heritage, for the purpose of creating jobs, reducing poverty, and calling attention of world leaders to Africa as well as promoting the positive image of Africa to the world.
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in a warm handshake withMrs. Mary Akpobome, Heritage Bank’s Executive Director,Lagos, South West and Corporate Banking; at the launching of Oyo State Agricultural Initiative, OYSAI, supported by the Bank, at Paago Village, Iseyin Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday. In the background is Shuaibu Bello, CEO, Inter Products Link Limited, an agro-allied investor invited to the occasion.
Bello, CEO, Inter Products Link Limited, an agro-allied investor from Kano; Mrs. Mary Akpobome, Heritage Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos, South West and Corporate Banking; at the launching of Oyo State Agricultural Initiative, OYSAI, supported by the Bank, at Paago Village, Iseyin Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday
Famuyibo, Human Resources Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc; Mrs. Rose Nkemdilim Obi, 2015 Maltina Teacher of the Year; Mr. KufreEkanem, Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc; and Mr. Wole Oyeniyi, Deputy General Secretary, Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT at the flagging off the 2016 MaltinaTeacher of the Year in Lagos on Wednesday.
DSC 0379 – From Left to Right: Mr. Victor Famuyibo, Human Resources Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc; Mrs. Rose Nkemdilim Obi, 2015 Maltina Teacher of the Year; Mr. KufreEkanem, Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc; at the flagging off the 2016 Maltina Teacher of the Year in Lagos on Wednesday.
…Lines Up A-List Artistes, Grammy Award Winners, Others
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday expressed optimism that the activities lined up for the forthcoming Lagos International Jazz Day will go a long way to showcase the tourism potentials of the State to the World.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja when he played host to some of the groups collaborating with the State Government on the forthcoming star-studded concert to commemorate the 2016 International Jazz Day, said apart from being the financial and commercial hub of Nigeria, his administration will work hard to equally transform Lagos to the tourism hub of Africa.
He restated his administration’s strong commitment to use tourism, hospitality, sports, entertainment and arts to grow the economy of the state, just as he assured that nothing would be spared in transforming Lagos to the tourism hub of Africa.
He said: “We want to emulate and even surpass the International Jazz Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, and then be on the world stage and that is the significance of this collaboration that we have decided to go into.
“During the electioneering campaign, we did promise that we will use entertainment and arts, tourism and sports to propel Lagos to the next level and this is one of the ways through which we hope to achieve that. We want to use entertainment to grow our economy, create jobs for the people and create that global picture of what Lagos is and what Lagos is not.
“Like you are all aware, Lagos is the financial and commercial hub of Nigeria and we want to be the tourism hub of Africa and we are going to use the Jazz family to start that journey and that is why we are hosting the concert here at the Lagos House,” Governor Ambode said.
The groups on the courtesy visit include Lagos International Jazz Festival Group, Runway Jazz and Satchmo Jazz.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and Chief Executive Director of Inspiro Productions, Mr. Ayoola Shadare, said Jazz had gone beyond just music, but a veritable instrument that can be used to grow the economy if properly managed.
He said for instance, the South African government generated over a billion rand from the Cape Town Jazz Festival, and that Lagos could do far much better if properly managed.
He, however, appreciated Governor Ambode for showing genuine interest in the Jazz Festival, especially with the massive concert billed to take place at the Lagos House on April 30.
Similarly, the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde has declared readiness of the State Government to successfully organize the concert.
Ayorinde, while addressing a press briefing on the festival, recalled the success recorded by the State Government on the One Lagos Fiesta, a countdown music and entertainment show used to usher in the New Year 2016 which was held simultaneously in five locations across the state for the first time, and said the Jazz Festival was equally designed to give a quantum leap to the tourism potentials of the state.
The Commissioner said: “On Saturday April 30, the Governor is hosting An Evening of Jazz at the State House in Ikeja. It will be an exclusive but colourful evening to identify with UNESCO initiative, welcome an array of Nigerian Jazz musicians to perform at the State House and to share the warm hospitality of Lagos State with the Jazz community.”
He said the concert being put together by the State Government was in sync with a similar concert being put together by the United States President, Barrack Obama at the White House on April 29, adding that the hash tag of the day would be #LagosAmboJazz.
Some of the artistes billed to perform at the concert, according to Ayorinde, are Dare Art-Alade, Yinka Davies, Lekan Babalola (two-time co-Grammy winner) with the Eko Brass Band, Herbert Kunle Ajayi, Bright Gain, Adeh and the Spectacle Band – Afrojazz guitar Supremo, Ubong Ntia, Sam and the Jazz Apostles, featuring Dera, Dotun Bankole Band, Victor Ademofe Band, Omolara, Dapo Fasuyi, and Organic Jazz.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
1. The Nigerian Navy has stepped up efforts towards eliminating all forms of crimes in Nigeria’s waters. In line with the directive of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the operational Commands have therefore sustained the ongoing clampdown on illegal refineries, crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, smuggling, piracy and sea robbery.
2. In the latest raids conducted against the criminals, the Nigerian Navy patrol team deployed from NNS DELTA discovered and destroyed illegal crude oil refineries set up in Lolomu creek in Gbaramatu Kingdom and Tagola creek all in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. In one of the discovered sites, the patrol team destroyed 11 storage tanks, 3 Cotonou boats loaded with product suspected to be stolen crude oil, 2 pumping machines and 40 horse power (HP) fibre boat. Some of the items destroyed at Tagola creek are 30 drums of 200 litres each, 6 GP tanks of 15,000 litres each, 6 tanks of 10,000 litres each and a locally made gun with one live cartridge. The operators of the illegal refinery fled before the arrival of the naval patrol team.
3. However, in what could be tagged a big harvest of criminals, the NNS DELTA patrol team arrested 10 persons suspected to be engaged in crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism. The suspects were arrested in a speed boat and 2 large Cotonou boats around the SPDC Forcados area. The Cotonou boats were laden with unquantified product suspected to be illegally refined AGO in GP tanks. The team also recovered 7 outboard engines and 13 pumping machines.
4. Additionally, 2 suspected crude oil thieves were arrested around Ugwangue Warri South West LGA of Delta State. Some items recovered from them are a Cotonou boat conveying 40 drums of substance suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
5. In a related development, Nigerian Navy patrol team deployed from Forward Operations Base (FOB) BADAGRY has arrested 6 suspected smugglers around Askere waterways in a boat enroute Lagos from Cotonou. The suspects were conveying about 200 bags of smuggled rice as at the time of arrest.
6. The clampdown on smuggling has been sustained even as NNS MAKURDI, a Nigerian Navy patrol ship intercepted and arrested 22 suspects in 2 boats. The suspects were conveying about 600 bags of the 22 persons, 14 of them are Nigerians while 8 are Cameroonian citizens. The suspects and exhibits have been handed over to the Nigerian Customs for further investigation and prosecution.
7. In view of the foregoing, the Nigerian Navy is sending a clear message to the criminals. They are therefore warned to desist from their acts of economic sabotage or face the full wrath of the law. This is because there will be no hiding place for them in our maritime environment
In their continuous efforts of clearing the remnants of Boko Haram in various hideouts and enclaves, troops of 7 Brigade, 8 Task Force Division, have also embarked on clearance operations, since yesterday in which they cleared Boko Haram hideouts ahead of Gratte in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State.
During the clearance operation, the troops killed 7 Boko Haram terrorists including a notorious kingpin popularly known as the Albani of Monguno.
The troops also recovered 2 Vehicles, 7 motorcycles 1 AK-47 rifle, 2 Boko Haram terrorists hoisted flags, 3 vehicle tyres, 1 vulcanizing machine, 1 solar panel and bundles of chewing stick (Aswaki), which the terrorists believed has spiritual and medicinal values.
It is gratifying to report that the troops' morale remains high as they dominate the general area with a robust fighting patrol in continuation with the clearance operations.
A former Senior Special Assistant on Media to Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The suspect, Abnedgo Don- Evarada, was arrested on Monday in Port- Harcourt, Rivers State for offering a bribe of N10million( Ten Million Naira) to the EFCC's Zonal Head in Port- Harcourt, Mr Ishaq Salihu.
Don-Evarada ran into trouble when he approached Salihu, over a case involving the Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa's state governor on Millennium Development Goals, Apere Embelakpo and his wife, Fiene Beauty.
Embelakpo is being investigated for alleged diversion of N800million( Eight Hundred Million Naira only), being funds meant for the Millennium Development Goals, MDG, while his wife is being investigated for alleged money laundering, forgery and suspicious transactions to the tune of N200million( Two Hundred Million Naira only). Don- Evarada offered the bribe ostensibly to compromise the EFCC investigation but his overture was turned down and was arrested.
He is being kept in the custody of the EFCC and would be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.
Justice M.T.M. Aliyu of the Kaduna State High Court sitting in Kaduna, on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, convicted and sentenced one Bitrus A. Mallam, a former cashier with the Kaduna State Local Government Pension Board , to 12 months imprisonment on a one-count charge bordering on theft to the tune of N8,658,359( Eight Million Six Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Naira) brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The charge reads: ‘‘That you Birtrus A. Mallam, being the former cashier in the Kaduna State Local Government Pension Board, sometime in 2000 in Kaduna, in the Kaduna Judicial Division of the High Court did commit theft by dishonestly taking the sum of N8,658,359 (Eight Million Six Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Naira) the property of Kaduna State Local Government Pension Board without her consent and thereby committed and offence contrary to Section 286 and punishable under Section 289 of the Penal Code Laws of Kaduna State.’’
However, the convict, who is currently the Head of Idon in Adara Chiefdom, Kaduna State, pleaded not guilty to the charge, thus leading to his full trial.
During the trial, the prosecution counsel, Jijah H. Bwala, presented five witnesses and tendered 22 documents to prove his case.
While delivering his ruling today, Justice Aliyu stated that “The confessional statements made by the accused were made voluntarily and were submitted to the court. These confessions were corroborated in evidence by PW1, PW2, PW3, PW4 and PW5. The defence only denied that these statements were made voluntarily, but failed to provide any evidence to that effect.
"Furthermore, when the crime was discovered, the Board issued the accused a query, which he responded to, admitting culpability, accepting full responsibility for the crime, and pleading for the mercy of the Board as well as the opportunity to make restitution of the amount stolen.
"Exhibits tendered in court also corroborated the different testimonies and were not discredited by the defence. Exhibits 2 and 3 prove that the accused did take monies, the property of the Kaduna State Local Government Pension Board. He did so to cause wrongful gain to himself by unlawful means. The prosecution has proved their case, and I convict you as charged."
Justice Aliyu, thereafter, sentenced Mallam to 12 months imprisonment and fined him N100, 000(One Hundred Thousand Naira).
The court further ruled that his inability to pay the N100,000 fine would attract additional 12 months in prison.
Mallam, who was employed by the Board in 1993 as a clerical officer, rose to become a cashier in 1998.
He, however, abused his position and, in the process, made illicit money with which he acquired landed properties and vehicles.
The men, Godwin Nwankwo, 23 and John Omeoha, 23 were arrested by the operatives when they were caught bringing out from a man hole 17 bars of reinforcement meant to firm up the bridge.
The lead suspect, Godwin Nwankwo stated that he stole the railings because he was desperately hungry and there was no alternative means for him to get money.
He noted that he has passed through the hole several times and he was curious to find out what was there. He pointed out that, last year (2015), he entered the manhole twice to steal railings.
He added that this year (2016), “I have entered the hole four times. From the money I made from those sales, I have saved N5, 000:00 in my bank account to assist me to travel out of Lagos.
Yesterday, I went there again. I invited my friend, John Omeoha. We stole 17 bars which we planned to sell to scavengers in order to raise funds.
Unfortunately, just as we were bringing out the metal from the manhole, RRS operatives sighted us and arrested us.
My plan was to raise money to enable me relocate back to Enugu, where I repair handsets before coming to Lagos. I want to leave Lagos because my life has been meaningless here”, he stated.
“I broke my waist while working with a gas pipeline laying company in Lagos. This is where my problem started. I spent two months in hospital.
When I was discharged, I was advised not to do hard work. So, the easy way out for me is to scavenge for a living. That is why I need to move out of Lagos.
I was invited to come down to Lagos from Enugu last year by a friend. On getting to Mazamaza, pickpockets stole my phones and money. Since then, I have not been able to locate my friend. I live in parks and shanties in order to survive”, said.
His accomplice, John Omeoha noted that he was invited to come and assist him.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos today convicted twenty persons for illegal dealing and storage of petroleum products. The convicts are Captain Daniel Lebile, Ala Ibanibo, Wole Ajayi, Adesunloye Fani-Kayode, Michael Mgbanwa, Segun Ekundemi, Johnson Mashebinu, Ndidi Benjamin, Bright Nwaezuoke, Blessing Omoviye and Kayode Ireti.
Others Chuks Isiwepkweni, Friday Nchikpa, Peter Bayo, Ubom Amos, Zuopamo Embiowei, Olabamerun Owolemi, Adams Husseini, Ebisingha Timmy and Godwin Oputeh, MV Long Island and their companies Afa Global Impex Services Limited and GFL Marine Service Limited.
One of the charges read, “that you, MV Long Island , AFA Global Impex Services Limited, GFL Marine Services Limited, Ala Atubokiki Ibanibo, Wole Ajayi, Adesunloye Alexander, Fani Kayode, Captain Daniel Lebile, Micheal Mgbanwa, Segun Ekundemi, Joghnson Mashebinu, Ndidi Benjamin, Bright Nwaezuoke, Blessing Omoviye, Kayode Biboye Ireti, Chuks Isiwepkweni, Friday Nchikpa, Peter Bayo, Ubom Amos , Zuopamo Embiowei, Olabamerun Owolemi, Adams Husseini, Ebisingha Timmy, Godwin Oputeh, Ebimie Norwigeh (Still at large) and Olabamerin Damilola Smart (now at large) on or about the 2nd day of December 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: dealing in petroleum products without lawful authority or appropriate license contrary to Section 19(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under the same Act”.
They have pleaded not guilty. In the course of trial, the prosecution called four witnesses.
In his judgment, Justice Buba held that the prosecution had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt. He therefore sentenced the convicts to two years imprisonment on each of the three counts, starting from December 2, 2014, when the convicts were arrested with an option of N200, 000.00k (Two hundred thousand naira) fine for each count.
The convicts are to forfeit all the seized vessels, cargoes and properties to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while the jail terms will run concurrently.
… Tasks Officers on Crisis Management
Irked by the growing wave of communal conflicts and other clashes in some parts of the country, the Federal Government has ordered all security agencies in the country to crush and deter all crises that have the potential to breach the peace and national stability.
While it restated that its first priority is to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizenry, government said all socio-economic activities in the country must continue to thrive without any hindrance from criminal elements and terrorists.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali gave the order on Tuesday in Abuja at a seminar on "Media Management in Crisis Situation" for Information Officers of the Military, Security and Response Agencies, which was organized by the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) with support from the Defence Headquarters DHQ as well as the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme NSRP.
Declaring the occasion open, he said "all security agencies in Nigeria have been called upon to crush and deter the threats of crisis and conflicts that have potential to disrupt peace and security of our country.
"Our security and response agencies are constantly engaged in the essential tasks required for meeting the internal security objectives of ensuring safety and security of Nigeria's territorial integrity, its population and all the critical infrastructures. Our government will not relent in this primary objective", he pledged.
He added that the government would continue to acknowledge the sustained efforts of the various military, security and response agencies who in spite of all odds are constantly and significantly mitigating the challenges and consequences of violent eruptions and crisis across the country.
The minister pledged continued support for all the agencies particularly those battling insurgency in the North East so that they can effectively deliver on their mandate.
On crisis management, the minister tasked information officers of the various agencies to be patriotic and professional in the discharge of their duties.
"You must bear in mind that our dear country is currently confronted with several challenges which demand every sense of professionalism in the way and manner information is to be managed.
"You have the responsibility to manage sensitive information at your disposal with all sense of patriotism and to relate with media and the general public with utmost sense of professionalism taking into cognizance the importance of our cherished national interest and national security", he charged.
The minister who commended the CCC for its contribution to national security also charged other organizations to emulate such laudable initiative.
Welcoming guests and participants to the seminar, the Executive Secretary, Centre for Crisis Communications CCC, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (retd) said the seminar was designed to assist information officers to effectively and efficiently engage the media to communicate responsibly with the public.
He added that the media influence in contemporary scheme of human endeavour cannot be downplayed, hence the need to develop an efficient and effective cadre of Public Relations personnel who would be able to manage communication in crisis situation.
The seminar, he added, would also encourage synergy among security and response agencies through harmonisation of information, recalling that in prior to the establishment of the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies FOSRA, the forebearer of CCC, there used to be conflicting information from the various agencies during crisis situations. He however conceded that there was still an urgent need to enhance greater communication with the public.
In his goodwill message, Programme Manager of NSRP, Dr Ukoha Ukiwo said the NSRP is working in eight target states on conflict mitigation, especially reducing it's effect on the vulnerable segment off the population.
He congratulated the CCC for being able to host the seminar in spite of several challenges. He added that there would be a replication of the seminar in the North East and South South zones of the country.