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Odi Massacre: Crisis Over FG’s N15bn Payment

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Mr Noble Pepple (left), executive director, RSSDA exchanging a document with Prof Adeboyi Daramola, VC, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State between the RSSDA and the institute in Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Ibioye Diama

Mr Noble Pepple (left), executive director, RSSDA exchanging a document with Prof Adeboyi Daramola, VC, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State between the RSSDA and the institute in Port Harcourt, recently. Photo: Ibioye Diama

The sum of N15 billion, being part payment of N37.618 billion, intended as compensation to Odi community by the Federal Government for the infamous 1999 invasion by  soldiers has pitched  members of the community against one other.
Youths from the community last Saturday attacked the deputy traditional head of the community, Chief Ebitimi Karuiru, and other leaders over alleged discrepancies in the sharing of the N15 billion compensation money paid so far.
The money was paid last month by the Federal Government in compliance with a 2013 court ruling, which had ordered that N37.6 billion be paid as compensation for the invasion and destruction of the community by the military under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo.
The controversy trailing the payment of the initial N15 billion was worsened by the fact that 40 per cent of the sum was reportedly deducted from the source by the consortium of lawyers engaged by the community.
The youths, according to the report, had descended on the homes of some prominent elders of the community over the disappearance of over N600 million from the total sum remaining.
Chief Karouiru was attacked at his Odi residence with machetes and his car set ablaze, as the rampaging youths went naked in the town, calling for the heads of those identified as the beneficiaries of the N600 million.
An eyewitness reported that the youths swarmed to the community burial site to invoke curses on those accused of diverting the funds meant for the affected families of the community.
A squadron of armed mobile policemen has since been deployed to Odi to maintain law and order.
A community source identified the signatories to the account to consist of the chief of the Odi Community, Chief Sine Akpere, Professor Kobina Imananagha, Commander Koku Imananagha (rtd) and Koloigidi Anis.
The state government, through the office of the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah, held a meeting with the community leaders and demanded for the list of the illegal beneficiaries of the missing money.
At the meeting convened by the state government, it was agreed that representatives of the women and the youths should be included for wider representation.
“It was also agreed that the signatories made up of category A, Chief Akpere and Prof.Imananagha and Category B, Commander Imananagha and Amiso should be changed and the N9billion be domiciled in a special account pending the resolution of the issues.”
A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had last year ordered the Federal Government to pay N37.6 billion compensation to the people of Odi community over the military invasion during the Obasanjo administration.
The presiding judge in the N100 billion suit filed by the community, Justice Lambi Akanbi, had also ordered that the compensation should be paid within three weeks.
In the suit, they had prayed the court to award them the amount as damages for the destruction of lives and property in Odi. The community had also asked for N17.618billion as general damages and N20billion for special damages. They in addition had demanded public apology and the re-building of Odi community by the FG.
The judge, however, granted two of their prayers and rejected the other two. He accused the Federal Government of being economical with the truth by pleading in their counter affidavits that no inhabitant of the community was killed apart from some armed militant youths who engaged the military in gun battle; and that no property was destroyed by the soldiers.

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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