Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Dan Mallam, yesterday confirmed the killing of a lecturer with the Igbinedion University, Okada, near Benin, by suspected kidnappers.
Dan Mallam said the lecturer, Kelvin Izebeokhai, was killed in an attempted escape bid when the victims were being marched into the forest by the kidnappers.
The gunmen were said to be operating near Okada junction along the Benin-Lagos highway.
It was learnt that the gunmen abducted Izebeokhai and other passengers in the bus they were traveling in.
The driver of the mini bus was said to have rushed into the bush along with four other passengers.
“Unfortunately, one of the passengers who tried to escape during the abduction was killed by the gunmen.
“The police went after the kidnappers in the bush and succeeded in rescuing the victims.”
He said the police were working on a new strategy which entails taking the war to the kidnappers’ den in the jungle, adding that it is the best way to tackle the scourge.
Spokesman for the university, Mr Jide Ilugbo, who confirmed the killing described it as “babaric.”
Ýlugbo said late Izebeokhai was a First Class graduate and was employed in the university in 2016. He said it was now dangerous to travel on the Benin-Lagos highway due to frequent attacks by armed robbers and kidnappers.
The official said it was unfortunate he ran into hoodlums, saying that the trailer parked before Okada junction is a hideout for criminals.
Meawhile, gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen were reported to have invaded two communities in Kaduna State, killing one person while 17 others were abducted.
Both incidents were said to have occurred in the early hours of yesterday when the bandits invaded ECWA Church Dankande village, Dogon Dawa area, Birnin Gwari Birnin Local Government Area and Guguwa-Kwate village, Rigasa area in Igabi Local Government Area.
The incident in Dankande was said to have occurred at about 12:30 am when the bandits, surrounded the church, where a choir practice was going on.
An eyewitness who spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent yesterday in Kaduna, said, the hoodlums forced everybody to lie face down while all mobile phones were seized at gunpoint.
He said “it was at about 12:30 midnight. We had a combined choir practice in the church with other neighbouring communities. We normally hold the combine choir practice from 9:00pm to 1:00am.
“As we were in the church, Fulani herdsmen, numbering over 20 just surrounded the church and started shooting. “Everybody was terrified, but there was no how we could run because they had already surrounded the church.
They were asking for the pastors house and they threatened to shoot us if we don’t show them the house.
“Some of them went to the pastors house while others kept watch over us.
“They abducted the pastor’s daughter and 14 others – ten girls and five men were abducted”.
“We later reported the incident to the soldiers that are stationed at Dogon Dawa and they said they were coming….. ‘
The attack in Guguwa-Kwate village was said to have also occurred some few minutes after midnight.
A community leader in the area who pleaded anonymity said the bandits were Fulani herdsmen, numbering about 30 and were armed with guns and machetes.
He said they were shooting indiscriminately and they killed his senior brother’s son.
“They entered one house and were beating people. They kidnapped one man and a woman in the house.
The killed my senior brother’s son”.
According to him, it was the fifth time the bandits were invading the community.
“This is the fifth time these bandits are invading our community. About two months ago, they abducted two people in the farm.
The other person was killed even after we paid them ransom.”
He said the community had reported all the incidents to the police, but there seemed to be no respite as the herdsmen continued to terrorise the village.
“We are helpless because there is nothing we can do other than to report to the police when such incidents happened.
We have no arms and we cannot stand them, we are just at their mercy because they are well armed and they always come in large numbers,” he lamented.
Efforts to contact Yakubu Sabo, spokesman of the Kaduna State police command, on the matter was unsuccessful as his mobile phone was switched off.
Also, the Rivers State Police Command says it has killed a five-man kidnap gang suspected to be responsible for all criminal activities in Eneka community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state and its environs.
The state Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel disclosed this while briefing journalists at the command’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, last Friday, on the major breakthrough and achievements recorded by the command in recent time.
Belel told journalists that operatives of the Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit, led by the Commander, Supo Adaka Justin, during a sting operation and follow-up in a case of kidnapping, last Thursday, at about 0500hrs, stormed a criminal hideout at Eneka in OBALGA where a gang of kidnapers were hibernating.
According to him, the hoodlums, on sighting the police, opened fire, and injured two of the police officers, adding that the police, in return of fire, killed five of the hoodlums.
He explained that at the end of the gun duel, the suspected kidnappers were taken to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital where doctors confirmed them dead.
“The deceased kidnappers and armed robbers are members of the armed gang responsible for all the criminal activities at Eneka and its environs.
“Their camp was destroyed and the following exhibits recovered: one AK-47 rifle, one magazine loaded with 13 live ammunition, one locally-made revolver gun, two Pump Action guns, eight different smart phones, assorted charms and armlets and three machetes”, he added.
The CP while giving further breakdown of the various achievements recorded within the period under review, said 12 cultists, four kidnap suspects, and four armed robbery suspects were arrested, while three AK-47 rifles, five locally-made pistols, three Pump Action guns, eight machetes, five magazines, 60 ammunition and 40 cartridges were recovered.
He confirmed that 12 cultists were arrested across the state, adding that the suspected cultists had engaged in senseless and mindless attacks of their perceived rival cult groups.
Belel promised that the police would continue to do their best to sustain the current onslaught against armed banditry in the state, adding that he has repositioned his men for better productivity in the war against criminals across the state.
“I have repositioned my men for better productivity, and as soon as possible, you will feel the impact of rejigged strategy”, he stated.
RSG Warns Owner Of Proudest Hotel To Stop Blackmailing NCDC
Our attention has been drawn to a recent misleading petition, signed by one Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari, Owner, Prodest Hotel and dated 24th May 2020,
to the effect that the convicted Manager of Prodest Hotel, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, who recently tested positive for Covid-19 disease amongst 27 others, in a result released by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, may have allegedly been infected on the instructions of the Rivers State Government.
Much as we had restrained ourselves from responding to previous similar publications by this same person, since the subject matter was still before a court of competent jurisdiction, we are now compelled to reply this obviously spurious, deliberately misleading and intentionally provocative petition with a proper response, to set the records straight and caution the sponsors of this action from further pedlling such falsehoods in the public space.
For the avoidance of doubt and for the information of the general public, let us state categorically here that the FACTS of this matter are very clear, viz:
1. A Port Harcourt Senior Magistrates’ Court on May 18th, 2020 CONVICTED Mr. Bariledum Azoro, Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme and sentenced him to a fine of N50,000 for contravening paragraphs 3 and 4 of Executive Order RVSG 07 2020 on closure of hotels, guest houses and related outfits and provision of manifests in the state.
2. The Senior Magistrates’ Court also ordered that th convict,Mr. Azoroh should be quarantined at the Isolation Centre in Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia for 14 days to ascertain his coronavirus status.
3. That while in the Court Ordered Quarantine, competent health officials carried out mandatory tests on all suspected Coronavirus individuals at the centre, including Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, to ascertain their Covid-19 status.
It is important to state here that COVID-19 tests undergo World Health Organization, (WHO) and NCDC guidelines and are conducted under strict established medical protocols.
4. That prior to the publication of the test results, the owner of PRODEST Hotel Eleme, Mr. Gogorobari Needam had published one of his misleading petitions in an attempt to preempt the outcome of the test and the question we want to ask is: ‘Why did the hotel owner try to preempt the outcome of the test. Was he trying to cover up something?
5. That on Sunday, 24th May, 2020, the NCDC announced that Rivers State had 27 recorded positive cases including Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, from tests carried out in the state.
6. That following the official announcement of the result and confirmation of his Manager’s Covid-19 positive status, the PRODEST Hotel owner has once again released another statement and this time is now calling for a state of emergency in Rivers State because his manager tested positive for Covid-19.
7. Rivers people will recall that on May 19, 2020, we raised an alarm intimating the world of a clandestine plot by some Abuja politicians hiding under the cover of Covid-19 to instigate a State of Emergency in the state. Today, a hotel owner in Eleme, who lives in Lagos is also now calling for a State of Emergency. Is there any wonder therefore as to who is beating the drum for him?
8. Indeed there seems to be more to this than meets the ordinary eye and we are calling on all well-meaning people to see the need to interrogate this man and know that he is acting out a script. Infact, the entire petition sounds and reads like something lifted directly from the copy book of those who have been desperately trying to run down the Rivers State Government. This is desperation taken too far.
9. We even recall vividly that Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari had, in an interview published in the Punch Newspaper of May 15, 2020 titled: “No ill feeling towards Wike for demolishing my hotel – Gogorobari”, actually stated categorically that he holds no grudge against Governor Wike for demolishing the hotel. His words: “Who am I not to forgive him? I don’t hold any grudge against him. I just feel that God wanted it to happen that way”. So what happened to make him change his mind? Is it not obvious that the agents of evil and those who do not mean well for Rivers State have reached him and are now beating this drum of dissent for him?
10. Again, We want to state categorically here that Government doesn’t conduct Covid-19 tests. Trained Health professionals follow the relevant medical protocols set down by WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, to conduct these tests.
11. The claim therefore that the PRODEST Hotel manager, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, was infected while in detention is not only laughable and preposterous, but sadly and dangerously exposes the amazing ignorance and naivety of Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari and those sponsoring him about the deadly nature of the Covid-19 disease. How does one even carry such a deadly virus around and infect people with it?
12. Rather than commend the Rivers State Government for stemming the tide of infection that would have arisen if the Hotel used for clandestine parties was not demolished and the Manager arrested, the owner is crying wolf where there is none.
13. We also want to caution Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari to be very mindful of his claims that his hotel Manager “has been framed up by an unorthodox hired medical officers recruited by Governor Wike with a report that he has tested positive to COVID-19 whilst in detention with the Rivers State Government”.
This is a clear accusation and indictment of the reputation and authority of the NCDC.
14 We also want to call the attention of Mr. Needam Gogorobari that we take exception to his description of the Isolation Centre in Port Harcourt, as an “illegal detention facility in Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt” and to inform him and his sponsors that the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and a team from the World Health Organization, were in Rivers State on a working visit in April this year and not only praised Governor Nyesom Wike for his leadership and handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. but also applauded his medical health team and all the facilities put in place in response to the Coronavirus.
We will therefore be keen to know how the NCDC will react, when they read your description of a facility they approved, as ‘a detention centre’.
15. Finally, we want to assure the good people of the state that the Rivers State Government remains resolute in its fight to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state and we will not be deterred by cheap blackmail and misleading propaganda.
16 Governor Wike is determined to employ and deploy appropriate strategies to keep Rivers State safe.
17. We call on all residents to work together with the Governor to defeat Covid-19 in Rivers State and by the Grace of God we will be victorious.
Commissioner for Information and Communications
May 26, 2020
Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has felicitated with the wife of the State Chief Executive Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike as she celebrates her birthday on Saturday, 23rd May, 2020.
In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, 23rd May 2020, Dr. Banigo described Hon. Justice Wike as a humane and God fearing woman who is a great pillar of strength to our amiable Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
While wishing her many happy returns the Deputy Governor prayed the Almighty God to continue to protect and bless Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike.
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The family of former Nigerian President,Goodluck Jonathan and the Otuoke community of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as the News of the sudden demise of Chief Nitabai Inegite,the former president’s foster father reached them.
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