The Rivers State Security Council has commended the Nigeria Police for arresting the prime suspect of the ritual killings targeted at young women in parts of the state.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt, after an emergency meeting of the Rivers State Security Council presided over by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Friday, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, said that the meeting was impressed by the successes recorded by the police in the last few days, especially the arrest of three suspects.
Danagogo said that the meeting commended the painstaking efforts of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies, which have led to improved security across the state.
“The Rivers State Government has absolute confidence in the ability of the police and other security agencies to tackle the challenge posed by these killers who target young women “, Danagogo said.
He said that given the confession by the prime suspect of the killings, he has operated successfully in Lagos and Imo states and evaded arrest, but was apprehended in Rivers State because of the alertness of the police in the state.
“The police and other security agencies in Rivers State are on top of their game because of the support that they receive from the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike.
“These successes show that the support given to security outfits like the ‘Operation Sting’ and other covet security initiatives is yielding positive results”, he said.
Danagogo urged members of the public to remain vigilant and support the security agencies with credible information to fish out other accomplices of the suspected criminals.
He said that the Rivers State Security Council advised young women and other residents not to let down their guards despite the arrest of the prime suspect.
The SSG explained that the Rivers State governor directed all the security agencies to step up security alertness across the state, assuring that the administration will continue to provide logistical and financial support for all operations to protect Rivers people.
Earlier, the 39-year old notorious serial killer of women in hotels, Gracious David West, from Buguma in Asari-Toru Local Government Area, had confessed that he had actually killed’ a total of seven people, and started killing from Ikeja, Lagos before moving to Owerri in Imo State and later Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He confessed that in Port Harcourt, he killed five persons; one in Ikeja and another in Owerri; and survived on the money he stole from the victims’ accounts by using their ATMs cards.
West made the confession, last Friday, while being paraded by the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, at the Rivers State Police Headquarters.
On the motive behind his actions, he said: “I don’t know what always came over me to kill. After I had killed, I would feel remorse and I then I would cry. But after that, the irresistible urge to kill would come over me again. I killed alone.”
About belonging to a cult group, he said… “I was a member of the Degbam cult group, I have since repented. I was not killing for any cult group. I just killed. I don’t know what always came over me to kill.”
On how he had been surviving, he revealed: “The first woman I killed in one of the hotels at Ikeja had about N85,000 in her account.
“Before I strangulated them after love making, I would use knife to cut the hotel bed sheets into a semblance of a twine or rope which I used to bind their hands and feet. I used the knife also to threaten them. The kitchen knife was sold to me by an Aboki. I threatened that if my victims raised alarm I would kill them with the knife. Out of fear, they would keep quiet while I raised the volume of the television set in the hotel room to dwarf any noise. I never killed with the knife.”
West also revealed that before he killed his female victims he insisted on knowing their account balance and ATM pins.
“After strangulating them, I would steal their ATM cards, empty their accounts from any nearby ATM machine and move on. It is not all the girls I slept with that I killed. I killed only whenever the irresistible urge to kill overwhelmed me. l don’t have a house. My mother died through poisoning from her mate and I am homeless. I sleep in hotels.”
He also revealed that he sold the phones he stole from his victims to a customer in Waterlines Junction off Port Harcourt/Aba Expressway and another buyer around MTN office by Oil Mill Market in Port Harcourt.
He also confirmed that he was one of the ex-militants rehabilitated by the Omega Power Ministry (OPM), adding that he secured a job at Federal University of Science and Technology (FUTO), Owerri, through the church but bolted with students’ properties.
The suspect, who at a point broke down in tears also told journalists that he tried to seek spiritual deliverance from Christ Chosen Church.
He was also in Salvation Ministries but to no avail because he couldn’t secure accommodation to follow through.
Dandaura disclosed that his insistence on hotels in the state to install Close-Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) had yielded results.
He vowed that the police under his command would fight crimes headlong in the state.
The CP said that following joint operations with the Army and other security agencies, the killings in Ogoniland are dropping, while “I have stabilized East-West Road, the Elele-Owerri Road.
Dandaura called on political gladiators in the state to come together and move the state forward and that the command under him would be nonpartisan in the discharge of its duties.
He stated further: “The suspect is definitely not alone in these killings, though he has made useful confessions but the command will go beyond his confessions to ensure that a conclusive end is achieved that serves the interest of Justice.
He said so far three suspects are in police custody and are being investigated in connection with these killings, assuring that they will be paraded soon as soon as investigations are concluded.
Our correspondent, who was at the police headquarters, observed curiously that despite knowing that he was on the wanted list by the police, he never changed his stripped T-shirt and pair of jeans trousers.
He used to have them washed by the laundry of the hotels he lodged after which he would put them on when dried before checking out.
Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.
FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer
The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.
Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media
The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.
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