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Alleged N3bn Diversion: Absence Of Defence Counsel Stalls Whistle Blower’s Trial

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The absence of defence counsel to a former General Manager of Radio Bayelsa, John Idumange, who raised an alarm over alleged diversion of N3 billion Agric loan by government officials was yesterday stalled at a Bayelsa High Court.
When the case was called for hearing, the prosecution led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Bayelsa, Mrs Iyobosa Apulu, noted that the bench warrant issued on the defendant, Idumange, ought to be issued against his surety.
She urged the court to issue another bench warrant on the defendant’s surety, to produce his client in court.
“We do not know the whereabouts of the defendant, who was previously on bail before the case was transfered to this court.
“But his surety can be traced and that is why we want the bench warrant be issued against the surety, to prevail on him to produce the defendant in court,” Iyobosa said.
The court had on July 19 issued a bench warrant authorising the arrest of Idumange, whose counsel, Ebikebuna Aluzu, had informed the court that the defendant was involved in an accident and was hospitalised.
Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah subsequently adjourned the matter until September 10.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa, Biriyai Sambo, (SAN) had filed a suit against Idumange for misdemeanour and seditious publications against government officials.
Reports had it that a Magistrates’ Court had on March 11 in Yenagoa, ordered Idumange’s detention for 30 days, pending police investigation.
Idumange, who alleged that officials of Bayelsa government had diverted a N3 billion Agric loan and subsequently submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was arrested on March 10.
Some officials of the state government had reported to the police that Idumange had made seditious publications that maligned their persons in his claims.
However, the State High Court, Sagbama Division, granted bail to Idumange, who was also an aide on Research and Documentation and later Social Media to former Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson.
The Tide reports that the case, earlier assigned to Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro, was reassigned to Justice Uzakah.

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Niger Delta

Rivers Police Burst Car Snatching Syndicate

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The Rivers State Police Command says it has arrested an alleged member of car theft syndicate who specialises in robbing bolt drivers in the state and its environs.
In a press statement in Port Harcourt, the state capital, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni said that operatives of Octopus Strike Force on September 15, 2021, at about 1750hrs, arrested one Nnali Osita, a 21-year-old member of a notorious car snatching syndicate that specialises in robbing Bolt/Uberdrivers in the state.
The statement said, that “while solving a case of car snatching reported by one Yusuf Ogunshola ‘m’, a Bolt driver who was hired from Effurun in Delta State to Port Harcourt, only to be taken to Abel Jumbo Street in Mile 2,Diobu, Port Harcourt, where two other members were already waiting”.
The statement further stated that the Bolt driver,on arrival, was attacked at gunpoint and dispossessed of his personal belongings, including withdrawing the sum of N87,000 from his bank account, adding that he was thereafter locked in a toilet belonging to a new generation church on the same street.
“In the course of our investigation, operatives got some clues which ultimately led them to Gambia Street in Diobu, where they had perfected plans to sell the said car. However, on sighting the police, they abandoned the car, and took to flight but the suspect; Nnali Osita was not lucky, as he was arrested, while others escaped.
“Meanwhile, efforts have been intensified to ensure that the fleeing gang members are arrested and their operational weapons recovered.
“The Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka has vowed to come hard on all miscreants in the state, and is hereby advising all Bolt/Uber or anybody in the transportation business to be circumspect and shun all mouth-watering offers; being the antics deployed by these criminals to attack their victims.” the statement added.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Niger Delta

Federal Varsity Admits 2,423 Students,Holds 10th Matriculation

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The Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa State has admitted new 2,423 students for its 2021/2022 academic session.
This was made known to newsmen at the weekend during the 10th matriculation ceremony of the institution.
The Tide learnt that the Federal University, Otuoke was amongst the 12 universities established during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
In his matriculation speech, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Teddy Charles Adias cautioned the matriculants against engaging in nefarious activities as students.
He charged students to be serious with their academics, noting that the institution is described as a ‘Family University, just as he added that the school has more than ever become a grooming ground for intellectuals.
“Students of this university are groomed and trained in both intellectual and in character. You’re here to learn, but that you’ve done your matriculation doesn’t mean it’s the end.
“As students members of this family university, you should be Ambassadors of this institution wherever you find yourselves in both learning and character”, he said.
“No nation can develop without a good and competitive intellectual base,. And that is why this Family University was set up to amongst others be part of sister institutions that would build and develop the needed intellectual capacities for our development as a nation”, he added.
The Tide reports that the university admitted freshers into all of its six existing Faculties of Management Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences as well as Engineering and Education.
“A total of 5,692 persons applied for admission for the session, but out of these, a total of 2,423 were selected and granted admission, after going through all the required academic processes needed as qualifications for admission as students members of the university”, the Vice Chancellor said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Police Move To Secure Abducted Doctor, Ex-Senator’s Release

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The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 6, Usman Gomna, has ordered investigation into the abduction of a medical doctor, Nsidibe Umana and former-Akwa Ibom senator, Nelson Effiong.
The AIG’s order is coming even as the command said that it had put in place a crack team to trail the abductors of the two victims.
Nelson Effiong, a former senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial district, was abducted on Sunday, September 5, 2021 while relaxing in his sit-out along Oron Road; while the medical doctor was abducted in his compound in Orukaman Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
The AIG gave the charge last Friday while responding to a request by the chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Ime Sylvester Udoh, during a meeting with security stakeholders in the state.
Dr. Udoh had raised the alarm over the abduction of the medical doctor and had also called on the Police to rescue the victim alive.
Responding, the AIG said, “Before I came here, I have directed the CP of the command, Andrew Amiengheme, to intensify efforts to see how he can be rescued.”
He reiterated the commitment of the zone in tackling crime and criminality and called on stakeholders to continue to cooperate with the Police by revealing useful information that could help in tackling the crime rate in the states.
Speaking further on the kidnapped medical doctor, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, said a manhunt had already been put in place to effect the release of the doctor.
“Our men are in the field to ensure the release of that young doctor. Unfortunately, the abductors are asking for N20m and where will the family get that kind of money?
“That is part of the societal problems, and we are asking the stakeholders to quickly expose and not to give them a cover,” Amiengheme said.
On the abduction of the ex-senator, the CP said, “We’re very much on top of the situation. Care must be taken to protect his life in the first instance.
“We must not do anything that will jeopardise his life, a lot has been done, we are observing some restraints so that he is not killed and his perpetrators brought to book.”

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