Condemnations have continued to trail the killing by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers of Mr Olajide Sowore, the immediate younger brother of the presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general elections, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, joined other Nigerians on Saturday to condemn the killing of the Pharmacy student of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State.
News of Olajide’s death was broken by the elder Sowore on his Facebook account early Saturday as he revealed that Olajide was shot dead near Okada town in Edo State on his way from the university where he was studying Pharmacy.
He wrote: “My immediate younger brother, Olajide Sowore was today shot and killed near Okada in Edo State reportedly by herdsmen/kidnappers on his way from Igbinedion University in Edo State where he is studying Pharmacy.
“They snuffed out the life of yet another real human being! Rest in power, “Dr. Mamiye!” This act in itself will not delay their day of justice.
“I travelled widely with you and our father as a little kid. You were the most loved robust kid I ever first knew. You, Mr. Magnet, had no enemy!
“You, Mr. Sunshine Foundation, who made everyone happy. You, the boy who snuck out his older ones to parties, taking all the blames when our disciplinarian father found out.
“You, the guy who was an out-of-the-box thinker who decided school wasn’t for you and created your own genre of music and then turned around to go to school after you almost turned 50!
“You lived your life so that everyone could be alright but now assassinated by everything that’s not alright! Saddest day yet!”
Confirming the killing of Olajide on Saturday, the police in Edo State said the deceased was shot dead by gunmen in the early hours of Saturday.
The police added that five other persons were abducted in the process.
Spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, Bello Kontongs, was quoted as saying in a terse voice: “In addition to killing the younger Sowore, the suspected kidnappers made away with five unidentified persons.”
According to Kontongs, the body of the deceased was deposited at the Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital (IUTH).
“Good morning all. This is to confirm to you that suspected kidnappers at about 0645hrs along the Lagos-Benin Expressway by Isuwa kidnapped five unidentified persons.
“And in the process, they shot dead one, Sowore Felix Olajide, male, a Pharmacy student of Igbinedion University Okada.
“His remains have been deposited at IUTH (Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital) mortuary, Okada, while effort is ongoing to rescue the five kidnapped victims.
Meanwhile, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo yesterday expressed their sympathy with friends, associates and family members of the deceased student in different condolence messages.
“I just received news of the reported killing of Mr Olajide Sowore, a student of Igbinedion University and the immediate younger brother of human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore.
“His death and, indeed, the killings and daily abductions of innocent citizens, saddens me.
“Every death diminishes our humanity. My sincere condolences to the Sowore family and his friends. May his soul rest in peace,” Atiku said.
Keyamo on his part commiserated with Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, on the killing of his younger brother.
He said in a statement Saturday that it was sad that a young man like Olajide was cut down in his prime. He promised to join forces with other stakeholders to mount pressure on security agents to bring his killers to justice.
Keyamo said: “I read with deep sadness the reports on the senseless killing of your younger brother, Mr. Jide Sowore, a student of Pharmacy at Igbinedion University, Okada in Edo State, this morning.
“It is quite sad and regrettable that such a young man would be cut down in his prime by criminal elements.
“Myself and other compatriots would be pressurising the law enforcement agents to track down these killers without delay and bring them to justice.
Also reacting to Olajide’s death yesterday, the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives condemned the killing in a statement signed by the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.
The statements reads: “The gruesome killing of Olajide, a Pharmacy Student of Igbinedion University, Edo state, on his way from school, by suspected terrorists, is another sad commentary on the horrible security situation and utter hopelessness in our country under the current administration.
“Our caucus deplores the ceaseless killings and kidnapping of students and school children in various parts of the country as well as the failure of government to take decisive steps to halt the trend.”
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in a statement issued by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, also condemned the killing and urged the Edo State Police Command to find Olajide’s killers.
“What is the crime of this student? Why must our young brains be wasted in this manner? This is one killing too many. We call on the Edo Police Command to find his killers without delay.
“This kind of tragedy should not be happening around this time. We are not unaware of the travails of the victim’s senior brother in the hands of security agencies.
“It saddens our hearts to learn of this heart-breaking calamity around this time. The police must therefore go all out for Felix’s assailant”.
A’Ibom Widow Benefits From Gov’s Wife’s House Gift
Wife of Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Martha Emmanuel, has given a two-bedroom furnished bungalow to a widow and mother of seven.
The house was built for the widow, Mrs Happiness Isaac, from Utu Ikot at Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of the State and her children whose former abode was in a bad state.
The Tide reports that Mrs Isaac and her children got the house gift, courtesy of Shelter of Hope Programme (FEYReP), a pet project of Mrs Emmanuel.
The governor’s wife said the gesture was part of activities marking the 6th anniversary of FEYReP
“It has been six years of a rewarding experience, touching lives positively across every facet of the state,’’ she said.
She added that with 58 houses so far delivered to indigent families, and many other life-saving opportunities for individuals, God’s grace had been sufficient all the six years.
Mrs Emmanuel noted that the housing scheme was initiated to provide comfortable abodes for the poorest of the poor in the state.
She stressed that the shelters were not limited to widows or widowers, but indigent families that had been independently verified by a team of FEYReP officials.
She thanked her husband, Gov. Udom Emmanuel, whom she described as the Pillar of FEYReP, for supporting her vision.
The governor’s wife also used the event to inform rural women of the on-going interest free loans by the FEYReP’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society, saying they should take advantage of the scheme to be economically independent.
She charged Mrs Isaac not to lose hope as God had not forgotten her.
Mrs Emmanuel further donated undisclosed amount of money and wrappers to 50 other women in the local government area.
In her remarks, Akwa Ibom PDP women leader, Mrs Joyce Lazarus, thanked the governor’s wife for her magnanimity and love for the needy across the 31 local government areas of the state.
She affirmed that Mrs Emmanuel’s lofty programmes through FEYReP had touched many lives in the state.
Also speaking, Sen. Akon Enyakenyi (PDP-Eket Senatorial District) also supported the event with cash.
In an emotion-laden response, Mrs Isaac recalled her ordeal in the past, especially after losing her husband many years ago.
She thanked Mrs Emmanuel for rescuing her from the shackles of death and poverty and prayed God Almighty to bless and reward her.
Bayelsa To Partner Media On Tourism Promotion
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Bayelsa State, Mr Iti Orugbani, has pledged to partner with the media in the promotion of tourism.
The Commissioner stated this last Thursday when members of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association (BIPA) paid him a courtesy call in his office at the state Secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital.
According to Orugbani, the media, especially the local publishers, have been at the vanguard of promoting culture and tourism in the state, using their different newspaper outfits.
He pledged the ministry’s continuous partnership with the newspaper publishers in the state, adding that he would support members of BIPA in any way possible to ensure they meet up modern day publishing technology.
The Commissioner, who was flanked by the Permanent Secretary, Directors and other management staff of the ministry expressed gladness for having members of a highly reputable profession in his office.
Earlier in his address, the chairman of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association, Mr Francis Dufugha, thanked the commissioner and his management team for giving the group a warm reception.
Mr Dufugha, who is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the Niger Delta Herald Newspaper, recalled that BIPA was formed in the year 2000 to create an enabling ground for members to ply their trade.
He noted that BIPA had been in developmental partnership with the Bayelsa state government with members using their various newspapers to propagate government’s policies and programmes.
Noting the importance of the tourism subsector, the BIPA chairman said if properly harnessed, it would boost the revenue profile of the state, promising that the publishers would use their different outfits to highlight the tourism potential and cultural heritage of the state to the rest of the world.
The chairman also used the medium to inform the Commissioner of BIPA’s 20th anniversary celebration which will come up later in the year.
Also speaking, Publisher of the Environment Watch Newspaper, Mr. Braeyi Ekiye averred that there were many untapped tourism development potentials in the state such as the proposed Age Deep Seaport, the Okpoama Beach, Oloibiri Museum among others, noting that if harnessed, Bayelsa would become Nigeria’s foremost international tourists destination and home of hospitality.
By: Kevin Nengia
Edo Communities Protest Leasing Of Forest Reserve
Twenty-three communities of Orhionmwon, Edo State, have appealed to the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, not to implement the planned leasing of Urhonigbe Forest Reserve to a private investor, Saro Oil Palm.
They also asked the governor to lease somewhere else to the investor since the forest reserve is their only source of livelihood through subsistence farming.
The communities made their submissions to the state government during a peaceful protest in Benin City, noting that their forefathers donated the Urhonigbe forest reserve when other communities refused to make any land available for forest reserve.
Addressing journalists at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, Monday, the spokesman of the protesting communities, Mr. G. O. Osadolor, said: “The Urhonigbe forest reserved is our only means of livelihood, where we do farming to sustain our family and children. Our children who are graduates but have no job are engaged in farming in the forest reserve.
“Many youths from Orhionmwon Local Government Area, who are not interested in criminal activities, engaged in farming in the forest reserve as there is no employment after graduating from school.”
Osadolor lamented that while the widows and widowers were farming in the Urhonigbe forest reserve for survival, Fulani herdsmen kill and pursue indigenes from one side of the land to the other; the people from Delta State also encroached into the forest reserve, adding that the only area left for the communities is the present forest reserve which government is planning to give to an oil palm investor.
He said that one part of the Urghonigbe forest had been handed over to Presco Oil Palm Plc while the little one left for them to farm is being taken from them by the state government to be given to another investor.
“We are begging Governor Godwin Obaseki to relocate Saro or any other oil palm investor to another local government that has virgin land. Orhionmwon do not have such land. The governor should not keep us in hunger and starvation.
Osadolor also drew government’s attention to the deplorable state of roads in Orhionmwon, the lack of electricity at the council headquarters in Abudu, the moving of the NYSC Orientation camp from Abudu to Okada, and the recent attempt to move the School of Forestry Management, Sokponba village in Orhionmwon to Fugar, Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state.
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