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…Akunyili, Amaechi, Others React

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Stand up against criminals, pay no ransom,” an elated Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, told Nigerians yesterday following the release of the journalists who were kidnapped on July 11.

Akunyili told newsmen that payment of ransom had encouraged kidnapping which has now become an industry.

“I just feel so happy that our brothers are safe and no one succumbed to the threat of the kidnappers who are criminals that go about torturing people emotionally,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has appealed to security operatives to ensure that anyone rescued or freed by kidnappers is debriefed to understand the sociological profile of those involved.

Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi stated  this yesterday at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa during a brief reception in honour of the kidnapped journalists that were rescued early in the day.

Governor Amaechi who was represented by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Blessing Wikina, said debriefing would enable them know the thought pattern and how they communicate to tackle the problem.

The Governor explained that if they debrief those who had borne victims, the security agencies would gradually be able to compile a profile on how to deal with the situation.

Governor Amaechi thanked God for the safe rescue of the kidnapped journalists who are to be reunited with their families, but expressed sadness that in spite of several appeals to those involved in criminal act of hostage taking, such unwholesome practice was going on.

He commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other security agencies for freeing the journalists unhurt and urged the victims not to allow what happened to deter them from rendering their services to society and humanity.

The State Chief Executive noted that security matters were collective issues which should not be left in the hands of one person or state government and provided the journalists with a charted air craft Topbrass Aviation Ltd with registration number ZS-SME to convey them to Lagos.

Responding on behalf of the rescued kidnappers, the Chairman, Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Wahab Oba said they did not really have much to say but to thank God for His mercy on them throughout the one week they were held hostage.

Mr. Oba also expressed gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan for the concern shown over their kidnap, especially in the speech he made during his visit to Akwa Ibom State as well as the government and people of Abia State whom he said were wonderful to them and the Rivers State Governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi whom he described as a press friendly governor for arranging a chartered flight to take them to Lagos.

The Nigeria Police was not left out as he acknowledged the consistency and aggressiveness with which they hunted their kidnappers and hinted that “throughout the seven days we stayed with our captors, we did not stay in a place for four hours because of the way the police was chasing them”.

Mr. Oba was equally happy with journalists for the solidarity they demonstrated through the way they reported the incident which according to him made even the families of the kidnappers to be on them to effect their release because there could be trouble on the land.

“In his reaction, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr Gbenga Adefaye recommended that a harsh example be made of deviants to put an end to kidnapping.

“We hope government will put an end to these incidents of kidnap that embarrasses us all and makes Nigeria look like an uncharted jungle.

“We hope the President will take a strong step on security and reassure everyone that Nigeria is a safe place peopled by decent citizens.

“We also hope that journalists will not be afraid to perform their duties, as enshrined in the Constitution,” Adefaye remarked.

The National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Leman Shuaibu, said Nigerians should resolve to make the recent episode, the last of kidnap saga in the country.

He told newsmen that it was time the nation got rid of the menace of such despicable and embarrassing act.

“For the first time, the nation stood up against an irresponsible act, but this kidnapping should be the last that would occur in this country,” he declared.

The NUJ president called on government to use all the arsenals at its disposal to flush out criminals that had taken over, especially in Obingwa Local Government Area of the south eastern Nigeria.

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NDLEA Nabs Brazilian Returnee With Black Cocaine

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested Ibeh Chinedu Damian, with 3.20kg of black cocaine popularly known as Lucci, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
Damian was arrested on Monday, September 26, 2022, upon his arrival at the Lagos Airport from Sao Paulo, Brazil via an Ethiopian airlines flight.
Ibeh, who hails from Ahiazu, Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, concealed the black cocaine in false bottoms of his two bags.
In his statement, he said he was to be paid N3,100,000 for the successful delivery of the drug in Nigeria.
In another operation, two Malians: Mohammed Demoele, 38, and Coulibaly Maliki, 56, were arrested by officers of the Marine Unit of NDLEA at Ebute Ero jetty in Lagos for attempting to export 34.2kg bottles of new psychoactive substance, Akuskura to Mali through Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Another suspect, Ms. Safiya Bello, was also arrested in the Shagamu area of Ogun State with 27kg of psychotropic substance.
Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) commended the officers and men of seaports operations for their resilience.
He charged them and others across the country to intensify ongoing offensive action against drug cartels and traffickers wherever they may be located in any part of Nigeria.

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62nd Independence Day: Nigerians Set New York Aglow With Parade, Carnival

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Nigerians from all walks of life on Saturday set New York City aglow and painted the city with green-white-green insignia.
Nigerian community leaders and envoys joined other compatriots to temporarily close down some parts of the Second Avenue in Midtown.
Notable among those who attended the parade and carnival were the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States, Dr. Uzoma Emenike, and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
Mayor of New York, Eric Adams, and the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb Lot Egopija, and first Nigerian-American congressman, Adeoye Omolewa, also joined the revellers at the colourful parade.
Also, a young talented 12-year old Saxophonist, Temilayo Abodunrin, was among the instrumentalists leading the parade.
The parade, which began at the Second Avenue on E. 54th Street and terminated at E. 44th Street at Nigeria House, drew thousands of Nigerians who had the best of time as they sang and danced to Nigerian music.
Known as the largest celebration of Nigeria outside the homeland, the annual Nigerian Independence Day Parade, in its 30th year, celebrated the very best, which showcased Nigeria’s unique culture.
The event also promoted the positive image of Nigeria to the rest of the world as several other nationals joined in dancing to the Nigerian music.
The parade later proceeded to the Dag Hammarskjold Park, where Timi Dakolo; Goya Menor; sensational kid saxophonist, Temilayo Abodunrin; and Ijoya Dance Crew;revelled in the moment.
The Mayor of New York, Eric Adams, while addressing the excited crowd, paid glowing tribute to Nigeria and Nigerians’ unique way of life.
“No one throws a party like Lagos in Nigeria. No one knows how to celebrate life, like Nigeria.
“And right here in New York, your rich culture and contribution to the city is unbelievable,” Adams said.
The mayor thanked Nigerians for their support when he was running to become the mayor of the City of New York.
President of the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN), Mr Solomon Bakare, congratulated Nigerians on the 62nd Independence anniversary.
The Nigerian community leader, lamented the state of the nation after 62 years of Independence, saying the dreams of the founding fathers had not been realised.
Bakare challenged Nigerian leaders to improve the lives of the common man and redouble their efforts in building the country as truly the giant of Africa.
The official said the parade and carnival, which started in 1991, was a way to showcase Nigeria to the world and address the negative stereotypes of Nigerians in the American media.
He said the OAN, which annually organised the parade and carnival, was founded in 1989 by a group of concerned Nigerians to address the needs of the Nigerian community.
At that time, Nigeria and Nigerians were suffering seriously from negative stereotypes in the American media.
Prior to OAN’s formation, there was no organisation committed to the broader issues facing the Nigerian community in the United States.
OAN filled the void by creating an umbrella organisation, which embraced Nigerians from all works of life, regardless of their ethnic and religious backgrounds.

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NPA Concludes Concession Pact, Seeks FG’s Approval …Decries 100% Physical Examination At Nation’s Seaports

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has said that the concession agreement with five terminal operators that have expired have been concluded and will be submitted to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transportation for final approval renewal.
Speaking over the weekend when the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azuSambo, conducted a familiarisation tour on the agency, the Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the agreement would be submitted before the close of work on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.
According to him, discussion among some terminal operators, are inconclusive while some terminal operators are yet to give necessary feedback to the authority.
However, the NPA helmsman lamented the 100percent physical examination of cargoes at the nation’s seaports, saying it’s affecting efficient cargo inspection as manual cargo examination is cumbersome and inefficient.
He stated that the terminal operators have expressed desire to purchase, maintain scanners at the Nigerian seaports while Customs will operate it.
This, he said if scanners are provided, will make Nigerian seaports more competitive and preferred destinations for cargoes in West and Central Africa.
“Manual examination of cargoes in our ports due to absence of scanners is inefficient,not sustainable, and cumbersome and can’t make our port competitive. Terminal operators have, however, expressed readiness to purchase and maintain the scanners but the equipment will be maintained by the service. This will make our port more efficient, competitive and efficient in the sub-region,” he said.
In his presentation to the minister, the NPA MD said the nation’s seaports need to explore alternative source of power generation to the seaport because of the rising cost of power generation to the seaport.
He, as well, called for the reconstruction of the collapsed quay apron at the Tin-Can Island Port and collapsed jetty at Continental Shipyard.
“Matters requiring urgent attention include the reconstruction of the quay apron at Tin Can Island Port complex and collapsed jetty at Continental Shipyard Ltd. Reconstruction of collapsed berth at Federal Lighter Terminal (FLT) and fencing of common user port facility inline with specification of International Ships and Ports Facility (ISPS), code.
“Also, reconstruction of collapsed breakwater at delta port and rising cost of power generation (electricity) in the port and the need to commence procurement of alternative source of power,” he said.

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