Following the killing of 12 policemen at Azuzuama of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State last Saturday, security operatives have moved into the area and surrounding creeks in search of the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.
The Tide gathered that this was in compliance to the directives of the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar, who had vowed to ensure that those responsible did not go unpunished.
Reports from the area indicates that residents of Azuzuama, and all nearby communities are in panic, fearing that the Odi episode may be replayed in their area.
As at the time of reporting, the driver of the boat and three policemen who escaped the mayhem were said to be in protective custody at Police Headquarters in Yenagoa. Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Akhigbe told journalists in Yenagoa that neither the guns nor the bodies of the slain policemen had been recovered.
Meanwhile, facts emerged on Monday in Yenagoa that the killing of the policemen may not be the handiwork of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) which had earlier claimed responsibility for the act.
The killing was allegedly carried out by disgruntled followers of Kile Selky Torughedi whose mother’s burial resulted to the ugly event.
‘General’ Torughedi, popularly known as ‘Young Shall Grow’ had been accused of embezzling the sum of N80million given to him by Federal Government to share to his followers under the amnesty programmes.
Soon after collecting the money, Torughedi was said to have escaped to Abuja, avoiding home until the death of his mother, hence, the ‘’boys’’ decided to teach him some lessons.
However, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has vowed to collaborate with security agencies in the state to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Governor Dickson, who made the pledge in a chat with Government House correspondents, stated that government would do everything humanly possible to bring the culprits to book, emphasising that steps were already being taken to comb the nooks and crannies of the state to apprehend them.
A visibly angry Hon. Dickson stated that, government cannot fold its arms and watch people take the law into their hands for whatever reason, stressing that government would not relent until acts of criminality and lawlessness are completely eliminated in the state.
“We will not rest on our oars and we will make the environment very uncomfortable for criminals and perpetrators of other related offences to operate.”
For the umpteenth time, government is warning our youth and their collaborators, who take delight in kidnapping, maiming and taking the lives of innocent and law abiding citizens, to turn a new leaf or have themselves to blame, because nobody will be spared.”
He noted that government’s tough stance and zero tolerance for acts of criminality and lawlessness were still in force, stressing that every offender would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The Governor, thereafter announced, the appointment of a Special Prosecutor for violent crimes and other related offences in the State to further underline government’s commitment to end all forms of crime as well as ensure that criminals are prosecuted and punished according to the laws of the land.
The Special Prosecutor, Barrister Andrew Seiweniowou, whose appointment is informed by the need for government to take firm action, especially in the way and manner criminal cases are prosecuted as well as the need to fast- track and guide the process of investigation and prosecution of apprehended culprits.
The Special Prosecutor is to, among other things, review all such cases, direct investigations and prosecute them and he is also to head a special team comprising an Assistant Commissioner of Police, State CID, OC Legal, the Director of Public Prosecution in the state Ministry of Justice, the officer in charge of the investigation at the Special Police Unit (Operation Doo Akpo), the Special Adviser on Security and such other persons that may be appointed later.
Meanwhile, about 27 persons are said to have been killed at Zango village in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State as ethnic militia engaged in fresh orgy of hostilities in the area, late Monday night.
The killings, which are believed to be a continuation of hostilities between the Tarok and the Fulani herdsmen were alleged to have left several casualties on both sides.
Our correspondent gathered, yesterday, that armed militia invaded Wase town in the late hours of Monday, but for swift intervention of vigilante members from the community who pursued and killed many of the invaders, more havoc would have been recorded.
However, the Police Command in Plateau State said in Jos, yesterday, that it had deployed additional personnel to Wase town and its environs to quell the crisis in the area.
Many people were reported killed between Sunday and Monday while houses and property were destroyed by rival groups involved in violent clashes in Zango village.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Felicia Anselem, told newsmen yesterday, that the command was concerned about the situation and was working to restore law and order.
“It was in the early hours of this morning that we heard of the conflict between the Fulanis and Taroh people.
“We also learnt that the roads were blocked while gunshots were heard sporadically fired.
“Houses were also burnt, but we cannot ascertain the number of people that died.
“As I speak, police counter terrorist group, mobile policemen and many other regular policemen have been deployed to Wase to reinforce those on ground,’’ she said.
Anselem described the situation as ‘very sad and unfortunate’ and warned people against taking laws into their hands.
She assured Plateau residents that normalcy was being restored in the area and urged law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses.
Group Tasks IGP On Protection For Justices Of State Election Petitions Tribunal
The National Coalition Against Terrorism, has urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to ensure adequate protection for Justices of State Election Petitions Tribunal, as they deliver their judgments in states of the federation.
Mr Terrence Kuanum, the coalition’s National Coordinator said this at a news conference yesterday in Abuja.
Kuanum lauded the Chief Justice of the Federation for boosting the morale of the Justices to enable them deliver courageous judgments across the country.
“The country’s democracy will continue to advance if the judiciary is strengthened to continue with its just judgment as was done in Kano State,” he said.
He appealed to political leaders in states to guide their supporters against heating up the polity and to ensure strict adherence to the tenets of democracy.
“In a democratic dispensation like ours, it is believed that leaders of thoughts should be of good conscience and imbibe democratic principles, especially in the area of law and order.
“Political leaders are to guide their supporters and ensure strict adherence to the tenets of democracy.
“The recent Election Petitions Tribunal judgments across the country are a welcome development where irregularities during the 2023 general elections were challenged and some upturned while others were upheld,” he said.
Kuanum said that there was growing tension in the camp of those who lost at the tribunal, saying the development to an extent, was being curtailed by some political leaders who understood democracy and its value.
He said that most worrisome, was the threat by the Kwankwasiyya Movement in Kano State who were members of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
“However, since the tribunal judgment, the Kwankwasiyya movement is threatening the justices and judicial officers for been courageous enough to deliver just judgment.
“They have threatened to kill and make Kano worse than Zamfara.
“We all know what Zamfara is at the moment,”the coalition national coordinator said.
He added that for members of the Kwankwasiyya movement to be making open statements and raining insult on the justices on daily basis, it meant they had the protection of some individuals in the state.
“We call on the I-G to immediately arrest the leader of the Kwankwasiyya movement for proper interrogation over threat to life and peaceful co-existence in Kano State.
“We need urgent security measures to secure first, the judicial official and their residences, especially the Appeal Court Justices who reside in Kano State.
“With this imminent threat by the Kwankwassiya movement, if cautious measures are not put in place, we would be faced with another insurgent threat on our hands.
“And that will spell doom for all the efforts made by President Bola Tinubu in wooing investors into the country and pose as a threat to our nascent democracy,” he said.
Kuanum cautioned members of the group to desist from intimidating the judiciary, saying that the law was not base on sentiment but facts before it.
“Our democracy is matured enough, a reason section 65 sub section (2) of the Electoral Act provide room to seek redress at the tribunal or any court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.
The Kano State Governorship and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal had on Sept. 20 declared Dr Nasiru Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the dully elected governor of the state, voiding the election of Gov. Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party(NNPP).
EFCC Records 3,785 Convictions In 2022
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it recorded 3,785 convictions in 2022, and that the figure represents the highest in a single year since the establishment of the commission.
The Head of the Legal and Prosecution Department of the commission in Makurdi, Mr. Ramiah Ikhanaede, disclosed this during his presentation at the workshop on Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes held in Makurdi, Benue State.
Speaking on the challenges of prosecuting economic and financial crimes in Nigeria, Mr. Ikhanaede pointed out that the commission was making progress in its fight against financial crime and would continue to sustain the tempo with the support of the media.
Ikhanaede, however, listed some of the challenges being faced by the commission while prosecuting its cases to include among others, societal and economic factors as well as lacunas in the nation’s laws.
He noted that despite the challenges “the EFCC recorded its highest convictions in 2022 with the convictions of 3,785 suspects.”
Speaking on the successes recorded in Benue, the Head of the Legal and Prosecution said the Commission recorded 107 convictions in the state since the establishment of the Zonal Command in 2019.
According to him, “In 2019, we had 16 convictions; in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, we had nine convictions; in 2022, we recorded 39, while 43 convictions have been recorded in 2023 and the year has not ended. So despite the challenges, we are actually making progress as a Commission.”
Acting Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulkarim Chukkol, in a goodwill message read by the Zonal Commander, Friday Ebelo, said the workshop was designed to upgrade the skill of Journalists to enable them effectively discharge their duties as financial crime reporters.
He said: “Today’s workshop is the ninth in the series by the Commission this year but the first outing in Makurdi Zonal Command. The decision to engage you all in a training session is buoyed by the appreciation of the fact that you occupy a strategic place in the fight against corruption.
“You are the vehicle through which the EFCC reaches the Nigerian public with information about our operations. You also play crucial roles in helping to mobilize the people to embrace the fight against corruption. This makes the media one of the most critical allies of the EFCC,” he added.
Chukkol urged the media to continue to align itself with the progressive aspirations of Nigerians, to see that corruption was reduced to the barest minimum, if not completely eliminated.
He said, “On this score, I would like the media to educate family members and friends of politicians and others holding political offices that they run the risk of going to jail if they allow their companies or bank accounts to be used to launder proceeds of illegal activities. Under the Money Laundering Act, 2022 family members and close allies of politicians and public office holders, including top civil servants, are now classified as Politically Exposed Persons, PEP.
“The EFCC is determined to ensure that anyone who steals from the public treasury and all those who assist them to do so under whatever guise, are brought to justice and ignorance of the law will not be an excuse.
“I won’t conclude this remark without reminding us of the challenge which we face with the involvement of youths in cybercrime within the zone. This development, in spite of the enforcement and enlightenment efforts of the Commission is worrisome. I therefore appeal to the media to lend a hand in helping to sensitize the youth against internet-related fraud activities. The youth must be reminded that they can productively use the resources available in cyberspace for legitimate pursuits without embracing criminality.”
Speaking on Investigative Journalism and Nigeria Fight Against Money Laundering, an Assistant Commander in the Commission, Dele Oyewale, urged the media to take the lead in the fight against economic and financial crimes through incisive investigative reports that would also help the Commission in its fight against the menace of financial crimes.
He said: “The media should also educate Nigerians on the provisions of the New Money Laundering Act which bars individuals from making payments beyond N5million in cash and firms and corporate organisations cannot also do same beyond N10million.”
Also, the Head of Advance Fee Fraud Section of the Command, Stephanie Philip, who spoke on Trends, Peculiarities and Challenges of Cybercrimes Enforcement in Nigeria, decried the rate young persons had resorted to materialism which had driven the rate of Cybercrime in the country saying “according to Interswitch, N12.2billion was lost by banks in six months of 2023 in the country. And N911billion was lost to Ponzi schemes in 23 Years in the country.”
Independence Day: FG Declares Monday Public Holiday
In commemoration of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day anniversary, the Federal Government has declared Monday, October 2, 2023, as a public holiday.
The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made the declaration in Abuja yesterday, on behalf of the Federal Government, according to a statement by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade.
The minister assured Nigerians of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration’s continued commitment to tackling challenges facing the country.
“It is today a known fact that difficult socio-economic and security challenges are global, and Nigeria is not isolated.
“The government is daily making efforts to confront these varied and numerous challenges with all the might available until respite comes our way,” the statement quoted him as saying.
Tunji-Ojo said the greatness ahead of the country was achievable if all citizens worked together in unity.
“Our warm welcoming spirit and love as well as our unbounded human capital and the richness of our land makes Nigeria unarguably the leading black nation in the world being Africa’s pride and beacon of hope for the Renewed Hope of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While wishing the citizens a memorable independence celebration, the Minister recalled that our founding fathers, despite the differences in faith, tribe and tongue, came together for Nigeria’s freedom which we enjoy today.
“The minister assured that this Administration through the Renewed Hope Agenda will ensure a better Nigeria for all citizens, as a befitting tribute to our heroes past,” the statement added.
Recall that the Federal Government had, last Wednesday, said this year’s Independence Day will not feature a ceremony at the Eagle Square, Abuja, but will be held “low-key,”.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume who disclosed this said this year’s Independence Day would be “a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people and the journey forward.”c
Akume revealed this to State House Correspondents after he emerged from a closed-door talk with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. c
The former Minister of Special Duties, who was reluctant to reveal details of the issues discussed, said it bordered on plans for the Independence Day. c
“Independence is a historic event for any country and we Nigerians are no exemptions. c
“We are fully prepared for celebrations and for obvious reasons, it is going to be low-key and we are wishing Nigerians the best of luck and I want to assure them that better days are coming and pretty soon too,” he noted. c
On the modalities of this year’s edition, Akume revealed, “This is going to be low key; we are not going on fantastic jamboree at the Eagle Square and other locations. c
“It’s a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people. This journey is being charted by the captain of the ship.”
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