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Gunmen Kill Scores, Raze Houses In Ogoni Communities

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No fewer than 10 people were killed and property worth millions of Naira destroyed when gunmen, suspected to be cultists, invaded Okwale and Taabaa communities in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Tide reports that the first attack was launched about 6pm in Okwale community on Tuesday leaving, at least, four persons dead with the residence of one Chief Monday Abueh and others touched by the rampaging gunmen.
Also, similar violent attack was carried out in Taabaa community on Wednesday morning with about five persons killed; while the assailants razed the Palace of the Paramount Ruler of Taabaa, M.S.K Nule and burnt cars packed in the compound, three generator sets and other valuable properties.
The incident also spilled over to Nyokuru community in Khana, where the daredevil hoodlums set fire on the residence of the President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Comrade Legborsi Pyagbara, just as it was further leant that three policemen were injured.
It was not exactly clear what led to the invasion and sporadic gunshots as residents of the area ran in different directions and into the bushes to avoid being hit by bullets.
Recounting the incident to newsmen, the Paramount Ruler of Taabaa, M.S.K. Nule said efforts by the community to have a police checkpoint near the area has been unsuccessful, saying, “”This morning (Wednesday), some cult boys invaded Taabaa through our neighbouring community called Luekum. They entered into the community at about 6am. They moved straight to my palace and burnt down the entire place. And some ancestral properties of the palace were removed by the hoodlums before they set the buildings ablaze.
“They moved from my palace into the community, where they killed five people, four indigenes of the community and one outsider (stranger) who ran away from Kpor for refuge in Taabaa. They burnt people’s cars; my elder brother’s was also burnt.
“When those people came into the community, we ran and reported to the policemen at a police checkpoint in Taabaa along East-West Road. They were over 20 policemen at that checkpoint, with three Hilux vehicles and their private cars as at the time of the attack.
“They (policemen) told us that their duty is to protect the East-West Road and not the community; that we should call the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura. The whole people in the community were there begging them but they insisted that it is not their duty to protect the community, except directed by the CP,” Nule narrated tearfully.
Nule revealed that he had written a petition to the State Police Command when he got wind of a planned attack on his community, saying, “While the operation was going on, I also called the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni and reported to him.
“There has never been any crisis in the community since 2014 that the community had such experience,” Nule said, just as he called on the state government and security agencies to intervene and return normalcy in the area.
In her account, a resident who did not want her name in print for fear of being identified and attacked said, ”At about 6am this morning (Wednesday), I was preparing to travel to Port Harcourt. As soon as I got to the road, everywhere was dried; nobody was seen on the road and is a busy area. About 15minutes later, somebody came on a bike and asked me to run that the whole village is under siege. They said some militants have entered the community and that they have started killing people.
“I ran back to the house in safety. By the time the gunmen left the community, they have killed about five people, burnt cars and houses. Our Highness’ house was burnt and another building was also burnt. After they left my community, they went to Nyokuru, and we are not sure of the number of persons killed there. They invaded Okwale yesterday (Tuesday) evening and killed some people. They burnt cars and houses in the community, and one person was taken alive”.
A male resident of Taabaa told The Tide that “From 8am to 9am on Wednesday, some group of boys came to our community and started chasing people and shooting. We ran into the bush.”
Meanwhile, the member representing Khana/Gokana Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon Dumnamene Dekor has promised to support security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the attacks were unmasked and made to face the law.
Dekor, who stated this after he visited the affected communities and the hospital where the injured policemen were being treated, said, “I understand in Okwale, there are about five persons killed; four corpses have been recovered; one person was taken alive. In Taabaa, five persons killed, several cars burnt, houses destroyed and it is quite sad.
“While thanking the security operatives for the swift way they acted to prevent loss of more lives and property, I want to call on them to improve on the security, especially in Khana Local Government Area.
“For those who carried out this dastardly act, everything is being done to unmask them and bring them to book,” the federal lawmaker stated.
Commenting on the incident in a statement, MOSOP expressed sadness over what it termed “unjustified attacks”, and called on security agencies to ensure that peace returns in the area.
The statement issued by MOSOP’s Publicity Secretary, Sunny Zorvah reads, “MOSOP receives with sadness reports from some Ogoni communities of the sudden emergence of violence and killings carried out by members of some cult groups in the area.
“Reports say the renewed violence, which took place in Okwale on Tuesday (yesterday), spilled over to Taabaa and Nyokuru communities, all in Nyokhana district in Khana LGA of Rivers State.
“MOSOP is pained over this unjustified attacks leading to the burning down of the house of the MOSOP President, Comrade Legborsi Pyagbara, in Nyokuru community.
“The movement also feels distressed over reports of the killing of about four persons early today (Wednesday) and razing of the palace of His Highness, “Chief Nule (Jnr) in Taabaa community, and yesterday’s killing of scores of persons and attack on the residence of Chief Monday Abueh and others in Okwale community by cult gangs.
“This ugly situation demands urgent and thorough actions by the security agencies and every necessary action required of the government.
“We call on the police and the Special Joint Military Task Force to ensure the return of peace to the troubled communities, go after perpetrators of this barbaric and retrogressive onslaught on the communities, but without hurt on innocent persons.

 

Dennis Naku

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Fund Police Recruitment, Training Adequately, Reps Tell FG … Plan To Probe Face-Off Between PSC, IGP

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to make provision for the adequate funding of recruitment and training of police personnel in the country.
The lawmakers also resolved to investigate the standoff between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, over the 2024 police recruitment.
The lawmakers’ resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion on urgent public importance moved by the member representing Ogbia Federal Constituency, Bayelsa State, Hon. Mitema Obordor, during yesterday’s plenary.
The House called on the Federal Government to provide adequate funding and resources necessary to support the recruitment and training of police officers.
The House also impressed on the Federal Government to increase the number of police personnel to be recruited and in doing so, ensure that the federal character provisions as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution are strictly adhered to.
This is as the Green chamber urged its Committee on Police to investigate the cause of the lingering dispute between the PSC and the IG with the aim of resolving the dispute, and proceed with the recruitment process without further delay.
Titled, “Urgent need to investigate and settle the lingering police recruitment dispute halting the 2023/2024 police recruitment exercise,” Hon. Obordor stated that in view of the population of Nigeria and the security situation in the country, the ideal police-to-citizen ratio in Nigeria ought to be one police officer to 200 citizens.
He lamented, however, that “The country currently has a ratio of one police officer to 650 citizens, indicating a significant shortfall in the Nigerian police strength, and far below the United Nations recommendation of one police to 450 citizens.”
Obordor recalled the lingering dispute between the PSC and the IG, which he said, has resulted to an impasse, and regrettably halted the ongoing recruitment process for almost 10 months.
He added, “The lingering dispute between the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of police which has resulted to a halt in the 2023/2024 recruitment process exacerbates the existing shortage of police personnel, undermining the police’s capacity to effectively respond to security threats.
“The House recognizes the critical need to strengthen the Nigerian Police Force by setting a ratio of one police officer to 200 citizen, or adopt the United Nations recommendation of a ratio of one police officer to 450 citizens to address the escalating security challenges facing our nation;
“The House recognises that the resolution of the lingering dispute between the police service commission and the Inspector-General of police, and the recruitment of additional police officers are crucial to bolstering Nigeria’s security and ensuring the safety of citizens.”
He further noted that the shortage of police personnel has reduced police presence in communities, “thereby, leading to a surge in crime rates as criminals take advantage of the situation especially in Bayelsa State, compromised public safety, eroded trust in the police force and the government’s ability to ensure security.”
He added that the House “is also worried that the dispute between the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police which has resulted to a halt in the police recruitment and the attendant capacity shortage and weakness of the Nigerian police may have a far-reaching national security implications, potentially emboldening terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.”

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Youths’ll Find Expression In Our Sporting Competitions, Fubara Assures …Showers Cash Gifts On Laurel-Winning Talents, Teams

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has announced that annual sporting tournament will commence immediately in the State to provide platforms for youths to horn their talents and actualise their dreams.
The Governor has, therefore, directed the State Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green, to design the structure of the competition, and liaise with his office in order to kickstart the tournament, adding that those who perform excellently will be celebrated at an award ceremony in December, 2024.
Governor Fubara made the announcement at the official presentation of trophies and medals from the Rivers United Under 17 Youth League, Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club, Rivers Angels Football Club, Rivers Table Tennis Team, Judo, Chess, Volleyball, Paralysis and Hockey teams at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The Governor expressed delight over the number of trophies that have been presented to him by the various teams, and said he feels the most lucky representative of the State at a time like this.
Governor Fubara said: “You are making us proud. We will be encouraged to support you the more. We will support you to ensure that you go places.
“Let me say this: it is not about the money that is being pledged to you to encourage you. It is the spirit and the love that you have for our State that has enabled you to represent us, and also make us win in the comity of states.
“So, I want you to leave here, and be encouraged more. Continue to do the best you can to promote sports in our State. The only thing that brings people together is sports, and I think and believe that if we spend and invest in sports, it will go a long way to engage our youths, and reduce crime and criminality.”
Governor Fubara stated: “So, I am here authorising that the Commissioner for Sports should immediately commence a sports programme or festival that can engage our youths within this period.
“Be it football or whatever, but I want you to come up with a tournament that will engage our youths between now and December. I want the programme to be a programme that by December, we should be gathering to honour the winners of the tournament.”
Governor Fubara explained the essence of his decision, saying that instead of using the State’s resources to equip youths with explosive devices to cause mayhem or hire people for daily protests, it is better to spend it on a path that will further advance the good and peace-loving people of Rivers State.
He said, “Let me first of all congratulate, very specially, everyone of you that has worked tirelessly to make Rivers State proud. I want to specially appreciate the Commissioner. One thing is spending money, another one is getting results for the money. I think when it comes to issue of results, he brings results.
“And, he is not bringing the results because he is the Commissioner, he is getting these results because he is working with dedicated team players.
“I want to appreciate you people for everything that you have done, for your determination, because if you are not determined to win, we are not going to flog you: it will just be try again. But, you want to be winners, and that is why we are celebrating today.”
Governor Fubara, who also appreciated the management of the various teams, urged them to continue to do their best in making the State proud because posterity will not forget their contributions.
He announced cash gifts of between N2.5million and N30million for the individual and group winners of all the teams, including the Supporters’ Club.
In his speech, Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green, explained that the competitions were tough but with the support given by Governor Fubara, and determination of the players, gold, silver and bronze medals were clinched in different games played by males and females alike.
Barrister Green, who also said that new sporting records were created by Rivers teams, particularly in the Open Chess game, said a number of Rivers athletes emerged as most valued players and highest goal scorers, particularly in the U17 tournament played by Rivers United Football team.
On his part, Chairman, Governing Council of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka, acknowledged that the feat being celebrated is not only profound but novel in the sporting history of Nigeria.
Chief Amiesimaka, who thanked Governor Fubara for his support to the teams, which served to boost their morals, urged the players not to rest on their oars but strive for more laurels.
Also speaking, a notable sports administrator in the State, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, said it is easier to be a champion but more demanding to sustain that posture, and charged the players to get more focused on beating the world.
He charged the laurel-winning sports talents to continue to sustain the momentum, in order to keep the State on the global sporting map as leading champions.

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Alleged Misappropriation: Judge Orders Ganduje’s Trial Must Continue In Absentia

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A Kano State High Court yesterday, insisted that the trial of the Chairman All Progressive Congress(APC), Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, charged with alleged bribery and misappropriation must continue even in his absence.
The Tide’s source reports that the state government instituted an eight-count charge bordering on bribery allegations, misappropriation and diversion of public funds running into billions of Niara against the defendants.
Ganduje, alongside his wife,Hafsat Umar, Abubakar Bawuro, Umar Abdullahi Umar, Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash properties Limited,Safari Textiles Limited and Lasage General Enterprises Limited are charged with eight counts of bribery , misappropriation and diverting public funds.
The source reports that the court had on June 5, granted an order seeking to serve Ganduje and seven others through substituted service.
In a ruling Justice Amina Adamu-Aliyu, dismissed the application of the state government seeking bench warrant on the defendant.
She entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendants and refused to strike out the charge.
“The trial of the defendants continues even in their absentia,” she held.
Adamu-Aliyu adjourned the matter until Oct.23, and 24, for hearing of the preliminary objection and the main charge.
Earlier, Mr Adeola Adedipe SAN, told the court that service of court processes had been effected on the defendants and affidavit of service filed June 6.
“My lord the 1st, 2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th respondents are not in court nor represented only the 6th respondent.
“The court should enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendants who refused to answer the complaint in the charge pursuant to section 278(1)(2) of Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law(ACJL) 2019”
He urged the court to make an order pursuant to section 388 of Kano State ACJL on a bench warrant of arrest on the defendants.
“My lord the essence of arrest warrant is for the santity of the court because an order have been made for the defendants to appear before it and they refused”
Adedipe opposed the 6th respondent application on preliminary objection, affidavit of service and notice of appeal for stay of execution pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Counsel to the 6th respondent, Mr Nureini Jimoh, SAN, told the court that service was not effected on the respondent.
“We filed a notice of preliminary objection on jurisdiction of the court and filed an application for stay of execution before Court of appeal, restraining the prosecution from publishing any charges against the 6th respondent”
Jimoh urged the court to dismiss the prosecution’s application on warrant of arrest and plea of not guilty on the respondent

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