The Rivers State Security Council has commended the Nigeria Police for arresting the prime suspect of the ritual killings targeted at young women in parts of the state.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt, after an emergency meeting of the Rivers State Security Council presided over by Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, last Friday, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, said that the meeting was impressed by the successes recorded by the police in the last few days, especially the arrest of three suspects.
Danagogo said that the meeting commended the painstaking efforts of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies, which have led to improved security across the state.
“The Rivers State Government has absolute confidence in the ability of the police and other security agencies to tackle the challenge posed by these killers who target young women “, Danagogo said.
He said that given the confession by the prime suspect of the killings, he has operated successfully in Lagos and Imo states and evaded arrest, but was apprehended in Rivers State because of the alertness of the police in the state.
“The police and other security agencies in Rivers State are on top of their game because of the support that they receive from the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike.
“These successes show that the support given to security outfits like the ‘Operation Sting’ and other covet security initiatives is yielding positive results”, he said.
Danagogo urged members of the public to remain vigilant and support the security agencies with credible information to fish out other accomplices of the suspected criminals.
He said that the Rivers State Security Council advised young women and other residents not to let down their guards despite the arrest of the prime suspect.
The SSG explained that the Rivers State governor directed all the security agencies to step up security alertness across the state, assuring that the administration will continue to provide logistical and financial support for all operations to protect Rivers people.
Earlier, the 39-year old notorious serial killer of women in hotels, Gracious David West, from Buguma in Asari-Toru Local Government Area, had confessed that he had actually killed’ a total of seven people, and started killing from Ikeja, Lagos before moving to Owerri in Imo State and later Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He confessed that in Port Harcourt, he killed five persons; one in Ikeja and another in Owerri; and survived on the money he stole from the victims’ accounts by using their ATMs cards.
West made the confession, last Friday, while being paraded by the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, at the Rivers State Police Headquarters.
On the motive behind his actions, he said: “I don’t know what always came over me to kill. After I had killed, I would feel remorse and I then I would cry. But after that, the irresistible urge to kill would come over me again. I killed alone.”
About belonging to a cult group, he said… “I was a member of the Degbam cult group, I have since repented. I was not killing for any cult group. I just killed. I don’t know what always came over me to kill.”
On how he had been surviving, he revealed: “The first woman I killed in one of the hotels at Ikeja had about N85,000 in her account.
“Before I strangulated them after love making, I would use knife to cut the hotel bed sheets into a semblance of a twine or rope which I used to bind their hands and feet. I used the knife also to threaten them. The kitchen knife was sold to me by an Aboki. I threatened that if my victims raised alarm I would kill them with the knife. Out of fear, they would keep quiet while I raised the volume of the television set in the hotel room to dwarf any noise. I never killed with the knife.”
West also revealed that before he killed his female victims he insisted on knowing their account balance and ATM pins.
“After strangulating them, I would steal their ATM cards, empty their accounts from any nearby ATM machine and move on. It is not all the girls I slept with that I killed. I killed only whenever the irresistible urge to kill overwhelmed me. l don’t have a house. My mother died through poisoning from her mate and I am homeless. I sleep in hotels.”
He also revealed that he sold the phones he stole from his victims to a customer in Waterlines Junction off Port Harcourt/Aba Expressway and another buyer around MTN office by Oil Mill Market in Port Harcourt.
He also confirmed that he was one of the ex-militants rehabilitated by the Omega Power Ministry (OPM), adding that he secured a job at Federal University of Science and Technology (FUTO), Owerri, through the church but bolted with students’ properties.
The suspect, who at a point broke down in tears also told journalists that he tried to seek spiritual deliverance from Christ Chosen Church.
He was also in Salvation Ministries but to no avail because he couldn’t secure accommodation to follow through.
Dandaura disclosed that his insistence on hotels in the state to install Close-Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) had yielded results.
He vowed that the police under his command would fight crimes headlong in the state.
The CP said that following joint operations with the Army and other security agencies, the killings in Ogoniland are dropping, while “I have stabilized East-West Road, the Elele-Owerri Road.
Dandaura called on political gladiators in the state to come together and move the state forward and that the command under him would be nonpartisan in the discharge of its duties.
He stated further: “The suspect is definitely not alone in these killings, though he has made useful confessions but the command will go beyond his confessions to ensure that a conclusive end is achieved that serves the interest of Justice.
He said so far three suspects are in police custody and are being investigated in connection with these killings, assuring that they will be paraded soon as soon as investigations are concluded.
Our correspondent, who was at the police headquarters, observed curiously that despite knowing that he was on the wanted list by the police, he never changed his stripped T-shirt and pair of jeans trousers.
He used to have them washed by the laundry of the hotels he lodged after which he would put them on when dried before checking out.
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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