FATHER, GRANDFATHER NABBED FOR ALLEGEDLY DEFILING THEIR 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER/GRANDDAUGHTER

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun Command, says it has arrested two persons, a father and a grandfather, for allegedly raping their 13-year-old daughter/granddaughter.

The command’s spokesperson, Adigun Daniel, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Osogbo on Monday, said the suspects were arrested on Friday, after they were reported.

“The corps received a tip-off from an informant who disclosed that the girl opened up to her that the grandfather and father have been having carnal knowledge of her.

“The corps immediately swung to action and arrested the father.

She also said that she had been living with her maternal grandmother at the age of three before she was taken to her paternal grandfather at the age of five.

“She said that her father and mother are separated and that was why she was entrusted in the care of her grandparents at different times.

“The girl also stated that at some point, she was molested by her grandfather but she could not stick to her allegation, owing to the fact that she was still living with him,” the NSCDC spokesman said.

He, however, added that both the father and the grandfather had denied raping the girl.

Mr Daniel said that the corps had given custody of the girl to the state Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, pending the conclusion of investigation on the matter.

He said the NSCDC Commandant in the state, Emmanuel Ocheja, had directed that appropriate investigation be carried out on the alleged incest.

The NSCDC spokesman quoted Mr Ocheja as saying that the girl “was psychologically disturbed to give vivid account of her ordeal”, adding, however, “that with tact, the corpswould scoop out useful information to help her” (NAN)

AUSTRALIA BANS SOUTH AFRICA FLIGHTS OVER VIRUS CONCERNS

New pandemic-related travel restrictions will go into effect. Credit…David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Australia banned flights from nine southern African countries on Saturday, tightening its borders to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant.

Non-Australians who visited South Africa, Zimbabwe and several other nations in the past fortnight will also be barred from Australia, Heath Minister Greg Hunt said.

Citizens and residents travelling from the listed countries will have to quarantine for 14 days.

“These are strong, swift, decisive and immediate actions,” Hunt told media in Canberra.

The variant-which has a large number of mutations-was first detected on November 9.

Scientists are racing to understand how it behaves, but there are fears the strain may be more transmissible or render existing vaccines less effective.

The World Health Organisation listed Omicron as a variant of concern and said it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments.

AIRPORT OFFICIAL SUSPENDED OVER ALLEGED EXTORTION OF PASSENGER

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it has suspended some officials for allegedly extorting a passenger at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, disclosed this in a statement in Lagos on Saturday.

Yakubu said the action was in line with management’s determination to rid the nation’s airport of corrupt officials.

According to her, the officials are staff of Aviation Security and Customer Service departments of the Authority, and have been suspended.

She said that the On Duty Card of their accomplice from the Nigeria Immigration Service had been withdrawn.

Yakubu said the action was taken to serve as deterrent to other bad eggs in the system that are bent on tarnishing the image of the country. (NAN)

IPMAN BACKS FG ON FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL

Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has backed the Federal Government’s plan to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol by 2021.

IPMAN’s President, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Aug. 16 had no provision for subsidy.

NAN reports that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had announced that the government would remove fuel subsidy and replace it with a monthly N5,000 transport grant to about 40 million poor Nigerians.

Okoronkwo said: ” We, as marketers have always advised the government to remove petrol subsidy because it is not in the interest of development of the downstream sector.

“We welcome the decision of the government to stop subsidising petrol by 2022 and we are hoping it will attract more investments to the sector, especially with the passage of PIA.

“What we want is that a level playing field be provided for everyone in the sector to encourage competition once the subsidy is removed.”

He, however, advised the government to reinvest the subsidy savings in critical areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture and other sectors that would increase revenue accruing to the country.

Also, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, immediate-past President, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), said continued subsidising of petrol was not sustainable in light of current economic realities.

He said the 2022 deadline was realistic and its impact might be mitigated with the coming on stream of the 650,000BPD Dangote Refinery, Bua Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery and other modular refineries.

Oyebanji, who is the Managing Director of 11 Plc, however , faulted the plan to replace the subsidy with cash transfer to Nigerians due to lack of a reliable data base in the country.

“In my personal opinion, I am of the view that such funds should be channeled to areas like education and mass transportation that would be accessible to ordinary Nigerians,” Oyebanji said.

An oil and gas expert, Mr Wilson Opuwei, said the conversation about fuel subsidy in Nigeria should have been a thing of the past because it was an obvious wastage of the nation’s resources.

Opuwei, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Dateline Energy Services Ltd., maintained that the elites were the major beneficiaries of the fuel subsidy regime.

He said: “We should let market forces determine the price of petrol and other products, not government dolling out subsidies with funds that we don’t even have.

“What government should be doing is to create enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and once Nigerians are economically empowered, we will not be having this debate on petrol subsidy.”

PETROL PRICE HIKE: NLC VOWS SHOWDOWN WITH FG

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed a showdown should the Federal Government implement the planned removal of fuel subsidy.

President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning in a statement titled, “Nigerian workers refused to take the bait” a situation which he opined could jerk up the price of petrol by more than 200 percent.

Ayuba Wabba disclosed that the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari had announce that the price of petrol could increase as high as N340 from February 2022 when the Federal Government eventually remove subsidy on the product.

“The disclosures by the NNPC GMD and the Minister of Finance were in symphony with the positions of the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri and the International Monetary Fund urging the Federal Government to do away with fuel subsidy.

“The response of the Nigeria Labour Congress is that what we are hearing is the conversation of the Federal government with neo-liberal international monetary institutions. The conversation between the government and the people of Nigeria especially workers under the auspices of the trade union movement on the matter of fuel subsidy was adjourned sine die so many months ago.

“Given the nationwide panic that has trailed the disclosure of the monologue within the corridors of government and foreign interests, the Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to posit that it continues to maintain its rejection of deregulation based on import driven model.

“It is difficult to convince Nigerian workers why our dear country is the only country among the OPEC member countries that cannot produce its own refined petroleum products and thus adopts the neo-liberal import production model of refined petroleum products.

“We wish to reiterate our persuasion that the only benefit of deregulation based on import driven model is that Nigerian consumers will infinitely continue to pay high prices for refined petroleum products.

“This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the Naira which currently goes for N560 to 1US$ in the parallel market.

“This will open a wide door to unintended social consequences such as degeneration of the current insecurity crises and possibly citizens’ revolt. This is not an outcome that any sane Nigeria wishes for.”

The NLC President explained that the “argument that the complete surrender of the price of petrol to market forces would normalize the curve of demand and supply as is being wrongly attributed to the current market realities with cooking gas, diesel and kerosene is very obtuse.

“The truth is that these commodities which Nigeria can easily produce have been priced out of the reach of most Nigerian families with majority of our people resorting to tree felling and charcoal for their energy needs.”

“Apart from our concerns on the transparency of the disbursement given previous experiences with such schemes, we are wondering if government is not trying to rob Nigerians to pay Nigerians? Why pay me N5000 and then subject me to perpetual suffering?

“Clearly, government thoughts on the so-called removal of fuel subsidy is cloudy and appears to be a “penny wise-pound foolish” gamble.

“It is clear that the palliative offered by government will not cure the cancer that will befall the mass of our people who suffer the double jeopardy of hype-inflation while their salaries remain fixed,”

“As we had done several times, we call on the federal government to consider various options that can help Nigeria navigate out of the quagmire constructed by the failure of successive governments to embrace developmental governance and accountable leadership.”

“Insulate the domestic consumers from the market pressure brought about by the free fall of the Naira by making arrangement with contiguous refineries not far from Nigeria to swap crude oil with refined petroleum products;

“Accelerate work on the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s four major refineries which are all currently operating at near zero installed capacity; and

“Establish empirical data on the quantity of refined petroleum products consumed daily by Nigerians. It is unfortunate that this record remains a myth and a huge crater for all manner of official sleaze and leakages in the downstream petroleum sub-sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.” The statement added.

LAND GRABBING: OBASEKI TO SET UP SPECIAL COURT, JAIL OFFENDERS

Godwin Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said his administration is poised to reconstitute the state’s Private Property Protection (PPP) Committee and set up special court to try offenders of encroachment and land grabbing.

The Governor, in a chat with Newsmen in Benin City, disclosed that the state had amended the Private Property Protection Law 2017.

Obaseki said the development was aimed at curbing the criminal activities of land grabbers and property speculators.

According to him, “We are committed to ending land grabbing in Edo State and will next week inaugurate the Committee for the Protection of Private Property (PPP).”

“With this law, we are not only banning the Community Development Associations (CDAs) but also all sorts of splinter groups like Okaigele or people who have come up to forcefully take other people’s landed properties in their communities.”

“We have been waiting for this law to reconstitute the committee on protection of private property.”

Now that we have the law, we will be reconstituting this Committee using this law and utilizing more stringent measures to deal with erring individuals or communities trying to dispose of innocent individuals of their landed properties.

“We are setting up a special court to swiftly try offenders and if guilty, they will certainly face the consequences.”

Mr Obaseki had, on July 27, 2021, assented to the bill repealing the Edo State Private Property Protection Law 2017 and re-enacting the Edo State Private Property Protection Law 2021.

FATHER NABBED FOR ATTEMPTING TO SELL HIS TWO DAUGHTERS TO OFFSET DEBT

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officials
NSCDC OFFICIALS

The Akwa Ibom Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has apprehended 40-year-old, Elisha Effiong, for attempting to sell his two daughters for N700, 000.

The NSCDC spokesperson in Akwa Ibom State, Ukeme Umana, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Uyo.

Mr Umana said the suspect was arrested through a tip-off by a private guard in a hospital in Uyo, while trying to sell the children, aged four and six.

“The Akwa Ibom State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has apprehended a man who attempted to sell his two children for N700, 000 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

“The suspect, Mr Elisha Edet Effiong (M) 40 years was apprehended at Full Care Hospital on Ekpanya Street, where he notified the security guard of his intention to sell his two children for N700,000 to pay off his debt and meet other financial challenges.

“The private security notified the NSCDC and immediately the State Commandant, Abidemi Majekodunmi, detailed personnel of the anti-human trafficking unit of the corps to swing into action.

“The suspect was apprehended on November 15 at 13:15 hours alongside his two daughters: Abasifreke Edet 6 years old and Rachael Edet, 4 years old.

“The suspect who resides, according to him, in Adidikim in Cameroon confessed that the decision to sell the children was taken by him and his wife, who is still in Cameroon and was borne out of extreme hardship,” Mr Umana said.

He said preliminary investigations have been concluded and the case would be transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for prosecution.(NAN)

STELLA ODUAH ALLEGED N5bn FRAUD CASE SUFFERS SETBACK

Stella Oduah

The arraignment of former Aviation Minster, Stella Oduah,  on Monday, suffered setback in a Federal High Court, Abuja over a letter from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) calling for the case review.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Inyang Ekwo had, on Oct. 20, fixed today for the arraignment of Oduah over allegations bordering on fraud while she served in the office.

Oduah, who currently represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly and eight others, were expected to be arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on alleged N5 billion fraud and financial misappropriation.

When they were about to take their plea to a 25-count charge, a defence counsel, Oguh  Onoja, raised an objection in open court.

Onoja informed that a petition had already been written to the AGF, complaining that the defendants were just been persecuted.

He explained that a letter from the AGF to the EFCC had called for the review of the matter, but that the anti-graft agency had refused to return the case file to the AGF as requested by his office.

Onoja then presented the certified true copy of the letter to the judge.

“My lord, we are of the strongest view that  plea cannot be taken on this matter.

“There was a petition written to the Attorney General of the Federation which is a complain made against this prosecution because we found out that this trial was a persecution and we got a response from the AGF.

“The AGF requested for the file and up till now, the EFCC has refused to send the case file to the AGF.

“This case is a matter of persecution and is not a prosecution.

“Based on that, we have the objection that this plea cannot be taken.

“I have a certified true copy of the letter from the AGF written to the EFCC,” he said.

Counsel to the EFCC, U. Uket, disagreed.

He contended that even though he was just seeing the letter, a petition could not stop a plea from being taken.

“The AGF has powers to intervene, continue or discontinue a case.

“The fact that a petition has been written to the AGF does not stop the plea from being taken,” he said.

Justice Ekwo noted that a  constitutional issue had been raised and he was not going to deal with it “summarily.”

“Upon this matter coming up for plea today, the attention of this court has been drawn to a letter from the Chambers of AGF, dated February 4 and written to the acting chairman of the EFCC requiring that the file of this matter to be remitted to the AGF for a review of this case.

“I have heard the arguments from counsel.

“I am not going to treat this matter lightly.

“Therefore, I make an order that the prosecution shall file and serve a written address on this matter within 30 days, which will be limited to 15 pages.

“Learned counsel of the seventh defendant are to file a response.

“I will also order the the other learned counsel file written addresses upon been served by the prosecution.

“Now, upon that being done, I will then make an order to adjourn this matter for adoption of written address.

“The defendant shall continue on administrative bail until this issue is resolved,” he ruled.

The Judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 10, 2022, for adoption of the written addresses.

NAN reports that Justice Ekwo had, on July 12, threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against the former minister if she failed to appear in court by the next adjourned date (Oct. 19).

The Judge had given the warning after the EFCC told the court that Oduah and one other defendant were not in court to take their plea.

Other defendants in the suit include Gloria Odita, Nwobu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Limited; Crystal Television Limited, among others.(NAN)

SIT-AT-HOME CANCELLED IN SOUTH EAST – OHANAEZE NDIGBO

OHANAEZE NDIGBO

The Apex Igbo socio-cultural Organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has announced the end of sit-at-home order observed in the South East and advised members of the public to go about their usual businesses on Mondays.

A statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, urged all schools in the South East to resume their usual academic activities as well as transporters and traders from other parts of the country and the Cameroons to feel free and go about their normal businesses without any fear of molestation.

The statement disclosed that leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has cancelled the Mondays sit-at-home order they had earlier issued.

According to the statement, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador George Obiozor appreciated the understanding and maturity exhibited by the IPOB during the Anambra State governorship election and the subsequent cancellation of the sit-at-home order

“It is very heartwarming that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Traditional Rulers, Archbishops, Governors, eminent persons, women groups, political class, the academia, etc in Igbo land are united in the Release-Nnamdi-Kanu-Project

“This has proved to the skeptics that the Igbo unity is incontrovertible and that they can also be mobilized within a very short time,” he noted.

“While the huge losses incurred in the last months because of the sit at home is highly regrettable, efforts must be made to ensure that further losses are averted,” Ohanaeze stated.

“They have indeed scored two major points: First, the Igbo detractors and doomsayers were disappointed that the election was a resounding success. Second is that the IPOB can listen to appeals by the elders.

The Organization called on all the market associations, road transport unions, labour leaders and all the interest groups to sensitize their members towards full economic activities in all parts of Igbo land on Mondays, in a bid to shore up the volume of business transactions as the Christmas season sets in.

POLICE NABS 77-YEAR-OLD GUN FABRICATOR, SUSPECTED ARMED ROBBER

The Police Command in Delta says it has apprehended a suspected armed robber and a gunrunner in the state.

The command’s spokesperson, Bright Edafe, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Warri.

Mr Edafe, a deputy superintendent of police, said the suspects were arrested on Saturday by police operatives attached to Ozoro Police Division in Isoko North, following a distress call.

He said the suspected gunrunner, a septuagenarian, admitted to have been in the business for the past 20 years.

“On Nov. 20, at about 0500hrs, following a distress call that three suspected armed robbers were in the premises of one man (name withheld) in Ozoro/Ughelli Road, the DPO, Ozoro Police Division, CSP Ogedengbe Areguamen, led a combined team of police/vigilante to the scene.

“The suspected armed robbers, on sighting the police team, took to their heels and the team went after them,” he said.

The police spokesperson said that in the process, a 28-year-old man was arrested with one live cartridge, while two members of his gang escaped.

“Upon interrogation, the suspect confessed that he threw his gun somewhere in the bush as he was running and that he bought the said gun from another person at the cost of N30,000,” Mr Edafe said.

He stated further that the suspect, thereafter, led the police to Irri Village in Isoko South where a 77-year-old was arrested,” he said.

Mr Edafe said three double barrel guns, two single barrel guns and other tools used in producing guns were recovered from the suspected gunrunner.

He said that preliminary investigation reveals that the septuagenarian suspect was a welder who used to produce guns for criminals, adding that he admitted selling the gun to the suspected armed robber.

“The suspected gunrunner has confessed to being in the business of producing guns for the past 20 years.

“Manhunt for the other two fleeing suspects is ongoing,” Mr Edafe added.

(NAN)