Tag Archives: crime

Student caught on attempt to Gun teacher down in C/River.

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The state Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Igiri Ewa, confirmed the incident, but said the suspect had not been handed over to the police.

A teenage senior secondary school girl has been prevented from killing her teacher with a pistol in Cross River State.

Noble Reporters Media gathered that the student, whose name was withheld, was arrested at the Government Secondary School, Ikot Ewa, in the Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state.

The Chairman of the council, Emmanuel Offiong-Bassey, who spoke to journalists on Thursday, said he was told the suspect was about to shoot her target when she was disarmed.

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He said, “How she got the gun, I do not know. The information I have, which may not be very accurate, is that when she wanted to bring out the gun to shoot at her target, another teacher who was behind her quickly stopped her. I learnt she is still in the custody of the army.”

Offiong-Bassey advised parents to pay attention to the company their children keep and their daily activities.

The state Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Igiri Ewa, confirmed the incident, but said the suspect had not been handed over to the police.

“Once we gain access to the matter, we will invite the press,” he added.

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NoRM gathered that the girl had gone to school with tinted hair and her class teacher asked her to go home and shave the hair.

She was said to have got angry and allegedly decided to get a gun to shoot the teacher.

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#Newsworthy

US justice dept charges North Korea of $1.3bn theft.

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The Justice Department did not specify exactly how much it believed the defendants have stolen altogether.

The US Justice Department charged three North Korean military intelligence officials Wednesday in a campaign of cyberattacks to steal $1.3 billion in crypto and traditional currencies from banks and other targets.

The first action against Pyongyang by President Joe Biden’s administration took aim at what the department called “a global campaign of criminality” being waged by North Korea.

The department accused the three of a wide-ranging hacking and malware operation to obtain funds for their government while avoiding punishing UN sanctions that have cinched off its sources of income.

Over at least seven years, the officials created malicious cryptocurrency applications that opened back doors into targets’ computers; hacked into companies marketing and trading digital currencies like bitcoin; and developed a blockchain platform to evade sanctions and secretly raise funds, the department said.

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The case filed in federal court in Los Angeles builds on 2018 charges against one of the three, identified as Park Jin Hyok.

He was charged with the 2014 hack of Sony pictures, the creation of the notorious WannaCry ransomware, and the 2016 theft of $81 million from the central bank of Bangladesh.

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The new charges added two defendants, Jon Chang Hyok and Kim Il.

The allegations said the three worked together in the North Korean military intelligence’s hacking-focused Reconnaissance General Bureau, better known within the cybersecurity community as the Lazarus Group, or APT 38.

In addition to the earlier charges, the three allegedly operated out of North Korea, Russia and China to hack computers using spearfishing techniques, and to promote cryptocurrency applications loaded with malicious software that allowed them to empty victims’ crypto wallets.

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They allegedly robbed digital currency exchanges in Slovenia and Indonesia and extorted a New York exchange of $11.8 million.

In a 2018 scheme, they robbed $6.1 million from ATM machines from Pakistan’s BankIslami after gaining access to its computer network.

The Justice Department did not specify exactly how much it believed the defendants have stolen altogether.

‘Keyboards instead of guns’
In addition, the charges said, Kim Il developed the blockchain-based digital currency-like “Marine Chain Token” which ostensibly was an instrument for investors to buy shares of shipping vessels.

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He marketed opportunities to invest in the scheme in Singapore, without telling potential investors that it was mainly designed to hide ship ownership identities to help North Korea avoid sanctions, the charges said.

All of the actions, the Justice Department said, were to “further the strategic and financial interests of the (North Korean) government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.”

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“North Korea’s operatives, using keyboards rather than guns, stealing digital wallets of cryptocurrency instead of sacks of cash, are the world’s leading bank robbers,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers in a statement.

“Nation-state indictments like this are an important step in identifying the problem, calling it out in a legally rigorous format, and building international consensus,” Demers said.

In parallel, the department announced that Ghaleb Alaumary of Mississauga, Canada, had pleaded guilty to one charge of acting as a money launderer for the North Koreans.

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Alaumary helped arrange for money to be removed from ATMs hacked by the North Korean operation.

He was also, the department said, a “prolific” money launderer for other hackers engaged in ATM cash-out schemes, cyber-enabled bank theft, and fraud schemes based on hijacking companies’ email.

The case announced Wednesday was the first open action taken against North Korea by the Biden administration, amid ongoing tensions over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles that threaten the United States and allies.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the administration is reviewing policy toward the country.

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The review “will take into account the totality of the malign activity and the threats that are emanating from North Korea,” Price said.

“Most frequently we speak of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, but of course, its malicious cyber activity is something we are carefully evaluating and looking at as well,” he said.

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#Newsworthy

Buhari orders rescue as terrorists dive kangara students, others into forest.

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, halted the debate after Enagi declared that the kidnap of the students was unfortunate.

In another bout of terror, armed bandits in military uniforms, yesterday, invaded Government Science College Kagara, in Niger State and herded unconfirmed number of students and their teachers into the forest.

Failure to effect immediate release of the victims last night triggered concerns over their safety, as one of the pupils was said to have been killed during the attack.

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In the wake of the attack, governors of the 36 states last night converged on Abuja to deliberate on the matter and advise the Federal Government on way forward. The meeting chaired by the Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, was slated for 8.00pm. There was no communiqué yet at press time.

A source, which confirmed the incident to The Guardian, hinted that the attack started from the hostels and ended at the staff quarters.

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The source also disclosed that a staff of the school, who was also abducted, escaped and returned to the school. The Guardian could not reach Police Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Command, ASP Wasiu Abiodun, for comments at press time.

FOLLOWING the attack, President Mohammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed the military and Police hierarchy to effect immediate rescue and safe return of all the abductees.

He also ordered that a team of security chiefs be dispatched to Minna, to meet with state officials, community leaders, as well as parents and staff of the college with a view to coordinating the rescue mission.

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“Our prayers are with families of the victims of this attack,” the President said in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, just as he condemned the attack on innocent school children.

Notwithstanding, the Senate, yesterday, asked the President to declare a state of emergency on security without further delay.

The attack, which occurred in the early hours of yesterday, put the entire Kagara town in confusion. Those living very close to the school deserted their homes for fear of the unknown, even though normal activities gradually returned in some parts of the town.

Eyewitnesses said the uniformed attackers came to the government school at about 2 a.m. in their large numbers shooting into the air.

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“They first went to students hostels, and later approached the staff quarters.”

Mallam Mohammadu Isa, an indigene of Kagara, said the bandits carried out the attack for several hours without any confrontation from security agencies.

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Isah, the witness described the attack as “sad and most unfortunate,” recalling the abduction of over 20 passengers of NSTA bus, returning from Kontagora, last Sunday. He wonered why the Federal Government had not put necessary measures in place to forestall reoccurrence.

A farmer, Mahmud Garba, stated that farmers in the area had abandoned their farms for security reasons, adding that their lives were not safe.

Hinting that prices of foodstuffs might escalate further, Garba appealed to relevant security authorities to protect life and property.

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Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Salihu Tanko enjoined the people to pray fervently for safety of their lives. He commended the state government for its efforts to restore peace in the area.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had earlier today directed immediate closure of boarding schools in the affected local council areas of Rafi, Mariga, Munya and Shiroro.

Governor Bello assured that all options will be explored to ensure the release of all students and teachers that have been abducted, including their family members, adding that the state government would not pay ransom against its own policy.

MEANWHILE, yesterday’s kidnap of students pushed senators from the state into uncontrollable anger against the Federal Government.

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Senators Mohammed Enagi (Niger South), Sani Musa (Niger East) and Aliu Sabi Aliu (Niger North) described as unacceptable, the worsening state of insecurity in Niger State and Nigeria in general.

In a brief debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Musa, the lawmakers expressed worries that the state had become unsafe for education, agriculture, and other socio-economic engagements.

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Musa, in defending his motion, informed his colleagues that the number of students in that school was more than 1000, adding that the actual number of those kidnapped was yet to be known.

Before the debate began, the Senate leadership had warned lawmakers against resorting to politics and political gimmicks during deliberations.

Consequently, all lawmakers who participated in the debate were from the APC as none from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spoke.

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Use of hostile words and languages peaked when Senator Enagi lamented that none of the resolutions that had been adopted by the Senate and sent to President Buhari was executed.

According to him, the Federal Government under the leadership of Buhari is grossly incompetent.

The visibly angry lawmaker further noted that government had been evasive on issues that ought to be given attention. Enagi observed that it was unfortunate that the Federal Government was too incompetent to handle the economy in such a way as to guarantee full employment for the nation’s teeming youths.

Enagi equally suggested amendment of laws to allow governors take charge as chief security officers of their respective states, insisting that government at the centre had failed woefully.

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He added that citizens might need to be allowed to bear arms through amendment of laws, if the situation persists. He said:
“I am sorry to say this, the government is grossly incompetent in handling security challenges in this country.

“In my own zone, few days ago, terrorists went to two local governments, but fortunately, my people were able to repel and killed 9 of them. In short, everybody here has a story to tell about security challenges in this country.”

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The lawmaker continued:

“What else are we supposed to do that we are not doing? Are we supposed to amend laws in this country to give every citizen opportunity to carry arms? What else are we supposed to do?

“Shouldn’t we amend Nigeria’s Constitution to give more powers to governors who are the chief security officers of their various states, because, our government at the centre is so incompetent in handing security issues?”

He lamented that “For over two years, our Police and other security agents have been trying and for over two years, we discuss security challenges that we are facing, yet nothing has improved.

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, halted the debate after Enagi declared that the kidnap of the students was unfortunate.

Lawan said the security agencies had challenges of personnel and funds.
He said: “Abduction of students from school happen in northern part of Nigeria.

“With incidences like this, parents would be scared to take their wards to school and the efforts of the past and present leaders at providing education would be defeated.

Also, Senator Aliu, expressed dissatisfaction that the Federal Government had been unable to ensure release of some 57 travellers kidnapped in Niger State last Sunday.

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He called for a more decisive action from security agencies to get the kidnapped persons released.

Sabi cautioned Federal Government to take extra ordinary measures to halt the spate of insecurity, which he feared could spread to the Federal Capital Territory.

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The Senate urged the President to declare a State of Emergency on insecurity in Nigeria. It also urged Buhari to consider and implement “the recommendations of the Senate ad-Hoc Committee on Nigeria’s Security Challenges dated March, 17, 2020 and
Senate Resolutions therefrom, as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.”

The Senate sought a massive and combined operation to identify and destroy camps and hideouts of criminals.

BUT the ruling All progressives congress (APC) assured of safe return of the Kagara college pupils. APC, in a statement by its caretaker committee secretary, Senator John J. Akpan Udoedehe, enjoined Nigerians to ignore claims by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the Buhari administration was not doing enough to ensure security of lives.

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It noted: “We cannot join issues with the PDP but rather focus on ongoing efforts to ensure quick and safe release of the abducted schoolchildren and other citizens.

Minister of Defence Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) urged Nigerians to join hands with security agents to tackle the appalling level of insecurity in the country.

The Minister, who fielded questions from reporters at the National Assembly Complex, spoke in response to the kidnap of hundreds of students in Niger State.

Expressing concern, he reminisced his youthful days when communal efforts were enough to ward off men of the underworld.

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On clamour for liberalisation firearms, he said it was unnecessary in view of the fact that the issue remains contentious in advanced nations, including the United States of America (USA).

In a related incident yesterday, a gang of fleeing Boko Haram terrorists killed seven policemen and four residents of Bayamari community in Yobe.

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The policemen were slain on Tuesday, while they were protecting the border community from attacks, after fleeing military operations in Sambisa Forest, in neighbouring Borno State.

Confirming the incident, yesterday in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, Audu Yahaya, a Civilian JTF disclosed: “The terrorists killed seven villagers and four policemen…”

He said the terrorists, after fleeing troops’ aggressive onslaught, launched an attack on Bayamari village Tuesday by 12:15pm.

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According to him, the fallen policemen paid the supreme price while attempting to protect the villagers.

“The terrorists launched their attack from their newly-established camps in the Malari Zango River Forest, Abduri and Buhari,” he said.

“Other new hideouts include Degltura, Kayidiri, Garinb Liman, Gumsari Gagala and Gorrgo in Yunusari Local Government Area.”

He said that, of recent, terrorists had been fleeing Bama, Gwoza, Damboa and the Lake Chad region, where military operations are ongoing.

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He said the insurgents fled to seek permanent refuge on the fringes of Sambisa Forest.

“Some terrorists infiltrate various communities; where they rented houses and pretend to be businessmen,” he said, noting that those that could not hide their identities are forced to establish camps and tents in the Sasawa Forest and along Kumadugu-Yobe River Basin.

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#Newsworthy

EFCC’s hope to inspect money seized from fmr NNPC GMD dismissed.

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Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Mohammed Abubakar, while moving a motion filed on Nov. 17, 2020, also urged the court to conduct proceedings in the premises of the bank during the inspection of the money.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, refused to grant an application file by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to inspect the money seized from the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed dismissed the request on the grounds that the application lacked merit.

The judge noted that though it was the duty of the court to visit the scene of an event (locus in quo) where there was controversy to clear the doubt if there was any, such decision was at the discretion of the court.

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“I find the visit to locus in quo as unnecessary, and the application is hereby refused,” he said.

Justice Mohammed adjourned the matter until March 10 for the continuation of cross-examination of the defendant by the prosecution.

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Noble Reporters Media reports that the EFCC had, on Jan. 14, 2020, urged the court to visit the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kano branch, to inspect the 9, 772, 800 dollars (9.7 million dollars) and 74, 000 pounds allegedly recovered from Yakubu’s residence in Kaduna.

Counsel to the anti-graft agency, Mohammed Abubakar, while moving a motion filed on Nov. 17, 2020, also urged the court to conduct proceedings in the premises of the bank during the inspection of the money.

Abubakar said the money formed the subject of counts three and four in the money laundering charge on which Yabuku is being tried before the court.

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The lawyer said the EFCC kept the money in the custody of the CBN, Kano branch after its operatives allegedly recovered it from Yakubu’s house.

But Ahmed Raji, SAN, counsel to Yakubu, while arguing his counter-affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the EFCC’s request.

Raji averred that the condition of the cash could have been altered by the complainant and that his client would be “prejudiced” if the EFCC application was granted.

He, however, submitted that a visit to the CBN was purely at the discretion of the court.

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NoRM reports that the anti-corruption agency, acting on a tip-off, on Feb. 3, 2017, raided the house of Yakubu in Kaduna State and found 9, 772, 800 dollars (9.7 million dollars) and 74, 000 pounds in a safe.

Yakubu was, on March 16, 2017, arraigned on six counts but was ordered by the Court of Appeal to defend counts three and four which bordered on failure to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution.

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#Newsworthy

Forbes Honoree, Invictus Obi bags 10-year jail term for fraud.

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Okeke was named on the Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2016 and was featured on the magazine’s June 2016 cover. A year later, CNBCA named Okeke as a finalist for Young Business Leader of the Year (West Africa).

A Nigerian entrepreneur and a Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 honoree Obinwanne Okeke has been sentenced to a 10-year jail term for computer and wire fraud by an American court.

Popularly known as Invictus Obi, Okeke was found guilty of causing approximately $11 million in known losses to his victims between 2015 and 2019.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to the crimes in June.

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“Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering $11 million in losses to his victims,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Today’s sentence further demonstrates EDVA’s and FBI’s worldwide reach in vigorously pursuing justice on behalf of American victims and others and holding international cybercriminals accountable, no matter where they commit their crimes.”

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Okeke, the founder of Invictus Group, has a degree in International Studies and Forensic Criminology and Masters of International Relations and Counter-Terrorism Studies from Monash University in Australia, according to his official profile.

Okeke was named on the Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2016 and was featured on the magazine’s June 2016 cover. A year later, CNBCA named Okeke as a finalist for Young Business Leader of the Year (West Africa).

He was featured regularly in Nigerian and international media. Okeke also earned high praises from Nigerian politicians.

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His Invictus Group claims to have investments in oil and gas, construction, energy solutions, technology and agriculture.

As part of the scheme, 33-year old Okeke and other conspirators engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment. In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials.

The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.

Additionally, Okeke engaged in other forms of cyberfraud, including sending phishing emails to capture email credentials, creating fraudulent web pages, and causing other losses to numerous victims.

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“The FBI will not allow cyber criminals free reign in the digital world to prey on U.S. companies,” said Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. “This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners at the Department of Justice and our foreign counterparts to locate cyber criminals across the globe and bring them to the United States to be held accountable.”

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.

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#Newsworthy

Police affirm kidnap of NTA reporter in Port Harcourt.

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The statement noted that the incessant attacks on journalists in recent times are becoming worrisome and therefore unacceptable.

Gunmen have abducted a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) ,Port Harcourt, Zonal Office, Chidiebere Onyia, in Rivers State.

Onyia, a nursing mother, was allegedly kidnapped at a gunpoint around 8 pm on Tuesday along the railway line, Woji in Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area of the state on her way home after work.

It was gathered that a gunman had ordered her to wind down at the traffic and when she did, he ordered her to drive to the corner and park.

According to an eyewitness, the hoodlum while displaying his gun followed her and also directed her to step out of her vehicle and move to a waiting Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).

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Narrating the ordeal, the victim’s colleague who was in the car with her said, “We were trapped at the traffic at Woji railway when an armed man came to the car and ordered Onyia to wind down. When she did, he brought out a gun and asked her to quietly move to a corner and park.”

“At that point, three other men with gun emerged and asked her to step out from her vehicle and follow them to their waiting SUV, as she fearfully followed them, one of the men came back to our car and collected our hand bags, phones and other valuables and they drove off to unknown destination.”

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The State Police Public Relation’s Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, has confirmed the incident, assuring that the police is working tirelessly to ensure that the victim is released timely and unhurt.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has called for the immediate release of Onyia.

In a statement jointly signed by the state Chairman, Stanley Job Stanley and Secretary, Ike Wigodo, the NUJ condemned the alleged kidnap, describing it as inhuman and heinous, especially against a journalist and a nursing mother.

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The statement noted that the incessant attacks on journalists in recent times are becoming worrisome and therefore unacceptable.

According to the statement, “it is worrisome and regrettable that journalists are now victims of abduction and held for whatever reason. A fundamental prerequisite for a free media is that journalists should be allowed to move freely in their efforts to serve the public through gathering and dissemination of information.

“But what we are witnessing in the country today gives us serious concern. Less than two weeks ago, a reporter with The Punch, Okechukwu Nnodim, was abducted in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by some criminal elements, only to be released a few days ago. Also recently, the Business Manager of Silverbird, Segun Owolabi, escaped assassination attempt in Port Harcourt after close of work. And now, another journalist, Onyia, was kidnapped in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. This is unacceptable” the statement stated.

“While condemning this heinous act in strong terms, we urge the security agencies to secure the unconditional release of Onyia to enable her continue her professional services to the country”.

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The Union however charged the security agencies to ensure the arrest of the kidnappers and bring them to book to serve as a deterrent to other criminally minded people.

The Union further demanded that immediate steps be taken by the Rivers State Government and security agencies to arrest this ugly development so as to enable journalists fulfill their constitutional mandate unhindered.

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#Newsworthy

Kidnapped Chinese workers freed.

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Kidnapping for ransom which used to be common in Nigeria’s oil-producing south, has lately spread to the other parts of the country.

Nigerian police said on Tuesday they had freed three Chinese workers kidnapped last week from a gold-mining site in southwestern Osun state.

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The Chinese were abducted and their police escort killed on February 1 following a dispute with local labourers at the mining site at the Atakumosa area of the state.

“We have rescued the three Chinese expatriates. They were freed on Sunday,” state police spokeswoman Yemisi Opalola told AFP.

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She said the foreigners who took ill while in captivity, were being given medical care.

She said that no arrests had been made.

It was not immediately clear if a ransom was paid for their release.

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Kidnapping for ransom which used to be common in Nigeria’s oil-producing south, has lately spread to the other parts of the country.

The victims are usually released after a ransom is paid although police rarely confirm if money changed hands.

Chinese firms are working in Nigeria on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects that include mining, railways, airports and roads.

Their workers have been repeatedly targeted by kidnap gangs.

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Last July, four Chinese workers were abducted from a quarry site in southern Cross River state while their police guard was killed.

They were released one month later.

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#Newsworthy

Nigerian gang behind abduction of school children ‘surrender.’

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Security analysts have warned of infiltration of criminal gangs in the region by jihadists who are conducting a decade-long insurgency in the northeast.

A Nigerian criminal gang leader behind the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolchildren in northwest Katsina state in December has surrendered to authorities in an amnesty deal, officials said on Tuesday.

Auwalun Daudawa led dozens of gunmen who snatched students from their school hostels in the town of Kankara in a crime that sparked global outrage and highlighted growing instability in the country’s northwest.

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The abductions happened when President Muhammadu Buhari was visiting his home state of Katsina. Some students managed to escape and officials said around 340 were freed days later after negotiations.

Daudawa surrendered to local officials on Monday with six of his gang members, the local government spokesman said in a statement.

“In a brief ceremony at the premises of the Governor’s office…. Auwalun Daudawa handed over the weapons and also… swore with the Holy Quran not to revert to his old ways,” spokesman Zailani Bappa said.

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Daudawa and his comrades surrendered 20 Kalashnikovs and other weapons.

Northwest Nigeria has been terrorised by criminal gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom and burning homes after looting supplies.

Nineteen people were killed at the weekend when armed men raided two villages in northwest Kaduna state.

A child wraps himself in a blanket while gathering at the Government House with other students from the Government Science Secondary school, in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina State, Nigeria upon their release on December 18, 2020. – More than 300 Nigerian schoolboys were released on Thursday after being abducted in an attack claimed by Boko Haram, officials said, although it was unclear if any more remained with their captors (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

The gangs also attack travellers at bogus checkpoints on the highway and abduct them. Hostages are usually released after ransom payment.

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Most of the Kankara children were released after days in captivity following negotiations between the abductors and officials of Zamfara and Katsina states.

Forest hideout
The bandits hide in camps in Rugu forest which straddles Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, and Niger states.

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Despite deployment of troops in Zamfara and Katsina states deadly attacks persist.

The state government has sought instead to broker peace deals with the bandits, offering them amnesty in exchange for surrendering their arms.

Daudawa’s surrender was part of the amnesty offered to bandits, said the statement.

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Security analysts have warned of infiltration of criminal gangs in the region by jihadists who are conducting a decade-long insurgency in the northeast.

Following the schoolboys’ abduction, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility in a video showing some of the children in a bush.

Security sources told AFP the abductions were carried out by Daudawa in collaboration with two bandits with a strong following, on the orders of Shekau.

Daudawa, 43, was an armed robber and a cattle rustler before he turned to gun-running, security sources said.

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He began bringing in weapons from Libya, where he had received training from jihadists, selling them to bandits, the sources told AFP.

He forged an alliance with Boko Haram and became their gunrunner, taking weapons the group seizes from the Nigerian security forces in raids and ambushes and selling them to bandits.

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#Newsworthy

Trouble looms in Senegal.

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Sonko’s current whereabouts are unknown. Senegal’s government was also not immediately available for comment.

Dozens of supporters of Senegalese opposition figure Ousmane Sonko clashed with police in the capital Dakar on Monday, an AFP journalist said, after a beautician accused the politician of rape.

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Sonko finished third in 2019 election, which saw President Macky Sall win a second term in office, and is considered a future presidential contender in the West African state.

But controversy has dogged the politician since early this month when Senegalese media reported that an employee of a beauty salon had filed rape charges against him.

Sonko denied the charges in a series of Twitter posts on Sunday evening, explaining that he had visited the salon to receive massages to relieve back pain.

The 46-year-old head of the opposition Pastef party added that the rape accusation was an “attempt at political liquidation,” noting that two people had always been present during the massages.

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“I explicitly accuse Macky Sall… of fomenting this political plot against me,” he said.

A Pastef official told AFP that Sonko had refused to attend a police summons on Monday.

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On Twitter, Sonko said he could not attend because he had parliamentary immunity, but added that he would speak to investigators were his immunity lifted.

Supporters of the senegalese political figure Ousmane Sonko clashes with security forces on february 8, 2021. – Dozens of supporters of Senegalese opposition figure Ousmane Sonko clashed with police in the capital Dakar on Monday, an AFP journalist said, after a beautician accused the politician of rape. Sonko finished third in 2019 election, which saw President Macky Sall win a second term in office, and is considered a future presidential contender in the West African state. (Photo by Seyllou / AFP)

Dozens of supporters gathered outside Sonko’s residence in Dakar on Monday and hurled rocks at police officers, according to an AFP journalist. Officers fired teargas canisters to disperse them.

Sonko’s current whereabouts are unknown. Senegal’s government was also not immediately available for comment.

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The rape scandal comes amid uncertainty about whether 59-year-old Sall will run for a third term.

Presidents in the former French colony are limited to two consecutive terms.

However, Sall launched a constitutional review in 2016, raising suspicions that he intends to run again.

Other presidents in the region have used constitutional changes to extend their grip on power.

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Last year, in Guinea, 82-year-old President Alpha Conde won a controversial third term in October after pushing through a new constitution that allowed him to bypass a two-term limit.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, 78, was also elected for an equally contentious third term, after having revised the country’s constitution.

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#Newsworthy

Kwara State College Lecturer remanded over ‘personation scam’

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..counsel to EFCC, Andrew Akoja, led Paul Kera, an operative of EFCC in evidence to review the facts of the case.

A lecturer of the Kwara State College of Health Technology, Offa, Opashola Abdullahi, has been remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for attempting to cheat by personation, spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren said on Monday.

Abdullahi was arraigned by the Ilorin Zonal Office of the EFCC on Monday, February 8, 2021 on one count charge bordering on romance scam before Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court, Ilorin.

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He was among the 32 internet fraud suspects arrested in Offa on September 14, 2020.

His offence contravenes Section 95 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 324 of the same Law.

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The charge reads “That you, Opashola Abdullahi, (alias Devin Snow), sometime in the month of August 2020 in Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did attempt to cheat by personation, by portraying yourself as a female named Devine Snow via your email address devinesnow677@gmail.com to one Eugene Myvett in order to induce him to send you $200 USD, a representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 95 of the Penal Code and punishable under Section 324 of the same Law”

The embattled lecturer pleaded ‘guilty’ when the charge was read to him.

Following his plea, counsel to EFCC, Andrew Akoja, led Paul Kera, an operative of EFCC in evidence to review the facts of the case.

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Kera narrated how investigation on a petition received by the Commission on the activities of internet fraudsters operating in Offa area of Kwara State led to the arrest of the defendant.

“Our findings revealed that the defendant created an email address which he was using to defraud unsuspecting victims. During a search executed in his house, we recovered an Infinix Nokia phone which he used as instrumentality of the crime. The defendant was taken to our office, where he volunteered his statement”, Kera told the court.

Documents including copies of his statements, two computer attestation forms, an Infinix phone recovered from the defendant as well as the fraudulent messages printed out of his email account were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Thereafter, Akoja urged the court to convict the defendant based on his plea and evidence placed before it.

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Justice Akinpelu, while discharging the witness from the witness box fixed February 23, 2021 for judgment.

“The defendant is to remain in EFCC custody pending judgment”, the judge added.

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#Newsworthy

Orphanage owner ‘jailed’ for sexually abusing minors in Kenya.

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Dow’s sex crime came to public knowledge after two girls, aged 12 and 14, escaped from the orphanage and told of sexual abuses going on at the orphanage.

An American man identified as Gregory Dow has been sentenced to over 15 years in prison plus a lifetime of supervised release, for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in Kenya.

According to a statement by The United States Department of Justice, the court also ordered Dow, to pay a total of $16,000 in restitution.

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Investigation by FBI’s Philadelphia Field office with assistance from Kenyan authorities and local law enforcement in Lancaster County revealed that the 61-year old Dow travelled to Kenya in 2008 to start an orphanage with his wife.

Dow while still maintaining close ties with the US sexually abused the children at the orphanage called Dow Family Children’s Home on multiple occasions.

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His wife was accused of being complicit in the abuses.

He abused at least four minor girls between October 2013 and September 2017.

“Trial Attorneys Lauren S. Kupersmith and Lauren E. Britsch of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania prosecuted the case,” the statement read.

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Dow’s sex crime came to public knowledge after two girls, aged 12 and 14, escaped from the orphanage and told of sexual abuses going on at the orphanage.

A Kenyan woman living in the US, who had just returned to her village, heard of the stories of sexual abuse and tipped off the FBI.

The woman, Margaret Ruto collected the testimonies of the escaped girls herself. Two of the girls were as young as 11 years old when the abuse began.

“I was meant to know about this,” Ruto told Washington Post. “And I was meant to do something about it.”

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“The defendant’s wife even transported the victims to a medical clinic to have birth control devices implanted into their arms, which allowed Dow to perpetrate his crimes without fear of impregnating his victims,” the US attorney’s office said in a statement after Dow was sentenced.

Dow is known sex offender long before he travelled to Kenya. He pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in 1996. He received two years’ probation and was ordered to register as a sex offender for a decade.

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#Newsworthy

Israeli PM, Netanyahu appears in Court over corruption.

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Israel’s parliament speaker and Netanyahu loyalist Yariv Levin insisted the court must “postpone” the trial’s upcoming phase.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared in court briefly Monday, reaffirming his innocence, as his corruption trial enters an intensified phase weeks before a fourth national election inside two years.

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Netanyahu, the first Israeli premier to be indicted in office, was formally charged last year over allegations that he accepted improper gifts and sought to trade regulatory favour with media moguls in exchange for positive coverage.

The combative 71-year-old prime minister, who has blasted the charges as “fabricated and ludicrous”, spent just 20 minutes inside the courtroom at Monday’s hearing.

He had been compelled to appear to deliver a formal response to the allegations.

Shortly after lead judge Rivka Feldman Friedman opened the hearing by reading the cases against him, Netanyahu said that he stood by his innocence as previously expressed in writing.

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“I confirm the written answer submitted in my name,” Israel’s longest-serving premier said, shortly before exiting the courtroom and rejoining his motorcade.

Monday marks the last pre-trial hearing with upcoming sessions focused on testimony and evidence.

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The hearing was continuing, with the premier’s lawyers Boaz Ben Zur accusing Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit — a Netanyahu appointee — of mishandling the case.

Netanyahu has repeatedly charged that he is the victim of a witch-hunt, with the allegations against him trumped-up.

The trial schedule may force the prime minister to appear in court multiple times a week, as he campaigns ahead of Israel’s fourth election in less than two years to be held on March 23.

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‘Election meddling’?
When Netanyahu last appeared in court nine months ago, he was fresh off a political victory, forming a coalition government with election rival Benny Gantz, following three inconclusive national polls.

But that fraught coalition proved short-lived and collapsed in December, with Gantz branding Netanyahu as serially dishonest.

It is unclear whether the cloud of the trial will hurt the premier’s re-election chances in March.

Israel’s parliament speaker and Netanyahu loyalist Yariv Levin insisted the court must “postpone” the trial’s upcoming phase.

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Proceeding now “will be lending a hand to blatant meddling in the elections”, he told the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper on Sunday.

Several recent polls show that Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud remains the strongest party by a comfortable margin, but it is far from certain that it will be able to form a 61-seat majority with its conservative and religious allies.

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For the first time in his political career, Netanyahu is also facing a challenge from a prominent Likud defector: Gideon Saar, who broke with the prime minister to form his own New Hope party.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to a hearing in his corruption trial at the Jerusalem district court, on February 8, 2021. – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to court to formally respond to the corruption charges against him, as his trial enters an intensified phase six weeks before he faces re-election. (Photo by – / POOL / AFP)

4,000, 2,000, 1,000
The charges against Netanyahu are divided into three separate cases.

The most serious — known as Case 4,000, in which the premier is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust — centres on the allegation that he negotiated with Shaul Elovitch of telecommunications giant Bezeq to secure positive coverage on his Walla! news site in exchange for policies benefiting Bezeq.

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Elovitch and his wife were also indicted.

Case 2,000 concerns allegations Netanyahu sought a deal with the owner of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper that would have seen it give him more favourable coverage.

Case 1,000 involves allegations Netanyahu and his family received gifts, including luxury cigars, champagne and jewellery estimated to be worth more than 700,000 shekels ($213,000), from wealthy individuals, in exchange for financial or personal favours.

The prime minister denies wrongdoing.

He would be forced to resign if convicted with all appeals exhausted, but that process is likely to take several years.

Weekly protests against him have rumbled on for months, with some demonstrators focusing on the graft allegations.

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Dozens of protesters met Netanyahu’s motorcade at the court Monday, some carrying placards branded with the words “Crime Minister” and others taunting him as he entered and exited the court.

“We are here to swipe (away) all the dirt and all the corruption that he has created,” protester Claudia Manoquian told AFP.

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#Newsworthy

Police arrest 27 suspected criminals in Lagos.

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The suspects arrested are Olajide Kolawole, 26; Kehinde Ayoola, 25; Dola Abdullahi, 20; Michael Ogungbade, 19 and 23 others.

The Lagos State Police Command, at the weekend, arrested 27 suspects in a planned raid of different criminals’ hideouts in the metropolis.

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The arrest was carried out by the operatives of the RRS as a follow-up to the directive of the Commissioner of Police to the commander, Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, to place certain spots under surveillance and dislodge criminals hibernating in the areas, especially at Ikeja, Agege and Alimosho areas of Lagos State.

The raid was also extended to Ile Zik, Dopemu Under Bridge, Shasha, Orisumbare, Iyana-Ipaja Underbridge, Ile-Epo, Abule Egba, Isokoko, Alfa Nla, Capitol Road, Akilo, Marketing and Alausa Central Business District, among others.

The suspects arrested are Olajide Kolawole, 26; Kehinde Ayoola, 25; Dola Abdullahi, 20; Michael Ogungbade, 19 and 23 others.

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The state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said the command would continue to intensify efforts to reduce traffic robberies, cult activities and other social vices within the state to their barest minimum.

While commending the RRS operatives for the successful operations, Odumosu advised parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards on the company they keep, as cultism and traffic robberies remain unpardonable crimes, as they attract stringent punishments.

Meanwhile, in furtherance of the promises of Odumosu, at the recently concluded Ikorodu town hall meeting held on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, that Ikorodu would be rid of illegal and criminal acts, spokesman for the police in Lagos, Muyiwa Adejobi, told newsmen that the police special squad hit the town on Thursday, February 4, 2021, around 6.00 p.m. on sting operations.

“The special squad, commanded by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, comprised RRS operatives, Task Force, State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), Special Anti-Crime team, Police Mobile Force, Motor and Traffic Division and other security operatives.

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The operations were carried out simultaneously to remove the shanties, blockages and open markets on the roads in Ikorodu Division, particularly at the Agric Area and some other parts of the town, that had been an eyesore and criminal hideout, with a view to making the town free of gridlocks and crimes.

The squad succeeded in clearing the blockages on the roads, illegal parks and shops.

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#Newsworthy

PPRO says Police arrest 6 suspected armed robbers in Kaduna.

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Jalige said all the suspects had since confessed to the various roles they played in the commission of the said crimes, and that they would soon be charged to court .

The Police in Kaduna State has confirmed the arrest of six suspected criminals on Jan. 12, for various crimes, according to a statement issued on Sunday, in Kaduna, by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige.

Jalige said the six suspects where arrested for armed robbery, criminal conspiracy, attempted homicide and dishonestly receiving stolen properties.

He explained that on Jan 12, at about 1630hrs some residents of NASFAT layout, Kaduna, jointly reported to the Command that at about 0300hrs of the same day, some hoodlums bearing offensive weapons invaded their individual homes.

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“Inflicted severe injuries on the security guards and succeeded in carting away valuables which includes,14 mobile Phones, three Laptops, three set of wrappers, five wrist watches. The suspects also carted away cash sum N42,450.00, all properties valued at N2.2 million, to unknown destination,” he said.

According to him, upon receipt of the report, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Umar Muri, immediately dispatched a team of Police Operatives, headed by the officer in charge of Intelligence Unit, to fish out the perpetrators and ensure they were brought to book.

“In turn, the officers swung into action, gathered intelligence and succeeded in arresting one of the suspects involved in the incident.

“Upon interrogation, he disclosed the identities of the other five of his accomplices, who were equally apprehended. One other suspect is still at large. “he said.

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Jalige said all the suspects had since confessed to the various roles they played in the commission of the said crimes, and that they would soon be charged to court .

He reiterated the value of community involvement in preventing crimes, while calling on all residents to be security conscious and report any suspicious happenings within their locations to the nearest Police formation for prompt action.

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#Newsworthy

Police arrest 6 suspected kidnappers in Federal Capital Territory.

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The PPRO said the command had deployed covert and overt crime fighting strategies to strengthen security across the FCT, especially in areas with cumbersome terrain.

The Police Command in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has arrested six suspects in Apo over alleged kidnapping.

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This is contained in a statement by ASP Mariam Yusuf, FCT Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Abuja on Sunday.

Yusuf said the suspects were arrested following credible intelligence report indicating that they had abducted three persons.

According to her, the suspects were arrested by police operatives on routine patrol, while attempting to relocate one of their victims.

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She said that further investigations led to successful rescue of two other victims who identified the suspects as kidnappers.

The PPRO said the command had deployed covert and overt crime fighting strategies to strengthen security across the FCT, especially in areas with cumbersome terrain.

She said the command had also launched a strategic counter kidnapping operation, to checkmate emerging security concerns in the territory.

Yusuf said that the command was working closely with sister security agencies, key stakeholders and community leaders to rid the FCT of criminal elements.

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She called on residents to remain calm and laws abiding, while enjoining them to report suspicious persons or activities around their vicinity, to the nearest police division.

She said such report could also be made through any of the FCT Police Command Control numbers; 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653 and 08028940883.

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#Newsworthy

DR Congo militiamen ‘denied’ over 10 existence, in fresh attack.

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The UN’s human rights office in the DRC said Wednesday that defence and security forces had made “significant efforts to dismantle” the militia.

Fighters believed to belong to the ADF militia have killed at least 12 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east, local sources said Sunday.

The gruesome attack took place overnight Friday-Saturday after a month of relative calm in the area.

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“Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces massacred farmers from the village of Mabule in their fields,” Donat Kibuana, the administrator of the Beni region in North Kivu province, told AFP.

At least eight men and four women “had their throats savagely slit in their fields by these ADF terrorists,” said Roger Masimango, from a local network of civil society groups.

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“We’re still searching, because we aren’t hearing from some of the farmers,” he added.

An expert in the area, who asked to remain anonymous, said 14 bodies had been found and more people were missing after the assault.

An army offensive launched in the Rwenzori mountain region had caused a “relative decline” in the number of deadly attacks since early January, administrator Kibuana said.

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He added that “many villages are empty” of people who have fled the fighting.

But the ADF — one of the most violent among dozens of armed groups in the eastern DRC — is believed to have killed 21 civilians on February 5 in Rwenzori.

The UN’s human rights office in the DRC said Wednesday that defence and security forces had made “significant efforts to dismantle” the militia.

Nevertheless, it said 468 deaths in the east were attributed to the group in the second half of 2020, including 108 women and 15 children.

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Originally Ugandan Muslim rebels, the ADF settled in the DRC in 1995.

In recent years they have given up on attacks in neighbouring Uganda, but have carried out repeated massacres in the Beni region of the DRC, killing more than 1,000 people since October 2014.

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#Newsworthy

OPSH arrest fake soldiers, others in Jos.

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Okonkwo called on residents of the state to provide useful and timely information to security agencies when they suspect criminal movements of persons in their vicinity.

The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has arrested Mahmud Mohmmed and Nuhu Ochofo, for impersonating as a soldier and personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), respectively in Jos.

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Maj.-Gen. Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, the Commander of the task force, paraded the suspects on Friday in Jos.

According to him, the suspects, who use their fake identity to commit crimes in the state, were jointly arrested around Rayfield community of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau.

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Okonkwo said the fake soldier was arrested wearing full military uniform, while the other was caught with fake identity card of the NSCDC.

The Commander also paraded 18 other suspected criminals who were arrested for armed robbery, gun running and local militia group linked to recent attacks in some parts of the state.

He explained that the suspects were arrested at Bida-Bidi, Agwan Rimi, Zololo junction, Rayfield and Dung communities in Jos North and Jos South Local Government Areas of the state.

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He said the arrests were part of the mandate of the going Operation Accord II, aimed at curbing all forms of criminalities in the North Central region and other parts of the country.

“This series of arrests are in line with the directive to operation accord II which is meant to deny criminals freedom of action as well as clear criminal and militia hideouts.

“Some of these suspects are gun runners, armed robbers, members of militia groups and some were arrested over impersonation.

“This to ensure the safety of lives and property of citizens and let me assure the law-abiding Plateau citizens that we will continue to work towards their safety,” he said.

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Okonkwo called on residents of the state to provide useful and timely information to security agencies when they suspect criminal movements of persons in their vicinity.

Noble Reporters Media reports that the suspects were arrested with locally-made pistols and Ak-47 rifle.

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#Newsworthy

NDLEA intercepts men with cocaine at Abuja, Lagos airport.

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MMIA Command of the NDLEA, Mr Ahmadu Garba, the suspect, Adeleke was intercepted at the departure hall in Lagos with the hard drug neatly concealed in a false bottom of his bag

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has continued to put the heat on drug traffickers with the arrest of a businessman at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and another man at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, with over three kilogrammes of cocaine carefully concealed in luggage.

While Adeleke Kazeem Biola was arrested at the Lagos Airport with 1.5 kilogrammes of cocaine on Wednesday night, February 3, 2021, during the outward clearance of passengers on Emirate Airline to Dubai, a Lagos-based businessman, Onu Oluchukwu Friday, was caught with 1.527 kilograms of the illicit drug at the Abuja Airport.

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According to the Commander, MMIA Command of the NDLEA, Mr Ahmadu Garba, the suspect, Adeleke was intercepted at the departure hall in Lagos with the hard drug neatly concealed in a false bottom of his bag.

Garba said: “He acknowledged that the series of arrests in the past three weeks follow the offensive action approach deployed by his command in line with the directive by the new Chairman/Chief Executive of the agency, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd).”

While explaining how a plumbing materials dealer, Onu Oluchukwu Friday, was arrested at the departure lounge of the Abuja Airport on Thursday, January 28, 2021, the Commander, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Command of the NDLEA, Mr. Kabir Sani Tsakuwa, said: “During outward clearance of Ethiopian Airline ET 910 en route Abuja-Addis Ababa – New Delhi, India, the 39-year-old suspect, a native of Umuaku-Isiochi village in Abia State, was intercepted at the boarding gate screening and referred for scanning. The passenger proved positive for ingestion.

“He excreted 83 wraps of substances, which proved positive for cocaine and weighed 1.527kg. The suspect, who claimed he is into plumbing material business in Lagos, came into Abuja for the purpose of trafficking drugs, and said he was to be paid N1.5million on delivery to one Chibuzo Nmadu, a Nigerian based in India.”

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He said his command remains committed to the mission of the new leadership of the agency to disrupt the supply chain and reduce the demand for illicit drugs in Nigeria.

The chairman of the anti-drug agency, Gen. Marwa has sent his commendation to the commanders of the Lagos and Abuja airports and their teams for their vigilance, while urging them to intensify efforts so that the mission could rid the country of the scourge of illicit drugs collectively, the NDLEA statement added.

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#Newsworthy

United Nations order Bangladesh army probe after Media’s investigation.

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The contract, dated June 2018, was signed by the Directorate General Defense Purchase, the body charged with buying Bangladesh’s military supplies.

The United Nations is calling for a full investigation into evidence of corruption and illegality involving the Bangladesh army, which was exposed during an investigation released by NoRM‘s known Media on Monday.

The corruption involves Bangladesh’s Chief of Army Staff, General Aziz Ahmed, who is due to meet senior UN officials in New York next week.

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In All the Prime Minister’s Men, NoRM‘s known Media’s Investigative Unit revealed that Bangladesh’s military purchased sophisticated and highly intrusive mobile phone surveillance equipment from Israel, which Bangladesh military commanders claimed was “for one of the Army Contingents due to be deployed in the UN Peacekeeping Mission”.

A spokesperson for the UN said that this was not the case and that its peacekeepers do not operate “electronic equipment of the nature described in the NoRM‘s known Media reporting”.

“Such equipment has not been deployed with Bangladeshi contingents in United Nations peacekeeping operations,” the UN spokesperson told NoRM‘s known Media.

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“We are aware of the reporting by NoRM‘s known Media Investigations concerning allegations of corruption against senior officials in Bangladesh and the press release issued by the Ministry of Defence of Bangladesh. The allegation of corruption is a serious matter that should be investigated by the relevant authorities.

Bangladesh is the largest overall contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping missions, with more than 6,800 presently deployed in peacekeeping operations around the world.

IMSI-catchers
The surveillance equipment is called an “international mobile subscriber identity-catcher”, or IMSI-catcher. It is a tool that emulates cell towers to trick cellular devices into providing locations and data that is then captured by the device.

It can be used to track hundreds of attendees of demonstrations simultaneously, among other things.

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The Bangladesh army said that the equipment was made in Hungary and not Israel, which the Muslim-majority country does not recognise.

The NoRM‘s known Media obtained the contract for the purchase, which deliberately concealed the fact that the manufacturer, PicSix, is an Israeli company. PicSix was set up by former Israeli intelligence agents and sent two experts to Hungary to train officers from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), Bangladesh’ military intelligence service, on how to operate the equipment.

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The contract, dated June 2018, was signed by the Directorate General Defense Purchase, the body charged with buying Bangladesh’s military supplies. The manufacturer was said to be PicSix Hungary, an entity that does not exist according to Hungarian company filings.

NoRM‘s known Media obtained covert recordings of a middleman, James Moloney, admitting the IMSI-catcher was Israeli made. Moloney, an Irish national, owns a company called Sovereign Systems, which is registered in Singapore, though he, himself is based in Bangkok.
Moloney is recorded saying that Sovereign Systems was a front for Picsix’s business in Asia. He also admitted that the surveillance technology is “from Israel, so we don’t advertise that technology. We are very careful about our public profile.

“I could never say the Bangladesh army is my customer. We cannot do that,” he added.

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He described the technology as “very aggressive and intrusive. You don’t want the public to know that you’re using that equipment.”

General Aziz Ahmed visits UN peacekeepers [Bangladesh Army website]

Human rights violations
According to Eliot Bendinelli from Privacy International, a UK-based privacy watchdog, authorities can use it to collect information on people taking part in demonstrations.

“You are looking at everybody who is in the area and so you can keep investigating and having more people under surveillance at the same time,” Bendinelli said.

Bendinelli added, “If you know what people are saying, where they are going to meet up, what they are planning to do, you can know a lot of things. And then you have the power to act.”

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Eitay Mack, an Israeli human rights lawyer, told NoRM‘s known Media that the Israeli government does not scrutinise the human rights records of end-users. “For a country like Bangladesh, if they buy this equipment from the US or European Union, they have leverage on you when you use it for human rights violations and they might cancel the agreement,” he said.

“With Israel, it’s not like that, they don’t ask questions. They don’t care,” Mack said.

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The knowledge that Israeli-made spyware could be used by Bangladesh to monitor opposition groups will spark further unease in a nation accused of multiple human rights violations.

According to Amnesty International, the government is involved in “unlawful killings and disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture”.

All the Prime Minister’s Men
Months of undercover reporting revealed that the head of the army, General Aziz Ahmed, is aiding two of his brothers to escape prison sentences for murder, and that he ordered officers to help create a false identity for one who fled to Europe.

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Aziz moved his fugitive brother, Haris Ahmed, to Hungary where he operates under the false identity, buying companies and property using kickbacks from military contracts and running extortion rackets with Bangladesh security forces. A second fugitive brother was in hiding in Malaysia.

General Ahmed is currently on a diplomatic visit to the United States where will meet UN officials to discuss Bangladesh’s current deployment of more than 6,000 troops for the UN in countries like Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Burundi. Aziz is due to meet the under-secretary-general for peace operations and other senior UN officials involved in peacekeeping operations.

The call for an inquiry by the UN will be a serious blow for the Bangladesh military.

The UN, whose military personnel are known as the Blue Helmets, spends nearly $7bn annually on its peacekeeping missions.

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Bangladesh’s deployment generates significant funds for the Bangladeshi army and is prized as a mark of their international standing as a professional military force.

The concern expressed by the UN will put the Bangladesh Ministry of Defence under mounting pressure to defend General Aziz who has so far not commented himself on the investigation. The Bangladesh army public relations office described the investigation as “concocted and ill-intended”.

Story Source: Al Jazeera

@newsworthywriter

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#Newsworthy

Ugandan senior Army commander guilty of war crimes.

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Seven of these women were forced to be Ongwen’s “so-called wives” and two gave birth to children, leading to the historic conviction for forced pregnancy.

The International Criminal Court on Thursday found a child soldier-turned-Lord’s Resistance Army commander guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity during a reign of terror in Uganda.

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Dominic Ongwen, 45, was found guilty of 61 charges including multiple murders, rape and sexual enslavement by the rebel group, plus the first-ever conviction by the Netherlands-based court for the crime of forced pregnancy.

ICC judges dismissed defence claims that the Ugandan was himself a victim of the notorious LRA, led by the fugitive Joseph Kony, as he had been abducted by the group as a nine-year-old boy and turned into a fighter.

Ongwen had personally ordered attacks on refugee camps in northern Uganda in the early 2000s by the LRA, which waged a bloody campaign to set up a state based on the Bible’s Ten Commandments, the judges said.

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“His guilt has been established beyond any reasonable doubt,” presiding judge Bertram Schmitt said as he read out the verdict in the tribunal in The Hague.

“The chamber is aware that he suffered much. However, this case is about crimes committed by Dominic Ongwen as a responsible adult and a commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army.”

Ongwen, nicknamed “White Ant”, will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Victims and rights groups hailed the verdict as “historic” as it the first conviction to date at the ICC of any leader of the LRA.

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‘Shot, burned and beaten’
The LRA was founded three decades ago by former Catholic altar boy and self-styled prophet Kony, who launched a bloody rebellion in northern Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni.

The United Nations says the LRA killed more than 100,000 people and abducted 60,000 children in a campaign of violence that spread to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

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Judges said Ongwen — whose nom de guerre means “born at the time of the white ant” — rose to become a senior commander ordered his soldiers to carry out massacres of civilians at the Lukodi, Pajule, Odek, and Abok refugee camps between 2002 and 2005.

Children and mothers with babies tied to their backs were among those killed, said judge Schmitt, who read out the names of the victims.

“Civilians were shot, burned and beaten to death. Children were thrown into burning houses, some were put in a polythene bag and beaten to death,” Schmitt said.

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Ongwen, as commander of Kony’s infamous Sinia brigade, was responsible for the abduction of girls to serve as domestic workers and sex slaves, and boys to serve as soldiers, judges said.

Seven of these women were forced to be Ongwen’s “so-called wives” and two gave birth to children, leading to the historic conviction for forced pregnancy.

Soldiers under Ongwen’s command forced some mothers abducted by the group to abandon their crying babies in the bush so they could carry supplies. One two-month-old was dumped in a rubbish pit.

Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), stands at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, on December 6, 2016. Former child soldier-turned-warlord Dominic Ongwen becomes the first member of Uganda’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army to go on trial in a landmark case before the International Criminal Court keenly watched by thousands of victims. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Peter Dejong / Netherlands OUT

‘He deserves death’
At the opening of the trial, prosecutors played gruesome videos of the scene after an LRA attack on Lukodi refugee camp, showing disembowelled children and the charred bodies of babies in shallow graves.

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Kony promoted Ongwen to colonel at about the time of the attack, the judge said.

Ongwen surrendered to US special forces who were hunting Kony in the Central African Republic in early 2015 and was transferred to the ICC to face trial.

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Survivors, victims and former rebel fighters from Lukodi sat under mango trees to listen to the verdict on a small radio provided by a local leader, and burst into cheers when it was announced.

“Good,” shouted Angelina Okiror, 38, a resident of Lukodi, when the verdict was read out.

“At last justice has been delivered,” added Ann Maria Angwech, 43. “Because Ongwen killed, he deserves death, because with his hand he took away innocent lives and left we the survivors destitute.”

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Residents told AFP the horrors of the attack still lingered fresh in their memories.

“A total of 15 of my family members were killed during the attack and very many people were injured,” said farmer Muhammed Olanya, 38.

Human Rights Watch said the verdict was “historic”.

“One LRA leader has at last been held to account at the ICC for the terrible abuses victims suffered,” said Elise Keppler, associate director of the International Justice Program at HRW.

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“Would-be rights violators should take note that the law can catch up with them, even years later.”

Kony remains at large despite a massive international manhunt on an ICC warrant.

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#Newsworthy

Just in: 3 Chinese employees ‘kidnapped’ in Nigeria mine conflict.

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Chinese firms are working in Nigeria on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects that include mining, railways, airports and roads.

Three Chinese employees have been abducted and their police escort killed following a dispute with local labourers at a gold-mining site in southwest Nigeria, police said Thursday.

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The incident which happened at the Atakumosa area of Osun state on Monday was under investigation, state police spokeswoman Yemisi Opalola told AFP.

“The three Chinese nationals were abducted following a dispute with local labourers at the site,” Opalola said, adding that the police guard attached to the foreigners was killed in the incident.

Kidnapping for ransom which used to be common in Nigeria’s oil-producing south, has lately spread to the other parts of the country.

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The victims are usually released after a ransom is paid although police rarely confirm if money changed hands.

Opalola could not immediately say if the labourers were responsible for the Chinese kidnapping, but added that an investigation had been launched.

“We have also deployed our operatives to the surrounding bushes with a view to securing the release of the Chinese.”

Chinese firms are working in Nigeria on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects that include mining, railways, airports and roads.

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Their workers have been repeatedly targeted by kidnap gangs for ransom.

Last July, four Chinese workers were abducted from a quarry site in southern Cross River state while their police guard was killed. They were freed after a month in captivity.

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#Newsworthy

Inside Story: Court remands teacher after severe murders.

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Prosecution said investigation into the matter was still in progress and prayed the court for an adjournment.

A Magistrates’ Court in Makurdi on Tuesday ordered that a teacher, Mernyi Christopher, who allegedly murdered three policemen, be remanded in a correctional centre, pending legal advice.

The police charged Christopher, who lives in Katsina- Ala town in Benue with criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, act of terrorism and culpable homicide.

Magistrate Ajuma Igama, who did not take the plea of Christopher for want in jurisdiction, ordered the police to return the case file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

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Igama adjourned the case until Feb 25, for further mention.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel, Sgt. Ato Godwin told the court that Christopher was arrested by a team of ”Operation Zenda” led by Sgt. Tivsue Godwin following a manhunt for a notorious syndicate terrorising Katsina-Ala town.

The syndicate, he alleged, on Dec 24, 2020 invaded the residence of the Chairman Katsina-Ala L.G.A Benue, Alfred Avalumun and gruesomely murdered three policemen on guard and carted away their AK 47 rifles.

During police investigation, he said, the suspect confessed to committing the offence, alongside one Aondofa Chekele and some others, at large.

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Prosecution said investigation into the matter was still in progress and prayed the court for an adjournment.

He said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 6(b) 1(1)(2)(a)(b) of the Robbery and Firearms Special provisions Act 2004 , Section 4 of the Abduction, hostage taking, kidnapping, secret cult and similar activities prohibition Law of Benue state 2017 and Section 222 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue state 2004.

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#Newsworthy

Former Kyrgyzstan President flee country as Court opens criminal case.

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The security committee and the interior ministry would “provide a legal appraisal” of the complaint, the state prosecutor said.

Kyrgyzstan’s former president Sooronbay Jeenbekov has left the Central Asian country, his representative said Tuesday, as investigators consider opening a criminal probe into his role in a crackdown on protesters last year.

Jeenbekov became the third president to be unseated by political unrest in October, paving the way for populist Sadyr Japarov to take power less than two weeks after Japarov’s release from jail.

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Japarov, who was inaugurated last week with Jeenbekov in attendance, has previously said that he didn’t see a reason to investigate his predecessor, despite a man dying on the night of October 5 after security services attempted to put down unrest related to a disputed vote.

But the state prosecutor said Tuesday that investigative bodies were considering opening a criminal case on the basis of a complaint against Jeenbekov launched by victims of the police response.

Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbay Jeenbekov address the media at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

The security committee and the interior ministry would “provide a legal appraisal” of the complaint, the state prosecutor said.

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Jeenbekov’s representative Tolgonai Stamaliyeva said that Jeenbekov and his wife had flown out of the country to perform a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Saudi King.

“The Umrah will last more than 10 days, after that time, Jeenbekov will return to (Kyrgyzstan),” Stamaliyeva said in a statement.

Authorities would not be able to prosecute Jeenbekov without a parliamentary vote to strip him of his immunity.

However, Jeenbekov’s predecessor Almazbek Atambayev saw his immunity stripped by parliament in 2019 during a power struggle between the two men.

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Atambayev is now serving an 11-year sentence over his role ensuring the illegal release of a mob boss.

Japarov was serving jail time on hostage-taking charges at the time of the unrest last year but a court reversed the verdict after key powerbrokers backed his leadership bid.

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#Newsworthy…