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How We Broke Into Imo Police Command, Prison, Freed Inmates— Arrested ESN Member

4 May 2021 - 2:50am

An operative of the Eastern Security Network, the militant arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra has been arrested by the police, who narrated how he and other members broke into the Imo State Police Command and the Imo State Correctional facility in Owerri, the state capital.

SaharaReporters learnt that the suspect, who gave his name only as Andy, alias Japan, was arrested in the Orsu Local Government Area of Imo State, and confessed to have participated in the April 5 invasion of the two government buildings in the state capital.

In a video recording of his confession, Andy said he and others were conveyed in a bus before dawn as they invaded the correctional centre. He noted that he and others broke the windows of the correctional facility as the inmates ran out.

He said, “My name is Andy alias Japan. I come from Orsu LGA. I joined the ESN about three years ago. I participated in the attack on the police headquarters and prison.

“I followed. We did it because of some of our members who were in the prison. We went to rescue them. I don’t know anyone of the inmates. I was not armed; I was only carrying a big stick. I entered the prison. I broke the windows and glasses. I joined the ESN because they were freedom fighters. We are looking for freedom.

“Our bus was the one which first passed. I only heard that they killed soldiers. I was in a small bus; we picked another guy on the road. As I am now, I know I have offended, but the government should free me. I have been living in Igweocha (Rivers State). I am married and I have children. They (ESN) don’t pay me one naira. They don’t pay anything. When Biafra comes, they will take care of us and our children.”

SaharaReporters had on Tuesday, April 20, reported that security personnel stormed some Imo State communities to carry out raids, discreet searches and arrests of youths and residents who are suspected to be linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra and its military arm, the Eastern Security Network.

See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Gunmen Attack Another Police Station In Imo, Kill Six Officers 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Multiple sources had told SaharaReporters that the military personnel, suspected to be led by the 34 Artillery Brigade, Owerri, since Sunday had been arresting male residents and youths particularly in Oguta and Ohaji communities and clamping them into vans.

Imo State has been a hotbed of violence and killings which got to a head on April 5, when the notorious gunmen attacked the state police command headquarters, and freed no fewer than 2,000 inmates at the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Owerri.

The gunmen had also attacked the office of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the state police command, freeing suspects there.

The attackers had burnt all the vehicles parked at the command headquarters and freed all the suspects in almost all the cells at the SCID. 

SaharaReporters had reported that the gunmen operated in over 10 vehicles, and also attacked soldiers stationed at Umuorji along Owerri–Onitsha Expressway.

Earlier, four police divisional headquarters had been attacked since February. They include Obowo, Aboh Mbaise and Ihitte/Uboma, divisions.

Unknown gunmen on March 20 also razed the Isiala Mbano Police Divisional Headquarters located at Umuelemai in Imo State.

The gunmen had invaded the divisional headquarters armoury and freed suspects in the detention facility and carted away arms.

While some had fingered the IPOB and ESN as the culprits, the state government had said the gunmen were being used by aggrieved politicians, while the IPOB has also denied its involvement in the attacks.

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Melinda Says Marriage To Bill Gates ‘Irretrievably Broken’

4 May 2021 - 2:42am

As the news of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce continues to reverberate around the world, Melinda has said her marriage to Bill is “irretrievably broken” going by the divorce filings between the $130 billion-worth couple.

Bill, 64, and Melinda, 56, met in 1987 - the same year he became the world's youngest billionaire at the age of 31 - married in Hawaii in 1994, and have three children together: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe 18.

They also established the world's largest charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 which has contributed more than $50billion to causes including eradicating polio and malaria.

The foundation has also been a major investor in coronavirus treatments.

In a joint statement posted to their Twitter accounts on Monday, the pair said their work with the foundation will continue but their marriage will not, adding, “We no longer feel we are able to grow as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

According to Daily Mail, the documents, which were filed by Melinda, came to light after the couple's eldest daughter revealed their family has been going through a “challenging stretch of time.”

Jennifer Gates, 25, spoke out about the divorce announcement on Instagram on Monday afternoon, writing “I'm still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so.”

.@BillGates Daughter, Jennifer Opens Up On Parents' Divorce | Sahara Reporters

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) May 4, 2021

Jennifer is the oldest of Bill and Melinda's three children, followed by 21-year-old son Rory and 18-year-old daughter Phoebe.  

The reason behind their split after over a quarter-century remains a mystery but Melinda has previously suggested her husband had trouble balancing work and family. 

In the divorce petition, which was filed in Superior Court of Washington - King County on Monday, Melinda asked the judge to dissolve the marriage 'on the date stated in our separation contract'. The separation contract was not included in the filing so that date is unclear.  

In the absence of the pre-nuptial agreement, the only agreement pertaining to the divorce is the separation contract.  

Melinda did not ask for any spousal support but requested a trial date in April 2022. However it is likely the divorce will be settled without a trial.  

The petition states that finances pertaining to the couple's two children are addressed in the separation contract. The document was signed by both Bill and Melinda, as well as their attorneys. 

In 2019, shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary, Melinda gave a rare interview to The Sunday Times in which she revealed how Bill struggled to balance work with family. 

“We’ve just gotten to a point in life where Bill and I can both laugh about more things. 

“And, believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, 'Can I do this?"' she said. 

In her memoir published that same year Melinda wrote about her private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mum with three kids. 

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Lagos Council Boss Accused Of Certificate Forgery, Fake Identity

4 May 2021 - 2:34am

The Chairman of Somolu Local Government Area in Lagos State, Abdul Hamed Salawu, has been accused of certificate forgery, falsified identity and fraud. 

Salawu, who is at the centre of a multi-million dollar fraud in the United States, allegedly uses a false identity in Nigeria after being indicted abroad.

The chairman, who is popularly known as 'Dullar' due to his flamboyant lifestyle, was based in Germany where he had a daughter with a native but left after committing a felony.

On his return to the country in 2008, however, it was gathered that he obtained a certificate to begin on a clean slate in his sojourn into politics.

See Also CyberCrime Nigerian Faces 30-Year Jail Term In US Over Connection With Fraud Committed By Ex-Shomolu Council Boss 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

The embattled chairman, who was initially known as Abdulsalau Ogembe, changed his name to Abdul Hamed Salawu without any legal document to back the change. 

A source, who pleaded anonymity said, "Dullar is living a fake life with a false identity. If he changed his name legally, he should provide a newspaper where he did so. I only pity Somolu people who know nothing about this fraudster.

"A man who can change his name, is there another fraud bigger than that? Please Salawu, clear your name, your people deserve to know the truth," he said.

This implies that the Somolu LG boss uses a false certificate which makes him illegible to hold any elected position according to the Constitution. 

In sections 66 (1) (i), 107 (1) (i), 137 (1) (j), and 182 (1) (j), the Nigerian Constitution disqualifies candidates from gaining a public seat under review if “he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission”.

The source expresses hope that the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) will do due diligence in screening the candidates appropriately before the elections.

He said, "With Salawu seeking re-election, it is expected that the commission will put aside partisanship and the 'Dullar' effect and screen out the incumbent.

"We know that he enjoys the goodwill of national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, hence he may emerge the party's candidate. But we are hopeful that this rogue will be exposed. This German deportee is only using political office to evade prosecution.

“It is no longer news that Salawu's papers were seized in Europe and America. He has written to the German and Canadian governments to demand them but to no avail.”

Salawu brags to have transformed Somolu in numerous areas. However, fact check shows otherwise.

One of these is the 'Ijeun Agba’ initiative, a monthly welfare package programme for aged people of 60 years and above, that he claimed to have started, which has been discovered to be a mere mirage.

Aside from this, the Somolu road project, as against claims by the chairman, was initiated and completed by the state government. The semi-mechanised abattoir has nothing to do with Sawalu too, against general perception. 

"They said senior citizens receive stipends from Dullar every month since 2017. I am a native of Somolu, aged 75 and I have not got a penny. Don't I qualify to be paid?" a retired teacher asked.

"All we hear is that the chairman has done this and that but what is on the ground doesn't reflect the buzz. If indeed he paid stipends to retirees, he should publish their names. He should also make a compilation of his achievements in office public as well,” a source said. 

When Salawu's media aide (name withheld) was contacted, he failed to provide answers to the allegations levelled against his principal.

Instead, he labelled it as “propaganda” aimed at tarnishing the chairman’s reputation, especially as the Local Government elections were fast approaching. 

He said, “If you read between the lines, you can smell lies and falsification. The election is coming. Expect propaganda.”

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You Are Going To ‘Paradise’ Direct If Kidnappers, Bandits Kill You— Islamic Cleric Tells Muslims

4 May 2021 - 2:31am

An Islamic cleric and deputy chief Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja, Professor Ibrahim Maqari has said that Islam does not permit Muslims to pay money as ransom to enemies they are at war with.

According to Dateline, Professor Maqari made the comment at this year’s Ramadan tafsir at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He said it is in the context of that rule that kidnappers should not be paid ransom so as to starve them of the funds they could use to boost their arsenal and sustain their evil campaign.

"Since Allah (SWT) has forbidden the payment of money to an enemy who is at war with you, in order not to empower them to continue to fight you, then contributing money as ransom for the release of kidnapped persons, is haram (prohibited),” he said.

Quoting a Hadith (prophetic tradition), Mr Maqari narrated the story of a man who approached Prophet Muhammad, asking him what to do if someone tried to rob him of his money and the Prophet told him to resist the person.

The man then asked the Prophet “what if the person fights me, and the Prophet told him to fight back.”

“What if I kill him,” he asked, and the Prophet said, “He goes to hellfire.” He asked again, “What if he kills me?” and the prophet said, “you enter paradise.”

The Hadith, the deputy chief Imam emphasised, upholds the impermissibility of giving ransom to kidnappers.

He also explained that Islam’s code for discouraging criminality provides that material demands imposed as conditions by criminals are to be ignored, no matter what havoc the criminals threaten to unleash, if the demands are not met.

Refusing to meet the demands of kidnappers would inevitably turn them into losers who wasted their money to feed the captive, wasted their bullets in killing them and wasted their time, he asserted.

“But he (the criminal) has been made aware that the money is never going to be paid and the one who is killed (the victim) is going to paradise,” he said.

Maqari said applying the Islamic provisions can effectively address the challenges of kidnapping currently affecting the society.

“But as long as people will continue to give ransom to secure the release of their loved ones, the recipients of the money will continue to use it to acquire more arms that they will use to perpetrate their atrocity and promote it as a business,” he advised.

Another implication of submitting to kidnappers’ demands, he pointed out, is that the vice will be grow and be hard for security agents to handle.

“So the best way of stopping it, is for the criminal to know that if he kidnaps someone, he can choose to chop his body into pieces,” but he will not get what he wants.

He, therefore, advised Muslims that getting killed by kidnappers is a sure way of going to paradise.

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Fr. Mbaka’s Sin By Reuben Abati

3 May 2021 - 11:18pm

Reuben Abati

Fr Ejike Mbaka, Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu attracts controversy the way flies are attracted to dung. He is completely unfazed about it. He comes across as a priest who does not mind what Pope Francis once referred to as “the sin of scandal”. Last week, Fr. Mbaka stirred the hornet’s again when he announced to his congregation that he had changed his mind about President Muhammadu Buhari, or perhaps he had received another message from God to the effect that if Nigeria’s President Buhari does not resign for failing to find a solution to Nigeria’s problems, he should be impeached. This came as a rude shock to many. Fr. Mbaka was a staunch supporter of President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 and 2019 general elections. He used his pulpit to campaign for the APC. In 2015, he openly opposed then incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience Jonathan. He would later claim that an attempt was made on his life. Mbaka wields enormous influence in the Eastern Region of Nigeria. He runs a personal ministry, more of a personal business which he calls Adoration Ministry which deploys a combination of the Scriptures, combined with faith healing, theatrical, spell-binding tactics, metaphysical hallucinations and a bit of shamanism to hypnotize an attentive audience. In a country where poverty is widespread and the people are looking for Salvation on earth and in the hereafter, anyone who is able to offer a combination of these elements is bound to be a celebrity. And Mbaka is. He is a celebrity. Something of a Rock Star!  But where and when did he and his APC friends part ways? He did not really say anything earth-shaking or original, but coming from him, a Buharideen and an APC apologist, the weight of his new revelation attracted the right measure of attention.

In the past few days, we have been treated to a tit-for-tat between the Presidency and their Enugu-based star-gazer. Presidential Spokesperson Garba Shehu did not allow the saliva in Mbaka’s mouth to dry up before issuing a statement to state that Mbaka, the Catholic priest is not what he projects himself to be. Shehu gave an account of how Mbaka once visited Aso Villa to see the President with three contractors in tow. He wanted contracts from the Federal Government of Nigeria. But the President directed that due process must be followed. Garba Shehu, an experienced spin-doctor thus used Mbaka to score three quick points: (1) that Mbaka is a businessman in priestly garment and an influence peddler; (2) that his so-called prophesies are at best personal opinions depending on his calculations of likely benefits and (3) Mbaka should be grateful that when he visited the Villa, the Presidency was kind enough not to expose him by publishing his photographs.

Reuben Abati

Garba Shehu was not alone. Yekini Nabena, the Deputy National Secretary of the APC also found it necessary to advise Mbaka to desist from making statements that could destabilise the country, and if he fails to do so, he would be reported to the Vatican. Nabena even quoted the Bible to remind the Catholic priest of his priestly obligations and the Example of Christ. Beyond the Villa and the APC, other Nigerians waded in, including Reno Omokri, the self-confessed “Buhari Tormentor” who accused Mbaka of hypocrisy and further sent “An Open Letter to Pope Francis” to draw his attention to the delinquency of one of his priests in Nigeria. The Department of State Services has also since reminded religious and political leaders to eschew divisive politics, because the Nigerian state will not hesitate to defend the country against all forces of destabilization.   

Clearly, the Nigerian government is embattled and it is not ready to tolerate additional pressures from any quarters. Even the World Press Freedom Day statement that was issued by the Presidency yesterday, May 3, while expressing commitment to free speech and the freedom of information, condemned licentious freedom, and gave a small lecture on responsible journalism. And it does not matter whether you were once a friend like Fr. Mbaka, the priest or Eedris Abdulkareem, the artist. The other week, Eedris Abdulkareem dared to criticise the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN in a new album. Keyamo promptly released text messages between him and Eedris in which the musician begged the Minister for money to pay hotel and hospital bills, in exchange for his support for the Buhari administration. This may be a new tactic. Nobody should be surprised if one of these days state officials release images of some vocal critics eating jollof rice and fish bone as Nicodemus guests at the Presidential Villa.

But Fr. Mbaka is taking it all as they say, on his chest. He is practically making a mockery of the reactions to his statements.  He says it is stupid “to be attacking a messenger of God” and that yes, he took three white men who are contractors, who asked for his assistance, to the Villa, so what? They were asking for security contracts for themselves, not for him, and they didn’t get the contracts, so what? He accuses the Buhari government of not having “ä reward mechanism”: “All the people they have been giving contracts, are they better than me? Am I begging them, do they know how many people I fed? Fortunately, they reported that they denied me of the contract – which contract? …They have shown that they don’t have what we call reward mechanism. If Shehu is a human..I don’t even know who the Shehu is. He should be apologising that they have not come down to say Nagode Allah for surviving what they are passing through. The last person this administration should fight is Father Mbaka talking here because if they speak against me, the anger of Heaven will be upon them and their end will shock everybody…”

This is really a different kind of priest.  It is not beyond him to rain down curses like confetti at a wedding! I find his response naïve and contradictory, and strange, given the fact that the Catholic Church traditionally provides their priests the benefit of a sound education and clerical training. He is not the first Catholic priest to be controversial or outspoken in recent times. Recently, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese pointedly accused the Buhari government of nepotism. The government and its agents hemmed and hawed. There were threats that Kukah will be expelled from Sokoto. But in the end, nothing happened. Kukah has since then delivered more stinging homilies and public lectures on the state of the nation. They have learnt to leave him alone. Nobody accused him of bringing contractors to the Presidential Villa. Fr. George Ehusani is another prominent Catholic Priest. He succeeded Kukah as Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat. He is not afraid to express his mind. He is consistent and blunt. He sings. He preaches. He runs a public-spirited NGO on Leadership. Nobody has disturbed him because he does not phone politicians or government officials to ask for favours. In Ewu, Edo State, there is Fr. Anselm Adodo, the Benedictine Monk who is pushing the frontiers of Alternative Medicine and Epidemiology at the Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories. Fr. Anselm is so busy with research, he probably does not know where the Government House of Edo State is. To go higher within the hierarchy, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has been in the business of speaking truth to power before Mbaka gained admission to the seminary. Nobody has ever accused him of drinking tea with a cup belonging to the Nigerian government.

There is also Ignatius Ayua Kaigama, former Archbishop of Jos who is now the Archbishop of Abuja. No contractor, white or black, would ever dare ask him to wear his cassock to go and lobby for contracts. But Mbaka is truly different. He is the priest of “reward mechanism”.  His public persona is that he is a Catholic priest of election seasons. He is a one-man Electoral Commission that can predict election results or anoint Gubernatorial candidates.  In 2015, he reportedly rejected money that was donated to the Adoration Ministry by the Jonathan administration. One of his proclaimed achievements is that he correctly predicted that Senator Hope Uzodinma would become Governor of Imo State through the Supreme Court. But now, Uzodinma no longer picks his calls. He was also once a friend to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani. It didn’t take long before they quarrelled and the Oracle of Adoration began to see new visions. In December 2018, former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi apparently did not understand the meaning of “reward mechanism” when he attended an annual harvest and bazaar celebration at the Adoration Ministry. He was accused of being “stingy.” Mbaka attends road commissioning ceremonies. Only the God he worships knows how many contractors he has taken around the South East in search of contracts.

The Diocese of Enugu, to which Fr. Mbaka belongs has often disclaimed his remarks as his personal opinion. The Catholic Bishops Conference has also always warned against the promotion of partisan politics in the context of Mass. But Mbaka appears untouchable. Reno Omokri, who is himself a preacher of the word, has reported Mbaka to Pope Francis. But Mbaka is thoroughly amused. He tells his critics: “Ïf Rome hears that Father Mbaka is challenging evil governance, Rome will clap for me, so quickly go to Rome…” He is probably amused because he knows that those rushing to the Vatican may not know how the Catholic church system works. The Pope does not get directly involved in the disciplining of priests. Under the Code of Canon Law, it is the responsibility of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith which deals with crimes of an ecclesiastical nature committed by priests. But the Rules stipulate that the local church must take the first step in disciplining a delinquent priest, and outcomes of investigations and conclusions can then be forwarded to Rome. Omokri’s petition will be referred to the local church in Nigeria. Will the local church act? Does Mbaka’s Bishop see anything wrong in what he does? Is his Adoration Ministry so rich and so supportive of the Church that not even the Catholic Bishops Conference can apply the essential norms? The problem is probably not Mbaka, but the Catholic Church of Nigeria and its leadership. Mbaka’s style is also probably environmentally determined. He has received words of encouragement from Nnamdi Kanu of the Independent Peoples of Biafra Organisation (IPOB). Ohanaeze Ndigbo has also publicly supported him. Nnamdi Kanu even said Mbaka also has the right to change his mind like Sheikh Isa Pantami! In Nigeria, religion and ethnicity provide ready cover-ups for anything.

Mbaka represents an emerging face of the Church, a living embodiment of the rise of utilitarian capitalism in the Church of Christ, and the conflation of priesthood with hedonism. Catholic priests were known ordinarily as persons who had taken the Oath and dedicated their entire life to service and prayers. They disconnect from earthly pleasures. Riches do not mean anything to them. They are happy to commit to the task of salvation. It is therefore most shocking that a priest like Reverend Mbaka as far back as 2016 was described in one report as the owner of a Ministry within the Catholic Church, the Adoration Ministry, which he runs as a personal “business”. When he was asked to move from Christ the King Parish, Enugu to Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Emene, his main concerns were the assets of the Adoration Ministry and the fact that he would “suffer.” This new tendency of priests who do not want to suffer, who would rather choose the hedonistic life, explains the new character of the Church. Priests no longer get enough financial support. Priests now want to own estates. They drive exotic cars if they can. They want to travel First Class too. They argue that even St. Paul had a business on the side that gave him extra income. Hence Mbaka can tell the Presidency: “ they know how many people I feed?” We are in the age of billionaire priests who run business empires. With the offertory no longer generous, since members of the congregation are mostly poor, and in need, some enterprising priests can no longer rely on their meagre stipends. They are creating businesses and opportunities in the name of God to live well, and to support others and whenever they can, take care of the Bishops too. They have forgotten that the Lord Jesus was born in a rented manger. He was buried in a borrowed tomb.  

Where is the Church? In November 2014, Pope Francis gave an interesting homily on this same subject at the Saint Martha Guesthouse at the Vatican.  His focus was the Gospel of Luke. He said that “there are two things that the people of God cannot forgive: a priest attached to money and a priest who mistreats people.  This they cannot forgive! It is scandalous…” Quoting the Gospel of Luke, the Pope recalled how Jesus turned tables and drove away people who were selling inside the church: a sacred place of prayer which had been turned into a business place. He added: “Ï think of how our attitude can scandalize people with unpriestly habits in the Temple: the scandal of doing business, the scandal of worldliness…It is scandalous when the Temple, the house of God becomes a place of business…” The Bishop of Rome has certainly not yet heard of the Nigerian phenomenon. Everyone who has had cause to comment on the Federal Government and Fr. Mbaka’s saga, including Yekini (!), has been quoting the Bible. Let me add this passage from the Gospel of St. Mark, Chapter 11: 15-17:

“Then Jesus went to the Temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seat of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them: Is it not written, my house shall be called a House of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves.”  This is the word of God to us.  May the Lord bless His Word...

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#MySARSStory: Out of Nowhere

3 May 2021 - 9:19pm

Godwin Udoh

File Photo


A policeman, for no reason, opened fire on Godwin Udoh´s innocent family, changing their lives forever

My family and I were returning home from church, when we encountered some policemen. It was nighttime, and the headlights of our Keke (tricycle motor) illuminated the officers, making them visible. They seemed to be discussing something.

Godwin Udoh

As we drove nearer, one of them brought out a gun and tried to hit me with it. Alarmed, I parked the Keke and went over to meet them, just to make sure everything was okay. My wife followed. Neither I nor any member of my family have ever had problems with the police, so we did not have anything to fear or hide. 

The police men started to ask us questions. Then, one of them demanded a 2000 naira bribe. I told them I did not have 2000 naira on me. I was on my way home from church - not work. And I was with my family - as they could see by the presence of my wife by me and my children in the Keke.

One of the officers, upon recognizing that my story checked out - that I was indeed innocently in the company of my family - asked me to go. 

In the process of getting back into the Keke, however, I suddenly heard gunshots. It came from behind me, where we had met the officers.

In that split second, I discovered my jaw had burst open. I had been shot. 

File Photo

Confused and in severe pain, I instinctively held my jaw and mouth together to prevent the loss of my blood, which was by that time gushing out like a pipe faucet forced open.

Then, I heard shouts of ´Mummy is dying! Mummy is dying!´ 

My wife had been shot too, and she was bleeding even more seriously than I was, especially from her head. 

She had sat back into our Keke and had been holding our baby when a bullet ripped through the back of the vehicle, ramming into her head and causing her to slump over the crying baby, who my daughter later picked up.


I later found out that the policeman who opened fire on us, unprovoked, was the same one who had earlier tried to hit me with a gun. I have still not understood why he fired so heartlessly at an unarmed family, when his colleague had asked us to drive on.

With my wife in a pool of blood, and my children wailing, I swallowed my own pain and tried to save my family by calling out for help. None of the cars passing by stopped to come to our aid, as they claimed they didn't want to be involved with anything concerning the infamously brutal police. 

One good and brave samaritan however, eventually stopped and had mercy on us. He was a bus driver, and with the help of another kind lady who was around, they helped carry us to the hospital. 

We were unsuccessful with getting treatment at two hospitals, before finally ending up at Ikorodu General Hospital. There, we were asked to submit a police report before receiving medical attention. 

We went to the Idimu Area Command to get a report, but we were told to go back to the hospital because our case was an emergency which did not require a report. 

We told the police that we had already told the hospital staff - and indeed they (the hospital staff) themselves could see that we were an emergency case - yet they still insisted on us producing a report before they would treat us. 

We went back to Ikorodu General Hospital with the instructions the Idimu Area M Command had given us, but the hospital staff were still adamant: no police report, no treatment. 

The driver of the bus had to go back to the Area Command to try again for a police report. Fortunately, and finally, he was able to obtain one. The staff of Ikorodu Hospital had begun first aid treatment on us by the time the driver returned with the report. 

We were later referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), but just when we were about to set off, more problems arose: Our good samaritan found out that his bus had run out of fuel. We decided to go back to the Area Command so they could help us with a vehicle to transport us to LUTH.

When we got to the Area Command, we met some top police officials who had just arrived there. They told us that they were coming from the Isheri Police Station, where the officers who had attacked us earlier were based. The police chiefs assured us that the officers had been arrested, and that the matter would be handled with the justice it deserved. 

They then released a vehicle to convey us to LUTH. With the help of the officers, and CSO there, we were given urgent attention, with the police paying the bills our treatment.

While my jaw and right hand sustained damage that still gives me issues today, my wife however couldn't live to tell her story. 

I really wish she had sustained only injuries like I had, but it wasn to be. This innocent, loving woman was a mother to my children and I, and now she is no more - for reasons no one can still explain.

Losing the wife of my youth has been akin to losing my very life. I feel lost. I am not okay. I am in pain, physically and emotionally, and my children are out of school too. 

My life has been turned upside down, and I have barely had help coming through for me. I am calling on all Nigerians, especially our President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, to come to my aid.

I pray people have compassion on my family, at least for the sake of my children, because I do not want this cruel tragedy to rob them of a good education. I do not want their future ruined because of this.

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Together, we will end police brutality.

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) April 20, 2021

This story is part of a multimedia project by Tiger Eye Foundation and media partners across Nigeria, documenting police brutality in Nigeria, and advocating for police reform.

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Nigerians Specialising In Fake Currency Fraud Busted By Ghana Security Operatives

3 May 2021 - 8:59pm

File photo used to illustrate story.

The National Security has busted a 13-member gang suspected to be involved in the printing and distribution of fake currency notes to unsuspecting victims, mostly foreign nationals.

A statement issued by the National Security Secretariat, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the gang, led by one Yassei Alia, a 45-year-old Syrian resident in East Legon and owner of Hardford Auto Service in Accra, together with Danjuma Zakaria, alias Alhaji Mohammed, 49 and resident of Tema West, were rounded up in a warehouse within the premises of NacCharter Cargo and Freight Company, near KLM offices within the Kotoka International Airport, on Monday, April, 27 at around 1730 hours.

File photo used to illustrate story. ETV Ghana

Freshly printed $10,000 bundles of fake $100 notes concealed in two large metal trunks and a suitcase were retrieved from the warehouse.

The statement said the amount was estimated to be over five million United States Dollars (USD).

Other suspected accomplices arrested during the operation include Esther Omozeea, Emad Aldalhi, Kamal Mohammed, Abdulai Yakubu Osman, and Samuel Ababio.

The remaining are John Denyo, Desmond Delali Dumenu, Alike Happiness, Prosper Chukwu, Victor Israel, Padi Christian Holdbrook.

In their caution statements, Yassei and Mohammed, who drove to the warehouse in the former's car, denied knowledge of the deal.

It noted that when questioned separately, Yassei, who held a Syrian passport, a Republic of Guinea-Bissau diplomatic passport, and a Nigerian national driver's licence issued in Ogun State, indicated that he had gone to the warehouse to have a discussion with one Kojo, an alleged cargo dealer and operator of the premises, regarding a V8 engine the latter was to import on his behalf.

Alhaji Mohammed stated that he had gone to solicit financial help from Kojo to enable him procure a vehicle from Holland.

The statement said while Yassei claimed Kojo sat in a meeting with them on the said day, Alhaji Mohammed indicated that Kojo was not at the premises at the time of their visit and that while waiting for him, they were arrested.

It noted that two of the suspects interrogated separately corroborated Mohammed's claim that Kojo was not seen at the premises on the said day.

"The group's modus operandi, according to intelligence, suggests that they lure unsuspecting victims with claims that they have access to millions of US dollars in Libya," the statement said.

"Victims are given genuine sums of US dollars to spend for free, as a proof of the genuineness of the deal."

Once convinced, victims were requested to deposit huge sums of USD dollars as freight charges to aid the shipment of the said dollars to the victims.

Upon receipt of the amount, the suspects packaged fake dollars stashed in between a few hundreds of genuine notes for onward delivery to their victims.

It said shortly after the arrest, one Bandoh, Alhaji-Ahmed, alias Alhaji Bamed, owner of Bamed Travel and Tours, who claims to be a Presidential Staffer at the Castle, and a client of Yassie, drove to the National Security headquarters, verbally assaulted the leader of the operation, and vowed to free the suspects.

It said the aggressive conduct of Alhaji Bamed suggested that he might be involved in the deal, mainly when investigations are ongoing.

It said officials of National Security had assured Ghanaians that the government was determined to rid the country of fake currency syndicates and warned that persons involved in the illegality would be arrested and dealt with accordingly.

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Buhari, There Is No Wisdom In Silence, Speak Up—The Guardian Pens Editorial On Killing Spree In Nigeria

3 May 2021 - 8:57pm

Too often, President Muhammadu Buhari has appeared – to citizens, commentators, and even his supporters – as too silent on burning national issues. The perception is not misplaced, going by his relative lack of reaction to multifarious incidents, including rabid insecurity plaguing the country, charges of ethnic cleansing and domination, as well as the recent #EndSARS protest. The president has tended to keep mute and relatively aloof of the occurrences, until very late, when too much damage has occurred.

Being the head of a representative democracy that requires regular engagement with the electorate, the leader is reasonably expected to talk to, talk with, and generally keep in touch with the people through the many channels available in this 21st century.  In these times, Buhari’s silence is not at all golden.

Regular and clear communication between a leader and the led is a sine qua non for both effective administration and successful leadership. For if, as a leadership-training expert John Maxwell says, leadership is influence, the potent means of a leader to influence people is effective communication. It is the oil in the machinery to influence. Whereas there are two sides to the meaning of silence, a leader who aims to achieve great things for his people through them must communicate with them; he cannot, should not, remain silent too often, too long. The silence of a ruler gives room in the polity for rumours, speculations and possibly undesirable repercussion. And these happen quickly in the technologically-wired global village that the world has become.

Granted that there is a time, a season, and a place for everything, there is indeed a time to speak up and speak out; there is too, a time to remain silent. In the latter case, silence is, in popular parlance, said to be golden. Silence can be a form of thoughtful restraint from speaking for the reason that it is at that time, a better or wiser cause of action. Golden silence is an act of wisdom. On the one hand, the silence of a man, and even more potently, of a leader can be a strategic weapon.  Wisely applied, it keeps the other side guessing and even confused, to the calculated advantage of the silent.

On the other hand, the silence of a leader can indicate contempt or disdain for the led; an I -can’t- be- bothered -what -they – think –say- or do attitude. This wooden silence is certainly not wisdom, for a ruler, or anyone else. Indeed, as an implicitly provocative act, it is also a risky strategy. Persistent, protracted silence of a leader tends to show him as clueless, as one who is overwhelmed by the job and who simply knows not what to think, say or do about the demands of his office. As his government muddles, wobbles, and fumbles, so will the fortune and fate of the people and of their country. This can be tragic not only for himself, but for the country he heads.

Hydra-headed criminality has virtually taken over this country. In recent times, there is not a day that precious human blood is not shed somewhere on the soil of Nigeria. North and south, east and west, citizens are kidnapped, raped, murdered; homes are burnt and farms are destroyed. With a regularity that is somewhat nauseating, Nigerian leaders elected to assure the security and welfare of the people content themselves with expressing their regret, commiserate with the victims, and promise firm action against the criminals. And then fall asleep, so to speak, in the comfort of their official homes and offices maintained at public expense. But that is when they speak up at all.

Banditry is lately, the buzzword for large groups of murderous herdsmen on the rampage with the confidence of who can stop us. They are well armed with AK-47 guns, grenade launchers, and vehicle-mounted guns and well supplied with ammunition. This is happening in a country where all arms are supposed to be licensed by the Police; where indeed, the authorities had long ago ordered that such arms be surrendered.  
If leadership is a trust, if the primary purpose of government is to guarantee the security and welfare of the governed, if the very first virtuous purpose of leadership is service, then the failure of Nigerian leaders in these respects is too palpable. The evidence is all over: from the debt- burdened, under-productive economy, through the chicanery of unrepentantly parasitic politicians, to the dysfunctional state of the Nigerian society. Only those who still benefit from the current sorry situation (and there is quite a number spanning the various elite groups) will have the nerve to assert that all is well with the country. It is sufficient to say that Nigeria is not on course to the greatness it deserves. And the blame falls on its leadership.

At the highest level of constituted authority, the silence to the dangerous drift of Nigeria into anarchy is deafening, notwithstanding the sporadic statements of media aides speaking for the Presidency. Presidential spokespersons do have a role to play in the polity, but Nigerians did not elect media aides as political leaders. No. The electorate invested Mr. Muhammadu Buhari with full authority and powers to manage the country’s affairs in the best interest of all. They expect periodic report to the people on how well he is getting on with the job.  No spokesperson can articulate this better than the man on the job. And, the means to do this include formal media chat, response to the pressmen questions at occasions, televised address on issues of national urgency such as herdsmen banditry, the state of the economy, and the roaring call for a truly federal system of government. The alignment – or mismatch between the verbal and nonverbal communications can speak volumes about the integrity of a leader.  

Nigerians are not necessarily looking out for oratory eloquence; but they care for substance of what their president says. A leader who has nothing to hide about his performance will confidently defend his actions and omissions. Nigerians know that Buhari is human, not a saint. Elected into the presidency after three rejections, he is expected to speak to Nigerians with the conviction of a leader doing his honest-to-God best to serve the greatest good of the greatest number.  Wooden silence has no room in genuine leadership. Middlemen as spokespersons and script technicians will also not replace the direct communication between the president and the citizenry.  

A leader that does not communicate limits his leadership potential while one that communicates maximizes his leadership. At a time that tries the soul of Nigerians, silence is not a virtue in governance. If President Buhari desires to influence Nigerians in a meaningful, result-oriented way, he must communicate much more with them. There are no two ways about it.

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$4.2 Million Ibori Loot Sparks Fresh Row As Nigerian Government, Delta State Lock Horns Over Ownership

3 May 2021 - 8:45pm

James Ibori

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Monday attributed the delay in the return of the £4.2m seized from a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, and his associates from the United Kingdom to Nigeria to issues around bank documentation.

He said although the Federal Government had anticipated two weeks within which the loot would have been repatriated, it (the government) was not in control of the banks.

James Ibori

The minister's Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, disclosed this in a statement titled 'Ibori loot expected soon -Malami.'

Recall that the Federal Government, through Malami, had on March 9, 2021, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK on the return of the Ibori loot.

Despite the delay in the return, the minister assured Nigerians that the government is working tirelessly to ensure the return of the Ibori loot and other looted Nigerian assets kept outside the country's territorial boundaries.

"Documentation with the banks in different countries often takes longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks.

"There is neither complacency nor any delay as efforts are being made to ensure successful transfer of the looted funds," Malami was quoted as saying.

He said the loot is being expected "any moment from now."

Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State insisted that the £4.2m seized from Ibori and his associates belongs to the state and returned to the state.

The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olise Ifeajika, in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, said, "Governor Okowa had told this country that he has gone into a discussion with Federal Government, letters were written to the federal government to state our position and even send our own Attorney General to Attorney General of the Federation."

In a related development, the Pan Niger Delta Forum again took a swipe and said the Federal Government's insistence on taking possession of the £4.2m said to have been looted by Ibori was unacceptable.

National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Mr. Ken Robinson, who stated this while speaking with The PUNCH on Monday, said the money should be handed over to Delta State where it belonged.

Also, a Niger Delta socio-political group, the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, kicked against the Federal Government's resolve to take possession of the £4.2m seized from a former governor of the state and his associates.

In a statement signed by its President, Austin Ozobo, IPDI said, "the money was stolen from Delta State treasury and not from the Federal Government".

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Bill Gates Daughter, Jennifer Opens Up On Parents' Divorce

3 May 2021 - 8:42pm

Jennifer Gates and her parents, Bill and Melinda Gates, listen to former President Barack Obama speak at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017.

Jennifer Gates, the 25-year-old daughter of Bill and Melinda Gates, said the family has been going through "a challenging stretch of time" after her parents' shock divorce announcement on Monday.

Jennifer Gates spoke out about her parents' divorce on Instagram.

Jennifer Gates and her parents, Bill and Melinda Gates, listen to former President Barack Obama speak at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017. Yana Paskova/Getty Images

"I'm still learning how to best support my process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so," Jennifer wrote on her Instagram story.

The tech heiress — whose Microsoft co-founder dad is worth an estimated $130 billion — is the eldest of the couple's three children. She has a brother, Rory, 22, and 19-year-old sister Phoebe.

The siblings grew up in Seattle and attended their father's alma mater, the private Lakeside High School.

Jennifer graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a degree in human biology. She then took a year off to focus on her equestrian career before going to Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York.

See Also Sahara Reporters BREAKING: Bill And Melinda Gates Announce Divorce 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

Her billionaire philanthropist parents reportedly shelled out $37 million on a string of properties in horse riding hotspot Wellington, Florida to support her equestrian passion.

Jennifer Gates said the family has been going through "a challenging stretch of time."

As a showjumper, Jennifer competed against other celebrity spawn, including Steve Jobs' daughter Eve, Michael Bloomberg's daughter Georgina, Bruce Springsteen's daughter Jessica, and Steven Spielberg's daughter Destry.

In January, Jennifer announced that she was engaged to renowned Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nassar, also a Stanford grad, NYPOST reports.

"I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives learning, growing, laughing, and loving together," she wrote on Instagram at the time.

When she's not riding or studying medicine, Jennifer spends time jet-setting around the world. Her Instagram account shows off past trips to locales including Germany, Australia and Costa Rica.

The Gateses on Monday announced they would be splitting after 27 years of marriage, saying that "we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."

In her statement, Jennifer wrote that: "It's been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family."

"I won't personally comment further on anything around the separation, but please know that your kind words and support mean the world to me," she said.

"Thank you for understanding our desire for privacy while we navigate the next phases of our lives."

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Nigerian Faces 30-Year Jail Term In US Over Connection With Fraud Committed By Ex-Shomolu Council Boss

3 May 2021 - 8:28pm

A Nigerian, Yusuf Owolabi Abdul, is on the verge of being jailed in the United States over crimes allegedly committed by a former local government chairman in Nigeria.

Abdul, a Nigerian resident in Canada, was extradited from Germany to the United States. 


He will be presented on Monday in New York before Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang over crimes committed by a former chairman of Somolu Local government area, Abdul Hamed Salawu.

He faces a fraud charge that may put him behind bars for up to 30 years. ⠀⠀⠀

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, said Abdul was extradited to New York on Friday to carry out his boss's orders in Nigeria.

According to reports, Salawu's trust in his partnership with the suspect made him get a passport for him in his name to Germany.

It was gathered that the prime suspect, Abdul Hamed Salawu, engaged in criminal activities before and after his emergence as chairman in 2017.

Salawu Dullar, as he is popularly known, who spent over a decade in the US and Canada, is said to be the head of a notorious cartel defrauding Americans and other nationals.

"I travelled abroad and in 2008, I returned to Nigeria and that's when the journey into politics began," the chairman was quoted to have said in an interview. 

Dullar lived in the European nation where he had a daughter with a German woman but left after committing a felony, WithinNigeria said.

Information revealed that his friend might have mentioned his name but he's seeking re-election to use government office to dodge prosecution.

It is on record that he was barred from entering the USA after his conviction for credit card fraud.

Meanwhile, another investigation has shown links between Salawu and the immediate past Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial, Ahmed Ogembe.

The ex-lawmaker is believed to be Salawu's elder brother and the Somolu LGA boss is reportedly using his certificate for politics.

While the former Senator bears Ahmed Salau Ogembe, the Lagos LGA chairman uses a modification Ahmed' Salawu'.

To avoid any complication, the latter is said to have removed their surname 'Ogembe' from his name, replaced by his nickname 'Dullar', while all his siblings use Ogembe.

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Nigerians React As Bill And Melinda Gates Divorce After 27-Year Marriage

3 May 2021 - 3:26pm

As the announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce after 27 years continues to gather mammoth reactions across the world, Nigerians have expressed mixed feelings too over the billionaire couple’s sudden break-up.

Earlier, Bill had tweeted that they were getting divorced after 27 years of marriage, saying "we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple".

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the pair wrote on Twitter.

The two had met in the late 1980s when Melinda joined Bill's Microsoft firm. They have three children. They jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The organisation has spent billions fighting causes such as infectious diseases and encouraging vaccinations in children. 

Bill Gates is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes. See Also Sahara Reporters BREAKING: Bill And Melinda Gates Announce Divorce 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

While some Nigerians on Twitter noted that it was their personal decision that should be respected, others felt it reflected that Nigerian parents who endured hardship deserved a credit.

For instance, @EmemXavierAtats said, "Our parents who spent over 40 years plus together on an average income in a very harsh Nigerian economy deserves a 'Nobel Prize in Marriage' if at all there's anything like that. I need to get their past questions on how they managed to stay those years together."

@iamscorefield said, "Mature life. They both decided to move on. Decision hard to make, but it's the best way to dwell." 

@girl4gorgeous said, "Congratulations to them. Can we move on to the next topic please?" 

@OJ_Ibiloye wrote, "With the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates, Adekunle Gold's #IIWII makes more sense to me: 'Money no dey bring happiness.' I wish the two happiness in their new phase of life.

@BoBoBillionair1 noted that the "Gates can't be shot for long... Someone has to open it."

@musajidda said, "If Na Nigerians, even if their fight reach this level, they go settle." 

@ChineduIgadi said, "God has a way of paying everyone for his good deeds and his bad deeds, killer vaccines have turned to killer of marriage, God is a just God."

@matfellony said, "When one window closes, another window opens." 

@ob_tensei said, "So money can't buy happiness or forever it seems. Golddigers in 5, 4, 3..." 

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BREAKING: Bill And Melinda Gates Announce Divorce

3 May 2021 - 2:10pm

Tech billionaire, Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates have announced divorce after 27 years of marriage.

In a joint statement Monday, the couple announced they've decided to end their marriage, saying, "Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives."

They continue, "We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives."

TMZ reports that Bill and Melinda began dating in 1987 after meeting at a New York trade show, and she'd go on to work in marketing for Microsoft and be appointed as General Manager of Information Products in the early '90s.

The couple wed on January 1, 1994, in Hawaii and Melinda left the company in 1996 to focus on starting their family.

Bill and Melinda have 3 adult children, Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe, and reside in their huge, earth-sheltered family mansion, dubbed Xanadu 2.0, overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, WA.

Along with being mega-rich, the duo is widely known for their philanthropic efforts ever since launching the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. It was estimated in 2014 that they had donated $28 billion to the foundation, a number that's only skyrocketed in recent years.

For instance, the Gates Foundation made a contribution of $250 million in late 2020 to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Gates' net worth is estimated at more than $130 billion.

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Police Asked Umoren's Family To Hire A Van, Fuel It Before Investigation — Friend Of Murdered Akwa Ibom Job-seeker

3 May 2021 - 11:10am

Umoh Uduak, a close friend of Iniubong Umoren, the Akwa Ibom job seeker who was raped and killed, has alleged that police operatives demanded that a van be hired and fuelled before they would launch an investigation in the case of the late graduate.

Umoh earlier posted on social media that the family of the deceased were asked to wait for 24 hours after the case was reported to the police. 

Last Friday morning, she tweeted, “Her sister (the victim's sister) is in the police station. And they are saying 24 hours before making any move.”

Nigerians on social media helped with a virtual search as many trended the hashtag #findHinyHumoren while many others traced the alleged kidnapper's Facebook name, phone number, workplace, among others.

The police, after much pressure on social media, however, started an investigation and Umoren's death was confirmed on Sunday.

According to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Odiko Macdon, on Sunday, the culprit confessed to having committed the crime and buried her in a shallow grave.

But in an interview with TVC, Umoh, who was seen shedding tears, said the victim kept her abreast of her movements. See Also Police #FindHinyHumoren: Backlash As Police Ask Missing Lady's Family To Wait For 24 Hours Before Taking Action 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

Umoh said Ini’s sister had gone to the police station to report the case when she informed her of the development.

She said the family was told by the police that it hadn’t been up to 24 hours since she disappeared, so Ini’s sister had to return home.

She said, “When she went back at 8:30 am (the next day), the police told her they couldn’t go with their van, that she had to hire a van and buy fuel. I called (some) people and they sent money which she got and returned to the station.

“They said they were investigating and we heard nothing. I sent the number to people who checked with Truecaller and found it belonged to Ezekiel Akpan. People went through her Twitter and saw the post she made seeking a job.”

Akpan was said to have promised the deceased a job and fixed an appointment with her in Uyo where she would meet her death.
Umoh revealed that a previous victim (Miriam) reached out to her following Ini’s death to reveal how “Akpan had similarly invited her, only to drug, rape, photograph, and blackmail her with threats of posting her nudes online.” See Also Police Murder Of Job-seeking Umoren Triggers Cries For Help On Twitter To Find Missing Loved Ones 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

She added that Miriam sent the address where the incident occurred, which was forwarded to the police, at which time Akpan’s father was arrested. Akpan would later report himself to the police.

“A girl named Miriam said she was in that position with the same guy who chatted her up for a job offer,” Umoh said.

“She said, when she got there, the guy drugged her, gave her weed, raped her, took pictures of her saying if she reported the case, they were going to post it online. She said they used it to blackmail her for money.
“She gave me the address and it was there they arrested the father before he took himself to the station. The sister (of the deceased) had been told that Umoren was raped countless times. She later said Umoren had been killed.

“This is not a case of her going missing. Everyone knew where she went. She sent the address to her sister. She also sent the number of the caller (Akpan) to her sister. We got his picture. The father admitted it was his son.

“People were coming out to give their statement that he had been doing the same thing to other people. So why did the police delay as of two days ago to tell us she had been killed. We don’t know when exactly she was killed.”

Umoh said Umoren's whereabouts were always known to her and others as the young lady hardly went for any event or outing.

She added that Umoren was an orphan, who worked hard for everything. According to her, Umoren sometimes missed lectures because she was working at a private coaching centre to earn money to feed and do other important things.

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Drop All Charges Against Journalists Doing Their Job, Group Tells Nigerian Government

3 May 2021 - 10:52am

File Photo

A group, the Association of Cross River Online Journalists, has urged the Federal Government and the Cross River State Government to drop all charges against journalists standing trial for doing their job.

The union of online journalists practising in Cross River State made the call in a statement issued by its Chairman, Darlington Edem, and Secretary, Archibong Jeremiah, respectively on World Press Freedom Day 2021.

File Photo

The statement reads in part, “May 3 acts as a reminder to the governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

“Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

“World Press Freedom Day has its origins in a UNESCO conference in Windhoek in 1991. The event ended on 3 May with the adoption of the landmark Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press. After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing.

“The theme for this year - Information as a Public Good, is apt and worthy of note. It resonates closely to us in Cross River State. Journalists have remained targeted specie and seen as threat to those in public office, the height of it is the current trial of our Board of Trustees Chairman, Citizen Agba Jalingo for exposing corrupt practices in the current administration.

“We commend journalists risking their lives to get the public informed, we bow for those who lost their lives in the course of duty. We urge the Cross River State Government and Federal Government to drop all charges against journalists standing trial for doing their job. We also urge judges and magistrates not to allow them to be used as clog in the wheel of justice and discharge and acquit journalists that are victims of witch-hunt for their good jobs. Let’s all respect and uphold the good gospel of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Garba Shehu, Other Buhari's Aides Laid Foundation For Recent Killings With Supportive Statements —CDHR

3 May 2021 - 10:50am

Garba Shehu

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has berated the media aides to President Muhammadu Buhari for comments that seem to show tacit support for herders attacking farmers and host communities. 

The group also criticised President Buhari for asking the United States to reconsider relocating US Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany, to Africa, right at the heart of the theatre of operation.

Garba Shehu

Buhari had in a virtual meeting last week with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said AFRICOM, which partners with countries to counter transnational threats, should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to check the security situation, with likely effect on other nations.

Reacting, CDHR National President, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, said the call would be a betrayal of the labour of Nigeria’s heroes past who immediately after independence in 1960, successfully fought against the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact.

He said, “The request by President Buhari that the headquarters of AFRICOM be moved from Germany to Africa is nothing but an invitation of American troops to intervene in the Nigerian crisis.
“To the CDHR, this is an act of desperation that is not properly thought out. It portends the handing over of Nigeria’s sovereignty to the United States of America at this stage of our national history. It would be a betrayal of the labour of our heroes past who immediately after flag independence in 1960, successfully fought against the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact. General Murtala Mohammed would turn in his grave in view of his well articulated presentation at the OAU Summit in Addis Ababa in 1976 titled 'Africa Has Come of Age'.
“It is bemusing how the Buhari government on whose laps the challenge of consolidating the unity and integration of Nigeria and Africa as a whole lies, who has in our view woefully failed in this historical assignment, can imagine that it is American soldiers that can come to the rescue. President Buhari’s call gives an insight into how poorly he has defined the problem. To imagine that the sense of injustice felt by the East, West, South South and Middle Belt, as well as the poor, particularly in the North, can be wiped out by American military might, is troubling.    
“The greatest concern of the CDHR is the thinking within the President’s kitchen cabinet that he, Buhari, can do no wrong and is all knowing; furthermore that all criticisms directed at the quality of his leadership are aimed at bringing his regime to an end and denying Northern Nigeria of its privileges; and as such there can never be a sifting of well intentioned suggestions and even the most reasonable of them are to be rebuffed. To the CDHR, it is in this that lies the root of the pervasiveness of sycophancy amongst the President’s handlers. The most rabid embodiment of this tendency, which is actually self serving, is Mallam Garba Shehu.”

Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President. 

The group lambasted Shehu over some of his recent comments, saying he "displayed a level of sycophancy that has put serious doubts on his choice of what he perceives as defending Buhari at all costs, even when that goes contrary to common sense, decency and the best interests of Nigeria".

The statement said, "Clearly Garba Shehu has reached his wits end, and the question is, whether he knows it or not. 

“His choice of blind defence of anything Buhari puts into serious questioning his sense of judgment of what is right or wrong, and thus his suitability to continue in the high office he occupies.

“In view of the widespread nature of the mass killings in virtually all parts of Nigeria in the hands of Boko Haram, armed bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers, one cannot understand the logic in the point Garba Shehu seeks to make in his recent remarks that killings are not new in Nigeria, and that the widespread reportage of same is aimed at discrediting the Buhari government. We wonder how convincing Garba Shehu believes he is in canvassing his arguments that what is happening in Nigeria under Buhari is not abnormal.

“This is clearly an attempt to justify a clear abdication of the primary responsibility of his principal. Perhaps this is what explains the usually delayed reaction of Mr. President to these occurrences, sometime spanning periods of as long as five days after the occurrence of the event. We consider how Mr. Garba Shehu reckons that he is being of assistance to Mr. President if he cares to retain the confidence of the generality of the Nigerian people with this kind of warped logic.
“It is to this same Garba Shehu that credit was given also within the past few days when he is reported to have said that killing by Fulani herdsmen would continue until governors like Samuel Ortom of Benue State learn to cooperate with President Buhari. Given the context of the killing of persons of Benue State origin displaced from their homes and residing in camps, this sounds more like an insensitive threat that discounts the grievous atrocity that has been committed. It is certainly not an appeal for collaboration between office holders at all levels.

“There is a taint of unjustified arrogance that characterises pronouncements from the President’s media team headed by Garba Shehu which reminds one of the foundations for this violence laid several years back before matters degenerated to this crisis level. We have not forgotten how the Benue people were callously asked to choose between keeping their lives or letting their land go.
“In like manner, one cannot forget in a hurry the unrighteous indignation with which Garba Shehu castigated those he accused of refusing to forgive or overlook the past vituperations of Isa Pantami after his alleged apologies. The CDHR has searched for the apology till date and cannot lay hands on same. It is clearly convenient for Garba Shehu to ignore the fact that the present crisis Nigeria is embroiled in is the manifestation in the here and now of the teachings of yesteryears by the likes of Isa Pantami; and the chickens have indeed come home to roost, and that the young men who were the recipients of those teachings, out of a sense of entitlement planted by their teachers, are those today parading as bandits and kidnappers, breathing life to those ideals under a regime that as best is indifferent.

“Those of them who went into the Security Services directly or indirectly provide aid at variance with their commitment to the interest of the country. In 2018, Garba Shehu described the Northern and Southern elders who had expressed concern over the killings as shedding crocodile tears. One would not be surprised that he still holds the same views today otherwise, why would he say the killings have always been there, even before Buhari.
“Incidentally, Garba Shehu had consistently put his foot in his mouth. It will be recalled that he it was who savagely attacked Bishop Matthew Kukah for saying that Nigeria has become a massive killing field. Garba Shehu was the one who also blamed the farmers for not getting clearance from the military before going to their farms. He was the one who also said only 10 students were kidnapped in Kankara.”

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Kogi Government Finally Addresses Killing Of Its Commissioner, Abduction Of Council Chairman

3 May 2021 - 10:39am

Kogi State Government has vowed to find and bring to justice criminals in the state following the death of its Pension Board Commissioner, Adebayo Solomon. 

Also, the Chairman of Yagba East Local Government Area of the state, Pius Kolawole and some others were also recently kidnapped by gunmen who have demanded a random of N100 million. 


Solomon was said to be travelling from Ilorin, Kwara State to Kabba in Kogi State when the gunmen shot at his vehicle, killing him.

In its first reaction to the tragic death, the state government in a statement signed Monday by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, said the late commissioner “died as a result of gun wounds sustained from the sad incident". 

It read, “We can confirm authoritatively that the unfortunate incident happened shortly after Eruku, Ekiti Local Government, Kwara State. Hon. Adebayo died as a result of gunshot wounds sustained from the sad incident. See Also Insecurity How Gunmen Killed Kogi Commissioner, Kidnapped Local Council Chairman 0 Comments 4 Days Ago

"The whereabouts of Hon. Pius Kolawole, Chairman of Yagba West LGA is still unknown but security agencies in both Kwara and Kogi State, as well as local security services are working hard to ensure the safe return of the Chairman.

“Despite happening on Saturday, the Kogi State Government has been circumspect in making official statements in order not to do anything to throw into jeopardy, the efforts of security agencies on the matter. But it is also incumbent on a responsible Government like ours to speak to our people and assure them that Kogi will spare nothing to remain the safest in the country.

"We also wish to caution those making statements which are capable of undermining the security of the state to desist from such an unpatriotic wish for anomie. It is high time we came together to make our nation safe, secured and governable.

“The government and the people of Kogi State are also determined to make Kogi peaceful and safe. Our government has the backing of the people and the security agencies to keep Kogi safe.

“We commiserate with the family of late Hon. Solomon Adebayo, the people of Yagba West and the entire Kogi State Pension Commission over the demise of a hardworking and patriotic gentleman who contributed immensely to our Pension Administration Revolution in the State. He will be sorely missed.

"The Kogi State Government wishes to assure the family of Hon. Pius Kolawole and the people of Yagba West of our commitment to ensure the release of the Council Chairman.

“We thank all good spirited agencies and private individuals who have stood with us in this dark time. As a Government, we will recommit ourselves to collaborating with neighboring States to ensure security of lives and property.”

Just last week, the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Smart Adeyemi, lamented in the National Assembly the growing insecurity in the country, describing it as the worst in Nigeria's history. 

But Remi Tinubu, her colleague in the National Assembly and wife of the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which Smart also belongs to, was critical of Adeyemi's frankness, asking him, “Are you in PDP (opposition Peoples Democratic Party)? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing?”

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BREAKING: Suspected Sponsor Of Imo Deadly Attacks Arrested

3 May 2021 - 10:30am

A 42-year-old man, identified as Nnamdi Okafor from Amanachi community in the Orsu Local Government Area of Imo state, has been arrested by security operatives for allegedly sponsoring the recent deadly attacks in the state. 

In some of the attacks, policemen, police stations and other government facilities, including the Owerri Correctional Centre, have been targeted. 

SaharaReporters Media

The country home of the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, was also recently attacked by gunmen who killed two security guards attached to the governor and burnt the building. 

According to Vanguard, Okafor was arrested at Aboha-Ohi around Lifeline Assembly, Owerri/Orlu Road in Imo state.

It was learnt that security operatives had been watching Okafor for some time before his arrest. 

The suspect was also identified as a director of Pecubel Hotel in the state.

A source told Vanguard: “Nnamdi Okafor is from Amanachi community in Orsu Local Government Area of Imo state, he was arrested in April, around Lifeline Assembly in Aboha-Ohi along Owerri /Orlu Eoad in Imo.

“Okafor, male, 42 years. He’s the director of one Pecubel Hotel and has a pharmaceutical outlet in Lagos. He was arrested in connection with sponsoring /financing of the so-called unknown gunmen terrorising Imo state,” the source said.

The paper also said some others had been arrested in connection to the deadly attacks in Imo with one of the ring leaders’ name given as Izuchukwu Ohaeri. 

He was said to be 31 years and from Isiwenke, Amakohia in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo state.

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Nigerians Arrested, Humiliated In Ghana Are Inmates Wanted For Escaping During A Recent Jailbreak—Abike Dabiri-Erewa

3 May 2021 - 9:57am

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has alleged that some of the Nigerians arrested by the Ghana Immigration Service were those who escaped from a prison break that occurred in Nigeria.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported how over 400 Nigerians were arrested in Bolga, Upper West Region of Ghana after being accused of rape and dealing in hard drugs.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

A Twitter user, @kenneth2nice had posted a video of Nigerians on a field lamenting the humiliation they had suffered from the Ghanaian government. 

In response, Dabiri-Erewa tweeted, “The Nigerian mission in Ghana is dealing with the matter. Some prisoners who allegedly escaped from a jailbreak here in Nigeria have been allegedly found escaping to Ghana during this period through illegal means. The Nigerian mission has been engaging the Ghanaian authorities.”

However, two young men who are presently in the camp in Ghana countered Dabiri-Erewa's claims, stating that the people at the camp have been appropriately screened and identified as people who have been in Ghana for a minimum of three years. 

One of the young men said all the Nigerians at the camp have been thoroughly screened for a week, and biodata captured including thumbprints. 

According to him, no prison escapee will want his details captured and sent to the Nigerian government. 

He said, “Whatever that woman has said is not true. We have all been screened thoroughly, our faces captured, thumbprints taken, and other details so the Nigerian government will identify us and we all submitted to it because the humiliation by the Ghanaian government is so serious. 

“We have been here for a good number of years and we have experienced the goodness in Ghana compared to Nigeria. It's not like we want to come back to Nigeria but we don't have an option. We are not criminals but we don't have our papers complete, that's why they are returning us. What good is in Nigeria? Nigerian government should not profile us wrongly."

Another victim who had earlier spoken with SaharaReporters stated again that he had been employed by Qnet company for over three years in Ghana before the profiling by the Ghanaian government.

According to him, the company has a headquarters in Nigeria where they will all return to, and continue working upon arrival to Nigeria.

He said the company has been responsible for the feeding and upkeep of its staff members who were arrested. 

“The company has tried their best. They pay for our food, give us money for our other upkeep. To use the toilet here, we pay 1 Cedi which is about N100. The company has been responsible for all that. 

“By the time we return to Nigeria, we will start working at the company's headquarters in Enugu and other parts of Nigeria. But that even depends on the economy and if they can employ all of us.

“What NIDCOM chairman is saying is false. We actually don't want to come back to Nigeria, a country of insecurity, a country of banditry but we have no other option.”

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Murder Of Job-seeking Umoren Triggers Cries For Help On Twitter To Find Missing Loved Ones

3 May 2021 - 9:55am

Nigerians have flooded Twitter with an avalanche of cases of their missing loved ones after the rape and murder of job-hunting Akwa Ibom lady, Ini Umoren, SaharaReporters has gathered.

The Save Our Souls’ messages seem to be travelling fast and having an impact as many social media users have been volunteering to track perpetrators of crime, if appropriate information is shared.

The latest development, however, is connected with the recent killing of Umoren, who met her demise while seeking employment in the hands of criminals who disguised as her prospective employers.

Umoren had on April 29, 2021 tweeted about her desire to get a job, and was reached by the suspected killer who invited her for an interview, only to be declared missing by her friend after some hours.

The victim, @Hiny Humoren, had tweeted, "#AkwaIbom Twitter, please, I'm really in need of a job, something to do to keep mind and soul together while contributing dutifully to the organisation. My location is Uyo, I'm creative, really good in thinking critically and most importantly fast learner. CV available on request."

It was her friend, Happiness Activist (@UmohUduak1) who raised the alarm after receiving a short message from her on the day she went for a supposedly job interview.

Umoren was later found dead and buried in a shallow grave. 

She was said to have also been raped by her abductors. 

Though the police have been blamed for insisting on waiting for 48 hours before Umoren could be declared missing after her friends and family had lodged complaints, they later claimed to have made some arrests in connection with her death.

However, the story has sensitised people to the need to share stories of their missing loved ones on social media, hoping that with swift action, their loved ones could still be found before it would be too late.

For instance, NG Missing People (@NGRmissingpeople) on Sunday tweeted pictures of a woman and child, adding, "This woman is the grandma of the child, she has mental problem which is being treated. She left early morning with the baby without being seen and hasn't returned since yesterday. Last seen at UNITY ESTATE, COOPERATIVE VILLA, BADORE AJAH."

Also, Igbo History & Facts (@IgboHistoFacts) posted, "Missing Girl Alert! 15-year-old Miss Somto Okafor has been missing for about 10 days now. If seen or you know her whereabouts, report to the nearest police station. Please God, reunite Somto with her family. Don't ignore. It takes less than 2 seconds to retweet."

Jordan @trek_bee said on Twitter, "My sister, Munachim Chukwuma Onyia, has been missing for about 10 days. My parents reached out to the police earlier but there seems to me no valid update or information yet, she was last seen on Thursday early hours at office in Victoria Island."

Also, Damie IKEJI @damieikeji tweeted, "Missing person: Boluwatife Adegoke. Please help us find her. She is 14 years old and has not returned home since yesterday."

For Boluwatife Adegoke, whose story was widely retweeted, there may have been a positive result with claims that she has been found in a mosque.

According @damieikeji, the 14-year old has been taken to hospital by her mother to undergo medical checkup. 

She was said to look physically sound when found on Monday.

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