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Nigeria: Anambra Govt, Host Communuity Agree On $140M Modular Refinery

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By Nwabueze Okonkwo
The long awaited proposed multi-million naira Modular Refinery, one of the 10 refineries approved by the federal government to be cited in Anambra and nine other oil producing states in the country, may have come alive, following a balance struck between the state government and the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCOM.

This followed a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of Anambra State Investment Protection and Promotion Agency, ANSIPPA. Mr. Jide Ikeakor, by the national chairman of HOSCOM, Prince Mike Emuh.
During the visit which was arranged by the Chief of Staff to Anambra Government House, Primus Odili, the ANSIPPA boss, Ikeakor commended Emuh for his consistent concern for the development of oil and gas in the state and assured him that government would encourage foreign investors who have the interest to cite a modular refinery in the state.

Ikeakor who admitted that Anambra has more quantity of gas than oil flowing underground, said government could as well serve as a guarantor to the investors whenever the refinery project kicks off.
Earlier, the Project Consultant, Engr. Okoro explained that the refinery project which was split in phases, is expected to cost between $15 million and $140 million, adding that when completed, the refinery would be very profitable to both the government and investors.


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Nurse who used voodoo ceremonies to force Nigerian women into prostitution in Europe could have 14-year jail sentence extended

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An NHS nurse who used ‘voodoo’ magic to traffic vulnerable women from Nigeria into Europe to work as prostitutes could have her 14-year jail sentence extended.
Josephine Iyamu, formerly of south London, used a witch doctor to convince her victims they were under her control and exploited them to fund a lavish lifestyle including jaunts to Europe and £700 designer shoes.

The victims were convinced they were under control due to the magic and trafficked to Europe

The 51-year-old was a ringleader of an international human trafficking crime network and lived in a huge Nigerian mansion complete with a servants’ quarters.
Liberia-born Iyamu, who was made a British citizen in 2009 having been allowed to stay in the UK due to her nursing qualifications, organised the travel of five women from Nigeria to Germany.
She was the first person to be prosecuted in the UK for arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation of victims with no connection to Britain – and was sentenced to 14 years behind bars on July 4.

Iyamu (pictured left during her arrest) was been convicted of using ‘juju’ magic to frighten Nigerian prostitutes who were trafficked to Europe. During questioning (right) she refused to answer any questions

Iyamu (pictured left during her arrest) was been convicted of using ‘juju’ magic to frighten Nigerian prostitutes who were trafficked to Europe. During questioning (right) she refused to answer any questions

Now Solicitor General Robert Buckland will go to the Court of Appeal on Thursday to challenge the jail term handed out to Iyamu.
Mr Buckland will urge leading judges in London to find that the sentence imposed at Birmingham Crown Court in July is too low and should be increased.

Iyamu was found guilty at the end of a 10-week trial of five offences under the Modern Slavery Act, and also of perverting the course of justice while on remand by arranging for relatives of the complainants in Nigeria to be arrested.
Passing sentence, Judge Richard Bond told the married nurse that her ‘vile’ offences had left the women in fear of their lives.
Iyamu charged each of her victims €30,000 and €38,000 to arrange for their travel to Europe – profiting from more than €15,000 from one victim alone via wire transfers and cash payments.

The victims would then be forced to endure an arduous journey to the Libyan coast – which saw them shot at, ambushed and gang raped.
They would then catch an inflatable boat crammed with hundreds of people to Italy before being moved into Germany to work as prostitutes.
Iyamu forced one of her victims to have an abortion in Italy after being raped and impregnated on the journey.
The judge said she would have been fully aware of the dangers involved in a four-week land journey across the Sahara to Tripoli in Libya, followed by a sea voyage on inflatable boats.
The court heard during the trial that Iyamu made her victims swear oaths to hand over money during ‘juju’ ceremonies which saw them ordered to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms, and endure powder being rubbed into cuts.
The prosecution said it was clear that Iyamu, known as ‘Madam Sandra’, had travelled extensively across Europe and into Africa on a regular basis to meet victims.
German police identified Iyamu as the ringleader of a Nigerian human trafficking operation after a brothel owner reported suspicions over one of his workers’ paperwork last January.
Iyamu and her husband Efe Ali-Imaghodor, 60, were arrested at Heathrow Airport on August 24 last year after travelling back from Nigeria.
Police found her in possession of seven mobile phones and more than 30 SIM cards linked them to the German investigation.
Officers also discovered a piece of paper detailing a list of items needed as part of the ‘Juju’ ceremonies and another with telephone numbers of criminal associates.

Iyamu – known as ‘Madam Sandra’ – had worked 37 days in 2016/17 as an agency nurse in south east London hospitals for NHS Capitol Staffing Services.
She lived with husband Ali-Imaghodor, a cloakroom attendant, in an ex-council home in Bermondsey, south east London.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation found the victims – aged 24 to 30 – were made to undergo Juju rituals which exercised a control ‘tighter than chains.’
They were so terrified by the threat of voodoo magic that they had to undergo another black magic ‘revokation’ ceremony to undo the oath they took to pay Iyamu.
Kay Mellor, NCA senior investigating officer, said Iyamu, originally from Liberia, became a British citizen in 2009 due to her nursing qualifications – which allowed her to be prosecuted in the groundbreaking case.
She is the first British national to be convicted of human trafficking crimes not involving British victims and which were not committed in the country.
Ms Mellor said: ‘She was a registered nurse, she was an agency nurse and that totally goes against for me what a nurse is – somebody who looks after people, who makes them better and certainly what she was doing was totally opposed to what in my mind a nurse should be.’

The trafficking investigation – Operation Redroot – began after one victim was arrested and told German police of Iyamu’s crimes. The victim’s phone was then wire-tapped to gather evidence.
The prostitute last January told German police she was born into a ‘relatively poor family’ in Nigeria and was told she could earn huge amounts of money working as a prostitute in Europe.
Juju is a form of voodoo with ‘highly respected’ priests in West Africa.
The Nigerian victims visited the priest multiple times and for up to a week as part of the oath-swearing ceremony.
Ms Mellor said: ‘They exert an insidious control which an expert witness has said is more powerful than chains.’
Describing the ceremony, the officer added: ‘They were given blood containing worms to drink.
‘A chicken was used to hit her naked body on the back and on the chest. She had to eat the heart of the chicken which had just been killed. And the priest would cut their skin and mouth with a razor blade.’
Iyamu then took snippets of her victims’ head and pubic hair and kept them in individualised packages and she told the girls: ‘You have now eaten from the devil and if you do not pay, the devil will kill you.’
Defence counsel John Benson QC told the court that Iyamu – the daughter of a politician – had ‘lost everything’ as a result of her conviction, including her hope of pursuing a political career in Nigeria.


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Three days behind bars for the ‘crime’ of journalism: Diary of a Nigerian journalist

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On August 14, 2018, Nigerian investigative journalist Samuel Ogundipe was detained by Nigeria’s Special Tactical Squad after refusing to name his sources for a story concerning the Nigerian security service’s involvement in preventing officials from entering the Nigerian National Assembly in early August 2018.
Ogundipe, who works for the privately-owned Premium Times online newspaper, spent three nights in detention and was then arraigned without his lawyers present. He was released on bail on August 17 at his lawyers’ urging. The following is an abridged first-person account of the incident, written by Samuel Ogundipe and originally published by Premium Times. This version was edited and published by Global Voices as part of a republishing agreement with Premium Times.
For three days, I lay on a rough blanket in a cell inside the police Special Tactical Squad (STS) detention centre in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
I sweated profusely as I read an old copy of a Christian daily guide, printed by Paul Enenche’s Dunamis Gospel Centre—a book precisely written to prevent people from finding themselves in a spot like this. But for three days, this mouldy, fetid cage — shared with dozens of violent crime suspects — was my reading, eating and sleeping corner.
The book, which had been smuggled in by a Dunamis devotee, was my first encounter with the work of Mr. Enenche and his ministry, and I tried to savour it. I read a passage that preached about the value of freedom, and what believers must do to avoid any form of incarceration. Where individuals find themselves in custody through no fault of their own, it recommended holding on strongly to faith.
It was a striking sermon, one which bore relevance to my case, and gave me confidence that justice would ultimately prevail.
I spent three days behind bars for the crime of journalism. During that time, I heard from several others how people had been in and out of STS detention due to sloppy investigation by the police. Their tales provided mental fodder that helped me endure my first experience in custody.
My experience with STS left me with a sense of a police unit more restrained than others, although some of its tactics still mirror the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The STS facility is housed in a bungalow inside the larger SARS compound for hardened criminals — gives the impression that it is only for temporary custody, but this does not seem entirely true.
As with SARS, STS detainees are condemned from day one, starting with the archaic prejudicial method of interrogation and unbearable living conditions. And also
like SARS, the STS seeks to psychologically torture detainees, to make them give in by isolating them in an attempt to crush their spirit and weaken their will. Many succumb. The only difference is that STS personnel appear more tidy, educated and less crude than their SARS colleagues, whose notoriety has made Abuja residents dub their premises an “abattoir” or “slaughterhouse.”

How it began
My journey through police detention began on August 11 when my colleague, Premium Times’ reporter Azeezat Adedigba, received a call from a police superintendent telling her she was being investigated for criminal offences. She alerted our office,and our managers advised that she proceed with caution.
Two days later, at her request, police delivered to our office a formal letter alledging that Ms. Adedigba had committed criminal conspiracy, cyber crime, attempted kidnapping and fraud, and ordering that she turn herself in by 10:00 a.m. on August 14.
My colleague honoured the invitation that Monday as instructed, accompanied by our Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed. As they waited to speak with police superintendent Emmanuel Onyeneho, a fully armed junior officer confiscated Ms. Adedigba’s mobile phone and then detained her.
Hours later, Mr. Oyeneho appeared, returned Ms. Adedigba’s phone and asked her to dial a number on it. The number turned out to be mine. The detective then asked that I join them. I was halfway through a piece of choco pie when the call came in. I devoured the rest before reaching for my keys.
I was halfway through a piece of choco pie when the call came in. I devoured the rest before reaching for my keys.
I arrived at about 2:30 p.m. to a barrage of questions from Mr. Oyeneho, all aiming to find out the source of our story about Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris’ interim report to then-acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the State Security Service’s siege on the National Assembly on August 7.
I’d written the piece on the night of August 9, after receiving the report from a trustworthy source and getting it authenticated by two high-ranking police officers. The police had no complaints about the accuracy of the story. They only assumed it was not meant for public consumption. In fairness to the police chief, the five-page document, aside from being clumsy, contained too many errors that cast him in a bad light.
On my arrival, Mr. Oyeneho released Ms. Adedigba. “We only used you as a soft target to get our main suspect,” the officer told her.

‘Mr. Oyeneho could not get me to reveal my sources on the spot’
It soon became clear that Mr. Mojeed and I were going to be detained. An officer in jeans and a t-shirt suddenly took a seat beside us, blocking all pathways The officer was slightly dreadlocked and wore a yellow jungle boot. He kept a straight face and was completely attentive to our conversation.
Mr. Onyeneho demanded my phone when he came to collect me at the entrance, but I told him I didn’t have it. He was curious, and ambled around me to make sure. My editors had advised I should never take my phone if I was called in for questioning, because the operatives might end up finding details unconnected with their investigation, and also bugging the device.
Just before Mr. Oyeneho started interrogating me, he boasted that my salary account with Ecobank had been frozen hours earlier. My mind immediately dashed to a transfer that failed to go through on my bank’s mobile app, just before I received the call to turn up at the station. Before I could ask whether he procured a court order before taking this measure, he started growing increasingly furious about the source of my story.
When Mr. Oyeneho could not get me to reveal my sources on the spot, the police superintendent informed his superior at the STS and sought the next move. The administrative officer in charge of the STS detention centre said we should proceed to the Force Headquarters for further interrogation.

‘He tried many times to tell me what to write’
Four plainclothes officers, the administrative officer and Oyeneho drove us into the bowels of the Force Headquarters.
We arrived at the office of Sani Ahmadu, the police commissioner overseeing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit, of which the STS is a department.
As we took our seats, Mr. Oyeneho tried to boast about the “intelligence operation” they executed to arrest me, but Mr. Ahmadu interjected, apparently feeling it was too much information for Mr. Mojeed and me.
Mr. Ahmadu told us the story Premium Times published had violated the law, but assured us his men would be civil in handling the matter. They gave me a pen and two sheets of paper to write a statement.

As I wrote, Mr. Oyeneho was interrupting. He tried many times to tell me what to write, but I declined each time. He insisted I state the number of times I had written unfavourable stories about Mr. Idris, Nigeria’s police chief, or the police as an institution, or even the Nigerian government in general. I paid no heed.
While I was writing my statement, an officer assisting Mr. Oyeneho whispered that I was “in trouble”.
After about one and a half hours of back and forth with the officers, I turned in my statement, just as Mr. Ahmadu’s early evening meal was delivered. We would have to wait, I signaled to Mr. Mojeed, who was seated about a metre away.

‘Everyone brought in for interrogation is a “prime” suspect’
As we waited, I saw Mr. Ahmadu working the keypad of his Samsung phone. He was shopping for a warrant to keep me in custody. Another officer also could be heard discussing efforts to convince a magistrate to issue a warrant. About 45 minutes later, a police prosecutor attached to the STS arrived with some paperwork.
He pulled out a document and showed it to Mr. Ahmadu and other officers. Mr. Mojeed signaled to me that it was a warrant, and asked me to stay calm nonetheless.
We heard the officers saying the warrant would be valid from August 15 until August 25. By then, Mr. Ahmadu was through with his meal. He had also read my statement, and was ready to conclude the session.
Then Mr. Mojeed’s phones started buzzing non-stop. Apparently, Azeezat and Tosin Omoniyi, another colleague who was also at STS before Azeezat was freed, had broken the news to other colleagues at the office. Halfway into my statement, Mr. Oyeneho had already started receiving calls from our lawyers and other concerned persons.
Just before I was returned to the STS by my minders, Mr. Ahmadu asked for the last time if I could reveal my sources. I turned him down yet again. As we made for the exit, Mr. Mojeed turned and told him:
“I just want to let you know that this action you are taking, this attempt to lock up a reporter for writing a story, would embarrass this country seriously.”
“I do not care,” Mr. Ahmadu said meekly before snapping: “Go and tell that to those who are afraid of the media. We are not!”
“I do not care,” Mr. Ahmadu said meekly before snapping: “Go and tell that to those who are afraid of the media. We are not!”
As we made our way down the stairway from Mr. Ahmadu’s office, the officers were asking Mr. Mojeed how detaining a journalist for publishing a confidential document would embarrass the country.
“Your question shows that you people do not understand the implication of the assignment you were given,” Mr. Mojeed answered.
Before they were able to give any coherent response we reached the car park. The same Hiace bus did a pirouette to take us back to the STS detention centre.
Within minutes, we were back at the detention centre. Mr. Oyeneho quickly prepared a docket for my detention.
He asked me to remove my wrist watch, belt and shoes as he prepared to move me into the cell. Though obviously angry and disturbed, Mr. Mojeed remained level headed, and he admonished Mr. Oyeneho on the need to ensure I was not physically tortured or hurt in detention.
“Okay, I will tell the guys in cell not to touch him,” the officer responded, to my relief. “That would go a long way,” I said.
“Okay, I will tell the guys in cell not to touch him,” the officer responded, to my relief. “That would go a long way,” I said.
A female officer taking records of inmates gave Mr. Oyeneho the key to the cell and pointed me in the direction of the cell. “Follow him,” she ordered.
Everyone brought in for interrogation is a “prime” suspect in this centre and treated with disdain, and it is even worse if you are being detained.

‘I will tell the guys in cell not to touch him’
Around 5:30 p.m., I was escorted into the cell. As the iron bar door opened, a musty odour oozed from the room. Mr. Mojeed was asked to step back while the officers pushed me in. For nearly a minute, Mr. Onyeneho called out the leaders of the cell and warned each of them to ensure my safety.
“President, IG, OC Torture,” he said, addressing various prisoners by their “roles” in the cell, “this person is a journalist and a visitor of the Inspector General, (referring to Nigeria’s police chief, Mr. Idris ), he did not come in here the same way the rest of you came here,” Mr. Oyeneho said.
“If he complains about any of you, the person will pay seriously for the offence, is that clear?”
“Very clear,” they chorused.
He then pointed to a blanket in a corner of the cell and said a space should be created for me there. Before I could whisper my appreciation, the officer had disappeared and the cell door slammed shut.
I had been told how new prisoners are usually tortured, especially those who came in with nothing. It is a form of ritual aimed at weakening a newcomer into submission to the existing authority in the cell.
“Who be that?” a sleepy voice mumbled from a mound of filthy football jerseys.
“Na one oga oh and dem don talk say make we no touch am,” the cell president responded. He’s a big man and we were told not to touch him.
“So person wey just come today now go dey siddon for president side, they sleep for president bed and e no bring anytin for president?” So this person that just arrived today will sit by the president’s side, sleep on the president’s bed and he did not bring anything for the president? another guy fumed.
“My people wan know whether you bring bread come, oga?” My people want to know if you came with some bread, boss, the president asked me.
“No, I no carry bread come but I get small change for my pocket if una wan buy anytin.” No, I did not come with bread but I have some small change in my pocket, in case you need to buy anything.
The whole cell erupted in ecstasy.
“This our new journalist e weigh so?” Is this our new journalist up to the task?, the president asked rhythmically.
“E weigh!” He’s weighty! He is up to the task.
“If una sure say e weigh make una give am seven gbosas!” If you’re convinced he’s weighty, then give him seven gbosa (greetings), the president said.
“Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa!”
I’d had about N6,000 (about USD $17) crammed in my pockets. Mr. Mojeed had advised that I should take only half into the cell. Even if I’d had no cash on me when I entered, the president would still have covered me from harm strictly on the basis of Mr. Oyeneho’s warning.
I learnt there are worse cells in the facility where people could be moved to. The president asked that I hold on to my cash until the next morning, when they would need to place an order for food.
I had barely spent 15 minutes in the cell and my head was already hot. 34 of us were packed in the 12×12 room. Inside the bare concrete cell, dozens of young men sat in rows, some with unshaved beards and dusty heads, laid out like an orchard plantation in the harmattan. It was difficult to imagine how they sleep at night in such a compressed setting.
Amongst the 34 men I met in the cell were kidnapping, armed robbery and even Boko Haram suspects. They had not been moved to the “condemned” suspects’ jail because they were providing intelligence to the police, and some were already negotiating their way out.
“I have been in this situation since February ending,” the president told me. “The former president smuggled this blanket in May and I inherited it from him when he was moved out.”
It was at this point that I realised the blanket I was sitting on had not been laundered for three months.
It was at this point that I realised the blanket I was sitting on had not been laundered for three months.
“I go bring clothes now make you use am do pillow, dem dirty small but you fit manage am.” I’ll bring some clothes that you can roll up and us as a pillow, they’re a little bit dirty but you can manage it, the president said in a bid to help me adjust to my new reality.
He was here on car-jacking allegations. An accomplice with whom he was arrested had since left after ‘bailing’ himself. But the president had no resources to extricate himself from the charges.
“Dem no even gree carry me go court again,” They don’t want to take me to court again, he said. “My mama and brother no get enough money wey dem fit use fight for me.” My mother and brother don’t have enough money to use in fighting for me.

Just add 18 minutes
It was already 7:30 p.m., and we were being called for Christian prayers; Muslim inmates had already concluded theirs. A digital wristwatch owned by the president read 7:12.
“We know say e no correct, but e get as we dey use am.” We know it’s not correct, but we use it like that.
“Why you no fit correct am?” Why can’t you correct it? I asked. He threw the watch at me, and I immediately noticed the crown was broken.
“Just add 18 minutes to anytin wey you see for the screen,” Just add 18 minutes to anything you see on the screen, he said.
After prayers, which lasted about an hour with songs of praise, it was time for dinner. And strong vexation rent the air. The cell president had ordered food at 4:40 p.m., but the vendor was yet to deliver.
“Cell guard!” he called out, trying to get the police officer on duty to look for the food vendor.
“Oga journalist, na so dem dey treat us for here.” Boss journalist, that’s how we are treated here.
The guys knew exactly which officers behaved well and which are unkind. They were taking mental notes.
The guys knew exactly which officers behaved well and which are unkind. They were taking mental notes.
At about 9:00 p.m., dinner arrived. The president, assisted by the IG and OC torture, served packs of food to 26 cellmates. Some had noodles, while others had ordered porridge beans. The food was divided, with each person getting not more than a small portion.
More than a dozen had only garri (cassava flour cereal) and kulikuli (a peanut-based snack) for the night. I was told these were inmates who had run out of money and had no family or associates that cared enough to visit them in jail, much less replenish their pockets.
As the others were eating, I quickly fell asleep. Luckily—and strangely—there were no mosquitoes. It was 5:00 a.m. before I woke up. By 6:40 a.m., both Muslim and Christian brothers had concluded prayers.
At 7:00 a.m., the cell guard came in for his routine counting of inmates. The others knew the officer was coming, so they were already standing.
“Who dey sit like chief for there?” Who is sitting like a chief there?, the officer said as he flashed a powerful torchlight into my eyes.
Of all the inmates, I was the only one the cell guard, who resumed shift that morning, was meeting for the first time. He asked that I join others on one end of the open concrete. One after the other, we were asked to move to the opposite side and given numbers as we obliged.
At some point, I pushed the OC Torture forward. “Na your turn,” It’s your turn, I said.
“Na you dey sleep for Aso Rock, make you go first.” You are the one sleeps in Aso Rock, so you have to go first, he replied. Aso Rock is what inmates call the cell president’s blanket area—a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nigeria’s presidential villa, which bears the same name.
Aso Rock is what inmates call the cell president’s blanket area—a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nigeria’s presidential villa, which bears the same name.
Before the counting session was over, I was already blending in with my fellow inmates, my remarks frequently eliciting cheers from many of them.
The impression I had of prison cells was one of violence and exploitation. But I realised within one day that inmates, no matter how long they had been behind bars, could also be persons of candour.
We fraternised and discussed our individual ordeals without fear. Some talked openly about their offences in the cell, admitting things about which they had kept investigators in the dark. An unwritten convention says cell mates should not divulge confessions shared, and flouting it could be costly.
Some said they had already confessed to the police and were waiting to be arraigned. The police often promise to help them through trial if they confess, but since such arrangements are seldom done before a lawyer, they are difficult to enforce. Yet the court continues to admit verbal confession of suspects as evidence.
I had a slight share of this one-sided practice in my own case, when I was secretly and hurriedly driven to court on the afternoon of August 15. The prosecutor and officers promised to let me call the office or our lawyers if I cooperated with them but this turned out to be a ruse.

Alone in the courtroom
Mr. Ahmadu, came to the detention centre to interrogate me a second time.
The commissioner’s expectation was that I would divulge the source of my story because I had become isolated from Mr. Mojeed. He also promised that I would be released immediately, and receive some unspecified benefits. But I dug my heels in, and it ended up being a wasted 40 minutes for both of us, or mostly for him.
Around 11:00 a.m., my breakfast arrived, brought in by Premium Times’ Administrative Manager, Williams Obase-Ota. He came in with one of our lawyers, and the two ensured I started eating before they left around noon.
By 1:00 p.m., I was being told preparations were underway to take me to court, and I started asking that I be allowed to call Mr. Mojeed or our lawyers. They declined. By 1:30 p.m., I was ordered into a Nissan light truck that would take me to court in Kubwa, about 25 minutes away. I insisted on being permitted to make calls, but I was denied yet again.

The prosecutor called me aside, saying I should not resist because he would allow me to make a call along the way, and he had no plans of submitting any application to further detain me, anyway.
I got into the vehicle with three officers. The prosecutor went ahead in his own car. We arrived at the magistrate’s court in Kubwa around 2:30 p.m. The prosecutor asked that we wait inside the car, and went into the chambers to meet the magistrate.
We were eventually called in around 3:45 p.m., after the discussion between prosecutor and the magistrate had dragged on for well over an hour. As we stepped into the courtroom, I was immediately put in the dock. While we were waiting outside, I repeatedly asked the prosecutor to live up to his words and allow me just a telephone call, but he declined repeatedly.
I was alone in the courtroom. The prosecution side had the prosecutor, another lawyer whom he had called to meet him at the court, and two of the three police personnel who had accompanied me. The charges were read: violation of sections 352, 288 and 319A of the Nigerian penal code, offences related to sexual assault and murder, not trespassing and obtaining police document, as the police officers had originally accused.
Even though I had not studied the charges closely, I entered a not guilty plea. The prosecutor who had promised not to seek my further remand demanded that the magistrate keep me in custody so officers could continue their investigation.
The magistrate immediately granted the relief, saying I should be kept in custody for five more days and returned to court on August 20.
Having listened to the charges and after the curious meeting the two held in camera, the prosecutor had stripped my identity and I needed to clarify this before the magistrate.
Just before the magistrate hit the gavel and retreated into his chambers, I quickly informed him that I was a journalist with Premium Times. I told him I did not burgle the Force Headquarters to steal documents from the IGP’s office, as the prosecutor implied in the first information report.
The magistrate was stunned, and looked right into the eyes of the prosecutor, apparently feeling a sense of manipulation. I needed to make a call, I told him. I had been denied access to my office and lawyers.
The magistrate was stunned, and looked right into the eyes of the prosecutor, apparently feeling a sense of manipulation. I needed to make a call, I told him. I had been denied access to my office and lawyers.
The magistrate initially said the prosecutor should allow me to make a phone call later. Then he changed his mind on the spot, demanding that the court registrar bring his cell phone to me so I could call whoever I wanted.
The entire court proceeding lasted about 10 minutes. I called Mr. Mojeed to brief him about it afterwards, passing across enough information before I was whisked back to detention.
I returned to detention devastated, unnerved at the thought of staying through the weekend. I wondered why I was denied access to my office or lawyers.
‘They want to break your spirit as much as they can’
The next day Mr. Mojeed visited and urged patience, saying I would soon be out. It was at that time that he first hinted that my arrest had sparked even bigger anger amongst freedom lovers in and out of Nigeria.
“You will be very proud of yourself when you come out,” Mr. Mojeed said. “Just be patient and continue to endure whatever treatment you get in here, because you will soon be out.”
Just before Mr. Mojeed came in, an officer had denied me a chance to brush my teeth outside the cell, to say nothing of having a shower. I had now spent two full days without bathing, and brushed only once.
I whispered this to Mr. Mojeed inside Mr. Agu’s office. “I understand everything, it is all part of their tactics,” he responded. “They want to break your spirit as much as they can. Just hold on and do not let them succeed.”
Some minutes later, just before Mr. Mojeed turned to Mr. Agu to discuss my welfare, the senior officer offered both of us akara and water. That was my first meal for the day.
After discussing with Mr. Agu for about half an hour, Mr. Mojeed was ready to go. Mr. Agu asked that I remain at his office for some fresh air, but this was only a face-saving gesture. A few seconds after Mr. Mojeed exited the building, a personnel officer was called in to usher me back to the cell.
That was already past 7:00 p.m., and the president was preparing Christian inmates for prayer. The akara I had was too heavy in my stomach, knocking me straight to sleep in the middle of the evening prayer.
When the cell guard arrived for the routine count of inmates at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, he asked me to step outside and gave me a seat at the front desk.
“If you get anything for inside, make you go carry am.” If you have anything inside, go and collect it, he said.
I had nothing in there — I had been wearing the same clothes since Tuesday.
“Call that your oga make he come sign for your bail.” Call your boss, let him come and sign your bail, the officer said.
I called Mr. Mojeed, who was already on his way to the station. I later learnt that my release had been concluded the night before, but it was too late to take me to court at that time. I had to be taken before the magistrate who ordered my remand until Monday before I could be released on Friday.
“What if the magistrate denied me bail again?” I asked an officer.
“No be him put you for cell, e no fit talk say make we no release you.” He is not the one that ordered your detention, so he has no right to tell us not to release you.
Adding my experience before the magistrate two days earlier, I began to appreciate the domineering influence police and other law enforcement agencies wield over magistrates across the country. Magistrates are often said to cluck under police officers like hens, but I did not know much about this until now.
Just before Mr. Mojeed stepped in, the cell guard asked me to go and take a shower. There had been an order from above that I should not be allowed to leave the station in the tattered way I had been for days. Some of the kidnapping suspects in my cell were called out to fetch water from a nearby well.
I had my shower and put on new clothes my colleague brought the day before, but which I was denied from putting on because I could not shower.

Free on bail
I met Mr. Mojeed at the front desk as I emerged from the bathroom. “You are free now,” he said to me gleefully. “Amen, thank you sir!” I responded reservedly.
At about 10:00 a.m., we arrived at the court. Our lawyers were already present, and it was not long before the magistrate arrived.
The seats and the floor were filthy. A dirty quilt was abandoned on the floor between the dock and the wall. Not a single computer or clock in the room. The ornamental bulbs and blinds were also broken.
Magistrate Abdulwahab Mohammed took his seat around 10:15 a.m. My case was listed at number four, but the magistrate moved it to number one, seconds after the registrar had already called the first case on the list.
I entered the dock before being prompted. It was a bail hearing, so our lawyers were called on first. The application for my bail was moved and the prosecutor raised no objection. It was already a done deal.
The prosecutor even sought lenient bail terms for me, even on self-recognisance, he said.
The suave magistrate, likely in his thirties, found this funny, and he first concealed his chuckle with his pen before using the sleeve of his jacket.
“Is he the acting president?” he asked the prosecutor. “He is a known journalist, your lordship,” he responded.
The magistrate approved the November 7 adjournment sought by the prosecutor and agreed to the motion by our lawyers and the hearing quickly wrapped up. In less than half an hour I was a free man. The entire hearing and tidying of paperwork for my bail were concluded within 20 minutes.
The officers who brought me to court were the first to request selfies with me. I was reluctant at first, then one said the picture was only an innocuous way of showing that I had no personal reservations towards them. I obliged.
I also posed for photographs with our lawyers and Mr. Obase-Ota who was in court to drive me to the office. But just as we were about driving away, I saw a news item pop up on his phone, saying the police had accused me of violating the official secrets law.
Why would they charge me with violating official secrets when I am not a public official? What I could immediately think of was that the government was out to muzzle the press, and it would stop at nothing, no matter how ridiculous. Even then, it would be difficult to describe the document as secret because nothing in it warned it was, a fact widely observed.
Moreover, Premium Times later learnt separately, days after my release, that Mr. Idris was angry about some of my stories in the past. This is understandable, especially as the factual bases of my work were not in dispute. But this was not enough grounds to lock me up for days, one would imagine. Then again, there have been several cases of journalists being hounded in the past three years, some of which I chronicled here only last year.

The precarious work of journalism, with elections on the horizon
With the 2019 elections in view, there are fears that journalists may be deliberately targeted, or, like me, made scapegoats. It was in the car that my colleague informed me that another journalist, Jones Abiri, had been released after two years in custody. He was freed on August 15, a day after my arrest.
I also began noticing the magnitude of support and how big the story of my arrest was, when my colleague at the digital strategy desk would not allow me to get to the office before taking new pictures of me to upload with the breaking story of my release. Mr. Obase-Ota quickly parked at a safe compound and took pictures in the specified resolutions. The picture was everywhere before I got to the office, and both the management and I had to put together separate statements of gratitude.
The Buhari administration understands the critical role the media will play in the upcoming election, just like those before it, including the one that brought him to power three years ago. And, as The Punch noted in an August 24 editorial, Premium Times has been playing a leading role in unearthing the missteps of this administration, making the investigative newspaper a prime target for harassment.
Babajide Otitoju, a political analyst, also saw my arrest as part of a desperate strategy by state actors to instill fears in journalists ahead of 2019, describing it as an “elevated exaggeration.”
Babajide Otitoju, a political analyst, also saw my arrest as part of a desperate strategy by state actors to instill fears in journalists ahead of 2019, describing it as an “elevated exaggeration.”
Early last year, it was the leadership of the Nigerian Army that was uncomfortable with our journalism and goaded the police into arresting publisher Dapo Olorunyomi and Evelyn Okakwu, my colleague at the judiciary desk. They were released the same day and the matter was never brought to court, apparently because, as with my case, they had no serious complaint at the time.
I spent three days in detention. But it was enough time for me to appreciate the precarious fate of journalism in Nigeria, despite nearly two decades of uninterrupted civil rule.
I felt terrible to have been incarcerated and isolated and accused of crimes that were clearly unfounded.
But I remain eternally grateful to everyone around the world who pushed for my release. The unbelievable magnitude of support my organisation and I enjoyed during this episode has strengthened my resolve to always be a voice for the voiceless, while also pushing for the people’s right to know and holding our leaders accountable.


 Guest Contributor

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WHY CORRUPTION IS FIGHTING IN NIGERIA

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Any time the heart of the nation beats, people will flashback to the memories of the past — the injustice, marginalization, the civil war, segregation, inequality and outright denial of rights and imbalances in our system of governance and administration, among others.
Inasmuch as you can only heal the wounds and not the scars, you must be very proactive and discrectional not to allow the “Recurrence” as long as the scars remains very visible. When people can preempt your actions and sense of reasoning as egregious and motivated by religion, party affiliation, tribal sentiment or ethnic inclination, you lose relevance and circles of influence very fast, and plumet downward spiral.
It is ironical to say say that corruption is fighting back in Nigeria when we keep reminding ourselves the ugly memories and continue to recycle the pictures of the past. Nigeria is the only country where you appoint a very qualified person as a junior minister and make the unqualified a senior minister over the qualified.. Nigeria is the only country where only one particular section of the country are considered to be borned with Birth-rights to hold “Key Positions” in the land — be it military, the police force, the security services, and Paramilitary agencies, where people who have Masters and Ph.Ds are relegated to the background, making them subordinates to those who are not as educated and qualified as they are, just because of erroneous Quota System, and indiscriminately promote those unqualified and less educated to senior ranks, and Service Chiefs, and Comptrollers ad DGs simply because they came from the region considered to be highly privileged with the nation’s birth-right as claimed.
Those who have first degrees or equivalent are made DGs, Comptroller Generals, and Service Chiefs over the intellectuals with Masters and Ph.D in the workforce against the norms and best practices in civilized society where justice, equality and freedom thrive, where all citizens has equal rights and opportunity, and sense of belonging.
The inequality, injustice segregation in our system of so called “Democracy and Governance” is worst, bitter, and more painful and even more disastrous and poisonous than the corruption we are shouting about. It breeds corruption itself.
The greatest problem of Nigeria is that we are very religious people from the purview of christian and muslim faith. But if father Abraham, the father of Isaac and Ismael who we all revered to as father of faith were to be a Nigerian, he would have choose to use another person’s son to offer sacrifice to God rather than using his own son, that is Nigeria for you, and that’s exactly how we are. But Abraham used his own son; that’s justice, fairness and equity.
So many people today are saying that corruption is fighting back including the the government itself. The answer is very simple. In International Law, it is called “Inadimplenti non est adimplendum”. The interpretation is: “Obligation can not be performed to the one who do not perform an obligation. Meaning that you can not demand an obligation from people when you yourself do not perform obligation to others. It’s a breach, morally wrong and unethical.
Several cases and indictment against members of the cabinets and other government officials are swept under the carpets. The case of former secretary to the Federation, Lawal Babachir; the case of former Pension Fund Chairman, Mena ; the case of former DG of National Intelligence, Oke on the controversial Ikoyi Gate saga: the former DG of DSS, Duara on the damaging image and shameful barricade of the National Assembly and national disgrace which he made a categorical statement that the operation was a collective decision. And most recently, the embarrassing issue of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun who is indicted for allegedly forging the NYSC certificate, and up till date the Federal Government had explained what went wrong, but keep telling Nigerians that investigation is ongoing, and so many other cases including ex-governors who moved from the opposition to join your party, simply because anybody who joins your party will be shielded and no longer be investigated from serious corruption charges hanging on their necks and automatically became saints.
The Federal Government release of N 16. 6 billion to Osun State barely 2 weeks to Osun Governorship election is another hiding Agenda of influencing Osun election, and indirectly buying the votes which is a gross breach, and conflict of interest. One week later, the Vice President flew to Osun State to launch more Market Moni (GEEP program), in order to influence the pe0ple and the coming election.
What makes Osun State so special? A state where the governor is owing 36 months salary and can not be probe or investigated?, but you muzzled and bent to make tsure hat Benue State sink at all cost. Why can’t the Federal Government launch this program a year or two years ago? Why sharing the nation’s scarce resources at this time just because the 2019 general election is by the corner? Using your office and official position to influence and coerce the poor ordinary Nigerians, market women and the electorates.
The removal of Sahifa as DG of DSS, is a clear confirmation of Lawal Daura statement that the operation carried out at the National Assembly was a collective decision. And reversing the appointment made by the Acting President in favour of your own tribesman- a northerner is a total disregard and lack of respect to the person and office of the Vice President, it is a Genocide against the entire of Niger Delta and indeed an insult to all Nigerians. It unacceptable and must be resisted at all cost. It is very clear to the International communities and the whole world that Nigeria is not one.
Mr President should remember that 2019 general election is by the corner and Nigerians must demand to see Mr president’s school certificate which is one of the most controversial issue yet be to unravelled and must not be swept under the carpet this time around. Nigerians must rise up and demand for justice and equity except INEC wants to truncate this democracy. He who seek justice and equity must come with a clean hand.
The massacre, genocide and ethnic cleansing carried by the Fulani herdsmen all over the country which is against Article 2 of the United Nations charter, and nobody or group had been brought to justice, and which government had also failed in her obligation to prevent which is a serious breach against the United Nations Resolution (A/Res/60/1) paragraphs 138 and 139 is very egregious and clear sign of a failed state. Nigeria must not continue like this, No, not in the 21st century, we will no longer accept military dictatorship.
We can not continue to hide under domestic laws to invoke obligations that is against “Peremptory Norms” and unilateral acts, which is a serious breach of Customary International Law. Total disregard to rule of law and flagrant violation and disobedience to court order and judgements of court of competent jurisdiction, including several cases of gross breaches which is a mockery of our judiciary and a threat to the survival of our democracy.
So, saying that corruption is fighting back in the midst of all this COBWEBS is more or less “Quid pro quo”, meaning: Reprocacity in Customary International Law. What you give will always come to you. One sided KEY appointments to your own tribesmen and ethnic nationality; appointment that’s not merited by competence or professionalism, is the highest level of injustice, denial, segregation and marginalization which of course is one of the ugly monster that is dividing us as a people and seriously threatening the corporate existence and unity of the country.
Targeting your political enemies and oppositions, and using your office and the government machinery at your disposal to settle scores and personal disputes, is highly regrettable. The fight against corruption must be HOLISTIC and transparent, and not one sided, if it must succeed and be sustained. No government can fight corruption all alone. But when there is EQUAL rights and JUSTICE, corruption will naturally wind down


Zik Israel Simon
(YALI Professional, an Economist and Public Policy Analyst)

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Nigeria fraud agency visits Standard Chartered’s Lagos office

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Officers from Nigeria’s financial crime agency visited the Lagos office of Standard Chartered’s Nigerian operations on Friday but left shortly afterwards, the bank said in a statement.
The bank said that the officers had entered the building but then left, adding that there was no reason for them to be there.

Last month Nigeria’s central bank ordered Standard Chartered and three other banks to bring back to the country $8.134 billion that it alleged South African telecoms firm MTN had illegally sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations.

It was not immediately clear whether the move by officers from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was related to that matter.
A spokesman for the agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), declined to comment.

“We are clear there was no basis for this entry, and the law enforcement officials left the building shortly afterwards,” Standard Chartered said.

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Nigerian Fraudster Who Stole Millions Heads to U.S. Prison

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A Nigerian man was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 60 months in prison for his role in fraudulent business email compromise (BEC) scams, the United States Department of Justice announced this week.
The man, Onyekachi Emmanuel Opara, 30, of Lagos, Nigeria, was charged for defrauding thousands of victims of more than $25 million. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud in April.
In addition to the prison term, Opara was sentenced to two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution. His co-defendant, David Chukwuneke Adindu (“Adindu”), was sentenced in December 2017 to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
Between 2014 and 2016, Opara and Adindu engaged in multiple BEC scams that targeted victims worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Singapore.
As part of the scheme, Opara sent fake emails to employees of the victim companies, asking for funds to be transferred to specified bank accounts. The emails claimed to arrive from supervisors at those companies or from third party vendors the companies did business with.
“In reality, the emails were either sent from email accounts with domain names very similar to those of the companies and vendors, or the metadata for the emails was modified to make it appear as if the emails had been sent from legitimate email addresses,” the report explains.
The fraudsters withdrew the funds immediately after the victims transferred them, or moved them to other bank accounts controlled by scheme participants. The fraudsters attempted to steal more than $25 million from their intended victims.
Opara also created accounts on dating websites and engaged in online romantic relationships with individuals in the United States by posing as a young attractive woman. Using this fake identity, he instructed individuals in the U.S. to send money overseas and/or to receive money fraudulently acquired through the BEC scams, and forward the proceeds to others.
One of the individuals who fell to this romantic relationship scheme sent over $600,000 of their own money to bank accounts controlled by scheme participants.
“Opara also attempted to recruit at least 14 other individuals via dating websites to receive funds from BEC scams into their bank accounts and then transfer the proceeds to overseas bank accounts,” the report reveals.
The fraudster was arrested in December 2016, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was extradited to the U.S. in January 2018.

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Corpse stolen from mortuary and held for £10,000 ransom, say Nigerian police

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Kidnappers stole a corpse from a morgue in Nigeria and demanded a ransom for its release, police say.
Chukwudi Chukwu, 38, and Ibeh Bethel Lazarus, 28, allegedly took the dead body of a woman after breaking into the mortuary at Jesus Hospital in Imo state.

They then purportedly contacted the mortuary manager, Bright Nwanshi, to negotiate its release in return for five million naira (£10,600).

“One of the suspects is my former worker,” Mr Nwanshi told the Nigerian Daily Post.
“They asked me to give them N5m. I reported the matter to the police and investigation commenced.”

The suspects were arrested following an operation by the anti-kidnapping unit of the Nigerian police’s Imo state command.

Police also recovered a Suzuki bus allegedly used to carry the corpse.
“Suspects made useful statements to the police confessing to the crime and subsequently led operatives to a forest at Umunjam Mbieri Mbaitoli where the kidnapped corpse was recovered,” the police said in a statement..
“Investigation is in progress while the kidnapped corpse has been released.”
Both men were recently released from jail after serving six and 14 years respectively on kidnapping charges, according to reports.

The suspects, both from the Ikeduru local government area of Imo state, were paraded before the press by the police commissioner Dasuki Galadanchi on Thursday.

“Our strategic offensive against criminals through collaborative efforts with members of the community, credible intelligence and forensic digital analysis has continued to record tremendous successes,” said Commissioner Galadanchi.
“The police command under my watch has resolved to sustain the momentum of the arrest and prosecution of suspected kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists, child traffickers and other criminal elements disturbing the peace of the state.”

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Lagos temporary bridge closure could add to traffic chaos

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People in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, are gearing up for further traffic chaos as the state government plans the temporary closure of one of the city’s key routes.
The authorities have announced that the Third Mainland Bridge will shut for three days to carry out maintenance investigations.
The closure is due to start at midnight on Thursday and should end 72 hours later on Sunday night.
The 11.8km (7 miles) bridge is one of the main crossing points in Lagos city, which covers the mainland and a series of islands, is often blighted by traffic jams.
Major repairs are due to start at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2019, but it is not clear how long they will go on for.
The Third Mainland Bridge is the continent’s second longest bridge.
The local authorities have produced a map of alternative ways of getting round the city.

Source : Lagos State Ministry Of Transport.

 


Nkechi Ogbonna
Visual journalist

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Spurious Bomb Blast at Sallah: Presidency Laments CNM Chieftain’s Ill Wish Against Own Country

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The presidency has denied reports that there was a bomb blast earlier on Thursday that killed about 88 people in Maiduguri, Borno state.

In a statement issued by special adviser to the president on media and publicity Femi Adesina, the presidency lamented that Akin Oshuntokun, a newspaper columnist and public affairs commentator could go on national television and tell such lies against his own country.
According to the statement, till the Sallah holidays ended, no bomb blast was recorded in any part of the country, a development the presidential aide says is a departure from the past when violence marred such festivities.
Adesina advised Oshuntokun and his likes to realize that Nigeria is the only country we have, saying “we can’t swallow poison and expect it to kill the next person”
He maintained that the tripod goals of securing the country, fighting corruption, and reviving the economy remain central to the Buhari administration, noting that government is making strides in the three areas.

 


Statement From Femi Adesina

On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, Akin Oshuntokun, a chieftain of the stillborn Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), appeared on Politics Today programme of Channels Television, and made the false claim that a bomb blast had gone off earlier in the day, killing about 88 people in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Oshuntokun, a newspaper columnist and public affairs commentator, has never hidden his antipathy towards the Muhammadu Buhari administration, but to go on national television and tell lies of the most heinous kind betrays a mind taken completely over by ill wishes against his own country.
Sallah Day had passed quietly and peacefully, without even a firecracker going off, let alone bomb blast. That was contrary to what used to happen before the advent of the Buhari administration, when such festivals were turned to orgy of killings in many parts of the country by insurgents. Apparently, enemies of peace and progress had expected a return to the infamous past, thus Oshuntokun appeared on television with his bag of lies.
When those on the programme remonstrated with him that they were not aware of any bomb blast on that day, he stood his ground, all in a futile bid to puncture the successes recorded by government in the area of security.
Till the Sallah holidays ended, no bomb blast was recorded in any part of the country, to the shame and discomfiture of the naysayers.
One wonders: if there were bomb blasts, and more than 80 people truly died, what would be the gain of anybody, except those who have become blinded by malediction and morbid wishes? Is carnage something now to glory about? Is the struggle for power now so ghoulish that some people have lost their humanity over it?
Oshuntokun and his ilk should realize that this is the only country we have, and we can’t swallow poison and expect it to kill the next person. What we sow is what we reap.
Happily, however, those for a peaceful, united and cohesive Nigeria are more than those against it. That is why those with baleful, hateful thoughts would never win.
The tripod goals of securing the country, fighting corruption, and reviving the economy are central to the Buhari administration. Government is making strides in the three areas, and the conquests continue.
Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
August 23, 2018

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NIGERIAN AIR FORCE FIGHTER JETS NEUTRALIZE BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS CAMPS AT ZANARI, TUNBUN REGO IN BORNO STATE

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has recorded further gains in the ongoing air interdiction operations designed to wipe out remnants of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) within the fringes of Lake Chad. This occurred as the ATF yesterday, 20 August 2018, conducted air strikes on BHT camps at Zanari and Tunbun Rego in Borno State.
The air strikes at Zanari were planned and executed based on intelligence reports indicating that the BHTs had established a training camp in the village and were converging in an area prior to departing for an attack on own troops locations around the Lake Chad area. Accordingly, the ATF scrambled 2 NAF Alpha Jet aircraft for a pre-emptive strike on 2 specified locations within Zanari, where the BHTs were assembled. The fighter aircraft acquired and attacked both locations, neutralizing several BHTs, with only few survivors seen fleeing the area. These were later mopped up by follow-on rocket strikes. Similarly, another identified BHT rendezvous point and staging area on the outskirts of Tunbun Rego was also attacked and destroyed by the Alpha Jets. The NAF will continue to deploy its platforms to conduct intensive Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in the entire Northeast aimed at discovering the possible locations of remnants of BHTs and neutralizing them.
IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force

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How “Money bags” destroy Nigeria’s democracy

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The Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement on Monday said Nigeria’s democracy was not delivering its dividends adequately due to “money bag politics’’.
A member of the group, Mr Hamzat Lawal, stated this to newsmen in Abuja at the National Day of Action on Youth Candidacy and Democratic Party Primaries briefing.
According to Lawal, it is quite sad that in Nigeria’s political history, money bags and `god father’ is really affecting the nation.
“This is why we have not enjoyed the dividends of democracy and good governance.
“As a movement, that is why we have now highlighted intended cost for picking nomination forms which is N2, 000, 000 for presidential aspirant, N1, 000, 000 for governorship aspirant and N600, 000 for senatorial aspirant.
“For House of Assembly aspirant, the form should be N200, 000 while that of House of Representatives aspirant should be N400, 000.
“We need to try as much as possible to ensure that election is not all about money because we know that to the money bags, election is an investment.”
Lawal said that the money bags often put money into campaigns so that they could recuperate it after election.
He said that Not-Too-Young-To-Run Movement and youths were now aware of the money politics, adding that “we are working with women group to ensure that money does not play a critical role in 2019,” he said.
He said that this was because if money played a role, the money bags would want to recoup their investment post 2019 and it meant therefore, that Nigerians would not have quality welfare.
Lawal said that the group would monitor closely how money would exchange hands in 2019 and warned that if it did, the people involved would be exposed.
Ms Nana Nwachukwu, another member of the group, said that the movement was optimistic about competent young men and women emerging as aspirants for the 2019 elections.
Nwachukwu said that the signing into law of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill addressed a major impediment to youth participation in politics.
She said that while it was a remarkable feat, the goal of achieving increased youth representation in elective offices would remain a dream if other barriers were not removed.
She said that movement believed that the right to political participation was a constitutionally guaranteed right exercised through voting at elections or running for public office.
According to Nwachukwu, until Nigeria has independent candidacy, political parties remain the only platform to exercise this right to political participation.
She said that political parties were, therefore, essential to democracy but that the lack of internal party democracy and high cost of party nomination continually undermined the emergence of youth and women.
“We remain resolute in our belief that increased representation of young men and women and persons with disability in political office will enhance the quality of democracy and governance.
“So, Aug. 8, 2018 has been declared as the National Day of Action on Youth Candidacy and Democratic Party Primaries.
“We will be organising a march to the national and state offices of political parties to press the demands for youth inclusion.
“It is a demand march to political parties as they prepare to hold primary elections to select candidates for the 2019 general elections.
“The National Day of Action is scheduled to hold simultaneously in Abuja, as well as the 36 states across the country on the same date to press for guidelines in favour of youths,” she said.

 

 Angela Atabo

 

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Book Review : The Morning Sunset By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru

 

By Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru
The Morning Sunset is a book written to sensitize our people over the issue of engaging in a perilous journey to Europe via Libya. It is a story written for everyone: the youths; kids; fathers and mothers. The continuing migration of people into Europe across the Mediterranean is unnecessary. People are not born to waste their future that way.
The Morning Sunset is simply passing a message to people in Africa. Those that have not been opportuned to visit western world think that it is a bed of roses. In fact a paradise . Where as it is not like that. Many chose to come in search of greener pastures. They believe that Europe is the only place they will have the opportunity to get a better life for themselves and that of their families.

My messages to Nigerians and Africans are that our people should not abandon any tangible thing they have or their education just to embark on this long and dangerous journey through road and desert because the life in Europe does not worth such risk . Also let some parents and relatives be aware especially those that are anxiously waiting for the day their beloved children will come back from Europe but they never knew that the bones of their children have been rotten in Sahara deserts and in the seas of foreign land.

 


Joy Chinwe Aguguo Duru is originally from Nigeria but lived in Italy for several years before moving to Leicester , UK.

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September 2018
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