Daughter of former Governor Omololu Olunloyo of Oyo State, Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo, was yesterday re-arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Earlier in the day, a Port Harcourt Magistrates’ Court, presided over by Alatunwo Elkanah Fubara, had admitted Omololu- Olunloyo and Samuel Walson to bail. Kemi, a blogger, and Walson, a Port Harcourt-based publisher were earlier remanded in prison custody for allegedly publishing a false report against the General Overseer of Salvation Ministry, Pastor David Ibiyeomie.
A week earlier, Fubara was indisposed to grant their application, which was why they were returned to the Port Harcourt Maximum Prison. But during yesterday’s appearance, inside the Magistrate Court, the prosecution team from the Rivers State Police Command, served Omololu-Olunloyo and Walson papers to appear before the nearby Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.
The magistrate had granted the duo bail in the sum of N200,000 with two civil servants as sureties who must reside within the court’s jurisdiction. But as their counsel made moves to meet the bail conditions, they were arraigned at the Federal High Court, where Justice H. I. O. Shobar adjourned the case to April 10, 11 and 12, and promised to give accelerated hearing of the case.
The prosecution witness, David Abuo, had pleaded with the court to drop Walson from the charges against him, which Shobar granted, thereby absolving him from the charges read against him at the Magistrates’ Court.
The judge therefore excused Walson from the dock, while Omololu-Olunloyo was left in the stand as the prosecution stated that she published a false report about Ibiyeomie on her Instagram page, which she pleaded not guilty to.
Her counsel, Hilton Okoba, had earlier sought an oral bail application which was turned down by the judge on the grounds that he runs a court of records, where accuracy of facts is of great importance.
He said: “This is a court of record, and applications cannot be heard orally… This is a court where everything is recorded.” Okoba therefore prayed the court to speedily hear the matter, noting that his client was battling will I’ll health.
Benue’s Perm Sec, pregnant wife, two children burnt to death
The Acting Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Benue State, Mr Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife and two children were yesterday burnt to death in their apartment in an early inferno in Makurdi, the state capital.
The remains of the family members were found in their burnt sitting room. The house itself is situated at the Kwararafa Quarters, near government house, Makurdi.
The cause of the fire is yet unknown, but neighbours disclosed that the fire, which started at about 2am, was uncontrollable until fire fighters got to the scene at about 5am and doused it. Property destroyed in the fire was alleged to be worth millions of naira.
The Commissioner for Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. Oyiwona Godwin, and the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Sewuese Anene, confirmed the incident.
Anene said: “The inferno started at about 2 am and killed Mr. Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife, Mrs. Linda Akaa and their two children, Sender Akaa and Tertsegha Akaa. The remains of the victims have been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Mortuary, Makurdi. The cause of the fire is unknown, but investigation into the matter had already commenced.”
The Deputy Governor, Engr. Benson Abounu, who visited the scene of the incident, expressed shock at the level of devastation. He described it as a monumental disaster, adding that, “It is Black Monday for Benue.”
Abounu said the state has lost a prized asset in Seker and prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said: “We cannot undo what has happened. At the moment, government will take responsibility for their burial and also assist the other families, who lost property to relocate. We warn against any looting of property.”
Reverend Favour Akaa, brother to the deceased, described late Seker as a God fearing man. According Favour, his last conversation with his brother was on Sunday at about 11am.
Favour recalled: “His death is strength to us. It is time for him to depart and we give glory to God.”
The elder sister to Seker’s wife, Mrs. Apeife Azor, said that the deceased’s children were pupils of First Baptist High School in Makurdi. Apeife disclosed that the last time she met her sister was in July this year at the burial of one of their relatives. When they met at that mournful event, they had discussed about issues affecting the development of their family.
The Chaplain of the Chapel of Grace, Government House, Evangelist Daniel Unongo, a neighbour to Seker, who narrowly escaped death as fire lashed out at his flat, said that all efforts by neighbours to help rescue the victims and put out the fire were abortive.
Unongo said: “We rushed out to help in dousing the fire; we tried to break the door and windows, but we didn’t succeed. The next thing we did was to call fire fighters. They arrived at the scene in about 20 minutes. But before the door of the victims’ flat could be forced open, the whole family had already died. The next apartment, where I stay with my family was also consumed by the fire.”
Asked what he thinks caused the fire, Unongo, said: “For close to four or five weeks now, we have been experiencing power fluctuations. My electronic gadgets were damaged by power surge. So, we’re assuming that perhaps the deceased didn’t turn off their electrical appliances and there was power surge.”
Kidnapped Enugu Catholic Priest regains freedom
The Parish Priest of St. Patrick Ihuonyia, Amansi-Odo, Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State, Reverend Father Theophilus Ndulue, has been rescued.
Ihuonyia was abducted on Friday, while returning from the Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting held at Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu.
Ndulue regained his freedom Sunday evening, though it is yet unknown, whether a ransom was paid for his release.
The Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO),
Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the Priest’s release, said he was released unhurt.
The Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, said that he was grateful to God that Ndulue was safe. He also asked God to expose the victim’s kidnappers in order to forestall future occurrences.
Ndulue’s kidnap came barely 18 days after the deputy Rector of Queen of the Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary, Imezi Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area; Rev Fr Arinze Madu, was kidnapped at the seminary gate on October 29.
This latest abduction and rescue had brought to eight, Catholic priests kidnapped in less than eight months. And among those kidnapped, two were killed.
Odumosu: I’ll make officers work round clock with me
The new Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, yesterday vowed to keep senior police officers and rank and file on their toes, in order to achieve a crime free city.
Odumosu stated this after his predecessor, Zubairu Muazu, now an Assistant-Inspector General of Police (AIG), officially handed over the baton of the command to him.
The new CP seized the opportunity to state that his mission was to reduce crime in the state and fight criminals to a standstill. He also vowed to do everything within his power to protect the lives and property of Lagos citizens.
Odumosu added: “Today is not a speech making day, but I want to assure members of the public of my commitment in the fight against crime in Lagos. I am a firm believer in community policing. We’re going to involve the citizens in the war against crimes and criminals through community policing. We’ll keep our officers on their toes, because I am here to fight crime. I can’t be awake while my officers are sleeping. I won’t take it! My officers must be awake with me. We’re going to improve on the feats our predecessors achieved, especially the outgoing AIG. I have been in Lagos and I have the wealth of experience. I am going to deplore that residual knowledge to the crime pattern in Lagos and attack it. I’m coming to the table with measures to improve the security in the state. The strategies are not meant to be disclosed, but I just want members of the public to partner with us. Community policing is the basis of our successes. I need the assistance of the public; it’s a symbiotic relationship. I will put policemen on their toes to work round the clock. I can’t be a kerosine and expect a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) to be palm oil. They must be on the road. I am not just sitting in the office; so they must be on the road. They are my officers and we have to work together. It is for them to do what they are paid to do. When I say on their toes, I mean they must work to ensure that the fundamental human rights of people are guaranteed.”
Earlier, AIG Muazu charged officers and men of the Command to give Odumosu maximum cooperation as they did to him, adding that the fight against crime was not the CP’s business alone.
Muazu added: “The war is for everybody. I want you to support him the way you supported me. One of the major challenges that are still confronting the command is the issue of cultism.”
The AIG, however, told the new CP to fight cultism with all seriousness. “I want you to tackle cultism and kidnapping headlong, because bank robberies are things of the past in the state. I thank my predecessors, especially retired AIG Kayode Aderanti, CP Fatai Owoseni and CP Edgal Imohimi, whose templates in crime fighting, I consolidated and improved upon.”
N25m fraud: Former bankers bag two years imprisonment
Justice Adama Iyami- Lamikanra of the Rivers State High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, convicted and sentenced a former Manager of Diamond Bank Plc. ( now Access Bank), Chinyere Oti and a former Account Officer of the same bank, Odigboh Okechukwu, to two years imprisonment for defrauding the bank the sum of N25, 018, 467.00k.
The convicts were arraigned on November 19, 2009, by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the EFCC on seven count charges bordering on conspiracy and stealing. The charges were amended on April 25, 2019.
Count four reads: “Odigboh Okechukwu and Chinyere Oti on or about the 23rd day of October, 2008, at Diamond Bank Plc., Port Harcourt within the Port Harcourt Judicial Division did fraudulently steal the sum of N20, 431, 342.05, property of Diamond Bank Plc. by means of Diamond Bank Cheque No. 16216303 through an unfunded account in the name of Achufa Investment Limited operated by Odigboh Okechukwu and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 381(1) and punishable under Section 390( 9) of the Criminal Code CAP 37 Vol. II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their pleas led to a 10 -year-long trial. The prosecution called three witnesses and tendered 15 exhibits while the defence called three witnesses.
Delivering his judgment yesterday, Justice Iyayi- Lamikanra, found the two defendants guilty of the charges and sentenced them to two years imprisonment each or an option of fine of N1, 000,000 each. She also ordered the convicts to pay a sum of N25, 000,000.00 as restitution to Diamond Access Bank Plc.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said: “Trouble came for the two convicts when the former Diamond Bank Plc. petitioned the EFCC, alleging that its Manager, Rumukwrushi Branch, Port Harcourt, Mrs Chinyere Oti, fraudulently opened a current account for one of its customers and used the account to make fraudulent withdrawals and overdrew it to the tune of N25, 018, 467. Investigations showed that the alleged customer of the bank never opened an account with the bank. Rather, Odigboh Okechukwu; an Account Officer with the bank used the customer’s photograph to open the account without the customer’s knowledge or consent. It was through the account the two convicts defrauded the bank.”
Lion found in Lagos residence drugged, evacuated
Officials of the Lagos State Task Force, in conjunction with Veterinary doctors from the Lagos Ministry of Agriculture, have succeeded in moving the lion found at a private home around Victoria Island to a zoo in Omu Resorts, Lekki.
There had been palpable fear at No. 229, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island area on Sunday, following the discovery of a two-year-old lion in one of the apartments by some residents.
New Telegraph gathered that an Indian, whose identity could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report, owned the lion. The Indian national allegedly told the property owner that he wanted to rent the apartment for his own use, but never lived there. Instead, he rented the apartment for his lion.
Dissatisfied with cohabiting with lion, residents of the building petitioned the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, calling for the immediate evacuation of the lion for their safety.
Taskforce Chairman, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Olayinka Egbeyemi, confirmed that the evacuation of the lion was carried out in conjunction with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and medical personnel from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan.
Egbeyemi said that Dr. Ogunmo Bamidele, who led the medical team from the University of Ibadan, had to tranquilize the lion thrice before embarking on evacuation.
He confirmed that the Agency responded to a petition from residents, while investigations revealed that the lion was brought in from Cameroun by the Indian two years ago.
He added: “Immediately I got the petition, I deployed my officers to the house at No. 229, Muri-Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, where they kept a close watch for more than 72 hours before the lion was finally removed today.”
The Chairman assured residents that the owner of the lion will face the full wrath of the law, warning residents to abstain from harbouring wild animals that endanger the lives of others.
“In as much as we appreciate residents around Victoria Island for their quick action, we urge every member of the public to be observant in their immediate environment and report any strange or unusual activity to appropriate government authority for prompt action,” stated Egbeyemi.
The Director of Veterinary Services, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Macaulay Rasheed, also advised members of the public to stop rearing wild animals in private homes in order to avoid unnecessary attacks and contagious diseases.
Suspect grabbed after he tries to sell stolen phone to owner
Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Edo State Unit, have smashed a gang that allegedly specialised in assisting suspected robbers to make tracking of stolen phones impossible for owners and policemen.
At least four members of the gang, alleged to be software engineers, have been arrested in Edo State.
The suspects have been identified as Bright Irabor, Benedict Edo, Ernest Ubong and Christian Egbheri. They were all rounded up at the Oba Market in Benin City, after operatives got information about their activities.
A police source said: “IRT operatives, led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), were deployed to Edo State to combat high rate of kidnapping and armed robbery in state. The state has been experiencing difficulty in solving most robbery and kidnapping cases within the state. It was also discovered that phones, which were snatched, suddenly became untraceable as a result of changed IMEI. The operatives made a breakthrough in tracking members of the syndicate and discovered that the members had been assisting bandits to make these phones untraceable.”
Our reporter gathered that the downfall of the syndicate started after 24-year-old Othuke Samuel, a trader lost his phone to thieves. He was going home after close of the business day when his phone was snatched.
Samuel reported the theft of his phone to the police and a manhunt was launched for the thief. The thief was later discovered to be Bulama Sani.
The said Sani was arrested after he went to Samuel’s shop to sell him the same stolen phone.
Samuel said: “When he brought the phone to my shop, asking me to buy it, I immediately recognised my phone. I then looked at the boy properly. I recognised him. I kept calm and asked him how much he wanted to sell the phone, he said N150, 000. I then asked him to wait in my shop that I wanted to get some money from the bank. I left him at the shop and went straight to the IRT operatives. The operatives followed me and arrested him.”
Sani would later tell the operatives that he used to change the IMEI of stolen phones at the Oba Market, Benin City. He explained that changing the IMEI naturally makes the phones untraceable. He assisted operatives in arresting the software engineers, who allegedly used to assist him in changing stolen phones’ IMEI.
The software engineers arrested during the raid at the Oba market, confessed to changing IMEI for criminals at a fee of N1000 per phone.
One of the suspects, Edo, a student of University of Benin, said: “I work at Abuma Shopping Complex in Benin City. I repair and flash phones of all kinds. I also change IMEI of phones. I learned the process of changing IMEI of phones from the internet. I’m also aware that it was criminals that were always coming to change IMEI of phones. I had already stopped accepting such jobs before police came to arrest me.”
Another suspect, Egbheria, said he was aware that changing IMEI of phones was criminal, he, however explained that he engaged in it because the money was attractive. He explained that the process of changing a phone IMEI was easy and all that one needed was to access the phone’s software, wipe of the old code and replace it with a new one.
Egbheria added that those, who usually seek them out for such jobs, come with more than one phone.
Man stabs kinsman to death over MP3 Media Music player
A 20-year-old man, Gabriel Chimaeze, yesterday, stabbed his townsman, Kelechi Onyekachi, to death over the ownership of an MP3 Media Music player.
Chimaeze and Onyekachi, both in their twenties, were both apprentices and both came from Ibeme community in Obingwa Local Government of Abia State.
It was gathered that Chimaeze had confronted Onyekachi, claiming that the Media Music Player (MP3) in dispute, belonged to him. He insisted that he must collect it from the deceased.
Onyekachi, who lived in the same compound with Chimaeze at No. 204 Ikot Ekpene Road, Ehere, Ogbor Hill, was said to have resisted the suspect’s move and a fight ensued.
During the fight, Chimaeze, a mechanic apprentice grabbed a knife and stabbed Onyekachi in the stomach. Onyekachi happened to be the only son of his parents, who are based in Calabar, Cross River State.
The deceased, a wielding apprentice, collapsed and was later rushed to the nearest hospital. He died on the way to the hospital.
Chimaeze was immediately arrested by policemen from Azuka Police Station and presently being detained.
The roommate of the late Onyekachi, who simply gave his name as Promise Sunday, told our correspondent that before the incident, there was a cold war between the suspect and the deceased.
Sunday said: “Before today’s (Monday) incident, the two young men had always been quarrelling and threatening to kill each other over every minor incident. The present quarrel, which took my room-mate’s life, was over MP3. Onyekachi had an MP3 Media Music Player and Chimaeze confronted him, insisting that it belonged to him. The deceased resisted Chimaeze’s move to collect it and a fight started. The suspect reached for a knife and stabbed Onyekachi in the stomach. As we were taking him to hospital, he died.”
The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon, while confirming the incident, said the suspect had been arrested and moved to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (SCIID), Umuahia, for further investigation and prosecution.
Ultimatum to herdsmen: Imo disowns group, urges public to disregard ultimatum
The Government of Imo State has disowned an ultimatum issued by a Group, under the aegis of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, giving herdsmen in the state 24 hours to vacate.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Chibuike Onyeukwu, the group lacks legitimacy to speak for the state.
Onyeukwu described the report of the ultimatum as an embarrassment to the government and people of the state, urging members of the public to disregard it.
The statement read in part: “The group, led by one Goodluck Ibem, relied on an alarm allegedly raised by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, accusing herdsmen of destroying their farm lands and crops, among other concerns.
“The Government of Imo State, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha hereby dissociates itself and the entire good people of the state from the said ultimatum to herdsmen in the state.
“Imo State government is embarrassed by the development and has taken steps to prevent breakdown of law and order in the state.”
Onyeukwu said that efforts are being made to address the concerns raised by the management of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and stressed that the Governor Emeka Ihedioha administration shall not tolerate individuals taking laws into their hands
Car dealers lay siege at Customs office, protest sealing of businesses
Automobile dealers on Monday took to the streets of Lagos to protest the sealing of their businesses by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The car dealers, under the aegis of Automobile Dealers Friends Association, claimed that their business premises were sealed as a result of a crackdown on cars suspected to have been smuggled through the land borders, which began on September 30, 2019.
Over 100 protesting members of the Association had from 10am walked from Awolowo Road Ikeja to the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The peaceful protest started at the office of the Federal Operations Unit of the NCS at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja.
At the NCS office, Mr Morgan Ogbede, the Chairman of the Association and other executives engaged in a closed-door meeting with Mr Mohammed Aliyu, the Comptroller Federal Operations Unit Zone A and other officials of the NCS.
At the end of the meeting, the Comptroller addressed the protesters telling them that their grievances will be addressed.
Speaking on what led to the protest, Ogbede gave an insight into his meetings with officials of the House of Assembly and the NCS.
He said the NCS had promised to unseal their shops if the required duties were paid on allegedly smuggled cars.
Judge to mother of alleged rapist: ‘Mentor your son to desist from sodomy’
Justice Abiola Soladoye of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, Lagos Monday told a widow, whose 19-year-old son was accused of sodomizing a minor, to mentor her son in order for him to desist from such acts.
The 19-year-old, Chinedu Ezebuka, was docked for allegedly sodomising a 13-year-old secondary school student (name withheld).
Ezebuka, a mechanic, was arraigned on March 25 on a one-count charge of sexual assault by penetration contrary to Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.
According to the State Prosecutor, Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, the defendant committed the offence at 8pm on January 9, 2018 at Akinwunmi Street, Ikeja.
“He sexually assaulted the minor by penetrating him through the anus.
“The mechanic was allegedly caught in the act of defiling the minor by a member of the public who reported the offence to authorities,” Momoh-Ayokanbi said.
However, Justice Soladoye admonished the mother of the accused after the prosecutor told the court that the parents of the complainant and other witnesses were no longer interested in pursuing the case.
The judge, addressing the widow, said: “You need to talk to your son, pray with him, guide him and spend quality time with him. God is a God of second chances.
“Get your church involved, get an elderly person in your neighbourhood to also mentor him. You cannot abandon him, for he is your tomorrow.”
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