A member of the House of Representatives, Nse Bassey Ekpenyong, was yesterday arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo Akwa Ibom State on a nine-count charge of forgery and uttering of documents. He was being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ekpenyong, representing Oron Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State in the National Assembly, allegedly forged an Abia State Polytechnic Ordinary National Diploma certificate and reportedly uttered a December 1999 West African Examination School Certificate (WASSCE) and thereby committed perjury before an Electoral Tribunal where he claimed that the certificates were genuine.
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges when they were read to him. In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, Ahmed Arogha and S. Hussaini, asked for a trial date and accelerated hearing of the matter.
However, counsel to the defendant, Emmanuel Isangidoho, told the court that he had filed an application for bail for his client and urged the court to admit him to bail. Ojukwu according to the Head, Media Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N10 million, with one surety in like sum.
The surety must depose to an affidavit of means, provide two recent passports photograph and three years tax clearance certificate. The surety should write an undertaken to produce the defendant throughout the trial and all the documents of the surety must be verified by the Registrar.
The judge also ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of his bail. Ojukwu then adjourned the case to April 12 and 26 and May 3 and 4 for trial.
Court sentences 3 to jail for impersonation, criminal conspiracy
A Magistrates’ Court in Minna has sentenced three men to two years imprisonment for engaging in cheating by impersonation and criminal conspiracy.
The men are Alhaji Tijajani Sarki Abdullahi, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Zumunta marketing and Construction company limited, Musa Umar and Adamu Magaji both from Zumba village in Shiroro Local Government Area.
They were docked on a four-count charge of criminal conspiracy, cheating by impersonation, criminal misappropriation and mischief, contrary to Sections 97, 324, 309 and 327 of the Penal Code.
The complainants, which include the Commissioner of Police, Niger State told the court that a complaint was received from Moses Makeri, Sokoto Muhammadu and Ibrahim Makeri that the land of the subject matter where the convicts illegally mined ‘woframites’ (precious stones) is located at Patuko village near Zumba in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
In his ruling, Magistrate Murtala M.B. Ibrahim sentenced the men to two years imprisonment or to pay a fine of N60, 000 each.
They were also ordered to pay the sum of N50,000 as compensation to the Nominal Complaints and in default of payment they are to serve three months without option of fine.
Perm Sec, pregnant wife, two kids burnt to death in Benue — Police
The Acting Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Mr Seker Akaa, his pregnant wife and two kids were burnt to death in a fire incident in Makurdi early hours of Monday.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Benue State, Deputy Superintendent of Police Sewuese Anene confirmed the inferno to the News Agency of Nigeria in Makurdi.
Anene said the fire started at 2.40 a.m at Kwarafa Quarters, Makurdi.
NAN reports that three other flats were also burnt including the resident of Evangelist Daniel Unongo, Chaplain of Benue Government House, who is also Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Samuel Ortom on Religion.
Anene said Mr Akaa, his pregnant wife, Linda, two children; Sender and Tertsegh Akaa, all occupants of Flat 1 were burnt to death during the fire disaster.
She said that the dead bodies had been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi mortuary.
The police spokesperson said the cause of the fire accident was yet to be known, saying “investigation into the matter had already commenced”.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu, who immediately visited the scene, expressed shock at the level of destruction and loss of human lives.
According to Abounu, it is a black day for Benue and the state has lost a prized asset in Akaa.
He prayed to God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“We cannot undo what has happened. At the moment, the government will take responsibility for their burial and assist the other families to relocate. We warn against any looting of property.” Abounu said
The Commissioner, Energy, Science Technology, Dr Godwin Oyiwona also confirmed the incident and expressed the ministry’s deepest condolences.
NAN gathered from an eyewitness, who refused to be named, that the fire started in flat 1 the residence of the late acting permanent secretary.
He said the perm sec and his family would have been saved but because of the incessant cases of armed robbery recorded within the neighbourhood, the neighbours thought it was armed robbers that were operating again.
“Actually the fire started at Mr Akaa’s house, we would have saved him and his family but we thought it was armed robbers that were again attacking us.
“You see armed robbers attack us here regularly. So, we have adopted ways of self-defence by providing burglary protection on the doors to prevent them from getting easy access inside, that too caused delay of getting to them on time,” it said.
The witness said firefighters from Benue Government House, Makurdi, came to the scene on time but they had little to do to save them.
NAN reports that though the cause of the inferno remained unknown, eyewitnesses said it might have been caused by electrical fault as it razed down the entire house and extended to three other houses.
NAN further reports that the fire was still burning as of the time of filing the report.
Man shoots brother after mistaking him for deer
A man shot his brother after mistaking him for an injured deer in a hunting accident in Michigan on Saturday.
The incident occurred after the men went looking for a deer that one brother had shot earlier with a muzzle-loading rifle, reported the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page.
The shooter, a 29-year-old man from Saranac, told authorities that he believed he saw the deer moving and fired, but after firing realized he had struck his 28-year-old brother.
He called 911 immediately for help and the two siblings walked out of the dense corn field where they were hunting and were met by first responders, reported ABC Grand Rapids affiliate, WZZM13.
The victim was flown to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in serious but stable condition.
The exact cause of the shooting remains under investigation, but all persons involved have been cooperative with authorities, according to the sheriff department’s Facebook post.
Friday was the opening day of firearms deer season in the state.
*Courtesy: ABC News
US: Four dead in mass shooting during football party
Ten people were shot and four of them were killed Sunday at a party in Fresno when suspects sneaked into the backyard and fired into the crowd, police said.
The shooting took place about 6pm on the city’s southeast side while people were gathered to watch a football game.
Deputy Chief Michael Reid said a total of 10 people were shot, with three people being found dead in the backyard, reports metro.co.uk.
A fourth victim died at the hospital. Six others are expected to survive and are recovering at the hospital, police said. Fresno Police Lt Bill Dooley said: “What we do know is that this was a gathering, a family and friend gathering in the backyard.
“Everyone was watching football this evening when unknown suspects approached the residence, snuck into the backyard and opened fire.”
Others were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in critical condition, and some are in critical but stable condition, the TV stations reported.
No suspect is in custody.
Agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives field office in San Francisco are responding to the shooting, the Bee reported.
It was at least the second fatal gun attack Sunday in southeast Fresno, the Bee reported.
A man in his 20s was shot to death early Sunday at a home in another part of the city.
Police have not said whether the incidents could be connected
Catholic Diocese of Nnewi: Priest died from inhaling toxic fume
he Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra, yesterday said the late Rev Fr Edmund Nwagbara, might have died from inhaling toxic fume from the inverter battery in his apartment which exploded.
Nwagbara was the Parish Priest of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, Nnewi Ichi, Nnewi. He died in a fire which engulfed the parish house on Saturday night and his body was burnt beyond recognition.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev. Father Hyginus Aghaulor, gave the explanation in a statement released by the Diocese on the death.
He said that Rev Fr. John Obasi, the first Assistant Parish Priest of the church, was also affected, but escaped with burn injuries.
According to him, Nwagbara might have died from toxic fumes from the inverter battery in his apartment. Aghaulor said that the priest had conducted sacrament of reconciliation for a couple he was to conduct wedding for on the morning he died.
“At about 2.30a.m., there was a big bang coming from Fr. Edmund’s (Nwagbara) room that woke some people up. But already, his apartment was in in flames. Fire Service was called and they managed to come in ‘our Nigerian way’ of approaching such issues.
Neighbours tried to put out the fire but it was simply like a hell. When eventually the Fire Service gained entrance into Fr. Edumund’s apartment, he was already burnt beyond recognition. It’s very likely that the fire came from the inverter in his room. When it was heated up, the battery blew up like a bomb. Looking at late Fr. Edmund’s remains, he didn’t look like someone that struggled before dying. The toxin from the burning battery which he must have been inhaling slowly in his sleep might have killed him before the actual fire burnt him. One would expect someone struggling or trying to escape to die very close to the door or at a corner and not to relax on his bed,” he said.
Aghaulor expressed a deep sense of loss in the Diocese and prayed God to grant repose to the soul of the dead and quick recovery for the wounded.
Again, Lagos seals churches, mosques over noise pollution
he Lagos State Government has shut down at least eight churches and mosques across the state in a renewed campaign against noise pollution in the state
This was even as New Telegraph gathered that the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, the agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating noise and other environmental pollution in the state, receives over 1,000 petitions monthly over noise pollution and other environmental nuisances. The government has therefore ordered religious centres to seek permits before embarking on open crusades or other religious activities.
It was further gathered that following petitions by some residents of the host communities of the religious centres, some of the sealed worship centres had been warned to either relocate or reduce their noise pollution levels.
The shut facilities are located at; No. 68, old Otta Road, Orile Agege, No. 4, Ademola Oshinowo Off LoveAll Street, Ketu, Dele Amuda Street, Lekki, No. 17, Ajileye Street, Ilaje Bariga, No. 39, Kusenla Road, Elegunshi, Ajayi Bembe Street, Abule Oja Yaba, among others.
The General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, (LASEPA), Dr Dolapo Fasawe, said there would no longer be a hiding place for any religious organisation that cannot operate within the ambit of the law, regardless of their faith.
Consequently, the LASEPA GM, declared it illegal to convert residential properties for religious use without recourse to the wellbeing of other residents, stressing that the current administration was very concerned about the state of the environment.
She said the enforcement exercise, which coincided with the 2019 United Nations International Day of Tolerance, was a clear indication that Lagos was in sync with the world on the issue of tolerance. She also noted that LASEPA would continue to clamp down on any organisation, firms or bodies noted for persistent environmental pollution and disruption of peaceful co-existence of Lagos residents.
Fasawe assured residents of the state that LASEPA would not rest on its oars in bequeathing a liveable ambience to all inhabitants of the state, stressing that those recalcitrant organisations or worship centres, known to be disturbing the peace of Lagosians would face the full wrath of the law.
According to her, while the state government guarantees freedom of religion for its residents, the government will not condone any act that will hinder peaceful co-existence through infringements on the rights of other residents of the state, in the name of religious activities.
She added that the agency has been inundated with petitions and outcry from residents of the state over the insensitivity and intolerance of some religious outlets in different areas across the state. The LASEPA boss regrettably noted that several warnings issued to the management of these churches and mosques had not yielded the expected result.
“The state government recognises the fact that the state thrives on peaceful co-existence among practitioners of the major religions across the state, but of great concern to the state government is the need for religious activities to be conducted in a manner that worshippers and citizens would not infringe on each other’s rights,” the General Manager reiterated.
Fasawe said that for the facilities to be reopened, the leaders of these organisations must reach an agreement of compliance with the Agency and also satisfy other necessary conditions as may be prescribed by LASEPA.
Insurgency: Troops rescue children, octogenarian
igerian Army Troops, yesterday, said it has subdued suspected Boko Haram members and rescued four children, three women and an octogenarian.
According to a press release signed by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the army, in its drive to end the insurgency in the North East, has continued to sustain the tempo of the ongoing Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations in the North East, with a view to decimating and destroying the remnant Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) criminals across the Operation LAFIYA DOLE Theatre.
Iliyasu disclosed that in one of the numerous operations conducted across the Theatre on November, 16, troops of 26 Task Force Brigade embarked on a clearance patrol to Dalu village within the Mandara Mountains in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State, following credible intelligence report on the presence of some of the criminal insurgents in that area.
Iliyasu said: “Fortunately, the report was confirmed as the troops soon established contact with the marauding terrorists and effectively subdued them with superior fire power. Subsequently, the troops moved in to thorough clear the village of the presence of the insurgents. The clearance operation yielded good dividends as the troops found and rescued an octogenarian, three women and four children hitherto held captives by the insurgents. The rescued victims were promptly evacuated and the children among them were equally administered with Polio Vaccination by a Nigerian Army medical team. Interestingly, no causality was recorded by our troops during the commando operations.”
The image maker, however, said that many of the Boko Haram criminal elements were observed to have fled in disarray towards the summit of Mandara Mountains with gunshot wounds. The troops’ resilience and doggedness, said Iliyasu, are unwavering as further move to complete the annihilation of the insurgents was being sustained in the mountainous environment.
Reacting to the recent feat, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, reassured members of the general public, of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute its constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better secured Nigeria.
He also thanks all well-meaning Nigerians for their continual support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army as they sustained the conduct of various operations and routine exercises nationwide.
Police discover lion at residential building in Lagos
two-year-old lion has been discovered in a residential building in the Victoria Island area of Lagos State.
The lion is believed to be owned by a yet to be named Indian national. The lion is caged at Number 229, Muri Okunola Street in Victoria Island.
The Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences, Yinka Egbeyemi, confirmed that the lion is owned by an India National.
According to him, men of the Nigeria Police Force have been deployed to the area to prevent the animal from coming out of the cage.
Egbeyemi also said that efforts were ongoing by the state government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment to evacuate the animal from the building.
He added that the Indian national who owns the lion has been invited for questioning.
FUTA suspends six students indefinitely for bullying colleague
he Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Ondo State, has suspended six students of the institution indefinitely over their alleged involvement in the bullying of a 100-level female student.
It was gathered that the suspended students were caught in a viral video at one of the off-campus hostels at the weekend, bullying their mate identified as Bolu.
The students were alleged to have stormed Bolu’s room, over an alleged altercation with a school daughter of one of her attackers.
In the viral video, which is currently trending across social media platforms, a male student and five female students identified as Popoola Olaniyi Agboola (300L), Oluwadare Faith Tobiloba ( 200L), Nandi Yohanna Jessica ( 200L), Ajuwon Tolani Emmanuella (100L), Emmanuel Funmilayo Taiwo (100L) and Alao Olabimpe Cecilia (100L) were seen beating Bolu, a 100Level student, on the allegation that she called one of them, ‘runs girl,’ otherwise known as prostitute.
The institution’s Deputy Director, Corporate Communications, Adegbenro Adebanjo, in a statement said: “Following the ugly incident of bullying of a female student by some students and as a result of preliminary investigation, the affected students have been placed on indefinite suspension with immediate effect.”
The University, after a disciplinary panel constituted over the incident, which has continued to receive condemnation also stated that, “as a consequence of their suspension, they are precluded from all academic and related activities indefinitely and barred from the University and its precincts forthwith.”
Adebanjo added: “At the conclusion of the on-going investigations, the full weight of the law of the University, as contained in the handbooks and oath of Matriculation, which all students are made to sign and subscribe to, will be visited on those found culpable.
Adebanjo said that the University Management was already providing medical and counseling support for the affected student.
The image maker further added: “The University deplores such behaviour and reiterates that all those found to be culpable will be visited with the full weight of the law, under the extant rules and regulations governing students’ behaviours and conduct off and on the campus.”
Adebanjo continued: “The University reiterates its abhorrence of any action or behaviour by students that are inimical to the well-being of others, and will continue to sanction students who run afoul of its rules and regulations. For the avoidance of doubt, only students who are worthy in learning and character can lay claim to and be addressed as FUTA students. The University will not tolerate any form of indiscipline or breech of University regulations.”
Meanwhile, the incident has continued to generate outrage from various quarters, with many insisting that the suspended students should be handed over to the police.
Also, some students of FUTA, who described the action as barbaric, stated that such offence, according to the institution’s Rule Book, stipulates outright rustication, which they stressed must be the fate of the affected students.
PDP Reps flays Secondus’ comments
he minority caucus in the House of Representatives said it is shocked at the comments in a media interview credited to the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, wherein he, in spite of his position, “made very unpleasant statements against loyal members of the PDP”.
In a statement signed by Barr. Oyorima Idahosa, the group said, “the caucus is indeed surprised that at a time other leaders and critical stakeholders of the PDP are working hard for solutions to move the party forward, the National Chairman is rather detailing his aides to castigate party members and make unguarded comments on critical party matters.
“This is indeed the first time, since 1999, an aide of the National Chairman of the PDP or any political party for that matter, has ever insulted or castigated an elected member of the National Assembly; and for no reason.
“While the PDP members in the Caucus, as loyal and dedicated members of the party, will not join issues with the person of the National Chairman, he is however urged, as a leader, to be more circumspect in the manner he addresses issues relating to the party and her members in the media.
“It is even more saddening that at this time other leaders of our party are concerting efforts to ensure our victory at the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections, those vested with piloting the affairs of our party are more interested in creating distractions and division within our fold.
“Indeed such comments by the National Chairman at a time like this, further inflames apprehensions that he is acting on the behest of certain external forces who are pursuing personal interests at the expense of our party’s unity.
“If the National Chairman needed to be in the media on the issue of the Minority Leadership in the House of Representatives, such opportunity should have been used to explain why the National Working Committee (NWC), which he chairs, has failed to act on the report of the three committees set up by the party to investigate this and other issues relating to the National Assembly.
“Nevertheless, the Minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, and his colleagues remain loyal and dedicated members of the PDP and, once again, urge the NWC to weigh its actions, in the interest of fairness, justice, and equity in line with the democratic ideals of our great party, the rules of the National Assembly and provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended”)
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