At least five persons were injured yesterday at the Port Harcourt Spar after a gas explosion rocked the massive shopping centre beside Rivers State Government House.
The incident caused pandemonium in the area as shoppers and business owners struggled to leave the mall, while the victims were rushed to the government-owned Braithwaith Memorial Hospital, for treatment.
The Manager of the Port Harcourt Shopping Mall, Mrs. Chioma Okorie, said explosion occurred in a kitchen of one of the shops in the facility.
She said that the fire-fighting equipment and officials of the mall helped in putting out the fire, and that the facility would be opened to the public today after the smoke would have cleared out.
The manager said that a few persons were injured as a result of the fire incident.
The representative of the Rivers State governor and Secretary to the State
Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, who inspected the fire incident, also assured members of the public that the mall would resume operations today.
Danagogo said that he was directed by Governor Nyeson Wike to assess the fire because of the importance of the facility.
The SSG, who was with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, and the Permanent Secretary, Office of the SSG, Dr. George Nwaeke, expressed happiness that the management of the mall had been able to contain the fire.
He said that those injured in the incident would receive adequate medical treatment.
Danagogo asked the management of the mall to meet with the state government today at the State Secretariat to further discuss other aspects of the incident and possible areas of intervention by government.
Nigerian jailed 4 years for $8.3m fraud in U.S.
A Nigerian, Ayodeji Fatunmbi, has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding the United States government up to $8.3 million Medicare charges. Fatunmbi, according to an online news portal, PREMIUM TIMES, was found guilty in a jury trial on July 31, 2014, but was only sentenced to 46 months in prison on August 19, 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He was extradited to the U.S. in October 2018 based on the ruling of the Federal High Court. It was gathered that Fatunmbi, 47, was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and one count of money laundering.
He was also asked to pay roughly $1.1 million in restitution to American government. The order was made by Christiana Snyder of the U.S. District Court of Central District of California. Fatunmi, according to reports, admitted he paid cash kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for durable medical equipment (DME), including power wheelchairs, which the Medicare beneficiaries did not have a legitimate medical need, according to the U.S. authorities.
Fatunmbi and co-conspirators caused Lutemi Medical Supply (Lutemi), a DME supply company that he co-ran, to submit approximately $8.3 million in claims to Medicare, which resulted in the company being paid over $3.5 million.
The convict further admitted that he was responsible for $2.1 million in false and fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary DME and that as a result of his conduct, Medicare paid Lutemi a total of $1.1 million. The conspirators also wrote cheques from Lutemi’s bank account to Lutemi employees and others, and Mr Fatunmbi instructed that those monies be returned to him to pay the illegal cash kickbacks to the patient recruiters and doctors, authorities said. Fatunmbi also admitted directing others at Lutemi to engage in the fraud to conceal the nature and source of the proceeds of the health care fraud conspiracy. Other conspirators identified in the fraud, identified as Olufunke Fadojutimi, 47, of Carson, California, and Maritza Elizabeth Velasquez, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, were also charged. Velasquez had pleaded guilty in 2013 and sentenced to 15 months in jail. She was also asked to pay a restitution in excess of $3.4 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California is pursuing a total forfeiture of Mr Fatunmbi and others caught in the fraud.
Police get training on children’s rights protection, gender violence
Policemen in Lagos and Ogun State Police Commands on children’s rights and gender-based violence have been taken through training on child rights protection. The one-day training programme was organised by the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN) in collaboration with the Ben Bruce foundation and ParenChild360 (PCI360). The theme of the 2019 training was tagged: “Gender based violence case management, referral and the role of the Nigeria Police”.
On the training, Mr Ebenezer Omejalile, co-founder of ACVPN), said: “The training is timely considering the fact that most of the policemen in charge of handling gender based issues have been transferred ,we deemed it fit to organise this training for the policemen newly deployed to the beat. We believe that having the desired knowledge will help them do their job better.” Ben Bruce, while speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting, decried the high rate of child molestation especially sexual abuse of girl children which he described as alarming.
Taraba NYSC hands over 3 corps members with fake certificates to police
The National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) yesterday handed over three prospective corps members found with alleged fake certificates to police and other security operatives in the camp for further investigation. The Taraba State Coordinator of NYSC, Mrs Florence Yaakugh, who handed over the prospective batch B corps members at the camp in Jalingo, said the verification officer discovered they were with fake documents. Yaakugh named the perspective corps members as Nasiru Yau, who claimed to have studied Mass Communication; Shehu Murktar -Computer Science and Illiyasu Usman- Sociology, all said to have come from Isfop University in Cotonu in Benin Republic.
He added: “They came for registration and the verification officer discovered them with fake certificates and verification papers. “If you will recall, the Director General of NYSC, Brig Gen Shauibu Ibrahim, had recently expressed deep concern over the activities of fake corps members who cannot make a correct sentence in the English language. “He directed us to check and fish out such persons and hand them over to the security operatives for further investigation and this is what we are just doing,” he explained.
Kidnappers’ run riot in Enugu
- Abduct ex-LG chairman’s daughter
- Family of four held along old Enugu-Anambra Road
Enugu State appears to be under the siege of kidnappers following the rampaging activities of gunmen, with other unpleasant reports emerging days after the rape and murder of 67-year-old Mrs Pat Ugwu on Wednesday. Daredevil kidnappers struck around the Obioma-Nsude axis of Old Enugu-Onitsha Road on Thursday night, abducting four persons at a time, with all being members of a family. The victims were said to be travelling in a Toyota Venza car when the kidnappers intercepted the vehicle and took all of them away around 8.30pm.
The abducted persons are Ernest Otugo, a businessman based in Nnewi, his wife, their son and a family friend who was identified simply as Reuben. The kidnappers reportedly released Otugo’s wife later to go and raise money to pay ransom for the release of other hostages. Another couple, whose identity is yet to be identified, was said to have been attacked and kidnapped along the same road on the same day.
These incidents are besides the abduction of the daughter of Chief Frank Anioma, a former council chairman in the state who also acted as Personal Assistant to governor Chimaroke Nnamani during his tenure. Raising the alarm on Thursday through a Facebook post, Anioma solicited information and help from the public over the disappearance of his daughter who was said to have gone to the market before she was abducted. In the Facebook post, the politician wrote: “Please friends and good Nigerians help me, my daughter Josisochukwu Anioma was kidnapped this morning, August 22, about 7am on her way to New Haven Market. Her phone… was ringing without response. Now it’s ringing busy. Please help repost this. Who knows (how) God will show mercy.”
When contacted yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the kidnap of travellers along Obioma-Nsude axis of old Enugu- Anambra Road, noting that police were on the case. The PPRO, however, explained that the case of the missing daughter of Chief Frank Anioma could not be said to be a kidnap incident as no one had contacted the family or anybody close to her yet to demand ransom.
“Yes, she has not been seen, so you may want to say okay, his daughter went out, but we are following it up. Sooner or later, it will become clearer; but I can assure you that it is not all about kidnapping and all that because one, calls for ransom have not been made and all that but we are working on it,” Amaraizu said.
Lagos, NGO conduct free surgery for 1,000 residents
…Sanwo-Olu’s wife promises improved healthcare
The Lagos State Government yesterday said about1,000 people have so far benefitted from the ongoing free surgical intervention in orthopaedic surgery, eye and others being offered by the state government in collaboration with a nongovernmental, BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare Mission.
Saturday Telegraph gathered the free surgical intervention, which included dental surgery procedure, ENT surgery amongst others, was a continuation of the free screening recently conducted at the designated primary health centres across the State. Speaking during her visit to the centres where the surgery was being carried out simultaneously in general hospitals, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo- Olu, expressed delight at the impact the interventions have had in the lives of beneficiaries. She said: “I have been round five general hospitals today to observe what has been done for the past few days.
I was at the Massey Street Children’s Hospital, General Hospital, Lagos, Onikan General Hospital, Gbagada General Hospital and the Orile-Agege General Hospital. “I must say I am impressed with surgeries that were being done and it is indeed heart-warming that the beneficiaries of these free surgical interventions were quite appreciative.
” Sanwo-Olu, who gave kudos to the management of BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare International (HMI) for the humanitarian service, noted that she is aware that the medical team even worked during the last public holiday to ensure success of the programme.
We’re overhauling police to battle insecurity –Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the Federal Government is currently overhauling the entire structure of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), to equip it with modern gadgets to meet rising challenges across the nation. He said government was also creating intelligence loop for all security outfits.
The President stated this yesterday when he received traditional rulers from the North led by His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said the ongoing reform of the police would include recruitment of more hands, cultivation of stronger local intelligence and networking with communities, traditional rulers and adequate training. President Buhari noted that the return of the Ministry of Police Affairs was part of the initiative to drive the new process in ensuring proper provision of security for lives and property, with proactive intelligence gathering to nip crimes in the bud before they escalate. According to him, “I have decided to meet with Your Highnesses to assure you that government is determined to tackle and deal decisively with all security challenges facing us as a nation. “This consultation, therefore, is to engage you, our royal fathers, so that, collectively, we can arrive at solutions to any and all security problems in the country.
“We must all play our part to finally address these security challenges, particularly traditional rulers, in your respective communities, where you feel the pulse of the people, being the closest to the populace at the grassroots level,” he said. President Buhari, according to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday, urged the traditional rulers to provide more support to security agencies with their vast knowledge of communities and individuals.
“These policies and programmes include a robust revamping of police intelligence gathering capacity and the significant boosting of the numbers of security personnel in our local communities. “This in specific terms will include recruiting more police officers and doing so whenever possible from their local government areas, where they would then be stationed in the best traditions of policing world-wide. “Working with the state governments also, we intend to improve the equipping of the police force with advanced technology and equipment that can facilitate their work. To drive this, I recently created a full-fledged Ministry of Police Affairs.
“As I said during my meeting with the Traditional Rulers from the South-West, directives have been issued to the appropriate federal authorities to speedily approve licensing for states requesting the use of drones to monitor forests and other criminal hideouts,’’ he added.
The President said CCTVs will be installed on highways and other strategic locations so that activities in some hidden places can be exposed, more effectively monitored and open to actionable interventions. In his remark, the Sultan of Sokoto assured the President of the full support of traditional rulers in the country. “We have come to assure you of our total support, total commitment and undiluted dedication to moving the nation forward as one of the best countries of the world,’’ the royal father noted.
59,000 people die of dog bite annually –Experts
Veterinary and public health practitioners have said that about 59,000 people around the world die annually from rabies, a deadly virus that comes through dog bite. The experts also said economic losses arising from rabies was in the tune of $8.6 billion every year.
The experts, who disclosed this in Abuja during the 6th International Conference on Rabies in West Africa ( RIWA), said incidences of rabies death is high in Asia and Africa, where 5.5 billion people live with about 500 million dogs. One of the experts, Dr. Guillaume Convert, from the Veterinary Public Health Centre, France, noted that Asia and Africa were more prone to rabies, because the cost of immunising about 500 million dogs in the two continents stands at $1 billion yearly.
He said: “Rabies still kills more than 59,000 people every year and this comes together with an economic burden, well over USD 8.6 billion per year. The field battle today is in Asia and Africa where 5.5 billion people live with approximately 500 million dogs on these continents.”
Insecurity: SARS raids robbers’ hideout, arrest 5 suspects in Abia
Luck ran out on a gang of robbers terrorising motorists at Lokpanta community, Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, as officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) raided their camp. Saturday Telegraph gathered that given their mode of operation of robbing and abducting victims, the hoodlums have been suspected to be herdsmen. Police sources said the activities of the gang had created anxiety among motorists plying that route as they do block the expressway in broad daylight, robbing motorists and abducting passengers in the area.
The source said acting on a tip off, the SARS operatives, who had been on surveillance, raided the surrounding bushes and discovered makeshift camps where the hoodlums hide after attacking their victims. During the raid which as gathered was led by Commander of SARS in the state, SP Obioguru Johnbull, five suspects were arrested in the forest. Items recovered from the hideout include heaps of ammunition, 4 AK47 riffles, and 2 stainless pistols. According to the source, “The gang has become notorious for blocking the highways even in broad daylight, robbing passengers and even kidnapping them.
“Due to their mode of operation, they had heightened fear among motorists plying that route. We discovered a makeshift camp in the forest where they hide after attacking motorists in the area.” Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr. Ene Okon, who commended the SARS operatives, urged them to raid more suspected hideouts in the state to ensure a crimefree environment.
Wife of Anglican Bishop kidnapped in Imo
Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted Mrs. Anuri Maduwuike, wife of the Anglican Bishop of Ikeduru Diocese, Emmanuel Maduwuike. Maduwuike was said to have been abducted Thursday afternoon, on her way home from Owerri. Our correspondent gathered that the prelate’s wife was blocked off the road along the bad stretch of road at Ekemele, by gunmen operating in an unmarked vehicle. She was then bundled into the assailants vehicle and taken away to an unknown destination.
A lawyer and media practitioner, Mr. Emperror Iwuala who is also an adherent of the Anglican church posted the incident on his Facebook page calling for prayers. His post reads: “Wife of the Anglican bishop of Ikeduru Diocese, Mrs. Anuri Maduwuike was kidnapped yesterday (Thursday) by unknown gunmen.
We need prayers for God’s intervention and for the safety and freedom of God’s handmaid.” The state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the development when contacted. The police spokesman, however, added that her abductors were yet to establish contacts with the victim’s family.
CEWHIN seeks end to child marriage in Nigeria
The Centre for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN) has urged Nigerians, especially Civil Society Organisations, community leaders and media to intensify campaign against child marriage in the country. Speaking in Lagos yesterday about advocacy for the prohibition of child marriage in Lagos State during a meeting with CSOs and the media, Programme Officer of CEWHIN, Ms Tolulope Aderibigbe, noted that child marriage in different parts of Nigeria had killed dreams and potential of many a girl-child who had great dreams and aspirations about whom they wanted to become while growing up.
She said addressing scourge of child marriage and forced marriage can help to enhance women’s authority, increasing girls’ access to education, healthcare services and also reduce maternal mortality. According to Aderibigbe, CEWHIN is presently conducting advocacy that would promote the prohibition of child marriage in northern settler communities in Agege and Mushin areas of Lagos State, adding that the main objective of the advocacy is to strengthen the capacity of the community heads of Agege and Mushin northern settler communities to formally denounce and sanction the practice of child marriage in their communities.
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