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300 hoodlums invaded NPA headquarters, destroyed 60 vehicles – MD

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  • Stole Toyota Prado SUV, Hilux patrol van
  • Burnt 27 vehicles, vandalised 33 others

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, has disclosed that those who attacked the corporate headquarters of the agency in Lagos recently were about 300 hoodlums and they destroyed 60 vehicles.

She said the hoodlums who forced their way into her office, were bent on grounding port operations at Tin-Can, Apapa and Calabar seaports as they vandalised some facilities before setting fire to 27 vehicles and a section of the NPA building.

She spoke in Lagos after conducting some journalists round some of the areas torched by the rampaging urchins.

Usman said, “The NPA regrets the attack on its 26/28 Marina Road, Lagos, corporate headquarters and the Tin can Island Port by unknown persons on Wednesday October 21st and Tuesday October 20th, 2020 respectively.

“The attack on the Tin can Island Port commenced at 9:45am on Tuesday October 20th 2020. The hoodlums made an attempt to forcefully gain access into the port, attacked the administrative building and set ablaze a truck which was evacuating cargo. It took the combined efforts of officers of the port authority police, the police mobile force and the Nigerian Customs Service to repel the attack.

“The attackers at the headquarters numbering over 300 persons, gained access into the premises at 8:42am on Wednesday October 21st 2020 from the outer Broad Street wing brandishing daggers, sticks and cutlasses.

“After attacking, disarming and chasing the security personnel on duty out of the headquarters premises, the attackers proceeded to burn and vandalise several vehicles belonging to the Authority and some members of staff. They thereafter set a wing of the office building on fire.”

The NPA MD said after the dust had settled, it was discovered that the invaders also went away with a Toyota Prado SUV and a Hilux patrol van

An assessment of the extent of damage, she also said, showed that apart from the annex wing that was burnt, many offices were vandalised, while computers, printers, water dispensers and other electronic devices were looted.

“A total of twenty-seven (27) vehicles, including cars, utility vehicles, pick up vans and staff buses were set on fire, while thirty-three (33) other vehicles, twenty-two of which belong to members of staff were vandalised. A Toyota Prado SUV, a Bajaj Motorcycle and one Hilux patrol van were also stolen from the premises.”

She however stated that the Nigerian military invited to save the situation, successfully dispersed the hoodlums and reclaimed possession of the premises as well as secured other port facilities.

“Upon knowledge of the attack, officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces were invited and deployed on the premises. They successfully dispersed the hoodlums and reclaimed possession of the premises following which the authority’s firemen were able to gain access into the building and put out the raging fire.”

She, however, declared that the situation had not in any way affected operations of the authority, adding, “We have continued to render our services unhindered.”

She recalled that the hoodlums had earlier threatened to burn down the Tin-Can Island and Apapa port before they were repelled by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service and mobile police officers.

Usman said the NPA would not have to suffer much of the huge loss as “all assets of the authority are comprehensively insured, and insurers are currently undergoing an assessment of the damages.”

She expressed gratitude to those who quickly responded to the issue and was happy that no life was lost especially because “some members of staff who were on critical duties were in the building at the time of the attack.”

“The authority recognises the gallantry of men of the Nigerian Armed Forces and our firemen whose intervention restored normalcy. We also appreciate the concerns of all stakeholders and citizens who have reached out with kind words of support and encouragement,” she said.

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400 suspected Boko Haram, bandits’ sponsors arrested

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Security agents have arrested about 400 businessmen for allegedly funding operations of Boko Haram and bandits in the country.

Daily Trust reported that the businessmen were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have approved the operation in 2020.

The newspaper reported that an initial list of 957 suspects comprising bureau de change (BDC) operators, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen is being acted upon.

A source told the newspaper that about 400 persons were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

Names of the BDC operators arrested were given as Baba Usaini, Abubakar Yellow (Amfani), Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida), Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge, and Muhammad Lawan Sani, a gold dealer.

Those arrested are reportedly being kept in military and the DSS facilities in Abuja and other places.

“Because this is economic warfare against the insurgents and other militant groups, the president, when approving the operation directed that the NFIU take the lead as the country’s financial intelligence powerhouse,” Daily Trust quoted a source to have said.

The source added that “with the presidential approval, a task team was composed of personally selected senior officers who were deployed under the DIA to carry out the special assignment”.

“The main person coordinating the funding ring for Boko Haram is in our custody, he and his closest ally in the business,” he said.

Another source was quoted to have said about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been used in funding terrorism.

Apart from one person in Borno and another in Zaria, Kaduna state, the source said over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed groups.

“A number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. But they are being kept to aid further arrests,” the source was quoted to have said.

Family members of those arrested, the newspaper reported, have been calling on the government for their release.

In 2020, six Nigerians were also jailed in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly funding Boko Haram.

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Former Ondo deputy governor agrees to return vehicles

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Former Ondo Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi has finally agreed to return the two vehicles in his possession to the Ondo State Government.

The state government last week said it would embarrass Agboola if he failed to return the four vehicles.

But Agboola, who said he had only two vehicles, insisted they were part of his benefits.

The state government also petitioned the Ondo State Police Command to help recover the vehicles.

In a statement on Sunday, the former deputy governor said he was not the problem of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration.

Agboola stated it was in the interest of everybody that Governor Akeredolu demonstrated good governance, transparent policy making and effective change.

He said it was unfortunate some members of the inner circle of Akeredolu have prioritised harassing him on a number of issues most especially the return of vehicles

Agboola said he hoped “these petty interactions would have ceased after the recent inauguration.

“To be clear – if the return of these two vehicles will make the administration focus more on the avalanche of pressing needs, challenges and predicaments facing the state most especially insecurity, the absence of governance and unpaid salaries across the entirety the Ondo public sector – then I’m ready to make the sacrifice and return the two vehicles which they so desperately need.

“I am not the problem of the present administration. I have moved on.”

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Pensioners demand payment of N35bn arrears

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Nigeria pensioners who retired from the electricity sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to come to their aide in order to resolve the lingering issue of their owed N35billion pension arrears.

The pensioners under the aegis of Electricity Sector Retiree Welfare Association (ESREWA), led by its  President, Elder Benjamin Amako, asked President Buhari to save countless dying pensioners whose fate are tied to the delayed payment of their pension arrears.

Rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amako said every Nigerian, including President Buhari, knows the pathetic situation of pensioners in the country.

Amako said: “First we thank God that Mr President returned from his medical trip healthier, stronger and successfully. The news of his return gave us pensioners so much joy because we know  he will not sit quiet and watch more pensioners lose their lives because of humanly inaction. So far, his administration has ensured that pensioners gets their rights and this arrears we are asking for is our right.

“Interestingly, President Buhari had already directed that this same arrears (N35billion) be paid to us, but for over five years ago he issued the directive, the relevant authorities who it is their responsibilities to ensure we get this arrears for our dying members seems to be working contrarily.

“So for the past five years, these arrears have always been part of the National Budget under Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) budget and accordingly transferred to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). But sadly, we have not been paid a dime even as I speak, for reasons that are totally and obviously human making.

“So we are pleading with President Buhari, the SGF, Minister of Finance, Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Accountant General of the Federation, PTAD and other relevant authorities to save our lives by paying us this money without further delay.”

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