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Catholic Church protests reverend father’s detention over kidnapping, murder of five workers

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Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta

The Catholic Church in Ebonyi State is seeking justice for Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta incarcerated over alleged involvement in the Effium-Ezza Effium fratricidal conflict in the state.

The church said this in a statement by Rev. Fr Mathew Uzoma, Chancellor, Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki, on Monday.

The church said that Ngwuta vehemently denied all charges brought against him before the Bishop of the Diocese and implored those responsible for the priest’s incarceration to “listen to the voice of right conscience”.

The statement said, “He was arrested by the police on December 21, 2021 at Mbeke-Ishieke, Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state while assisting a friend retrieve his vehicle which broke down.

“He went to the police to secure a clearance which was granted after settling the entitlements for guarding the vehicle for two weeks.

“A local vigilante accosted he and his team while inflating the tyres of the vehicle and he told them that the entitlement given to the police also covered theirs.

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“Another set of vigilante swooped on him and this caused a rift between both groups with Ngwuta arrested and taken to the same police station which earlier gave him clearance.”

The church in the statement, revealed that Ngwuta was subsequently transferred to the state police headquarters and released on December 23, 2021 due to deteriorating health condition, adding: “He was re-arrested on March 8, 2022 and three days later, arraigned in court for kidnapping and murder of the five Nelan construction company engineers supervising a road project at the crisis area, among other charges.

“We are worried over how an issue of vehicle retrieval outside the conflict area (another LGA) has metamorphosed into such accusations as Ngwuta had disclosed the identity of the vehicle owner to the police.

“Efforts to secure his bail has been hampered by an executive order preventing any court in the state from entertaining matters relating to the Effium crisis.”

The church said that it would not shield anyone who perpetrated violent acts in the state.

Reacting to the development, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cletus Ofoke, said that there was nothing such as an Executive Order on the Effium crisis.

Ofoke said” “The government can never issue order stopping the legitimate duties of the courts as such claim is aimed at maligning the government.

“Once a matter is in court, nobody talks about it with the legal processes taking their course.

“The state government has no hand in priest’s case as it is purely a legal issue from the police to the court.

“The priest is a human being such as others incarcerated over the Effium crisis with several of them already charged to court.”

Efforts made by the News Agency of Nigeria to contact the Ebonyi State Police Command for reaction proved abortive as its Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah, was not available for comments.

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NAF bombs bandit hideouts, kills scores in Kaduna

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The Nigerian Air Force aerial assaults on terrorist camps across three Local Government Areas of Igabi, Chikun and Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna State have led to the killing of many terrorists.

The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, was, however, silent on when the operations were carried out.

He said, “The Nigerian Air Force has continued with assaults on identified bandit camps and enclaves around Kaduna State.

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“Feedback to the Kaduna State Government revealed that a camp in Riyawa, Igabi LGA, was targeted and destroyed. A terrorist location at Tofa general area of Birnin Gwari LGA was similarly engaged and struck.

“Close air support was provided to ground troops conducting operations in Maidaro, Dogon Dawa, Damari, Saulawa and Farin Ruwa areas of Birnin Gwari LGA.

“Armed reconnaissance was carried out along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road, Buruku, Kurmin Dande, Damba, Ungwan Yako, Udawa, Manini, Kuriga, Gagafada, Kushaka, Polewire and Kamfanin Doka areas spanning Chikun and Birnin Gwari LGAs. No suspicious activity was observed at the locations covered.

“Further updates will be communicated as they emerge.”

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JUST IN: Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, wife finally part ways

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After 25 years of marriage, the popular Pentecostal pastor, Ayo Oritsejafor and his wife Helen have finally parted ways.

POLITICS NIGERIA learned that the split is caused by a protracted and bitter misunderstanding.

According to Niger Delta-based self-styled ‘Bishop of Godism’, Ufuoma Bernard, Helen in a WhatsApp message earlier in 2022 accused the estranged husband of wanting her dead.

She’s rumoured to be in a sizzling romance with a man for 10 years.

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“Helen reportedly moved out of the matrimonial home and relocated to Britain with the kids and Pastor Oritsejafor has moved back to the house after abandoning it for almost a year,” Bernard said.

Oritsejafor is the founding and Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, located in Warri, Delta State.

He became the national president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) on 7 February 2005, a position he held for five years.

In July 2010, Oritsejafor was elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the apex body of all Christians in the country. In doing so he became the first Pentecostal leader to hold the position.

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ICPC confirms arrest, detention of D’Banj over N-Power fund fraud

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Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, otherwise known by his stage name D’Banj

Popular Nigerian musician, Oladapo Oyebanji, also known as D’banj, has been arrested and detained in Abuja over alleged diversion of N-Power fund.
The pop star was arrested and detained Tuesday by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.

The ICPC on Wednesday confirmed this in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua.

D’banji was accused of fraudulently diverting huge funds earmarked by the Nigerian government for N- Power project, an empowerment programme set up by the Nigerian government in 2016 to address youth unemployment and increase social development.
According to an ICPC source, D’banj was said to have colluded with some government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme.

The money meant for those beneficiaries was then paid to accounts that have now been allegedly linked to the pop star.

D’banj was reported to have dodged summons by the ICPC for weeks, claiming to be overseas for scheduled concerts for interrogation over fraud allegation before the commission’s operatives closed in on him.

On arrival at the ICPC office, D’banj was reportedly subjected to a prolonged interrogation session after which he was detained.

His plea for administrative bail was reportedly rejected by officials who said the musician could not be trusted to attend his trial if released on bail.

The statement issued read in part, “The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) confirmed on Wednesday the arrest and detention of Mr. Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, otherwise known by his stage name D’Banj, over the investigation of fraud associated with the N-Power Programme.

“The N-Power is a scheme established by President Muhammadu Buhari on 8th June, 2016, to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment, and help increase social development.

“In line with its mandate, the Commission had received numerous petitions on the diversion of N-Power funds running into billions of naira following the approval and release of such funds to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government. Many N-Power beneficiaries had complained over the non-receipt of the monthly funds in spite of payment by the Government.

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“About 10 persons have been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the N-Power fraud, and have been granted administrative bail after their detention. Several invitations to Mr. Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo, to appear before a team of investigators were ignored and not honoured.

“D’banji turned himself in and was taken into custody at the ICPC headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, and is currently assisting the investigators to unravel the circumstances of the fraud allegations by the petitioners.

“The investigation will be all-encompassing and also be extended to other collaborators of the fraud and the banks where the beneficiaries’ accounts are domiciled.

“This press release has become necessary to set the record straight in view of the reports awash in the media. The investigation is ongoing and the Commission prefers not to preempt its outcome and also avoid the frenzy of a media trial.”

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