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Fear grips Kwara communities over influx of herders

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Several communities in Kwara State are now reviewing their security strategies following the influx of herdsmen and their families from the neighbouring states of Oyo, Ekiti and Osun in the North-Central state.

The herders’ relocation arose from the ban on night grazing across the South-West, the  quit order from government forest reserves in Ondo State, and the  campaign against criminal herders in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.

The ECOWAS Court of Justice, Abuja on Friday fixed April 12 for judgment in a suit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) seeking “justice and accountability for the authorities’ failure to prevent, account for and investigate killings, raping, maiming of Nigerians and other residents, and destruction of property across the country by herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators.”

 

A panel of discussants also asked government to take decisive action on the incessant clashes between farmers and herders in the country before the situation degenerates.

Residents of Ifelodun, Irepodun and Isin local government areas of Kwara State, according to investigation, are currently taking stock of their security arrangements with a view to checking any threat to life and property following the relocation of herders to the localities.

A group, Omo Ibile Igbomina, an association of Igbomina people, said that six trailer loads of herders arrived in the area penultimate Friday alone, causing anxiety among the people.

He said that even before the arrival of the new comers, farmers had always been clashing with herders who seemed to take delight in taking their cattle to graze on farms.

Spokesman for the Omo Ibile Igbomina, Oni Martin, said, “Farming remains foremost of our economic activities that has become endangered, arising from mindless criminality, impunity and wanton destruction of crops and human lives right on our ancestral soil.

“We had a day when these gang of heartless strangers killed our people in broad day light on a particular market day in Oro-Ago town, for instance.

“We have series of reports of herdsmen chasing out our farmers out of their farms, for daring to challenge them for feeding their beasts with their source of living.

“Worrisome enough, the herdsmen have appeared to make it a vogue to array themselves with terribly sharpened cutlasses, assault walking sticks and of course assault rifles.

“This intimidation and threat appeared worse on the farms as these strangers exhibit no reservation to make their beast comfortable to the sorrow of our farmers even to the point of terminating lives.

“All of the above has been our routine experience and the herdsmen have taken over our forests and farmlands with our people living in fear of being kidnapped or hacked down.

“With the above background, the national body of Omo Ibile Igbomina with all has been on consultations in a bid to arrest the ugly development.”

Continuing, Martin said, “All of a sudden on the 29th of January, 2021, we heard the news of the arrival of an uninvited army of more dreaded herdsmen, more ferocious looking than those we had been trying to manage. They came in six trailers to Igbomina land.

“Thank God for the vigilant patriots who intercepted them at the wee-hour of the day at a point between Buari and Okerimi Oro.

“Our people’s reaction was spontaneous and responsible: the Women Farmers Association in Oro stormed the palace of the Oloro of Oro to find a lasting solution to the situation.

“These people who were driven out from the Southwest states of Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and Oyo could not and will not be allowed to use any part of Igbomina land as their new abode. Igbomina will not concede an inch of her land to these unwanted visitors.

“In view of the above, it is our resolution that our community remains peaceful, law abiding but alert to security threats.

“Strangers should spontaneously be reported to our traditional rulers, and if unresolved, to the security agencies.

“Let our people go to the farm as a team and avoid staying late on the farm much less doing a lone ranger farming.”

Residents of Igbaja in Ifelodun local government area of the state also recently staged a peaceful protest at the palace of the traditional ruler of the ancient town, the Elesee, to draw attention to alleged intimidation and destruction of their farms by herders.

The head of the Fulani community in Igbaja, Mallam Abubakar Garba, said in an interview that some of the accusations were true, but implored the natives to be patient, saying deliberate efforts were being made to address the matter.

Garba expressed sadness over situation of security in the communities, calling for dialogue to ensure amicable resolution.

The state government also called for peace across the state.

Secretary to the State Government, Prof Mamman Sabbah Jubril, said, “In the light of some unfortunate developments in some neighbouring states, we urge our people not to entertain any fear as proactive measures have been, and are still being, taken to maintain peace and ensure security of lives and properties of every resident.

“The government is working with all the security agencies, directors of personnel management (DPMs) and the leadership of Miyetti Allah to strengthen the existing peace between various economic interests.”

He also said, “At the instance of His Excellency the Governor of Kwara State, the office of the SSG has held briefings with various stakeholders across the state on the need to ensure that all hands are on deck to protect lives and properties.

“The leadership of Miyetti Allah has also committed to disallow night grazing or cattle grazing by underage persons. Assisted by the security agencies, the DPMs across the 16 local government areas have been directed to work with local communities and legitimate herders to keep the peace.

“We therefore urge everyone to key into this peace building process and to avoid taking laws into their own hands or engage in activities that can undermine peaceful coexistence.”

 

FG using back channels to resolve crisis, says Lai Mohammed

Speaking on efforts by the Federal Government to resolve security challenge in the country, Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, said different approaches were being adopted.

One of such is what he called back channels; that is the use of a third party to broker peace.

He cited this week’s meeting between renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi, and bandits terrorising Zamfara State.

“When you want to resolve an issue like this, you use lots of back channels,” the minister said.

The minister spoke on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show.

He added, “It is not unusual for a respected cleric to have the confidence of (approaching) outlaws or bandits.

“As a matter of fact, they are probably ready to listen to him more than they are ready to listen to the government. They are probably ready to believe him more.”

-The Nation

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Court strikes out money laundering charge against Olisa Metuh, firm

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Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh

A Federal High Court Abuja has struck out the seven-count money laundering charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh and his firm, Destra Investment Ltd.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Emeka Nwite held that it was of no use keeping the charge in his court’s docket when the prosecution and defendants have appeals pending at the Supreme Court.

Justice Nwite, who described the retention of the charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/05/2022 as “an abuse of court process,” held that there was no way the case could return to his court without the Supreme Court first deciding the appeals by parties in the charge.

The ruling was on arguments by lawyers to the EFCC, Metuh and Destra.

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At the mention of the case on Monday, Justice Nwite asked EFCC’s lawyer, Olanrewaju Adeola about the status of the case.

Adeola said the defendants – Metuh and Destra – were earlier convicted by the Federal High Court, which conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal following the defendants’ appeals.

He said the prosecution has since lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Adeola added: “We understand that the matter was listed this morning at the instance of the defendants for application for the release of the first defendant’s international passport.”

Lawyer to Metuh, Afam Osigwe (SAN), who claimed that his client learnt, via the socio media, about hearing of case on Monday, said he had a prior discussion the EFCC lawyer on the status of the case, “because there is a pending appeal at the Supreme Court in suit number: SC/ CR/583/2021 between FG Vs. Olisa Metuh and another.”

Osigwe said the EFCC was, in the appeal, urging the Supreme Court to among others, reinstate the order of the Federal High Court, which was set aside by the Court of Appeal.

“So, in the light of the reliefs sought in that appeal, it will amount to an abuse of court process for a fresh prosecution to be commenced when they are asking for reinstatement.

The Nation

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Lagos scammers defraud, rape lady in uncompleted building

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Rotimi Fisher and Sherif Adebayo

Two suspected fraudsters, Rotimi Fisher and Sherif Adebayo, have allegedly defrauded a 23-year-old girl in the Ipaja area of Lagos State.

The suspects also reportedly lured the victim to an uncompleted building on Majiyagbe Street, Ipaja, where Adebayo allegedly raped her.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the victim was on her way to a destination in Iyana Ipaja when Fisher approached her to help him locate an address.

The suspect, who reportedly presented himself as a foreign businessman to the victim, said he came to Nigeria to deliver goods to one of his clients at the address and to collect his outstanding payments.

 A source said after Fisher approached people for help to no avail, the young girl offered to help, but upon checking the address, she did not know the location.

The source said, “But as the girl was trying to help Fisher, Adebayo suddenly came as a neutral person and offered to assist Fisher, whereas they were working together. Adebayo said the address was fake, but started motivating the girl on the need for them to help Fisher.

 “Fisher, while lamenting being stranded, claimed that he was in possession of some papers that could be converted to plenty money but told Adebayo and the girl that he needed money to buy chemicals to convert the papers to money.

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“Adebayo quickly dropped N60,000. The girl, who seemed convinced, gave Fisher her gold jewellery and N10,000 and also went to withdraw N65,000 from a nearby ATM and gave it to Fisher, who told Adebayo and the girl to take an oath not to reveal his secret to anyone.”

 After taking the oath, it was learnt that Fisher gave them a location to meet him the next day.

When they got there, the Ogun State indigene reportedly showed them the sack containing the money and told Adebayo and the girl that the spirit responsible for converting the papers to money was asking for human blood as sacrifice.

“Fisher said to prevent both of them from dying, they needed to have sex. He also used the oath they took to threaten them. So, the girl out of fear of dying, followed them to an uncompleted building around 9pm on Majiyagbe Street, Ipaja, where Adebayo had sex with her,” the source said.

 PUNCH Metro gathered that after Fisher, 42, and Adebayo, 32, perpetrated the crime on September 3, 2022, the girl left the uncompleted building and proceeded to the Ipaja Police Station to report the case for investigation.

 The policemen, led by the Ipaja Divisional Police Officer, CSP Tokunbo Abaniwonda, reportedly swung into action and in a two-week sting, arrested Fisher and Adebayo at their hideouts in Ipaja on September 16, 2022.

During interrogation, the suspects confessed to the crime, saying they only manipulated the victim.

 Adebayo said, “I only slept with her once and I used a contraceptive. I got the contraceptive at a mallam’s shop in the area. I used the contraceptive because I don’t really know the girl. I needed to protect myself.”

Narrating how he perpetrated the crime, Fisher said he met Adebayo through a friend, Bisi, who he claimed trained him on how to formulate stories to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

He said, “I have been asking a lot of people for the address. While some said they did not know the place, others advised me to go back to the country I came from, but I said I could not go back because of the goods that I brought.

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“The girl got convinced when I said I was looking for people to help me count Nigerian money because I said I don’t know how to count it. Meanwhile, I and Adebayo had been talking to people but they did not answer us.

“It was when the girl was passing that I explained to her and she listened to me. So, Adebayo also pretended to be a passer-by and when he was passing, I signalled to him, and asked the girl to help me ask him for the location of the address and Adebayo said he had not heard of such an address before.”

 Reacting, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the suspects had been charged to court.

PUNCH Metro gathered that Fisher and Adebayo, who are both married with two children each, were arraigned at the Ejigbo Magistrate’s Court on three counts bordering on obtaining by false pretences, fraudulent conversion and sexual assault, offences punishable under sections 411, 314 (1), 287 and 136 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

 The men were later remanded in prison as the matter was adjourned till October 17, 2022, for further hearing.

Fraudsters have been deploying different tactics to swindle unsuspecting members of the public out of their valuables in different parts of Lagos State.

 In August 2022, 35-year-old Olumide Womiloju was arraigned for fraud before Chief Magistrate P.E. Nwaka at a magistrate’s court sitting in the Yaba area of the state, for allegedly obtaining N5m from clients after promising to process their visas to travel overseas.

Also in August, a suspected fraudster, Emmanuel Rolland, was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money to defraud unsuspecting residents in the Ikorodu area of the state.

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Seven passengers burnt to death in bus accident in Lagos

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Seven passengers were on Sunday burnt to death in a commercial bus that caught fire in the Iyana Oworo area of Lagos State.

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident in a statement.

Permanent Secretary at LASEMA, Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, attributed the cause of the accident to reckless driving.

The statement said, “Upon arrival at the scene, a commercial bus of 14 passengers with registration number KJA 699 GY was discovered to have been gutted with fire.

“Further investigation gathered at the scene revealed that the incident occurred due to recklessness by the driver which resulted in the fire with 12 passengers trapped.

“Unfortunately seven victims, four males, two females and a male child were burnt to death. The driver escaped with some burns while three female adults were rescued and rushed to Gbagada General Hospital. A male adult was also attended to by LASAMBUS at the scene.”

The LASEMA permanent secretary said their remains had been bagged by the agency’s paramedics and handed over to the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU).

He said, “Arrangements have been made by LASTMA officials at the scene for the removal of the burnt vehicle from the road. Road is partially opened for vehicular activities.”

 

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