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FG will pardon escaped Imo inmates who return voluntarily – Aregbesola

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  • Gunmen set ablaze another Imo police station

Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has said the fugitives who escaped from the custodial centre in Owerri, the Imo State capital, will be granted amnesty if they return voluntarily.

He stated this just as gunmen have set ablaze another police station in Imo State, the second time in two days.

Aregbesola spoke during the inspection of the custodial centre on Tuesday after it was attacked by unknown gunmen on Monday.

Over 1,880 inmates were said to have escaped while 36 stayed back during the attack.

The minister said, “Unlawful escape from custody is a crime but the government in its magnanimity will grant amnesty to prisoners who willfully return

“They will no longer be charged with an unlawful escape but only for the initial crimes that took them to prison. So we urge all escapees to return before they are caught on the run.”

The minister also described the Monday jailbreak at Owerri Correctional Centre and the burning of the Imo State Police Command headquarters as the worst in the recent history of the country.

Aregbesola, who said that the attackers operated as terrorists, ordered the relocation of the Owerri Recreational Club and other structures posing as a security threat to the premises of the centre.

Aregbesola vowed that those who perpetrated the attack would be apprehended and prosecuted.

Meanwhile, gunmen went on the rampage on Tuesday afternoon as they set ablaze another police station in Imo State, the second time in two days.

The police station, located in Ehime Mbano LGA.

The attack on the police station came hours after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo visited the state for an assessment of the damage done during a previous attack.

The police command headquarters and a correctional service centre in Owerri, Imo state capital, were attacked in the early hours of Monday.

It was learnt that police officers on duty took off when the station was invaded by the gunmen on Tuesday.

The gunmen were also said to have freed the detained persons at the police station.

Imo police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police.

He, however, added that no death was recorded during the invasion.

“Yes, I can confirm to you that the police facility was attacked today by bandits. No casualty on the part of police, no loss of arms, but three vehicles were burnt in the process,” he said.

Some inmates were freed while buildings and vehicles were razed when the Imo State police headquarters was invaded.

The Nigeria Correctional Service also said over 1,800 inmates escaped from custody, while the police accused members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra of being behind the attacks.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs), Sub-Machine Guns (SMGs), AK49 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN),” Frank Mba, the police spokesperson, had said.

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JUST IN: Old naira: IMF asks FG, CBN to extend February 10 deadline

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline to phase out the old naira notes.

The International monetary body made the call just after the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) from enforcing the deadline.

The IMF, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by Laraba Bonet, said the plea was on the hardship Nigerians were exposed to over the issue.

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It said: “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist  in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline”.

The IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.

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Cash crunch: Protesters defy police in Abeokuta, make bonfires on major roads

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Residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State, took to the streets on Tuesday protesting the scarcity of cash and the attendant pains.

Major streets affected by the protests are Aladesanmi, Fajol and Somorin in Obantoko area of Abeokuta as the protesters made bonfires and chanted anti-CBN songs
The Sapon branch of First Bank was also vandalised and the protesters tried to set it ablaze.
Ogun Police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the protest, saying police officers were on the ground to monitor the situation and prevent the destruction of property and loss of lives.
He said some group of boys were involved in the crisis.
The police later came to disperse the protesters but they regrouped as soon as the operatives withdrew from the scene.
The situation affected vehicular movement as motorists and pedestrians ran in different directions to avert being caught up in the chaotic situation.

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Court frees Diezani associate Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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An Abuja federal high court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of $1.6bn fraud allegations.

Omokore, an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were accused of fraudulently diverting the $1.6bn said to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

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