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I’ll release Bayelsa commissioner when police free my father, says kidnapper

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Federal Otokito

The abductors of the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito, have contacted the paramount ruler of his community, Otuokpoti, in the Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

Otokito’s assailants, believed to be operators of illegal crude oil refinery, also known as ‘kpofire’, had stormed his residence in the community on Thursday night and grabbed him from his bedroom at gunpoint into a waiting speedboat at the waterside and sped away.

They were said to have kidnapped Otokito for opposing their plan to set up an illegal crude oil refinery in the community’s forest.

Sunday PUNCH learnt that the kidnappers’ leader called the community chief on the phone and informed him that the commissioner was in their custody.

But they were yet to contact the victim’s family more than 48 hours after they took him away to an unknown place.

A family source, who spoke in confidence on Saturday, said the kidnappers’ leader called the traditional ruler at about 5:30am on Saturday.

According to the source, the camp leader did not demand any ransom but stated that they would release Otokito only on the condition that his detained father was released by the police.

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The source said, “They’ve not contacted the family but the actor (leader) called the paramount ruler that he actually did the kidnapping and the commissioner is with him.

“He called the paramount ruler at about 5:30am but did not demand ransom. The only seeming demand he placed is that his father held by the police should be freed. He threatened to come back to the community if his demand was not met.”

Before the incident, the gang leader had reportedly approached Otuokpoti community and held a meeting with some elders and youths, where he sought to set up an illegal bunkering camp around the community’s bush.

He and his men allegedly sealed the understanding reached at the meeting by providing bags of rice, lives goats and cash gifts, among other items.

However, Otokito got wind of the meeting and headed to the village and vowed that as a serving commissioner, he would not allow any illegitimate oil refinery to operate in the area.

He was said to have also confronted the leader of the gang and warned them to stay away from the forest, threatening to expose them if they attempted to carry out their nefarious business.

Apparently angered by the commissioner’s decision to abort their illicit plan, the armed oil thieves were said to have stormed Otokito’s house at about 11pm on Thursday and gained entrance through the kitchen.

Punch

 

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Abuja market shut indefinitely over motorbike accident, riot

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammad Bello, has ordered the indefinite closure of Dei-Dei Market in Abuja, following a riot.

He gave the order after inspecting the scene of the Wednesday incident with FCT Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, and other senior security officers.

Some residents had said there was an accident involving a motorcycle around the market in the area that resulted in the chaos.

During the riot, some persons were seen with machetes. There were unconfirmed reports of some deaths while shops were razed; vehicles and motorcycles destroyed.

The minister directed the community and the market leaders to fish out the hoodlums responsible for the crisis.

“The community and market leaders must fish out hoodlums and bad eggs among them, unfortunately this time around hoodlums carry arms and they shot innocent people,” NAN quoted him as saying.

He also said, “As a matter of fact, I saw four corpses this is very sad and totally unequivocally unacceptable in Abuja.

“We have agreed with security agencies that full scale investigations will be done, and the communities have to be part and parcel of the solution or else there will be no peace.

“In the interim the timber market and the surrounding markets, including all the activities on road that have clustered the road and made it impassable will all stop until the technical team reviews everything, and then we will take the next decision.”

Bello said there was no tribal or religious misunderstanding because all the leadership of various communities have lived in peace for many years.

“This is simply the matter of criminals and hoodlums taking the laws into their hands,” he said.

The FCT police in a statement said it had restored normalcy in Dei-dei town.

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Ibadan Poly speaks on student who died during marathon sex

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The Polytechnic Ibadan has confirmed that a young man

Daniel Igunnu, who reportedly lost his life during marathon sex with his girlfriend was a student of the institution.
The Public Affairs Director of the Polytechnic Ibadan, Alhaji Soladoye Adewole, said Daniel Igunnu was an Higher National Diploma (HND) student of the polytechnic.
He said the incident happened off-campus, precisely in the Idi-Ito.
He however said the institution, was yet to establish the identity of the lady involved in the incident.
It would be recalled that the two lovebirds were engaged in marathon romp at the deceased apartment in Idi-Ito in the Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State when he died.
The body of the deceased was seen on the floor while the lady was met unconscious.
The lady was reportedly rushed to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan for medical attention.

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Lagos Hausa community seeks okada ban reversal, promises Sanwo-Olu massive votes

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Some leaders of the Hausa community in Lagos State have appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to reverse the ban on Okada operations in six local government areas of the state.

The leaders, who spoke in separate interviews with The PUNCH, on Wednesday, said Okada riders who hail from northern Nigeria contribute significantly to the voting population of Lagos and should not be economically strangulated.

Sanwo-Olu had on Wednesday banned the operations of commercial motorcycle riders in six Local Governments and nine Local Government Development Areas in the state.

The affected councils are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Apapa.

The governor said, “We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws.

“The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.”

But the Seriki of Obalende, Saliu Waziri, told The PUNCH that the government should rethink its decision.

Waziri said the government should instead get the data of Okada riders in Lagos to fish out any intruder or criminally-minded fellows.

He said, “This issue has taken us a long time and we have been trying to put our members on the line. I want to advise the government to rethink its decision because Lagos can’t operate without bikes because of traffic. Government should register Okada riders in each local government to know those working in any local government. By so doing, the government would know who to pick when any issue arises.

“Some of our members stay here in Lagos and vote during elections. That should count for something because we contribute to votes during elections. The government should change the system of Okada riders not stopping them.”

Waziri, however, ruled out the possibility of taking any legal action against the state government.

The Seriki Hausa of Ajah, Ibrahim Ngoma, agreed with his Obalende counterpart that the government should consider the voting population of Hausa Okada riders in Lagos.

“Truth be told, Governor Sanwo-Olu has been understanding with Okada people unlike Governor (Babatunde) Fashola. Okada members should obey the law while I appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu to look into the matter and lift the ban before the election because the ban is affecting my people,” he said.

Also, another leader of the Hausa community in Lagos, Iliyasu Kira, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to reverse the ban.

According to the Seriki Hausa in Shasha in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, the voting population of the Hausa Okada riders in Lagos is not something the government want to joke with.

He said, “I appeal to the government to leave Okada riders to continue their operations. These Okada riders help the government during elections with votes. Our voting population in Lagos constitutes over 2.7 million because most of us vote here in Lagos. We are not all bad people.

“Many of our people are Okada riders in Lagos. If the government claims that robbers are rampant among Okada riders, then the government should sieve out the criminals. The government should provide replacement for our members affected by the ban.

“We don’t have the power to start any legal case with the government. This is why I am appealing with the government to reconsider the ban.”

An aide to the Sarkin Hausawa of Agege, Abdullahi Salihu, in a chat with The PUNCH, said the Hausa community in the state will not challenge the government’s ban.He said, “The Chieftaincy Council of Hausa Community in Agege, under his Royal Highness, Alhaji Musa Muhammed Dogon Kadai, doesn’t challenge government laws. We believe that whenever government makes a law, it’s for the best of the general public. So, challenging the government’s law is like saying we don’t want the betterment of the state. We know that many of our people earn their daily income from the Okada business but that doesn’t mean that because of their own income we should jeopardise the security of lives and property in the state.”

Salihu said he also spoke with the Sarkin in three of the affected LGAs, saying they gave the same position as that of the Hausa leadership in Agege.

He said, “Majority of them are on the same page as we are here. They said our stand on the issue is also their stand, so that’s the resolution we have reached. We are urging every member of the community to abide by the rules and laws of the state government. Anybody found wanting, we’ll not be reliable for the person’s act because the law is the law anywhere. We cannot get our people to protest or take action against the law of the state government. So, that is the resolution we all came about after I called them.”

Criminals won’t be allowed in other LGs – Okada union

Meanwhile, the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria, said the ban does not affect its members.

Those six local governments you mentioned, we, ACOMORAN do not operate there. So, we are not affected. We operate in eight local governments in Lagos,” the Lagos chairman of the association, Olaoluwa Ogundare, told our correspondent in a telephone interview.

Speaking on the possible exodus of Okada riders from the affected areas to ACOMORAN’s territory including the Alimosho LGA, Ogundare said, “Our members are all registered and easily identified when they commit any atrocity. We also issue identity cards to them. Majority of the Hausa people affected are not registered. Those who want to move to our zone must register; we must have their data because we don’t want anyone to implicate us.”

An online petition started by one Ronke Onadeko to ban Okada in Lagos following the gruesome killing of Mr David Imoh in Lekki axis by suspected motorcyclists has garnered 1,510 signatures as of 5.05 pm on Wednesday.

Imoh was lynched by some okada operators on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Lekki, Lagos State. Two other people, Francis Olatimji and Phillip Balogun, were hospitalised in the incident.

On Tuesday, a day prior to Sanwo-Olu’s directive, the Lagos State Taskforce, led by its chairman, CSP Shola Jejeloye, stormed the axis in a sting operation at mid-day and seized 115 motorcycles for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the state’s highways.

According to Jejeloye, the operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the state.

He further appealed to Lagosians to join efforts with the government in its efforts to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos roads.

He said, “Restoring sanity is not an easy task, neither is it a job for one man or the Agency alone. If we join hands together we will achieve our desired goals of ensuring that no one takes the laws into their hands and gets away with it, especially not in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos.”

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