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Kidnappers’ den discovered behind a police checkpoint along Auchi-Abuja expressway[VIDEO]

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Hausa community seeks reversal of Okada ban, 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.”

1,510 sign petition against okada in Lekki

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.

The PUNCH reports that 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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N80bn fraud: EFCC uncovers 17 properties linked to accountant-general

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Suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has traced at least 17 properties to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, The PUNCH has learnt.

This is just as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, suspended Idris who is currently being investigated for fraud to the tune of N80bn.

An official of the EFCC, who wished to remain anonymous, said the properties traced to Idris are located in Kano, Lagos, Abuja, Dubai and London.

He, however, said preliminary investigations showed that the nation’s chief accountant allegedly used proxies to buy some of these properties. The commission would therefore need to invite some of the proxies of the accountant-general.

The detective added that from all indications, these properties were purchased while Idris was in office and did not declare them before the Code of Conduct Bureau as stipulated by law.

He added, “About 17 houses in London, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Dubai have been traced to him. In Abuja, some of the houses are located in serviced estates.”

The EFCC had in a statement on Monday announced the arrest of the accountant-general for fraud to the tune of N80bn.

The statement read in part, “The commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates. The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja.”

It was learnt that Idris came under scrutiny last year following allegations that he offered huge sums of money to a family in order to secure the marriage of their 16-year-old daughter.

The uncle of the teenager, Nura Bagudu, had told The PUNCH in an interview that the accountant-general offered properties and gifts to the young lady and her family and had lodged complaints to the Federal Government.

“He told the young lady to go to Abuja and choose any house she wanted and he would buy it for her,” Bagudu had told The PUNCH.

Also, the accountant-general had in 2021 launched Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited which he had openly admitted to owning.

Idris stated this when he received a delegation of Kano Concerned Citizens Initiative led by its late Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Tofa. The project is said to be worth huge sums of money which is far more than his income.

An EFCC official said the legal department was already getting an order to remand the accountant-general and get an interim forfeiture on some of his properties pending the completion of investigations.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Wednesday announced the suspension of the accountant-general in order to allow for a seamless investigation.

In a letter conveying Idris’ suspension, the Minister of Finance warned the embattled public official not to visit the office at any time, adding that the suspension was in line with the public service rules.

The letter titled, ‘Letter of Suspension’ read in part, “Following your recent arrest by EFCC on allegations of diversion of funds and money laundering, I write to convey your suspension from work without pay effective May 18, 2022.”

Efforts to get a response from the Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.

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Five killed, houses burnt as Abuja traders, okada riders clash

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Five people have been reportedly killed and a number of houses set ablaze in a clash between traders and okada riders at Dei Dei, a community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The clash was said to have started after an accident by a commercial motorcycle operator  leading to the death of his passenger.

The traders out of anger reportedly attacked the rider, whom they blamed for recklessness which led to the death of the passenger.

The okada riders colleagues reportedly moved to rescue him from the attackers and the situation degenerated afterwards.

Another account has it that the driver of the trailer which crushed the passenger to death was attacked and some persons mobilised to defend him.

One of the victims confirmed that his house was torched.

Security operatives have moved to the scene to prevent further violence.

The Abuja incident happened at about the time Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State imposed a ban on okada operation in six local government areas of Lagos over the killing of a sound engineer.

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