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Terrorists kill 50 vigilantes, two locals, kidnap 15 women in Katsina community

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SP Gambo Isah, spokesman of Katsina Police

At least 52 persons consisting of 50 vigilantes and two locals were reportedly killed in a clash with bandits while fighting over rustled cattles in Kankara community, Katsina State between  Thursday and early hours of  Friday.

15 women were also said to have been kidnapped during the onslaught on the Kankara bandits infested communities while no fewer than 10 cows were also rustled in the process.

One of the locals from the area who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity said the crisis started started at about 7:00am on Thursday when some villagers in conjunction with vigilantes from Bakori axis traced the footprint of their missing cattle to ‘Gidan Gamji’, a Fulani settlement in Kankara LGA of the state said to be under bandits control, demanding that their cattles be returned to them. But the bandits denied having possession of them, asking them to check somewhere else.

“The confrontation eventually resulted into a gunfight in which many of the vigilantes along with the villagers were ambushed and killed by the terrorists.

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“At least over 50 dead bodies have been recovered even as search is still ongoing in the bushes and farms with the view to recover more victims,” a reliable source told Vanguard.

Confirming the report, the Katsina Police Command in a statement issued by its spokesman, SP Gambo Isah however said that 41 people were killed in the clash:

He said:
‘The crisis actually started at about 10:00pm on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, when AK-47 yielding terrorists in their numbers attacked the house of one Alhaji Muntari, at Unguwar Audu Gare, Kandarawa, Bakori LGA, and rustled 50 cows and 30 sheep.

“Subsequently, on Thursday,  2 February 2023, at about 10:00am, ‘Yansakai’ the outlawed vigilante group, from 11 villages under Bakori LGA,  regrouped and went after the terrorists with a view to recover the rustled domestic animals. They traced the footpath of the hoodlums to a location at Yargoje Forest.

“Unfortunately, the terrorists planned and launched a coordinated ambush on the outlawed vigilantes killing  forty-one (41) of them and wounded two (2) others.

“The Area Commander, Malumfashi Police Division, led a team of Police men to the scene and recovered  the corpses and the injured to Kankara General, Hospital. A joint security operations is currently ongoing with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book. Investigation is ongoing, please.”

Kankara lately has been under renewed attack by the hoodlums. Recall that on January 16, 2023, eight Christian women were abducted while on their way to Church at Gidan Haruna and they are yet to regain their freedom.

In addition, Vanguard also learnt that last week Friday, another 17 persons comprising of 15 females and two males were abducted from Gidan Ibra community under the same Kankara LGA and they are still held by the bandits as at the time of filing this report.

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Four sentenced to death by hanging for kidnapping Emzor Pharmaceutical MD’s sister

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Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on Thursday sentenced four men to death by hanging for armed robbery and kidnapping of Mrs. Gloria Emole, the younger sister of Emzor Pharmaceu­tical Managing Director, Chief Ebuka Okafor.

The convicts are Victor Chuk­wunonso V, Ifeanyi Maduaka, Obinna Nwankwo, and Richard Nwabueze.

The trial judge, Justice Lawal-Aka­po, held that the prosecution was able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The first convict Chukwunoso was a former employee of the victim’s el­der brother who was sacked after he fought in the company against the rule of the company that fighting was prohibited.

The convicts were arraigned on July 13, 2013, and were remanded in prison custody.

The convicts had on November 19, 2012, at about 8:30 a.m. committed the offences.

They were arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on conspir­acy, armed robbery, and kidnapping preferred against them by Lagos State.

The Director of Public Prosecu­tion, Dr. Babajide Martins, had told the court during their arraignment that they had kidnapped the victim who was about to leave her house at 7, Unity Street, Ogudu GRA, Lagos.

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Martins had told the court that the victim was kidnapped, blind­folded thrown inside the booth, and was driven to an unknown area in Ikorodu.

According to the Prosecutor, the offences committed are contrary to and Punishable Under sections 297,285 (2) a, and 291, of the Criminal laws of Lagos State 2015.

The victim was later released on November 22, 2012, after a ransom of $ 70,000 US dollars was paid, by her husband.

During the trial, the prosecution called four witnesses, who testified against the defendants.

The victim narrated to the court that she made a statement at the Police station and how the incident happened.

She said that on November 19, 2012, the first accused person held a double barrel, accosted her at about 8:30 a.m., blindfolded and locked her in her booth, and took her to an un­known destination.

She narrated that after the kidnap they demanded $300,000.

The victim’s husband, Osodun Emole, in his testimony also told the court that he paid the first and sec­ond convicts the sum of $70,000 US dollars.

Emole said that they had initially asked for $300,000, but after negotia­tion, they accepted $70,000.

He stated that he put the money in­side an envelope and he was instruct­ed how he was to dress and where to drop the money.

Emole also told the court that it was the police that told him that the convicts had been arrested.

Inspector Gbenga Faguiro, who tendered nine exhibits, had also nar­rated that the first convict was arrest­ed at Alapere Ketu and a Nokia phone was recovered from him. Independent

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Pastor absconded after using group’s thrift savings to pay LAPO debt

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Amazing Grace membership form

Martins Emmanuel, a member of the Amazing Grace Eagle Family, a Christian group in Kwara, has told FIJ how a pastor absconded with the monetary contributions of the group.

Emmanuel narrated how his pastor introduced him to the thrift, which was being run by his associate, another pastor named Afolabi Olakunle Alexander.

Emmanuel told FIJ he agreed to the said thrift in order to have savings for his child’s school fees.

“In December 2021, precisely December 27, I got a chat from my pastor, Reverend Simeon Oladejo. He told me thrift was being organised for Christian believers. We attend same church, and he’s one of our pastors in Ife. I asked him how much I could be contributing, and he told me the least was N5000,” said Emmanuel.

“I agreed, and I started making my contributions in February. I made my contributions until November 2022, when I was to get my money.

“According to the list of people that would be paid monthly, which was sent to the platform, I was to be paid on November 15, 2022.”

However, when Emmanuel reached out to his pastor, he was told Pastor Afolabi had absconded with the money and efforts to reach him had been futile.

“When I reached out to Reverend Oladejo, he said the man took away the money, and that he had tried to get across to him, but to no avail,” Emmanuel told FIJ.

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“Pastor Afolabi is a known associate of Reverend Oladejo. After making the payment into his account, the receipts were usually sent to him.

“I began to send messages to him to please give me my money, as I needed to pay my children’s school fees. But he replied none of my messages, including the ones sent on WhatsApp. He would read but not reply.”

OVER 100 CONTRIBUTORS INVOLVED

Documents and other items of evidence at FIJ’s disposal show that no less than hundred contributors were involved.

FIJ reached out to some other members of the group, and their accounts did not differ from Emmanuel’s.

One Omoniyi, a Port-Harcourt resident, told FIJ that he also could not get his money. He said his efforts had always been met with a series of excuses from Reverend Oladejo, who introduced him to the group.

“I am also involved in it. I have about N55,000 with him, but each time I reached out, I was always told that the persons in charge of the money ran away with it. There are many others that have not got their money,” Omoniyi told FIJ.

‘OVER N2M BELONGING TO MY GROUP NOT PAID’

An inner member of the group, who asked not to be named, told FIJ that no less than N2 million belonging to his own clique in the group had not been paid. This, according to him, was besides his own personal N200,000.

“I am a member of the group, and I hold an important position in the administration of the thrift. The matter is more serious than that. My money too is stuck in there, and it is about N200,000. The people that I brought into the programme have also not been paid their money, which is over N2 million naira.”

FIJ learned that Pastor Afolabi used the money contributed to offset his debt with the microfinance bank popularly known as LAPO.

“He is running round to source for money. The issue is that he was owing LAPO some money. LAPO then told him to pay up to lend him more money, which he believed he would use to pay the contributors in the thrift group,” said a source who asked not to be named.

“However, after he paid LAPO using the contributors’ money, LAPO came up with an excuse that they had closed for the year.”

Efforts by FIJ to hear from Pastor Afolabi proved abortive as his line was unreachable.

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BREAKING: Ike Ekweremadu, wife found guilty of organ trafficking

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Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice

Ike Ekweremadu, a former Deputy Senate President; Beatrice, his wife; and their doctor have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the UK.

The decision was reached after a jury deliberated for 14 hours.

It represents the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act of the country.

Ekweremadu, 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56; and Dr Obinna Obeta, 51, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain to exploit him after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.

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Prosecutors told the Old Bailey that the kidney was to be harvested for Sonia, the couple’s daughter. Sonia was cleared of the same charge.The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Obeta was regarded as the middleman in the case. FIJ

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