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UN alerts to spread of Al-Queda, ISIS across Africa

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Terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, are spreading and wrecking havoc across the African continent, United Nations counter-terrorism chief, Vladimir Voronkov, has alerted.

He said this while briefing the security council on the eve of the fourth commemoration of the international day of victims of terrorism on Thursday at the UN headquarters, New York.

Presenting the secretary-general’s latest report on the threats posed by terrorist groups, Voronkov said al-Qaeda and Islamic State, also known as Da’esh, are exploiting the pandemic to regroup.

He said the terrorist groups have been adapting to new technologies and moving into some of the world’s fragile regions and continue to pose a threat to peace and security globally.

He said Da’esh was exploiting the disruption, grievances and development setbacks caused by the pandemic to regroup, recruit new followers and intensify its activities both online and on the ground.

“Today, we face transnational terrorist threats like Da’esh and al-Qaeda that are enduring and able to adapt to new technologies,” Voronkov said.

“But (they’re) also expanding to individuals and groups that commit terrorist attacks connected to xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance.”

He said the world is currently witnessing a rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan “which could have far-reaching implications” around the globe.

He cited Da’esh’s expanded presence in that country and pointed out that several members of the Taliban have been designated as terrorists by the security council.

“We will need to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used as launching pad for global terrorism,” he said.

While Da’esh remains focused on reconstituting its capabilities in Iraq and Syria, Voronkov said the most alarming development in recent months is the group’s relentless spread across the African continent.

He said the ‘Islamic State in the Greater Sahara’ has killed several hundred civilians since the start of 2021 in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic while the group’s ‘West Africa Province’ will likely gain from the weakening of Boko Haram, with additional spillover of terrorists and foreign fighters from Libya.

He said the expansion of Da’esh in Central Africa, and especially in northern Mozambique could have far-reaching implications for peace and security in the region.

“A global response is urgently needed to support the efforts of African countries and regional organisations to counter terrorism and address its interplay with conflict, organised crime, governance and development gaps,” Voronkov said.

Voronkov also cited the continued detention of thousands of individuals with alleged links to terrorist groups as another factor exacerbating the threat.

He said deteriorating conditions in detention facilities and displacement camps in north-east Syria, in particular, were serving as a rallying cry for terrorist activities.

He said, “They have already fuelled instances of terrorist radicalisation, fund-raising, arms smuggling, training and incitement to terror.”

He urged member states to voluntarily repatriate all concerned individuals, with a particular focus on children.

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NDLEA nabs Brazilian returnee with cocaine hidden in private parts

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A Brazilian returnee, Igwedum Uche Benson has been arrested in Lagos with pellets of cocaine concealed in his private part.

He was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja by the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

The agency said Igwedum came in via Ethiopian Airlines from Sao Paulo, Brazil, enroute from Addis Ababa.

A statement signed by spokesman for the agency, Femi Babafemi, said, “Preliminary investigations revealed the suspect had swallowed 50 wraps of cocaine before departing Brazil and excreted 48 pellets in Addis Ababa where he handed them over to another person.

“He however claimed he was unable to excrete the remaining two wraps at the hotel room in Addis Ababa before boarding his flight but later excreted them in the aircraft restroom during the flight from Ethiopia to Lagos.

“In the same vein, after three weeks of painstaking investigation and tracking, operatives of the MMIA command of NDLEA on Saturday night, 25th June arrested a drug kingpin, Onyekachi Chukwuma Macdonald behind attempts to export 40 parcels of Methamphetamine popularly called Mkpuru Mmiri locally to London, United Kingdom, through the NAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport.

“Onyekachi was arrested at Manacola estate, Alakuko area of Lagos at the weekend, three weeks after his Mkpuru Mmiri consignment weighing 2.05 kilogrammes was intercepted at the airport and his freight agent, Peter Christopher Anikan arrested on 7th June.

“During his interview, the suspect said he’s from Ahiazu, Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo state and had lived in Dubai, UAE, for 10 years before returning to Nigeria in 2019.

“He stated that after his return to Nigeria, he opened a phone accessories shop in Sango Otta, Ogun State, but the business collapsed.

“He then started sending cigarettes to London and decided to conceal the illicit drug in the consignment after advice by a friend”.

Closely related is the seizure of another consignment of 2kg Mkpuru Mmiri at a courier house in Owerri, Imo State.

The cargo seized on Wednesday 22nd June had ankara and lace fabrics in which two cylindrical cellophanes containing the drug heading to Hong Kong were concealed.

Also at the Lagos airport, NDLEA operatives on Friday June 24, intercepted 500,000 tablets of Tramadol 225mg packed in 10 cartons and labelled Tramaking imported from Karachi, Pakistan on Emirates Airline.

The consignment weighing 407.60kg was seized during a joint examination with Customs and NAFDAC officials.

Same day, a Dubai, UAE-bound passenger, Alegbeleye Taiwo was arrested at the departure hall of the MMIA with 40 ampoules of pentazocine injection.

The 21-year-old suspect claims he’s from Osun state.

Meanwhile, two kingpins behind the importation of two recent drug consignments from Canada concealed in vehicle containers through the Tincan seaport in Apapa, Lagos have been arrested by NDLEA operatives.

One of them, Gboyega Ayoola Elegbeji, was arrested at his house, 14 Bakare Street, Idi Araba, Lagos on Wednesday 22nd June, for importing a 40ft container TRHU7874497 containing 33 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing16.5kg.

The second suspect, Sunday Joe Oyebola, (aka Otunba) was arrested on Thursday 23rd June.

He’s linked to the importation of a 40ft container MEDU4389887 containing four vehicles used to conceal 290 parcels weighing 145kg cannabis indica (Colorado) from Montreal, Canada.

He had been on the run since March and had in the course of the investigation attempted to bribe officers with N10million to influence the case.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Tincan, and Imo state Commands of the Agency for the drug seizures and arrests especially of those who thought they could evade the long arm of the law.

He encouraged them and their compatriots across other formations to intensify their efforts towards achieving set goals.

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Lady offers to donate kidney to Ekweremmadu’s daughter

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A lady identified as Martha Uche has offered to donate her kidney to Sonia, daughter of Ike Ekweremmadu, former deputy senate president.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested and charged to court for allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting.

The couple were subsequently remanded in custody in the UK while investigations are ongoing.

In a video making the rounds online, Martha said she had a dream where she was instructed to save Sonia’s life.

She said, “I want to do that because I need to help the girl, she is dying. They have already showed me in my dream that I should help the girl.

“I’ve already seen her a long time ago. Even this morning I still had the same dream so I need to do it fast.”

When asked what her demands were for offering to donate her kidney, Martha said, “I do not have any demands for now. I just need to save the girl’s life; that is the most important thing for now.”

The former deputy senate president had written to the UK high commission to support a visa application of a “donor” listed as Ukpo Nwamini David.

In the letter, Ekweremadu said Ukpo was undergoing “medical investigations for a kidney donation to Ms Sonia Ekweremadu”.

Although the police had said the donor was 15, data from his international passport indicate that he is 21 years old.

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Obasanjo: I regret making Atiku my running mate in 1999

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday said one of his mistakes in life was picking former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as his running mate during the 1999 presidential election.

He stated this Abeokuta, Ogun State, duringan event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

Obasanjo was responding to questions posed by students from selected secondary schools that participated in the final of the National Exhibition and Awards organised by Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE).

Obasanjo and his former number two man, Atiku had a running battle during the build up to the 2003 elections.

He said he had made many “genuine” mistakes in his life, but God made him to overcome.

The former President said, “One of the mistakes I made was picking my Number Two (referring to Atiku) when I wanted to become the President. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me.

“The second one (mistake) was when Abacha wanted to arrest me. When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they would arrest me and that America had asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.

“I will say there are many things that could have been mistakes but God saved me from them all.”

Obasanjo lamented the current trend of recycling of old politicians in elective positions, stressing that young Nigerians would not have chance to exhibit themselves if the trends continued.

He also spoke on opportunities for the youths to take over the mantle of leadership in the country.

Obasanjo bemoaned the trend of money politics in the country, which he noted would make it difficult for young Nigerians to participate in politics.

He however urged the youths to remain hopeful even in the face of money politics.

He said, “Another thing inhibiting youth from running is the amount of money involved in going into politics. I hope that things should not continue like this.

“I was 39 years old when I became the military Head of State. Twenty years later, I came back as civilian president, but those there now do not want to allow the youths. If things continue like this, I do not know how you can come in.”

 

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