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12 killed in Edo cult war

About 12 persons have been killed in different parts of Bénin City, Edo state in a renewed cult war.

Some were killed at the Agbor park axis while others were killed around M. M Way and Third Junction area.

Three persons were hacked to death by Isibor Junction adjacent St Saviour Road.

On Monday and Sunday nights, traders around the Third Junction hurriedly closed shops following sporadic shootings between rival cult groups and policemen.

It was learnt that the renewed killings started on Sunday night when a victim was killed at Iyobosa Street opposite Edo College at a place popularly called Aso Rock.

Another victim was killed by 2nd East Circular near Ekiosa by Lucky Junction.

In another circumstance, a 22 years old boy identified as Ogbe was shot dead on Monday night.

The Legend Foundation has however called on the state government and security agencies to step up their fight against crime and cultism in the state.

Director General of the group, Kadiri Christopher, said on parents should guide their ward against cultism and other vices. 

Police Commissioner, Danmallam Abubakar, said one person was wounded in the Monday’s shootout but is in a stable condition.

Abubakar said the police repelled the cultists and said nobody was killed.

“There was shooting. The cultist came out and we repel them. We need the cooperation of the people to check mate activities of cultist. We made some arrest in Ekpoma and two others were arrested in Bénin.

“Nobody has been killed to my knowledge but somebody was wounded and he is in stable condition.”

I never invited thugs to attack Labour leaders, says Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has denied inviting thugs to attack members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas who picketed his residence over his refusal to inaugurate the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

The Minister, in a statement by his Special Assistant Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe accused the leadership of the NLC of leading those he described as strange faces to invade his house.

The statement said further the invasion of his house left his family members and staff traumatised by the invaders chanting “war songs”.

The statement reads: “The private residence of the Hon. Minister of labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige was  early this morning (4 a.m.) invaded by the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and his members.

“These members among whom are tanker drivers, some with ferocious looks, also barricaded the gate to the residence of the Hon. Minister with two long trucks. They chanted war songs and prevented the Hon. Minister, his wife, children and other aides from either leaving or gaining access to the compound.

“Comrade Wabba later left and returned with re-enforcement .

“The presence of these strange faces and mounting war songs sent heavy panic on the family members, especially children and female aides who thought the sudden early morning assemblage were of the underworld.

“Some of these unknown faces and the two tanker lorries blocking the entrance to the house  are still there as I send this press statement .

“I therefore wish to state that contrary to reports being mischievously circulated in the media by the NLC President, the Hon. Minister, family members who are still in great trauma and his staff members did not invited thugs, have no knowledge of it, or have a hand in the alleged manhandling of any worker.”

 

Nigerians spent N304m on ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in first week

Nigerians spent over N304 million on Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in the films first seven days across cinemas in the country.

According to data provided by Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) through their instagram page @ceanigeria, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ debuted with N22.5 million in Nigeria on opening day.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the superhero movie went on to make N188 million in its first weekend.

The Marvel’s superhero flick is still leading the Nigerian chart even as it continues to break world records.

So far, the three-hour long film has broken the record for the biggest opening in Nigeria, a title previously held by ‘Black Panther’ which made N135.4 million in its first weekend.

NAN reports that according to box office reports, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has become the second-highest grossing film in the world, with an estimated $2.189 billion.

This record was cemented by the $619.7 million it has grossed domestically, which also eclipsed the $600.8 million ‘Titanic’ grossed in its initial theatrical run after opening in December 1997.

Puff Adder operatives arrest 16 suspected kidnappers, robbers in Kogi

Operatives of Operation Puff Adder have arrested 16 persons suspected to be kidnappers, armed robbers and terrorists in Kogi.

Parading the suspects before newsmen on Wednesday in Lokoja, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Hakeem Busari, said they were arrested at different times in some parts of the state.

He said that six of them were suspected kidnappers operating in Nasarawa and Kogi states.

Two of them, according to Busari, were arrested for kidnapping a seven-year-old boy at Odo Ape community in Kogi State.

He said that the suspects kept their victim for nine days and had come out to pick up the ransom of N1m from the parents when they were arrested.

Busari said that four other suspected kidnappers were arrested following a tip off.

He also said that two other suspects were arrested for threatening the chairman of Ankpa Local Government Area.

The commissioner said that a suspected Boko Haram member was arrested in Okene, based on information received from the Edo Police Command.

According to him, three other persons were arrested for armed robbery in Ganaja area of Lokoja on May 3.

He said that the gang specialised in robbing motorcycles and killing or grievously injuring their victims.

Busari said that two Bahajaj motorcycles were recovered from the suspects.

The commissioner also said two persons were arrested for entering Ajaokuta Steel Complex, allegedly to steal.

He said that three rifles, including two pump action guns and a locally made pistol were recovered from the kidnap and robbery suspects.

BREAKING: Prince Harry, Meghan name son Archie

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and wife Meghan on Wednesday announced their new son will be called Archie, ending months of intense speculation.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pleased to announce they have named their first born child: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor,” the couple announced on their Instagram account.

Earlier, the  couple had given the world the first glimpse of their “dream” newborn boy on Wednesday.

Harry, 34, and 37-year-old Meghan emerged in front of the cameras inside Windsor Castle to show off their son born on Monday, ahead of introducing him to great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.

“He’s just been a dream,” said a smiling Meghan, in her first public comments since giving birth to the seven-pound, three-ounce (3.26-kilogram) baby, who stayed firmly asleep during his public unveiling.

“He has the sweetest temperament. He’s really calm,” added the Duchess of Sussex, as Prince Harry cradled the newborn, wrapped in a white blanket, by her side.

Royal watchers have been desperate for a glimpse of the new baby, who is seventh in the line to the British throne, ever since the couple announced his birth to their 6.5 million followers on Instagram with the message “It’s a BOY!”

But they disappointed those keen to know what they will call him, with neither new parent mentioning a name on Wednesday.

Instead, Harry focused his comments on life as a proud dad.

“Parenting is amazing,” he said, the day after brother Prince William — two years his senior and with three children of his own — had jokingly welcomed him to the “sleep deprivation society that is parenting”.

“We’re just so thrilled to have our own little bundle of joy.”

Meghan added: “It’s been a special couple of days.”

The couple revealed Queen Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, had got a sneak preview in a chance encounter in the corridors of Windsor Castle.

“We just bumped into the Duke as we were walking by, which was so nice,” said Meghan.

“It’ll be a nice moment to introduce the baby to more family.”

Prince Charles, on a visit to Germany on Tuesday, said he was “obviously delighted” and “impatient” to see his fourth grandchild.

El-Rufai: I’ll tell Niger Republic to use Kaduna port instead of Lagos

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says he intends to send a delegation to the Republic of Niger to tell it to start receiving goods at the Kaduna inland dry port instead of the seaports in Lagos.

The governor was speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ceremony for the commencement of cargo delivery by rail to the Kaduna inland dry port.

“I intend to send a delegation to the Republic of Niger to sensitize the government of that country of the opportunities of receiving their goods in Kaduna instead of Lagos and having to truck them as well as any of their exports from Kaduna port to any part of the world,” said el-Rufai.

“This is a great opportunity; it will create jobs for our young people, it will expand business opportunities and also lower the cost of doing business for our business men here in Nigeria as well as lower the cost of agricultural products in southern Nigeria.  So, it is a great day. I am very happy

“Our investment promotion agency will go on drive to attract investors that will put up warehouses, cold stores and Port facilities that will facilitate imports and exports from Kaduna Inland Dry Port.

“We are committed to this and the state government will go whatever we can by way of support to ensure that this inland dry port is a remarkable success.”

The governor also commended Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, and Hassan Bello, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), for the major achievement.

“This is a major achievement which has been made possible through the efforts of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council. We are very grateful today’s event has opened a new vista of commercial opportunities not only for Northern businessmen but even for our neighbouring countries,” he said.

“It is a happy day for me as the governor of Kaduna state and I am sure it is also a happy day for all northern businessmen and women because with the commissioning of the dry port last year and with this shipment, transportation of goods from the port, containers from the seaports in Lagos to Kaduna by rail has confirmed that our inland dry port is functioning and you can ship your goods direct from Kaduna to any part of the world and you can also import goods from any part of the world direct to Kaduna without your containers or any of your goods being opened up for inspection in Lagos.”

El-Rufai had recently spoken on how to end godfatherism in the politics of Lagos. His statement, however, drew the attention of a group identified as Yoruba council of youths worldwide, which questioned the impact of his political victory on the lives of Kaduna residents.

EFCC launches yet another probe against Saraki

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a fresh probe against Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The probe, which comes a week after the commencement of an earlier probe against Saraki, was announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Yusuph Olaniyonu, spokesman to the senate president, said the anti-graft agency wrote to the clerk of the senate “late last week”, requesting among other things details of contracts from 2015 till date.

The letter said to have been signed by Mohammed Umar Abba, director of operations at EFCC, requested: “the Certified True Copies of the following: i) All Cash Books, Payment Vouchers, Contract Award Letters, Evidence of Contract Bidding, Agreement and Certificate of Contract Completion from 2015 to date. ii) Certified True Copies of all Financial Retirement made within the same period. iii) Any other information that may assist the Commission in its investigation.”

The EFCC had in a letter dated April 26, and addressed to the permanent secretary, Kwara state government house, requested details of Saraki’s emuluments during his time as governor of Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.

Olaniyonu, however, faulted the new probe, saying it is the first time such a letter is written to the office of the senate president “at the twilight of the tenure of the national assembly indicating hostile investigation along these lines.”

“None of his predecessors got such ‘exclusive’ treatment in which their office was investigated by state officials seeking to nail them at all cost,” he said.

“What EFCC does not know is that all the issues they are seeking to probe in the office of the Senate President are handled by the National Assembly Management, that is the bureaucracy of the federal legislature.

“The Senate President has nothing to do with such issues. However, in the eagerness and desperation to nail Dr. Saraki, they ignored even the basic facts upon which the entire investigation rests.”

The spokesman to the senate president also accused the EFCC of singling Saraki out “for persistent investigation”, adding that the fresh investigations are signs of witch-hunt.

“This new investigation into his activities as Governor of Kwara State is a repeat performance. The EFCC is fishing for evidence that they did not get in the past investigations which has spanned almost nine years,” he said.

“To single out one individual for persistent investigation can only be logically and plausibly interpreted to be a witch-hunt. This is definitely no fight against corruption. It is a battle waged against a ‘political enemy’. It is a ‘label to damage’ plot.”

No more prison sentences for petty crimes, Lagos CJ declares

Justice Opeyemi Oke, the chief judge of Lagos, says petty offenders will no longer get prison sentences effective from June 3.

Speaking on Tuesday at the presentation of the two practice directions, the ACJL Practice Direction and Restorative Justice Practice Direction, Oke said there would, henceforth, be a speedy resolution of criminal cases to ensure an effective justice system.

“Today in Nigeria we have seen countless cases where defendants are arrested for minor offenses such as burglary and wandering; they are locked up in our prisons for the flimsiest reasons to join the teeming population awaiting trial inmates,” she said.

“In fact, the awaiting trial inmates account for more than 75 percent of the inmates in our prisons today.

“They are in our prisons with hardened criminals and by the time they come out they have been initiated into a life of crime and are ready to spread terror, death, and destruction in their post-prison escapades.”

The CJ said petty offenders will be diverted to the Practice Directions centres where non-custodial sentences, including fines, restitution orders, community service orders would be used as long as they are willing to take responsibility for their actions.

“Lagos State has been at the vanguard in terms of criminal justice reform when it passed the ACJL in 2007, amended it in 2011. Other states followed suit, adopted and improved upon it,” she said.

“Now, Lagos State is going further with these new practice directions to realise the goal of expedited trials, improvement in the case disposal rates and hopefully, this will culminate in the decongestion of our prisons.”

Banditry, kidnappings are a test from God, says Aso Rock Chief Imam

Sheik Abdulwaheed Sulaiman, chief imam of the state house mosque, says cases of insecurity in Nigeria are a test from God.

Sulaiman, speaking on the rise in cases of banditry, kidnappings, and insurgency in the country, said Nigerians should repent and pray to avert the current security problem.

He said this during the daily Tafsir (Quranic interpretations) which held at the State House Mosque, Abuja.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, special adviser to the President Muhammadu Buhari, the chief imam “gave thanks to Almighty Allah for allowing the general election to take place peacefully throughout the country”.

“He called for repentance and prayers to avert the current security challenges confronting the nation. He said the security incidents are a test from God.”

Buhari, who also spoke at the event, assured Nigerians ahead of his second term administration that he knows what to do as the leader of the government.

The president expressed his gratitude and appreciated Nigerians for giving him the mandate to govern the country for another four years.

“I know what to do, and I will not fail Nigerians,” he said.

“The expectations of Nigerians will be met. I will not let them down. I will continue to do my best.”

Buhari had given a similar assurance in March 2019, when the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) paid him a congratulatory visit at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Buhari promised to work harder in addressing the challenges facing the country.

“This is my last lap, I will try to work harder. I assure you, I will not let you down,” Buhari added.

Buhari inaugurates North East Development Commission

President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).

The commission is expected to coordinate the rebuilding of the insurgency-ravaged north-east region.

While inaugurating the commission before the commencement of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, Buhari said a take-off grant of N10 billion meant for the commission had already been captured in the 2019 budget.

Last month, the commission presented a budget of N55 billion to the senate, of which N10 billion was approved for humanitarian interventions.

Buhari had sent the list of nominees of the commission to the senate for confirmation last month.

Paul Tarfa, a retired army major-general, was confirmed as chairman, while Mohammed Alkali was confirmed as the managing director and chief executive officer of the commission.

The upper legislative chamber also confirmed nine members of the board of the commission.

The members are Musa Yashi, executive director humanitarian affairs; Mohammed Jawa, executive director, admin and finance; Omar Mohammed, executive director, operations; and David Kente, member representing north-east zone.

The new members

Others are Asmau Mohammed, member representing north-west zone; Benjamin Adanyi, member representing north-central zone; Olawale Oshun, member representing south-west zone; Theodore Ekechi, member representing south-east and Obasuke McDonald, member representing south-south zone.

The senate passed the bill for the establishment of the commission in October 2016 while Buhari assented to the bill a year later.

Ganduje vows to create four more emirates in Kano

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, has vowed to give assent to the bill requesting the creation of four first-class emirate councils in the state.

The creation of more emirates will whittle down the influence of Muhammadu Sanusi, emir of Kano.

Speaking at a media briefing ahead of the 136th state executive council meeting, the governor said he would sign it into law immediately he receives it.

“We heard about a bill sent to the state house of assembly, requesting them to make a law for the creation of four more emirs in Kano,” he said.

“We believe the petitioners did it in good faith. And they want the development of the state. I hope the legislative arm would work on it and forward to me for assent of which I am ready to sign into law without any waste of time.

“That is the popular wish of our people. This will also go a long way in hastening growth and development for the state.”

Ganduje said the idea had been on for many years, adding “With the creation of more emirates, all sectors of the society would improve.

“It will also lead to more concentration on our health, education and other equally important sectors of the society. That is why I said there will be no waste of time in signing the bill into law.

“That is the popular wish of our people. The people of Kano state. This will also go a long way in hastening growth and development for the state.

“The efforts didn’t get through many years ago but now we are happy to see that the idea would come into fruition.”

Kabiru Rurum, speaker of the state house of assembly, read a letter from one Ibrahim Salisu, seeking the creation of new emirates in Karaye, Bichi, Rano and Gaya.

An official of the state government, who asked not to be named, claimed that Ganduje was determined to either remove Sanusi or whittle down his power.

Sanusi is believed to have opposed the re-election of Ganduje, who needed a disputed supplementary election to be returned to office in the March 2019 governorship election.

“The governor is determined to remove the emir, and if this does not succeed, he will break the emirate into pieces to whittle down Sanusi’s power,” the source had said.

Ironically, Ganduje’s move to break the emirate into smaller units will mirror what Abiola Ajimobi, the outgoing governor of Oyo state, did to the olubadan of Ibadan, Saliu Adetunji, whose authority Ajimobi sought to decimate by approving 21 beaded kings for Ibadan.

Ganduje and Ajimobi are in-laws.

Presidential tribunal warns against public analysis of proceedings

The presidential election petition tribunal has warned against public analysis of its proceedings.

Speaking during its inaugural sitting on Wednesday, Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal, said actions will be taken against offenders.

Bulkachuwa lamented the practise of analysing court proceedings on social media and making a verdict while the court has not made a pronouncement.

She said litigants in the pending presidential election petitions before the tribunal will have equal chance to argue their case.

“Any breach will not be condoned and we will not hesitate in taking necessary action against such offenders,” Bulkachuwa said.

“We assure all stakeholders that each litigant will be given equal opportunity to present his case in a mature manner before us.

“We are witnesses to what has been happening in high-profile cases where such cases are being discussed and publicly decided prematurely in both the social and electronic media before the announcement of the verdict by the court.

“We pray that this time would be an exception for the benefit of the nation. We don’t expect counsel to any of the parties to hype the polity after any sitting by making a public analysis in the media as to what transpired in court.”

She urged the parties, lawyers, public commentators and journalists to refrain from public discourse of the proceedings until the tribunal pronounces its judgement.

“These proceedings should be treated as would any other low-profile case, where proceedings in court are not discussed publicly until a decision is pronounced by the court,” Bulkachuwa said.

“This admonition is also extended to the parties, their respective counsel and the members of the press.

“We, on our own part, will make relevant information available as and when due.”

The tribunal will consider four petitions challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory.

Among the petitions is that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Atiku Abubakar, its candidate.