The Imo Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has confirmed the arrest of one Mr Uzochi Agbakwuru, an alleged notorious drug dealer in the state.
A statement issued in Owerri on Wednesday by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Uche Sampson, stated that Agbakwuru was arrested on October 18 and was in the agency’s custody.
Sampson described as “spurious”, a petition by one Mr Frank Agbakwuruibe, urging Gov. Emeka Ihedioha to order the “unconditional” release of Agbakwuru by the agency.
He described the suspect, who hails from Umuemeri Ogwu, Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo, as “a notorious drug peddler.”
He stated that the suspect had been on NDLEA’s criminal watch list for over 18 months before his arrest.
Sampson also stated that previous attempts made to arrest him were unsuccessful “because of his strong counter-intelligence network.”
According to the statement, 150 grammes of dried weeds confirmed to be cannabis sativa were allegedly found in his possession.
He described the offence as a violation of the provisions of NDLEA Act, hence the resolve by the agency to track him down “by means of tactical decoy and subterfuge.”
The NDLEA spokesman said that the suspect was arrested at his residence, where he attempted to escape.
He alleged that the suspect raised false alarm, calling on his criminal associates and sympathisers, who later turned violent in order to obstruct NDLEA’s legitimate duty.
Sampson alleged that the sympathisers attacked the agency’s operatives and their operational vehicle with machetes, stones, iron and othe dangerous objects.
He said that the operatives sustained varying degrees of injuries, while the vehicle was seriously vandalised.
Sampson said that the matter had since been filed before the Federal High Court, Owerri.
He said that after the arrest of the suspect, he was given adequate first aid treatment.
“We wish to condemn the description of the arrest and detention of Agbakwuru, a notorious drug dealer, who has been on our watch list.”
“It is noteworthy that the suspect later volunteered his statement under caution in which he claimed ownership of the 150 grammes of cannabis sativa found in his possession,” he said.
The NDLEA officer thanked the suspect’s kinsmen for their solidarity and cooperation with the agency during his arrest.
He gave assurance that the suspect would continue to enjoy “all the rights relating to care and custody of suspects,” pending his arraignment or transfer to any other detention facility outside the NDLEA.
(Edited by Chidi Opara/ Sam Oditah)
LASG holds consultative forum for Y2021 Budget, adopts holistic approach to COVID-19
Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.
Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.
“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.
“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.
He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.
“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.
“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.
“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.
For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.
“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.
“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.
“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.
The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.
On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.
Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.
Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.
“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.
Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.
He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.
The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
30 stranded Nigerians in Lebanon rescued, among 150 awaiting evacuation – NIDCOM
Thirty Nigerians, who were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon have been rescued, and are among a total of 150 victims awaiting evacuation to Nigeria.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) made this known in a statement by Gabriel Odu of its Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit on
The commission said the rescue came after a video footage of the stranded Nigerians making an appeal to the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid viral on the Internet.
According to it, the appeal for help by the stranded Nigerians led to their rescue by officials of the country’s mission in Lebanon.
The stranded Nigerians have already been relocated to a more conducive apartment.
“They will be part of 150 others to be evacuated to Nigeria after they were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon.
“The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab disclosed the evacuation plans when the Management of NIDCOM, led by the Secretary, Dr Sule Bassi, visited that country’s mission in Abuja,” Odu said in the statement.
He quoted Diab as saying that the 150 girls would be returned home in batches with the first group of 110 people leaving Beirut for Lagos on Aug. 12.
The second batch sws expected to arrive Abuja on Aug. 16.
“The diplomat commended efforts of the Lebanese Community and the Oyo State Government who is sponsoring the return of 55 of the girls,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Secretary of the commission, who acknowledged the excellent ties between Nigeria and Lebanon, urged both countries to sustain the cordial relationship.
Bassi also lauded the Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon, Amb. Goni Madu Zanna Bura for his dedication and commitment.
He also commended the staff of the Nigerian mission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Oyo and Ogun state governments and other strategic partners for their efforts.
“As part of the Nigerian Embassy’s Consular responsibility, the ladies in the said video that went viral and many other distressed Nigerian domestic workers were located and relocated to a safer place.
“Suffice it to say that 150 of these stranded victims are expected to be evacuated next week and handed over to NAPTIP, the agency responsible for (dealing with human) trafficking.
“A break down of the evacuees shows that Oyo State had 41, Ogun 21, Lagos 12, Ondo 18, Osun 26, and Imo 3.
Others are Kwara– 9, Enugu — 1, Ekiti — 6, Kogi — 1, Edo — 1, Delta — 3, Ebonyi — 1, Benue — 1, Abia — 1, Akwa Ibom — 1, and Anambra — 1,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
774,000 Jobs: Committee dispatches 18,900 forms for distribution in Imo
The selection committee for the Federal Government’s Special Public Works (SPW) programme has dispatched 18,900 forms for onward distribution in Imo.
The state’s committee chairman, Mr Sylvester Obinna, handed over the forms to representatives of various sectors, at the flag off of the programme on Tuesday in Owerri.
Obinna lauded the President Muhammadu Buhari- led government for the initiative while urging the heads of sector to eschew nepotism and ensure the actualisation of the federal government’s target of job creation for Nigerians at the lowest social ladder.
The sectors include Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), academic institutions, peculiar interest groups, youth groups and market women.
The chairman also urged members of the committee to ensure that 200 slots out of 1000 slots for each LGA are reserved for graduates of higher learning.
He added that each sector representatives was expected to reach persons in all 27 LGAs of the state under their sector.
According to him, the programme was created for ad-hoc employment of Nigerians who are not gainfully employed for public works, so as to give them a means of livelihood and restore their faith in the country.
“The forms have been customized and embossed with some security features. Every Local Government Area has its own forms meant for the recruitment of Nigerians who are resident in that LGA irrespective of which part of the country they come from.
“Government will not tolerate gender, ethnic or religious bias. You must exercise caution in the execution of this assignment as you are under watch. Also, there should be 20 per cent graduate recruitment in all LGAs”, he said.
He however, warned that the forms are without charge, adding that any committee member found demanding charges from beneficiaries would be prosecuted accordingly.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Imo police parade traditional ruler over alleged kidnapping
A traditional ruler in Awara, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo, was on Monday paraded by the police for alleged involvement in kidnapping.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the traditional ruler was paraded along side a pastor of the Winners Chapel in Njaba for alleged defilement of 11-year- old daughter of a fellow pastor.
The command also paraded 31 suspects who allegedly committed various crimes, ranging from armed robbery, kidnaping and rape, among others.
The Commissioner of Police in Imo, Mr Issac Akinmoyede, said a gang had kidnapped one Louis Obodo, at Mgbala Agwa and Insp. Oscar Mbaeri, in Agwa in Oguta Local Government recently.
He further said that the gang kidnapped the trio of Chigozirim Nnaji, Desmond Okonkwo and Anyanwu Amarachi on July 19 after which the police gave them a hot chase.
Akinmoyede said that the syndicate had abandoned their lexus 330 Jeep during an exchange of gun fire with operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Anti-kidnapping units of the command.
“My Nephew took my vehicle to do kidnapping, I am not one of them. Though they have used my vehicle about four times and they gave me money,” he said.
On his part, the head of the syndicate, Caleb Agu, said he provided spiritual guide for the gang.
The gang had Ikechukwu Njoku as Protocol officer; Ebenezer Obioha, as Operational Commander and executor; Fabian Obioha, the gang armourer while Bernard Uzoma, was the native doctor that provided protection from operational hazards and arrests.
The police boss said that on May 15, 2020, the gang ambushed and attacked a team of NDLEA officers, during which they killed one operative, left two others seriously wounded and absconded with their rifles.
Akinmoyede stated that the sum of four million and two hundred thousand naira, one Lexus 330 SUV, four AK 47 rifles, one LAR rifle, one SMG rifle, 120 rounds of 7.62MM life ammunition, was recovered from the gang.
The CP said that the suspects would be changed to court after investigation.
On the rape allegation, the pastor denied complicity but admitted that he was tempted to commit the act.
According to him, he had just been transferred to the Njaba chapter of Winners Chapel and was waiting to be assigned his residential apartment, before another Pastor offered to harbour him until he secured his own accommodation.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)