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N7bn: Presidential Panel to charge Unity Bank for alleged economic sabotage

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The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property says it will slam a charge of economic sabotage on Unity Bank if it refuses to return the over N7 billion owed the Federal Government.

The Head, Media and Communication of the Panel, Ms Lucie-Ann Laha, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

According to her, the sum represents 15,561,769.99 dollars and N1,488,455,810.90 being excess and arbitrary charges on accounts of some agencies of government by the bank before the implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) system.

She said that the agencies included Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), the Kaduna Refinery and NIMASA.

Unity Bank, which had agreed to this amount in February, has neither proffered a payment plan nor demonstrated good faith by actually initiating payments.

” Instead, the bank has severed all communications with the Panel in this regard.

“It may be recalled that the panel had commissioned a team of experts, including forensic auditors, to look into the operations of accounts of MDAs in commercial banks within the country prior to the commencement of TSA,” Laha said.

The spokesperson said that the exercise had unearthed some sharp practices and elicited indictments.

She added that some of the indicted banks had since agreed to a refund plan and in fact commenced payments.

Unity Bank has, however, not made any move in this regard.

“The Panel is unrelenting in its resolve towards ensuring that economic saboteurs are brought to book and looted public property, including money, duly returned to government.”

Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo

Defence/Security

Police smash armed robbery gang in Enugu

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The Police Command in Enugu State has smashed a gang of notorious armed robbers that usually operates within Udi/Agbudu/Ozalla Road axis of Udi Local Government Area.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, said in a statement on Sunday that the gang was smashed in the early hours of Sunday along the road.

Amaraizu said that the feat was achieved by men of Operation Puff Adder of the Udi Division of the Command acting on well-gathered and coordinated intelligence information.

“It was gathered that the suspected hoodlums had allegedly blocked the road with woods and other items; and were already in their nefarious activities when police operatives ran into the road block mounted by the suspected hoodlums.

“It was further gathered that the suspected hoodlums had engaged the operatives in a gun duel but were overpowered by the operatives who later got one of them critically wounded and who was later confirmed dead.

“After the encounter, the operatives started combing the bush and later arrested three of the suspected hoodlums,’’ he said.

Amaraizu said that the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmad Abdurrahman, had directed a full scale investigation into the incident.

“The suspects have been helping police operatives in their investigation so far,’’ he said.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Defence/Security

Bayelsa/Kogi: Police Service Commission lauds officers

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has lauded the police and other security agencies for their professional conduct during the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi.

Mr Ikechukwu Ani, the Head of Press and Public Relations of the Commission, gave the commendation in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

He said the commendation followed an interim report from the commission’s teams that monitored the elections.

Ani said the report indicated that the police and other security were very professional in spite of numerous challenges in the two states.

He said the monitoring teams from the commission observed over proliferation of illegal weapons, inadequate logistics and challenging terrains as militating factors in the two states.

“The commission monitored the conduct of police officers on election duties in the Nov. 16 Bayelsa and Kogi elections and observed that the police were professional in their conduct.

“It was observed that the activities of illegal armed men over stretched the capacity of these officers to protect the voters and the electoral materials.

“The commission, therefore, calls on the leadership of the security agencies to immediately take steps to mop up these arms to safe guard the nation’s democracy,” he said.

He said the monitoring team also observed that the police did its best to contain the situation but noted that in several instances they were overwhelmed.

Ani said that the findings showed that the police were early at voting centres and had adequate presence in most places.

He said the team received about 31 distress calls to its advertised dedicated telephone numbers, adding that most of the complaints were on snatching of ballot boxes and indiscriminate shootings.

According to him, there are also complaints on other election malpractices such as vote buying and multiple thump printing.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Kayode Olaitan

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Defence/Security

Army provides free medical services to community in Ondo

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The Nigerian Army on Sunday provided free medical services to people of Ugbo community in Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo State.

Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar, the Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, said that the gesture was part of on-going exercise of Crocodile Smile lV in the area.

He said that the gesture was to enhance the life of the people in the area.

According to Abubakar, it is also to cement the relationship between the military and civil populace.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Nigerian Army had earlier donated some computers, printers, exercise books, generators, stationary and sporting materials to schools at Atijere community in Ilaje Local Government area on Nov.13.

NAN also reports that the gesture was part of civil-military activities as Crocodile Smile IV  flag off in the southern part of Ondo State will last from Nov.8 to Dec. 23, 2019.

Abubakar said that the medical services delivered included services at the general outpatient department for general consultation, general eye examination, health education, oral care, laboratory investigations, issuance of free mosquito nets and drugs.

He thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and General Officer Commanding 2 Division,Ibadan, Maj. Gen. Anthony Omozoje, for they exemplary leadership and for finding the Brigade worthy of hosting the exercise and approving the civil-military activities.

“The COAS is particularly  concerned about the health and well being of our community knowing fully that health is wealth. It is in this light that he has taken by his step to provide this medical outreach.

“The objective is for you to embrace peace and shun every act of violence and criminality.

“COAS believes with peace, come development. There will not be development without peace,” Abubakar said.

,Maj. James Agbe, the Commanding Officer, 32 Artillery Brigade Medical Centre, Akure, said that one of the services rendered was to teach people on how to brush.

“We also rendering free eye care handled by specialists, free toothpaste and brushes, free drugs for common ailment in the community, free mosquito net to prevent mosquito bite considering the environment in which they living as riverine area.

“Community should take the advantage of the services being provided by COAS to make maximum use of the services and drugs effectively, ” Agbe admonished.

In his welcome address, Oba Akinruntan Obateru,Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, who was represented by the High Chief Hosea Iperepolu and Chairman of Ugbo Council of Chiefs, commended the gesture.

He said that the gesture would bring cordial relationship between the Nigerian Army and the community.

“The exercise is laudable one because we all know that health is wealth.

“This will bring cordial relationship between civilian and Nigerian Army. People are always afraid of Army, but with this new development, people will not see them as their enemy.

“When Army starts to come nearer to the people like this, people will be able to interact with them and it will reduce the rate of insurgency, kidnapping and all unnecessary crime in the societies,” he said.

Obateru charged the community to see the Nigerian Army as their friend and admonished the Army to continue with their good relationship so that people would not see them as their enemy.

The monarch promised Nigerian Army that Ugbo kingdom would continue to support and cooperate with them so that the issue of kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and many other crimes would reduce in the area.

One of the participants, Mr Akin Adetuo, a 60-year-old farmer with eye problem, thanked the Nigerian Army for the gesture.

“I am here with my eye problem so that I can see very well, but with the service rendered by Army today am very happy. May Almighty God help them as they choose to help us,” he said.

Mr Maigba Israel, who said that he came from the neighboring town near Ugbo kingdom for stomach ache and eye problem, urged the Nigerian Army to continue to support civilians, especially on health related issues.

“I am not from Ugbo kingdom, but I am from Ugbo-Nla town.

“I believe this services will go a long way for our people, especially for me because I don’t have money to go to hospital that is why when I heard that Nigerian Army is giving free eye service, I left my food to benefit from the services,” he said.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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Outgoing Edo CP tasks security agencies on proficiency

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The newly promoted and outgoing Commissioner for Police in Edo, Abubakar DanMallam, has tasked security agencies on proficiency in tackling insecurity in the state.

DanMallam gave the advice on Saturday in Benin during a send-off ceremony organised for him by the state command.

He said that Edo was a strategic state as it was a gateway to various states and geopolitical zones in the country.

He added that in view of this criminals in the state were highly sophisticated, and therefore tasked security agencies as well as officers and men of the command to be alert to their responsibilities.

He also advised the officers and men of the Edo command to maintain the already established legacies of an environment devoid of insecurity.

While attributing his successes to robust synergy with security agencies and police/public relationship, he sued for more support and cooperation.

DanMallam, however, said that the major challenge on his assumption of office in the state was cultism, armed robbery and kidnapping, adding that these had been reduced to its barest minimum.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Brig.-Gen. Greg Omorogbe, Commander 4 Brigade and chairman of the occasion, commended the leadership style of the outgoing CP.

Omoregbe said that the CP’s promotion to an Assistant Iinspector General was an eloquent testimony of his hard work and contributions to peace in Edo.

“I have no doubt that his comradeship and espirit de Corps would be missed,” he said.

Gov. Godwin Obaseki in his remarks said described the outgoing CP as ” humility personified “.

Obaseki, represented by Mrs Julie Olatunji, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet office, said that the outgoing CP was a man who knows his job and does not pay lip service to issues.

“He contributed his wealth of knowledge to our security architecture and also the synergy among security agencies in the state today,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that DanMallam was among the 14 Commissioners of Police promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in October and redeployed a fortnight ago.

He is to return to Louis Edet House as the AIG in charge of SPU.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Army troops rescue octogenarian, others from Boko Haram in Borno

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The Nigerian Army troops deployed at Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno has subdued Boko Haram terrorists and rescued an Octogenarian, three women and four children held captives by the insurgents.

The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Iliyasu said that the rescued victims were evacuated while the children among them were equally administered with Polio Vaccination by a Nigerian Army medical team.

He added that no causality was recorded by the army troops during the commando operations.

According to him, many of the Boko Haram criminal elements fled in disarray towards the summit of Mandara Mountains with gunshot wounds.

“The troops’ resilience and doggedness are unwavering as further exploitation to complete the annihilation of the insurgents is being sustained in the mountainous environment.

“The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, wishes to reassure the public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better secured Nigeria.

“He also thanks all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army as they sustain the conduct of various operations and routine exercises nationwide,” he said.

Iliyasu said that the army troops had continued to sustain the tempo of the counter-insurgency operations in the North East with a view to decimating and destroying the remnant of Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) criminals.

He said the troops had also continued to extract credible intelligence report on the presence of some of the criminal insurgents in the areas.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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Defence/Security

Another Catholic priest abducted in Enugu

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The Enugu Police Command said Saturday in Enugu that it has commenced a massive manhunt of abductors of a Catholic Priest, Rev.-Fr. Theophilus Ndulue.

This was coming barely two weeks after the release of another catholic priest earlier abducted in the state.

According to the Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, Ndulue was abducted by unidentified gunmen on his way home along Amansiodo Road in Ndiagu-Oghe in Ezeagu Local Government Area on Friday evening while returning from a pastoral council meeting.

Amaraizu while confirming the incident, in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu described the abduction as unfortunate.

He however, said that police operatives would leave no stone unturned to secure release the catholic priest unhurt.

“We have launched a massive trail for the rescue and release of the priest from his abductors as soon as possible.

“I assure the good people of Enugu and the Catholic family that we will get at them and bring them to book.

“However, we are circumspect on the operation in order to ensure that the Catholic priest is released unhurt,’’ he assured.

Amaraizu said that Ndulue, who was the Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ihuonyia, Amansiodo, was initially kidnapped alongside the Chair lady, Catholic Women Organisation in his parish, Mrs Stella Nwodo.

He said that Nwodo was later released by the abductors.

NAN recalls that this was happening barely two weeks after Rev.-Fr Arinze Madu, Deputy Rector, Queen of the Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary, Imezi Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area, was released by his abductors.

Madu had been kidnapped at the seminary gate on Oct. 29.

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Maureen Atuonwu

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