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Nsukka community protests against traditional ruler for allegedly causing crisis

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Crisis has hit Nguru Nsukka community of Enugu State following the alleged imposition of a town union leadership on the people by their traditional ruler, His Royal Highness, Igwe Linus Obayi.

The move sparked off protest, weekend, by aggrieved members of the community, who said they would not fold their hands and watch the monarch destabilize their place for selfish gains.

They called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to intervene and call the embattled traditional ruler to order.

A source hinted that the monarch, who had earlier put on hold the process of putting in place a town union for the community, made a u-turn and inaugurated what he called a caretaker town union without the involvement of all the parties.

The development did not go down well with a larger section of the community, who described the move as pouring petrol on fire.

Our correspondent reports that a meeting called by the monarch, during which he would have announced the constitution of a town union, came to an abrupt end as soon as he sighted journalists. He zoomed off from the meeting, sparking a spontaneous protest from the people.

Speaking to journalists on the development, a community leader, Engr. Ignatius Ugwu, who is the Chairman of Nguru Nsukka Development Union, described the actions of the monarch as unfortunate.

Going down memory lane, Ugwu said “the kindreds that make up the community were asked to bring two representatives each, and that was in June, they complied; those two names were supposed to form the town union. He gave the villages deadline, 15th of the same June, the villagers met that deadline.

“After that, the representatives of the communities were waiting to hear from Igwe when to inaugurate the town union, what we heard was that the Igwe went to Church and announced that people should come and take forms, collect forms with a token before the election. He announced this on Sunday and said election is going to hold on Tuesday, we discovered that there is something there. We protested that it was not going to work.

“Secondly, after that, he went to the church and announced again that if he sees any person gathering in the name of town union, that he will make sure that they go to jail. Along the line, we wrote another petition, to the governor and security agencies, urging them that those representatives should be allowed to go and form the town union.”

He added that while they were still waiting for way forward, “Today again, we came because we heard that he was going to form the town union; but we heard that he has sworn-in town union at Enugu, appointed people that will take care of the town union.

“The funniest thing is that those he appointed are still his cabinet members; that is the most annoying thing that is making the youths angry.

“He was to announce it here but immediately he saw journalists he zoomed off; so why is he afraid of the media; that’s why we are protesting, saying there must be election before we can have town union in this community.

“What we want is for the governor to come to our aid, to direct the Igwe to do what is noble; to allow the town union to do their election and bring out who is going to be our President-General.”

While corroborating Ugwu’s stand, Mr. Ikem Okuhu, a special assistant to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on communications lamented that the embattled monarch was setting the community on fire.

According to him, “Our community is charged because our Igwe is charging it; our Igwe who was democratically elected, we went to the primary school there and cast our votes for our Igwe and he won and election, but today, he does not want a democratic process in our community.

“The Igwe is working hard to impose a town union on the people and we have cautioned him on the implications of doing such. We had advised him against such move, I personally went to him and told him the implications of what he was doing, he refused to listen.

“What they did is that they went behind, did some kangaroo thing in the name of forming a town union and then came back to the community today to announce that they have elected a town union. I have never seen any where it is done, that you go to Enugu and elect a town union and then come back to the community, that the town union was supposed to work for and announce to them that the Igwe has selected him town union. The question is – is it the Igwe’s town union of Nguru Town Union?

“Meanwhile, before now, the representatives from the 10 kindreds, 2 of them each and four from the outposts, making it 24, were earlier selected and they had held their first meeting, whatever made the Igwe now change his mind on them is what we don’t know.

“He started printing forms again, and even asked people to pay money to obtain the forms; he announced it in the church that anybody interested should go and buy form. He went ahead to fix election for a Tuesday, but we kicked against it, telling him that it was not ideal to hold such exercise on a working day, even the election that brought him in was held on a Sunday. So, he abandoned that one again.

“Now, all the elders in the village had about two weeks ago, told the representatives that it was time to start working, but what we heard was that the Igwe went behind and clandestinely selected some people to be town union leaders and that he had actually gone ahead to Enugu to get authorization from the ministry of rural development to become a town union.

“We heard that they have collected certificate from Enugu, when this is the place where Nguru holds their meeting from ages ago, this is ‘Otobo Imoro’, this is where the town union should be inaugurated and their certificates given; so, what they did was that they now called the meeting of Nguru people to announce to them today that they have selected their town union. Who voted for the town union?”

“We are here to tell him that that is not the procedure for forming the town union; the organogram of our town shows that the Igwe is actually subordinated to the town union; it is the town union, the Igwe, then other organs of the community. Then, why is the Igwe unilaterally forming a town union for the community;

“Immediately he saw journalists, he ran away. If you are doing something that is right, why are you dulging the camera? If you are not doing something bad that you don’t want the next ear to hear, why are you running away?

“We insist that our community have selected 24 people to represent us; those 24 must form a town union, otherwise the struggle we go on from here, legally and legitimately, until the Supreme Court rules in their favour, they won’t have their way,” Okuhu added.

Meanwhile, efforts made to reach the monarch as of the time of filing this report was unsuccessful but one of his close confidants, who pleaded for anonymity, confirmed to journalists that a caretaker town union had already been inaugurated and certificate issued to them.

He further claimed that the process was with the approval of Governor Ugwuanyi.

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Metro/Crime

EFCC docks man for alleged N22.2m money laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, has arraigned Olalegbin Christopher alongside his firms, Pentview Luxury Real Estate Management Limited and Gelbin Technology Limited over alleged N22, 239,869.79 money laundering.

Suspects were arraigned before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

TIMELY POST gathered it was an offence contrary to Section 332(1) of the CriminalLaw of Lagos State, 2015.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said this in a statement in Abuja.

He explained, “The defendant was arrested during a collaborative operation by the EFCC and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation, FBI, for his alleged involvement in illegal internet activities.

“The defendant also allegedly used his companies to receive and conceal the proceeds of his criminal activities.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Olalegbin Christopher, Olatunji Olalegbin Mary (at large), Pentview Luxury Real Estate Management Limited, Gelbin Technology Limited and others still at large, between 2015 and 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to collaborate in the concealing and disguising the genuine nature and ownership of the aggregate sum of N22, 239, 869.79k (Twenty Two Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty-nine Naira, Seventy-nine Kobo only)being money received and derived from your illegal internet activities.”

But the defendant reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

It was on this premise that the prosecution counsel, M.K. Bashir, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody pending the determination of the case.

But counsel to the defendant, Abimbola Akeredolu,SAN, informed the court that a bail application had been filed and served on prosecution.

Akeredolu also told the court the prosecution had responded to the affidavit. She, therefore, urged the court to grant her client bail in the most liberal terms.

In his response, the prosecution counsel, Bashir, told the court that a counter-affidavit had been filed and served on the defence, where he opposed the prayer of the defendant.

Further, Bashir described the defendant as a flight-risk, adding that “The defendant, while making statement in the EFCC office, tried to move money from his Zenith Bank account through his phone and also wiped all the information on his phone.”

The prosecutor also informed the court that the defendant’s mum, who aided him in perpetrating the crime, could not be found. “My Lord, the defendant too may also abscond like his mum.

In his words, “He is 26 years old and has never worked anywhere; yet,he acquired a 2019 model Porche car worth N120million and a 2015 model Merzedes Benz car worth N75million”.

The prosecution counsel, therefore, urged the court not to grant the defendant bail.

Justice Taiwo, after listening to both parties, said “the offence is a
bailable one.”

The Judge, therefore, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5 million, with two sureties in like sum.

One of the sureties, the trial Judge said, must be a level 16 officer with the Lagos State government, while the other must be a relation of the defendant resident in Lagos.

He also directed that the addresses of the sureties must be verified by the EFCC, while evidence of identification of the sureties must be provided to the court.

Justice Taiwo adjourned the case to October 18 and 23, for commencement of trial and also ordered the defendant to be remanded in Kirikiri prison pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

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Metro/Crime

NDLEA nabs 26 over alleged drug abuse

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday said that it had arrested 26 persons for alleged drug abuse in Kwara State.

Kwara State NDLEA’s Commander, Ambrose Umoru, who made the disclosure in Ilorin, said that the arrests were made within two months of his assumption of office.

Umoru said that those arrested included seven dealers of cannabis (marijuana) and a 54-year-old man, Chukwuemeka Odeh, who had a warehouse for cannabis, NAN reports.

He said that Odeh, popularly known as ‘Chucks’, had been arrested by the command in 1994 and 2017, during which about 396 bags of cannabis weighing 4,356 kg were recovered from him.

The commander said that Chucks was declared wanted by the command since 2017, adding that he had been on the command’s watch list until he was recently apprehended.

According to him, others arrested are Osuolale Gabriel, 45, Jamiu Isiaka, 24, Akeem Salawu 32, Yusuf Ibrahim 52, and Ekene Chukwuma.

Umoru said that 14 University of Ilorin students were also apprehended while smoking cannabis and using tramadol tablets, but were later counselled and released.

“A total of 19 people who use drug were arrested during the on going “Operation Keep Drug Free” activities, but have been counselled and released to their families

“Seven people who use drugs are currently undergoing care, treatment, counselling and rehabilitation at the state command headquarters with a view to reintegrating them to the society,” he said.

Umoru said that the command also discovered drug joints along Ilofa road,GRA, Ajikobi area, Adewole Estate, Maraba motor park, Oko Olowo area, Omupo, Malete and Tanke axis.

Umoru said that the command had also evolved a programme tagged ‘Know your Child’s Drug Status’, targeted at identifying people who use drugs.

The commander appealed to parents, guardians, schools, organisations and the public to take advantage of the anti-drug abuse sensitisation programme.

“Routine anti-drug abuse sensitization activities are currently ongoing in schools across the state. All hands must be on deck for us to sanitise this state of this drug scourge,” he said.

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Metro/Crime

Man, 43, arrested for allegedly raping neighbour’s teenaged daughter

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Ogun State Police have arrested a 43-year-old man, Oluwole Bamidele, for allegedly raping a six-year-old daughter of his neighbour.

Police spokesperson in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, on Thursday said Bamidele was arrested after the case was reported at Agbado police station.

He said the complainant, Ikechukwu Orji reported that while his wife went out to see her tailor at about 12:45 p.m on that day, the co-tenant lured his daughter into his room and raped her.

Orji said the girl informed her mother of the incident as soon as she returned.

“On the strength of the report, the DPO Agbado division, Aloko Amodu, detailed detectives to the scene of the alleged crime at Kayode Street, Agoro area of Agbado where the suspect was arrested,” Oyeyemi said

He said on interrogation, the suspect denied committing the crime but when the victim was taken to the hospital for medical examination, the medical report confirmed that the victim has been defiled. He said Mr Bamidele later confessed to the crime.

The Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, has ordered the suspect transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for proper investigation and prosecution.

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