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Five-year-old boy dies in house fire

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Residents of Ijorgbor Street on Upper Sokponba Road in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State were shocked over the death of a five-year-old boy in a midnight fire which gutted a bungalow where he lived.

The boy, whose identity could not be ascertained at press time, was locked up in a room with his younger brother by his father who wanted to buy foodstuff nearby.

It was learnt that a generator and a cooking stove were inside the room but no one knew what actually led to the outbreak of the inferno. Speculations were rife that the fire might have started from a faulty electrical installation when the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) restored power.

A witness, Omoye Oriameh, said the intensity of the fire prevented residents from rescuing the boy as he was trapped in one of the rooms in the building.

Oriameh disclosed that the children were crying for help through the window and one of the neighbors used an axe to break open the door to rescue one of them now receiving treatment in a hospital while the other was stuck inside. She said men of the state Fire Service arrived as the fire completely razed down the building.

“Two kids were inside the house. They were shouting and we could hear their shout from the window. One guy from this house took an axe and broke the louvers. He brought one of the kids out but he was unable to bring out the other one because he was inside and the fire caught up with him,” Oriameh added.

Another neighbour, Osamudiamen Edobor, said it was shocking for the parents to lock their children in their apartment, only for one of them to die. He said: “They have stove and generator in that room.

The man was cooking in the room. It is sad that one of the children died.” The surviving child was yesterday transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for further treatment.

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Metro and Crime

Big Brother Naija sponsor, Payporte, begs court to dismiss winding up suit over N23m debt

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Sponsors of the 2018 Big Brother Naija Show, Payporte Global System Ltd., has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit seeking its winding up.

The suit was filed by Vacant Boards Ltd.

In a notice of preliminary objection, Payporte contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

It described the suit as defective, null, void and an abuse of court process.

Payporte prayed the court to dismiss the winding up suit with a substantial cost against the petitioner. The petitioner had in 2015 filed a debt recovery suit against Payporte before the court.

In a judgment delivered on May 27, 2016, the court awarded the sum of N23.1 million against Payporte in favour of Vacant Boards.

The petitioner, however, submitted that on Feb. 27, 2017, Payporte made a part payment of N5 million, leaving a balance of N17.1 million which it had yet to liquidate in spite of demand letters.

It consequently filed a suit on Dec. 29, 2017, asking the court to order winding up of Payporte.

However, in the notice of preliminary objection on Wednesday, Payporte argued that the petition for winding up did not comply with the provisions of Sections 5 and 6 of the Companies Winding-Up Rules, 2001.

Payporte’s lead counsel, Mr Ogedi Ogu, informed the court of the notice of preliminary objection.

He also said that he had been served with a counter-affidavit by the petitioner, and would need time to respond to it.

Justice Ayokunle Faji adjourned the case until June 12 for hearing.

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Student to panel: Prof Akindele failed me because of sexual advances

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Panel meets Monica, lawyer

 

Miss Monica Osagie, the victim in the sex-for-marks scandal at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile- Ife, has told an investigative panel that Professor Richard Akindele deliberately failed her because she refused his sexual advances.

 

Osagie said she did not score 33 per cent as the lecturer claimed, but was failed so that she could bow to his sexual demands.

 

She said this yesterday when she appeared before the panel, along with her lawyer, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi. Osagie had appeared before the committee set up by the institution’s authorities in company of her counsel.

 

Osagie, a student in the Masters of Business programme, released a recorded telephone conversation, which went viral, in which the lecturer identified as Akindele, demanded five rounds of sex to enhance her marks.

 

The committee, which held its session at the Pro -Chancellor’s Lodge on the campus, allowed only Osagie and her counsel into the venue. Journalists, students and some members of the National Human Rights Commission, who came to witness the sitting, were not allowed into the venue by security personnel of the institution, who blocked the entrance. The session lasted for more than seven hours.

 

Akiyode-Afolabi said Osagie told the panel that she passed the course but was later failed by the don because of her refusal to sleep with him.

 

She said that Osagie narrated in details what transpired between her and the don, adding that lawyers present at the meeting were not allowed to make any contribution. Akiyode-Afolabi, who is the Executive Director for Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Abuja, said that Osagie also informed the panel that she recorded the conversation between her and the professor as evidence.

 

She said Osagie also informed the panel that she reported the sexual harassment by the don to some lecturers in the university, adding that no action was taken by them. Akiyode-Afolabi said some lawyers, who represented the lecturers to whom Osagie claimed she reported the case, also appeared before the panel. Akiyode-Afolabi said she was optimistic that the outcome of the investigative panel would serve as a lesson to other lecturers who also engage in such act.

 

She, however, urged the panel to ensure that justice prevailed on the issue so as to maintain the integrity of the institution.

 

Akiyode-Afolabi, who did not allow Osagie to talk to journalists, said that her client would always be available to give evidence whenever she was called upon. Members of the panel did not speak with journalists after the meeting. It would be recalled that a recorded audio conversation of the don demanding for sex to increase the marks of the female postgraduate student had gone viral. The audio recording generated reactions from a cross-section of the public, making the university authorities to set up an investigative panel.

 

The vice chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, on Friday confirmed the suspension of Akindele. Ogunbodede, in a statement, said he had received and considered the interim report of the committee set up to investigate the allegation of sexual harassment revealed in the audio recording.

 

The vice chancellor said that though the investigative committee invited both Akindele and Osagie, only the don had appeared before the committee

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Man arrested for making, selling guns to robbers

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The Niger State Police Command on Tuesday arrested a 50-year-old man, Ibrahim Manu, for allegedly producing firearms at Beji Village in Bosso Local Government Area of the state. Manu, a goldsmith, was arrested after operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) trailed and arrested him. The police said they started trailing him after receiving a tip-off that he used to make guns, which he sold to armed robbers. Police claimed that Manu had been making and selling guns to robbers in the past 15 years. The police said: “He used to make Dane guns and other dangerous weapons, which are used by criminals.”

 

The suspect said: “The art of making guns is a family business. My father handed the business over to me. My father is late now.

 

Everybody in Beji village knows that my family used to make firearms. I wonder why police didn’t arrest my father and other family members who were in the business before I joined. I made a lot of money from fabrication of firearms and other dangerous weapons. I joined this business when I was 18-year-old. I don’t think there is any business I can do better than this.” He continued: “I didn’t know making guns was illegal. I thought it was a normal source of income because police had never arrested any member of my family.

 

It is only when you know that you are committing offence that you would have a regret. I don’t have regret for fabricating firearms. It’s a profession.”

 

The Niger State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muhammad Abubakar, said the suspect confessed to the crime during interrogation. He added that operatives recovered Dane guns, two long pipes, one vice machine and one drilling machine from the suspect.

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