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Harrowing experience of a deported nursing mother

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A 22-year-old nursing mother, Beauty John, who was imprisoned for five months in a Libyan detention facility located in a desert, has described her experience as a living hell. Beauty was among 155 Nigerians recently deported to Nigeria, through the intervention of International Organisation for Migration (IMO).

The deportees, just like Beauty, had similar stories to tell; they travelled to Libya in search of greener pastures. Beauty, who spoke with our correspondent at Hajj Camp, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos State, said her plan was to travel to Italy through Libya. Her plan became a stillbirth after she was arrested on the Mediterranean Sea with other co-travellers by the Libyan security agents.

According to her, she decided to embark on the journey after an aunt, who resides in Italy, paid a brief visit to Benin, Nigeria.

The woman, who looked rich, told Beauty and four other ladies that they were welcome to join her in Italy, if they could make it.

Beauty said: “We were five that our aunt asked to come over to Italy. She promised us a better life. I was the only one who embarked on the journey; others couldn’t make it because of money.”

She continued: “On July 11, 2016, some male friends and I left Benin to Sokoto State through the desert.

We got to Libya a week after. We were kept somewhere before proceeding to Italy through the sea. But we were arrested by some security agents. After profiling us, we were taken to a detention facility in a desert.

“I spent five months in the detention facility. It was inside the cell that I had my baby. I didn’t know I was pregnant before embarking on the journey. I didn’t know I was pregnant for my boyfriend.”

Beauty, who had tears in her eyes, further recounted: “It was hell in the cell; sometimes, I would be given a slice of bread as breakfast and watery spaghetti for dinner. We were not given lunch. Many detainees died in the cell due to malnutrition. Some lost their sights because there was no proper medical care.

I never knew I would be able to give birth to the baby because of my health status I was weak and thin. I didn’t know how I managed to carry the pregnancy through to term. After giving birth, it became difficult to breastfeed him.

My breast milk was not flowing due to lack of good feeding and poor medical care.” She noted that when the Nigerian Ambassador to Libya came to the cell, where the detainees were kept, he told them they would all be going back to Nigeria.

Beauty said: “When the Ambassador said that, I felt like the luckiest person in the world that day. I finally found myself in Nigeria.” Another deportee, who simply identified himself as Michael explained that he went to Libya, intending to use it as a transient point to enter Europe. Michael said he was going to Europe to get a job in order to take care of his mother.

Michael said: “I lost my father when I was 10 years old. Things were not going well for my mother as a single parent. I thought going to Europe would relieve her of the stress of catering for me. I’m her only child.

I was arrested on the sea and kept in the cell for 11 months without proper feeding and medical care. “There was a time I got admission to study Accounting at Auchi Polytechnic; my mother couldn’t afford the fees and other finances required. That was part of what prompted me to leave Nigeria. As I speak with you now, I cannot see clearly with my eyes due to the underground cell in the desert where I was detained.

The first thing I did when we got to Nigeria was to approach the medical team at the airport on what to use to restore my failing sight. I regret going to Libya.

There is freedom in Nigeria.” The National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, South West Zonal Director, Mrs Ngozi Okefo, said the returnees would be counselled and reintegrated into the society. She said: “We’re very passionate about displaced persons and returnees

. There is standard procedure; we also have a shelter where we accommodate the returnees and take good care of them. We urge parents and guardians to stop paying N1million or N500, 000 to travel overseas and become slaves. Nigeria is a blessed country where you can become whatever you want to be.”

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Metro and Crime

One killed as protest rocks Plateau College

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A student of the College of Education, Gindiri in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State lost his life yesterday while property believed to worth millions of naira were destroyed during a protest. Reacting to the protest, the management shut down academic activities indefinitely.

The students had embarked on a protest to demand the release of the identification card and the cancellation of a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) policy. According to the protesters, although paid money to the school, but whenever they approach the school clinic, the management will ask them to pay money.

During the protest, the students burnt the school clinic and also damaged several cars belonging to staff as well as destroyed doors and windows of the Administrative Buildings of the institution before the arrival of the security agencies. It was learnt that in the midst of the protests, one student was hit by stray bullet and died on the spot.

The Public Relations Officer of the college, Mrs. Elizabeth Aboreng, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, disclosed that the students from NCE Two class had protested the release of their ID card by the school management.

Aboreng said the students later took laws into their hands by burning down property in the institution, including the school clinic and an ambulance. She said: “The management of the institution has close down the school indefinitely, because the students of NCE two had issues of Identification Card which was not released to them, but they met the acting Provost, Mr. Cornelius Ka-ankuka and he resolved that the ID Card was to be made available today (yesterday).

But surprisingly today (yesterday) the students went on the rampage without waiting to collect the ID cards and burnt down two ambulances belonging to the school, burnt down the clinic and also destroyed staff cars.” When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Mathias Tyopev, confirmed the incident. The PPRO said he was expecting details from the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Gindiri.

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Initiation: Cultists gang-raped us for days –Schoolgirls

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Some schoolgirls in Lagos yesterday recanted their ordeal while being forcibly initiated into cultism by cult members who are their schoolmates. One of the victims, who identified herself simply as Alaka, said that one of the cult boys, Dare, took her and her friend, Suliat, to join his group.

“Dare took me away from school with a gun and when we got to the place at Agarawu, I was asked to kneel down by seven boys. They took me away through tricycle. Dare and Wakilu covered my eyes with black handkerchief.

They poured something on my body, raped and initiated me. Dare slapped me three times and said I have been initiated,” the 15-year-old girl said amid tears. Also narrating her ordeal, a JSS3 victim said she was forcibly taken to Agarawu where four boys forced her to kneel down and pulled off her uniform. The victim said the boys gang-raped her for many days and did not allow her to go home. She said: “They forced me into the room and ordered me to pull off my clothes.

They blindfolded me and poured something on my body before I was repeatedly raped for days. They said they had initiated me by doing so.” However, nemesis has caught up with the notorious students of King Ado High School, kidnapping, raping and initiated pupils of secondary on Lagos Island into cultism.

They were arrested by the Lagos Neighbourhood and Safety Corps (LNSC). The cultists initiated any female student or other target of their choice by first kidnapping her, forcing her to kneel down and pulling off her uniforms before gang-raping her.

T h e y would hold the victims in hostage for days and perform other rituals on them before they release them to go back home or the school. They usually whisk their targets away from the public places or school t h r o u g h threats and take them to a secluded place in Agarawu area on Lagos Island and blindfold the victims before having canal knowledge of the victims in turn.

“This is the way of initiation into “Supreme Boys Club”, also known as Eye,” said one of the cultists during their parade before journalists at the Safety Arena, Oshodi, the headquarters of the LNSC. It was learnt that after criminally initiating their victim, they would tell her not to tell anyone or face death.

The arrested cult boys are Kadiri Ajala, Muyideen Ganiyu, Kayode Damilare, Idogun Yinusa, Yinka Adewuyi and Laguda Kamal. One of them, Wakilu, whose house was used as ‘Cult House,’ was yet to be arrested. Explaining their mode of operation, Chairman the LNSC, DIG Israel Ajao (rtd), wondered why schoolboys could engage in such dastardly acts. He said: “They don’t just kidnap, they gang-rape them and after taking their turns, they call on other members to also come and have their turns.

This is what they call process of initiation for the cult group.” Ajao said the six boys, many of whom were dropouts with some still in school, had molested their victims repeatedly, going by the agency’s investigation. Also, mother one of the victims, said that Alaka didn’t come home for some days. She said: “On several occasions, we will discover that she was missing at home for days.

I went to school to complain to the principal but I was told the cult boys were after her. The principal called on the police to dislodge the cult boys who come around the school. A few days after she was also missing at home for days, it was on Lagos Island near Agarawu that we found her. “She never told anyone what has been happening. It was after we involved the LNSC officers before she revealed all that has been happening.

That is why the boys were apprehended.” Meanwhile, Ajao said that the suspects would be prosecuted. He called on parents to always speak out when they notice strange developments from their wards. The LNSC chairman regretted that cultism is rampant among pupils.

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Metro and Crime

Teenage survivor: How my mother and I escaped being killed by herdsmen

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An 18-year-old lady, Hannah Toweh, has narrated how a herdsman entered her family’s farm and laid an ambush for her and her mother, Mrs. Patricia Toweh, at the Ofunwengbe community in Ovioa South-West Local Government Area of Edo State.

Hannah, who spoke from her hospital bed, said that the herdsman attacked them with a machete after threatening them with a gun.
Hannah and her mother, Patricia, are presently in the hospital, battling to live because of the machete cut injuries inflicted on them.
While Hannah sustained deep machete cuts on the forehead and right hand, Patricia, 52, had a deeper cut on her forehead and sported a left severed ear.

The incident occurred about 9a.m., February 5, while the victims were working in their cassava farm located close to a plantain plantation on the Benin-Okada-Ore-Lagos Expressway.
Patricia, like a lioness, was said to have struggled with the gunman, trying to wrestle his rifle from him. Immediately the struggle started, Hannah started screaming.
Hannah later rushed home to alert family members and residents at their quarters on Redeemed Church Road, Ofunwengbe. Mother and daughter were rushed to a nearby hospital.

Recollecting the incidents that culminated in the attack, Patricia said: “Herdsmen led cattle into my two acres of cassava and destroyed all the crops. I went to my landlord and begged him to meet the leaders of the herdsmen in the community.

“When we got there, we met their leader, Jubrin. He followed us to the farm. He was shocked at the destruction. He promised to call his people to find out what happened. They all denied being responsible for the destruction. I went to the police station to report the matter. Police followed me to the farm. Police were also shocked at the level of the destruction.”

According to her, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area asked the leader of the herdsmen to bring one of the persons, suspected to have carried out the act, to the station.
She said: “Jubrin brought two men to the station. The DPO asked me to identify those that led cattle into my farm. I told him that the suspect was not among them. Jubrin said that the two persons he brought were involved in the cassava destruction and that they caught one Alhaji Yellow as one of them.

“We had to go for the arrest of the said Alhaji Yellow. But when we reached the police station, Yellow and the policemen started speaking Hausa language which I don’t understand. At the end of it all, the police said that it was not Yellow that committed the crime. They released him. Police said we should go and settle the matter amicably.

“I was in my house when Jubrin came and told me that the police asked us to settle. I told him that they should pay me N400,000, but Jubrin dropped N25,000 on the floor. I insisted we must go to the police station to settle the matter. Jubrin later promised to balance N15,000, but I called the police who asked us to come to their station. Jubrin called me to say that he had deployed three persons to guard my farm against further incursions.
“He asked me if I had not gone to the farm. And he kept asking me this until I became suspicious. We now resolved the matter at Iguobazuwa on Saturday.

“On Monday, I went to the farm with my daughter. As we were working, I didn’t know somebody was inside the farm, hiding under the palm tree. Suddenly I noticed a man with a gun and he said, madam, ‘I will shoot you.’ We begged him and then I struggled with him, trying to take the gun from him. The man fell down, and then he pushed me down. As I fell, my daughter rushed towards us; the man cut my daughter with his machete. He also used the machete to cut my ear and forehead.

“It was God who saved my daughter and I. We were both covered in blood and weak. The man ran away and my daughter picked his gun. I shouted, but nobody was in the bush. People later came and took us to the hospital and later to the police station. We handed the gun over to the police.”
Hannah, who corroborated her mother’s explanations, denied there was an attempt by the herdsman to rape them.

Patricia’s 63-year-old husband, Mr. Emmanuel Toweh, thanked God for saving his wife and daughter from the herdsman.
He said: “I was not at home when the incident occurred. I got home and saw a crowd of people in my compound. The shock and pains were too much, but fortunately, it was not more than that. At least nobody died. If it had gone beyond that, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Babatunde Kokumo, said that the command was investigating the matter.
The commissioner vowed that justice would be done quickly in the case.
He added: “The woman was brought before me today. We are looking at a way to ensure justice is done speedily.”

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