•He had magical charms –Ex-aide
•Why residents celebrated his killing
•Singer, 2Shine, plagiarises song to praise him
•We’re sad to be linked to a criminal –Humblesmith
Years before he met his waterloo in Enugu State, Johnson Igwedibia, “Don Waney” had become a hate figure in Omoku in Ogba/ Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, not just because he didn’t hide the fact that he lived off crime, and always had a way of evading arrest. It was mainly because he saw Omoku, and its environs, including Aligwu Community where he hailed from, as killing fields.
They hated the fact that he didn’t have regard for human lives. A lady from a neighbouring state, who fled Omoku some years ago, complained that during cult clashes, cult members attack whoever they see and damage property. She said that her aunt was injured at her restaurant during a clash some years ago, adding that the attack forced her aunt and the husband to relocate to Port Harcourt.
The lady, who preferred to be anonymous, said: “I am not sure if they were forced to relocate from Omoku by Don Waney’s boys, but all I know is that there was a clash between the Icelanders and Greenlanders, which led to the death of some innocent persons.
I also know that for many years, Don Waney was the head of the Iceland cult.” His notoriety for summary execution of rival cult members, especially those from the Greenlanders during clashes, became very noticeable among observers of cult clashes in Rivers about six years ago, when he used the Icelanders to instill fear within and outside Omoku. One of his foot soldiers once boasted that he was immune to bullets, machetes and other deadly weapons, which was why Don Waney was “invincible during battles.”
He had magical charms, electric properties in his body- Ex-aide
The former protégé, who now works with the local vigilance group that was part of the team that raided Don Waney’s mansion last November, also said that the body of his former boss had some electric properties, which made it impossible to defeat him in physical combat. According to him, Don Waney possessed magical powers that helped him to detect danger.
He said: “He fortified himself in a way that nothing could penetrate him. He had a spiritualist/native doctor who prepared a charm that made his body to shock whoever that wants to physically harm him. And part of the requirement for this charm, which also made him invincible during battles, is human blood.
“There were some of his members who fled because of the way he shed blood for sacrifices. These were young men who had been trained as hard men, but who at some point could no longer withstand blood. They became afraid of the way they lived.”
He also said that he slipped away from the trail of security operatives when it was sure that he would be arrested because he had built up a system of “information gathering” that made it easy for him to gain useful intelligence. Saturday Telegraph investigations revealed that long before the authorities declared him the most wanted criminal in the state, he used to roam across four local government areas where members of his Iceland cult treated him as a guest. As the regional leader of the group in Abua/ Odua, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas, his movements across these council areas, which were like his playground, gave him an edge over his hunters.
According to residents of Omoku, which suffered most throughout Don Waney’s reign of terror, life after his killing is inspiring new possibilities. Some say that the cult clashes in the area have robbed off negatively in terms of development.
Indeed, it is a massive area that is surrounded by oil-bearing communities that host multinational oil companies. With infrastructure that is slightly above what obtains outside most state capitals, it remains a strong reminder of how oil can impact a community. Some oil workers who worked many years ago contributed in the town’s development by building standard structures along well mapped out streets.
By then, the disagreement among some oil companies and communities, which largely revolved around community development funds, employment quota, and rents had not resorted to factions among youth groups and the chiefs/ elders. By then, the use of cult groups to settle disputes was not in vogue.
When it finally came into fashion, those who initiated it as an option either ran away or were consumed. It is Omoku that you see beautiful structures that are not occupied because the owners could become a victim of cult violence. Some residents of Omoku still find it difficult to believe that Don Waney is no more.
Shortly after the news filtered in that he had been killed by security operatives in Enugu, some residents said they would only believe if they see his corpse. But that was not the case with Mela Claude Ake Foundation and Omoku Youth Federation, which celebrated his killing in some parts of Omoku.
Why residents celebrated his killing
Scores of residents trooped out of their homes to celebrate his death and subsequent parade of his corpse. The notorious militant was killed by a combined team of security agents made up of the Nigerian Army, police and Directorate of State (DSS) Service in his hideout in faraway Enugu and brought back to Rivers State where it was handed over to the state government. In a now viral amateur video shot during the parade of his mangled corpse, people put the gory state aside and celebrated his death without reservations.
“This one confirm am. Almighty Don Waney. Make your spirit get up now come dey kill people. Almighty Don Waney. Almighty Don Waney!!! So your juju dey fail, dem open your skull, open am wella. Idiot. So your juju no dey for your skull. Idiot na him you be, see you here. Dirty human being,” a woman can be heard saying in pure elation. Another man in the background could also be heard saying: “You wey dey terrorise people everywhere. Almighty Don Waney. Plenty people wey dis man don kill, dem fire dis man but e no gree die. Na him end be this now.”
Described as the vicious ringleader of a gang behind many kidnappings in Rivers State and beyond along with the deaths of many others, the notorious gang leader led a life of crime while seemingly living in luxury. After his death, which followed the killing of 23 people in Omoku, Rivers State, on New Year’s Eve for which he was fingered, his multi-million naira mansion has been demolished while other luxurious properties of his have been confiscated by the state government. Also reacting to the death and demolition of his property on a popular online platform, an anonymous user wrote: “Evil man.
He had his own family that he obviously cared for and loved yet he had the stomach to murder other people’s family at will”, while another who goes by the name, Abrahamid, had this to say: “He who killed by sword, will always die by the same. It’s natural not a curse.” Another known as Guru, said: “The issue is that these guys were government boys in cults in universities gone rogue. That’s simple, crime pays in Nigeria. Did he not apply for planning permission? Also, where did he get that wad of cash to build a house like that? Also, the weapons these guys are using are sophisticated and imported in by government at one time or the other. Don’t be deceived.”
The hunt for Don Waney intensified after he violated the terms of the amnesty the state government granted to him and other criminal elements in late 2016. The incessant clashes among cult groups in Omoku and the security threat cult members, kidnappers and armed robbers posed in the state had influenced the amnesty programme. Despite the state government’s warning against cultism, and threat to punish any cultist who failed to accept its amnesty programme,die hard criminals like Don Waney, who eventually accepted it later went back to crime.
The Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on Conflict Resolution, Chief Okori Abelekum, at a two-day workshop on mediation and community reconciliation organised by Conflict Management Alliance, RSCMA, and his office said the government had identified cultism as one of the major challenges responsible for unrest and clashes in communities in the state.
He said that the governor had invested so much to ensure that peace returned to every part of the state, and noted that the governor was ready to punish anyone that defies his efforts to bring lasting peace in all parts of the state. He said: “Governor Wike has initiated several peace initiatives such as the amnesty programme for ex-cultists and supported community reconciliation in conflict affected areas. I call on all youths and communities that have not embraced the amnesty programme to do so without delay because there cannot be development without peace.
“The state government will deal with any cult member who refuses to embrace the state government’s amnesty. Tell them to accept the amnesty and live in peace.” Abelekum said that the state government designed the conflict resolution seminar in order to enable it to develop a statewide conflict management plan for the state. It was around November 2017 that the authorities got tired of the game Don Wayne was playing. That was when the Nigerian Army raided his residence and recovered cache of arms and seven decomposed human skulls.
The spokesman for 6 Division of the Nigerian Army linked some killings in Rivers and Bayelsa states to this dreaded man. The spokesman listed weapons recovered from the camp as two AK 47 rifles, one General Purpose Machine Gun, 18 AK 47 magazines, three FN rifle magazines, 39 7.62mm Nato ammunition and 20 9mm ammunition. Others, he said, were 7.62 mm ammunition, five Icom and Mag hand-held radios, two 25kg bags of cannabis, nine pairs of military camouflage, 10 human skulls and several bones.
According to him, the raid was part of renewed strategy by the division to restore law and order in Omoku, which has been terrorised by criminals for long. “On Monday, we received a tip-off, and thereafter, troops raided the camp and shrines of a notorious militant, cultist, kidnapper and an ardent oil thief popularly known as Don Waney. “After about an hour of gun fight, our troops overpowered the criminal elements due to superior fire power that sent the criminals scampering for safety,” he said. Iliyasu said some of the alleged criminals, who sustained gunshot wounds escaped by jumping into Orashi River in the area.
“However, seven of the suspects including two ladies were arrested, while they attempted to escape in the encounter that occurred at about 2:35 a.m. on Monday. “It is believed that the main culprit, Don Waney, was not at the location during the encounter but concerted efforts are on to track, arrest and bring him to justice,” he had said. For more than a month after that raid, many felt that the cult leader was dead until New Year’s Day when worshippers that were returning from church service were killed.
Meanwhile, the state government has promised to work with the three arms of government to amend the state Anti- Kidnapping Law to proscribe death penalty for violent crimes. Governor Wike, who stated this noted that: “Rivers government has invested heavily on the security of the state and will continue to do everything within our powers to guarantee the security and safety of lives and properties. “As a fact, we will spare no cost in ensuring that nobody will have peace if the lives and properties of our people make no meaning to them.
“We reiterate our zero tolerance for all forms of criminality and reassure residents of our determination to be though with those who undermine peace and security in the state. “To underscore our seriousness to fight violent crime, we shall be amending the Anti Kidnapping Law to proscribe the maximum death sentence for engaging in cultism, robbery and kidnapping,” he said. Wike said the decision of the state government to offer amnesty to all repentant cultists, militants and criminals was done in good faith and in the best interest of the state.
He said the full weight of the law shall be discharged on anyone who failed to genuinely renounce all forms of criminality as stated in the terms of the amnesty deal. The governor said the state government would pay N20 million each to any individual who volunteers useful information that would lead to arrest and prosecution of 32 wanted criminals in the state.
“The aftermath of crime and insecurity affect society as a whole, and not only the direct victims that are affected. The duty to fight crime remains collective and no right thinking person should ever indulge in politicising security issues under any circumstances,” he warned. Wike directed security agencies to immediately arrest and prosecute 32 alleged criminals (names withheld) who he said had either reneged on the terms of the amnesty or refused to embrace it.
Singer, 2Shine, plagiarises song to praise Don Waney
He was very rich, in fact, richer than the king of his host territory with a sprawling mansion built from the flesh and blood of innocents. From the nasty dirges his death drew, you could tell that he was a paradox, a ruthless criminal to some but the kindest benefactor to others. In his heydays as the enfant terrible of Omoku, Onelga community, Don Waney was praised to the high heavens in a mesmeric but unauthorised adaptation of Humblesmith’s hit song, Osinachi, by a local singer, 2Shine.
The two minutes and 51 seconds music video shot by Ocean Dreams Picture, spotlighted the stupendous wealth of the slain serial murderer and how he’d been of tremendous blessing to 2Shine. The lyrics of the song reads in part; Verse 1: “Many people don dey ask, na which God dey guide Don Waney Shey the God e do well o, Owu kwa chi nedu ya Don Waney life e don better, other people don dey envy God turned him life to favour, my brother man no cause for alarm Chorus Hey- Osinachi, ka inu kwa, Osina chukwu Don Waney Osina chukwu, Okwa chi nedu ya Eke nwe ohia, Don e pekele, Osinachi, Onelga General Osinachukwu o, Okwachinedu ya. Verse 2: Eke nwe ohia Sina chukwu, ogburu nmadu ejee nga sinachi Nmuo ka nmuo sinachi, Onelga Festus sina chukwu Now dey say the killing caused fight, Don Waney dey fight for people right, no be to come spoil Onelga Him come to make you dey smile, other people come dey bring head Come dey make the town dey spoil, Don Waney na our Freedom Fighter o, Make una listen to me By the grace of God him go restore peace By the grace of God Onelga go good Na em we dey pray for every day, make Onelga good o…”
We’re sad, says Humblesmith
Meanwhile, Humblesmith, the original owner of the song, Osinachi, has reacted through a member of his management, Kelly Williams, who said, “We were surprised that somebody would do something that stupid. It was really a big shock to me. Someone just sent it to me yesterday (Thursday, January 11).
Our PR manager is busy at the moment on a movie set, he’d be done on Monday, January 15, and we’d present it to him to do the needful because it was really disgusting. If somebody is paying money to you to do a song for him, why can’t you create your original content? Why would you use someone else’s creative work that’s generally accepted to celebrate a man of bad character?”
’Grasscutter farming has made me a multi-millionaire’
“I decided to suspend my academic quest to start grass-cutter farming after completing my Master’s degree in Political Science because I saw some people in my department spending over seven years to acquire doctorate degrees and still struggled to find jobs,” Mr. Chinedu Eluwa told Sunday Telegraph.
Chinedu’s case is a typical example of what many Nigerian graduates go through in searching for jobs after spending years and resources in acquiring university education. He subsequently decided to suspend his quest for a doctorate degree to go into grass cutter farming in Chinedu hails from Awo- Omamma in Oru-East Local Government Area in Imo State.
After graduating with Political Science at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State in 2018 he went for his M.Sc. also in Political Science at the Madonna University, Okija in Anambra State which he finished in 2014. Once he completed his masters he initially toyed with the idea of securing an office job while he did his doctorate.
But after failing to set a decent job he opted to concentrate on his animal husbandry full time when he became fed up. He explained: “I decided I would be better off if I invest those years trying to secure a doctorate degree growing my grass-cutter farming business, and I haven’t regretted that decision. Yes, I will someday go back for my doctorate degree but not now. I need to spread this gospel of self-reliance so that more youths can take a cue from me. “I want them to see and use me as an example that an individual can start from where he is, with what he has, to where he/she wants to be.
To start a grasscutter farm, you need one colony that comprises one male and four females for N79,000 to breed, cages, drinking and feeding trough, supplementary feed and a farm house, these are the basic needs. “A four decker cage can cost between N50, 000 to N150, 000 depending on the location and welder.
Drinking and feeding trough sell for N1, 000 apiece. Pelletized supplementary feed goes for N250 per kilogramme and for the farm house, an empty room in your house can be used to start off.” The interest to venture into grasscutter farming developed when he visited Ibadan to attend a one-day seminar on the in 2011 after failing to laud a decent job.
“When I first saw them at Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan (FRIN), I realised that not many people were into the business and as such, I could be amongst the leaders in the industry if I started on time.
“Today, I thank God that I have made a big mark in the industry. Today, not only am I the first National President of the Grasscutter Farmers Association in Nigeria (GRAFAN), I am also the Chairman, Board of Trustees,” he enthused.
When he first started the business on March 20, 2012, it was like a hobby, he said: “Sincerely speaking, I didn’t take the time to document my earnings until last year because all along it was more like a hobby to me. From January to November 16, 2016, which coincided with my birthday, I generated over N12, 510, 000 selling breeding stocks, my e-book and my coaching programmes.
“When I came into the business, I didn’t calculate what the industry was worth. What I calculated was the number of people that will go through me as the gateman into the mine to mine the gold I discovered.
But today, the grasscutter farming industry is worth over N1billion bearing in mind that there are only four countries actively involved in the domestication of grasscutters – Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic and Togo.” Speaking on his challenges,
Eluwa said: “We know that the cost of purchasing breeding stock is quite high which is why we are currently working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to access the Anchor Borrower Programme so that our members can get breeding stocks at reduced prices. “The uniqueness of this rodent stems from the fact that it has no religious or cultural discrimination against it.
Both Christians and Muslims consume grasscutters which is a delicacy any day anytime. Grasscutters are doctors’ recommended white meat. Virtually all our health conscious senior citizens have switched to white meat. Imagine the joy of having your own steady supply of white meat at your backyard. “Profits from breeding and selling grasscutters are fascinating. Imagine selling five rodents for N79, 000 when they are less than 2kg. They make good companions.
The value chain of grasscutter provides employment to all participants.” The Director of Research Planning and Protocol of GRAFAN, Mr. Peter Akparanta, enumerated what a young breeder may likely encounter and suggested ways that the government can support Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs).
He said: “SMEs in Nigeria do not have easy access to funds to scale their businesses causing them to stagnate and die or remain perpetually small. Also, it lacks adequate trainings to grow their businesses. Most of them can’t afford these trainings and they are also challenged with adequate and proper staffing.
“The government is trying, but they can do more. Knowing full well that small businesses form the bulk of enterprises in our society, they should bear the responsibility of ensuring that small businesses succeed so that they can keep the money and jobs flowing.”
Akparanta, who is also the editor of the Nigerian Yellow Pages, added: “Government needs to create and run more free business trainings and encourage the SME’s to go through these trainings. They should make certificates from these seminars collaterals for accessing customised individual SME loans. Government needs to seriously encourage small businesses to access funds to scale their businesses.”
According to him, the market is huge in the sense that people want grasscutters, “But the market is not coordinated and that is what we have come to achieve, saying that people need to know where to go to, when they need grasscutter meat.”
Akparanta, who has been in the business for a very long time, also warned of its health hazards for those that patronise road side grasscutter sellers. “There is the problem of buying from the roadside; it is not hygienic, it is not properly processed, it could be deadlier in the body than you think, but because people need it, they still go for it anyway.
“So we are doing something that can be scientifically accepted, hygienically prepared, trying to produce what people can be sure of. We want to provide more viable and important alternative, how it is properly processed and then create awareness. The market is there but the market does not know where to go for it.
So, we want the market to know where we are. “Grass-cutter is a popular delicacy in Nigeria, apart from its popularity as a delicacy in Nigeria amongst all the rodents that are domesticated, grass cutter stands as the most profitable.
Now imagine where you sell a male and four female grasscutters for N79, 000 per colony after three months for female and four months for male. I don’t think there is any rodent that is sold at that price. “Apart from it being a popular delicacy, which we locally know as bush meat, it is the most profitable rodent that is being domesticated in Nigeria and West Africa.”
Mr. Peter Adegoke, who is GRAFAN’s National Treasurer, spoke on the sheer size of the value chain: “We want to grow, process and export, there is value gain to it. The skin is also something that is highly in demand in the market, the skin and bones are raw materials for other pharmaceutical products. It can be processed into all these chains of products like shoes, bags and other leather items.”
Fuel: Essential but still scarce in many states
- Motorists lament spending more money, time at filling stations
The fuel situation in Nigeria has not improved significantly following the latest round of scarcity. Where petrol is available, motorists spend more money and time at filling stations to get the product. In this story, our correspondents looked at the situation across the country and why this is not likely to change soon.
For motorists and communities in Rivers State, especially in Port Harcourt, the unending fuel scarcity is one situation they want the Federal Government to resolve. In most parts of Port Harcourt, the few filling stations that have fuel sell above N200 per litre, while the ones outside Port Harcourt, specifically the areas along Owerri Road sell at N190. To Port Harcourt residents, the most worrying part is that NNPC mega stations that used to serve as the last reprieve during scarcity are no longer reliable. Yet, motorists line up their vehicles in the hope that they will sell later. Due to the prolonged scarcity, transport fare that shot up at least 50 percent has refused to drop, causing a slight increase in the prices of goods.
In Delta State shortage of petrol and arbitrary pump price increase of the product have persisted. Although, motorists are no longer forced into long queues at filling stations, most of the major marketers, including Oando, Total and some NNPC outlets, within Asaba metropolis, have been under lock and key since the beginning of the year. Apart from the Northwest Petrol Station and the NNPC Mega Station along the ever-busy Asaba – Onitsha Expressway that are selling at the official price of N145, all others, have not remained at between N160 and N180. At the popular Okpanam road in Asaba, the two outlets of the NNPC were locked, except for the Rainoil Filling Stations that reverted to official price three days ago. The situation had made the cost of living within Asaba and its environs higher as transport fares have gone up thereby affecting the prices of commodities in market.
Since the menace of the scarcity of petroleum products resurfaced about three months ago, the situation in Kaduna State had remained static and even deteriorating. In Kaduna metropolis, the major marketers still sell at the controlled price of N145 per litre, that is anytime the product is available and they decided not to sell to the black marketers at night. However on the outskirts of the town, the price goes between N180 and N200 per litre. While the product is always available on the outskirts, the stations only sell late at night and in the early hours of the morning allegedly agreed between them and the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR) who will not, come around to monitor at such hours. However the black marketers who are always in stock and dots all corners of the metropolis sell their products for N300 per litre.
The people have no option but to patronise the black marketers who our correspondent gathered are given preferential treatment at some filing stations even before selling to other motorists. This is because even when the product is available, motorists spend not less than five to six hours on the queue depending on the station. The situation has led to increase in transportation fares with its attendant hike in food prices.
Tansport fare that hitherto cost between N70 and 80 is now between 150 and 170 depending on the driver and your bargaining power. Narrating his experience in one of the filling stations Mallam Alabelewe Abdul said: “After wasting my five productive hours, they claimed that the fuel had finished. Meanwhile, they deliberately used only one pump out of the six just to make people suffer on the queue and appear as if they have sold the fuel for a long period. “As if that was not enough, they were selling for people who were not on the queue, people were just jumping the queue from all over and they were collecting bribe of N500 to sell to those not on the queue.
Fuel Scarcity continues to bite harder in Kano, with hundreds of motorists sleeping over at various filling stations, while a gallon is now sells for over N200. Most of the filling stations are permanently locked up while at their gates black marketers are seen operating with ease and making a kill. Global Aron, Azman, Oando, Total and many other filling stations are notorious for not selling fuel in Kano while black marketers take over their gates and operating without any hindrance.
The State Chairman of Independent Marketers Bashir Danmallam denied knowledge of any of its member involvement in fuel racketeering, saying the problems they are facing from the NNPC who refuses to supply the products to them. However, most motorists believe that there is a connivance between the marketers and the enforcing agency, DPR, who seems to be lax in their operations while within the city many stations stay locked for days with fuel while others sell at over 250 naira. Sani Dauda a motorist who told our correspondent that his car stayed overnight at AA Rano filling station for days to get the fuel, frowned at the difficult situation they found themselves today in Nigeria. Another Motorist, Ibrahim Garba, said he is faced with the challenge of staying overnight at a filling station to buy at over 200 or he buy from the black market with the attendant fear of the fuel being adulterated.
Scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, persisted in Akure, Ondo State capital, with most of the filling stations in the town selling above the official pump price. The fuel scarcity which lasted through the Christmas and New Year celebrations has not subsided as most of the major marketers in the state did not open for business, while the independent marketers that opened sell above the pump price. A litre of PMS is being sold between N180 and N200 per litre while some major marketers who have fuel were being forced to sell fuel at normal price by the task force put in place by the state government Most dealers did not comply with the directives of the state task force not to sell above the pump price despite the threat to shut down fuel stations that refused to sell the product.
It was discovered that most of the fuel dealers had stock but sell at night to maximise profit and avoid the wrath of the task force put in place by the state government to sell the product A commercial driver, Bolaji Ajiboye, said most of the dealers refused to sell the product while some increase the pump price “without the fear of God.”
He said: “We have been buying the product between N170 and N200 per litre since December. We noticed that some dealers are behind the scarcity and are enjoying it. “Most of them have the product and are selling it in the middle of the night at rate higher than the normal price. “Commuters have been lamenting because of the increase in the fare and we cannot be charging less because we are buying the product at high prices. “We want to appeal to the state government to compel all the fuel stations to sell the product at the official pump price and stop hoarding the product. We have been suffering in silence.”
In Aba the commercial hub of the South Eastern Nigeria fuel price is unstable as some fuel stations within the metropolitan area sold at N190 per litre while some others within the suburbs sell at N187 per litre. The queues witnessed during the festive period is no longer there. Petroleum products are not scare as every petrol station visited were selling to customers on time. Meanwhile, prices of goods and transportation have remained permanently high as they were during the festive period.
In Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, there is a decline of the price of fuel. In most of the petrol stations, fuel now sell at N200 per litre as against the earlier prices of between N250 and N300 per pump price. However, government owned stations, NNPC mega stations sell at N145 government regulated price, but it is very difficult to access due the unending queues at the stations. Motorists, and travellers, prefer to buy the product at the conventional filling station, despite high hike.
The hike, according to Saturday Telegraph has not affected the prices of commodities so much as price of rice per measurement is sold at between N600 and N650. Commercial transportation particularly by the motorcycles known as Okada now charge N80 to N100 per drop while the tricyclists known as Keke NAPEP charge N100 as flat rate irrespective of destination.
Some of the filling station managers told Saturday Telegraph that the reason for the hike was because of the unavailability of the product at the deport, as they have to get the product through black market to keep their business afloat. Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has said it will continue to track down filling stations who are selling fuel above the regulated pump price. The Kogi State controller of the department, Engineer, Amos Jekodeola, told Saturday Telegraph that the department has sealed and penalised some defaulting petrol stations for the offences of hike in price and hoarding.
Barely three weeks to Christmas celebration motorists in Katsina State started experiencing fuel security in and around the state, a situation that persisted up to today. The situation is worst especially in the state capital and major towns. For instance in the state capital when the situation of fuel scarcity persisted, the state government constituted a task force to help ease the situation for the motorists, but it has not improved as people spend between eight and 12 hours on queue before getting the commodity when available at the few filling stations that sell at the government control price of N145. But some stations will lock up on the pretext of exhausting the supply only to sell late at night to black marketers. The price range of the product in Katsina varies from N220, N215, N205 to N200 per litre. The situation has affected prices of goods like foodstuff and services, such as hike in prices charged by Okada riders, inter and intra state transport fares among others.
The product is available at both filing stations and black markets. When Saturday Telegraph visited many filing stations in Abakaliki, the state capital, no long queues were observed. However, the product is still sold at high price. A litre of fuel is currently sold between N185 and N200 in filing stations while it is sold between N250 and N280 in black markets. At the NNPC mega station, it is sold at N145 but there is always a long queue.
The current fuel scarcity in Plateau State where people spend long hours at filling stations has triggered hike in the prices of food items in Jos the state capital as traders attributed the rise to the high cost of transportation. Saturday Telegraph visit to the popular Terminus and Farin Gada markets indicates that the price increase started as the fuel scarcity became more serious a few days ago. At Farin Gada market, a basket of tomatoes which previously sold for N1500 few days five days ago now goes for N2,000 while a bag of red pepper goes for N10,000, compared to its previous price of N5,500 per basket.
Similarly, a bag of Irish Potatoes increased from N10, 000 to N16, 000 while a bag of onions, which was previously sold between N10,000 and N15,000 now goes for between N20,000 and N25,000, depending on the size. Some of the food items supplied from the villages have equally gone up in price as result of the fuel scarcity which also affected the cost of transporting the produce from the villages to the markets. Items such carrots, cabbage and vegetables amongst other are affected. Abdullahi Ahmed, a tomatoes and onions seller in Jos, said prices increased because suppliers had to factor in the cost and stress of getting fuel from filling stations. Saturday Telegraph reports that food items such as maize, beans, Irish potatoes, rice pepper, onion, tomatoes and others have also become more expensive in Jos.
However most filling stations around Jos, the Plateau State capital, doesn’t have the product, only a few sell at high prices of between N200 and N250 per litre while the only NNPC Mega station along Yakubu Gowon Way which sells at the government approved price has long queues of cars from National Library Junction to Dogon Karfe.
Scarcity of fuel in Osun State has become a forgone issue but the price of the essential commodity still remains high as it is being sold for N200 per litre in the state as against the N145 official pump price. There is no filling station in the state where the commodity is being sold for N145 except all Bovas filling stations where people get it for N143. Virtually all filling stations owned by major and independent marketers in the state are selling beyond the official pump price.
Occasionally, Mobil filling station at Okefia sell at N145 per litre while others sell for N200 and above. As a result of this development, there is no queue of vehicles in the filling stations as motorists and motorcyclists move into the filling stations with ease to get their fuel. However, long queues are usually witnessed at Bovas and NNPC filling stations in the state as a result of motorists scrambling to get the essential commodity. One of the motorists who identified himself as Adeyemi Adebisi complained bitterly about the unbearable hike in price of fuel but said he said: “We have to thank God for still having it even if hoarded.”
In Niger state, there are still queues at the NNPC Mega filling station with a few major marketers selling the products in Minna. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the pump price is normal as people buy fuel at the rate of N143 at the NNPC Mega filling station and N145 in almost other filling stations. When our correspondent went round the major petrol stations in Minna metropolis, commuters and residents said there seems to be no end in sight with the situation.
A commuter, Mustapha Bina, told our correspondent that there is even no money let alone to spend on buying fuel. According to him: “I bought fuel once at night from black marketers for N195 per litre because I cannot join the long queues at NNPC, Total or Oando filling stations. Those who wait spend at least three to four hours.”
When our Correspondent spoke to the state Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), Alhaji Adamu Erena, he said there is no need to panic and that their members sell products that are available. Findings at the NNPC Mega filing station show that fuel is sold at N143 with decorum as security men are well positioned to ensure orderliness. The manager, Alhaji Salla Ibrahim, said: “We sell petrol at N143. I can only urge them to join the queue and be orderly because we start early and close late every day.”
IGANDO BABY FACTORY: SARS arrested us same day we moved into building –Neighbours
•I don’t know how suspects got into the flat –House agent
“My family, a soldier friend and I were arrested same day we moved into our newly acquired apartment. We didn’t know there was anything fishy about the apartment until we were arrested by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Sunday and taken to Ikeja,” said Lucky Effiong, a neighbour to Mr. Adeola and Mrs. Binta Adebayo, the couple arrested for allegedly harbouring pregnant girls and selling their babies without their consent.
For renting an apartment in same building dubbed a ‘baby factory’ by the police in Igando area of Lagos State, Effiong and his family members recounted their ordeals in the hand of the SARS, who arrested and detained them same day they moved into the building, to Sunday Telegraph a few days ago. Unfortunately, the day Lucky and his family moved into their cherished apartment at Hand of Fire City, along Ikotun-Igando Road, coincided with the same day the ‘baby factory’ was raided by SARS, which led to arrest of his family and soldier friend, who eventually ensured their release after several hours. Lucky, who wanted to resist the arrest initially on the grounds that he had done nothing wrong, was advised against the action by his soldier-friend, who asked him to relax until they get to the police station.
Asked his connection with the apartment and if he knew the building was a suspected human trafficking camp, he said his family had just moved into the building and as such was yet to know who his neighbours were and what they do. “I don’t know anybody here; I just packed in last week (the day they were arrested). I got to know about the case due to our arrest. In fact, the Sunday that SARS raided here was the same day we moved in. We have just stayed here for barely one week and I do not know anybody around apart from the security of the area.
“We didn’t know anything about the case but SARS arrested us with those pregnant ladies. My brother and I, including a soldier friend were arrested for a matter we knew nothing about. Before we could finish proving our innocence, it was late and we got home by 2am on Monday.
It wasn’t an experience one can let go easily. “You can imagine the excitement; the joy of moving into new apartment as the very first occupant was dashed by that singular act of being arrested!” he told Sunday Telegraph. However, when we sort to know why an apartment was given to a woman with such a mind-set, the house agent, Mr. I. Nobel of the ID Nobel Properties Limited said he wasn’t aware that the tenant had turned the apartment into a ‘baby factory,’ saying that he did not know how they got into the apartment in the first instance. He disassociated himself completely from the suspects, who occupy a flat in the building he manages, saying: “I don’t know them and I didn’t know how they got there. I didn’t rent house to them. I was called upon to let out the remaining two ground flats.
They had rented the flat before I got the job as the agent. “I’m looking for tenants with good character and genuine work. I don’t discriminate whether Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. I think the upstairs was rented for N450, 000 but I’m letting the down flats for N400, 000.”
Sequel to discrepancies in the account of suspects who claimed that they had nothing to do with the baby factory, Sunday Telegraph embarked on tour of the estate with a view of investigating their assertions against the community and police claims. Eventually, our correspondent had a breakthrough as one of the Chief Security Officers (CSOs) within the community, who pleaded anonymous, confirmed that Mrs. Adebayo actually had suspicious pregnant women in her apartment which led to their arrest.
The CSO also gave our correspondent a link to the woman’s Beer Parlour at Osumba by Ajo Bus-stop along Ikotun-Igando Road, four bus-stops away from the Hand of Fire City Estate, where the suspect rented a flat for the girls in a newly built house. According to this CSO, the woman rented the apartment in December 2017, while the building was opened officially on December 23, 2017 for letting with a low key ceremony. Sunday Telegraph learnt that the apartment was let out for between N450, 000 and N500, 000. Asked whether the young man he usually saw with the ladies was paid to pregnant the girls, the CSO said “no”, adding that “the girls got pregnant from different persons either by mistake or something else.
We know everything about the state because this gate is locked by 10pm and opens in the morning by 6am. So I can tell you for sure.” Also Sunday Telegraph observed that the apartment in question was in dispute as there were public notice on the wall of the building reading, “Possession taken today 5/01/2018 by order of…Suit No FHC/L/ CS/580/201/.”
Probing further to determine whether the suspects were illegal occupants of the apartment, the CSO said: “Court just gave back the ownership of property (about four houses including those under construction) to the rightful owners, saying that some people were reselling the property, which prompted a legal action from the original family owners. “So, it wasn’t as if court sealed the property and they still live in it. You can see the agent’s number and contacts there,” pointing at the sign post.
More so, sequel to the information supplied by the CSO, our correspondent visited the suspect’s Beer Palour where she was arrested by SARS on Sunday evening. There, one Mr. Tayo Ogunmbiyi confirmed the presence of pregnant ladies always round the female suspect. However, reacting to some of the issues raised, the Lagos State Command, Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), SP Chike Oti said the woman has been charged to Ikeja Magistrate Court, while the girls taken to the Shelter, a home under the care of Lagos State.
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