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Terrorism: 22-year-old Boko Haram commander bags 60 years jail term

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 Army: Shekau disguises as woman, now wears hijab

The Special Court created by the Federal High Court to sit over terrorism cases in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger State, yesterday sentenced a 22-year-old commander of the Boko Haram sect, Abba Umar, to 60 years imprisonment for various acts of terrorism.

The court had begun sitting on Monday. At the resumed trial of other accused persons yesterday, Umar told the court that he would return to Sambisa Forest to continue the terrorism acts if he was ever released. Umar, whose look was hard and remorseless throughout the proceedings, had been in detention since 2014 after his failed suicide mission to a school in Gombe State.

The Federal Government had preferred fivecount charge on the accused, out of which two attracted death penalty. In its judgement, the court held that it would impose lesser sentences on the convict, taking into consideration his age and the fact that he must have been exposed to “excessive and consistent religious indoctrination” which made him to be easily pliable. The court further held that for count three, the convict would be sentenced to 60 years imprisonment. According to the judge, “I would have been more merciful, but was rather dissuaded by the convict’s insistence that he would go back to the activities which constitute danger to the society and for which he was apprehended.”

Earlier at the trial, Umar told the court that 17 pictures tendered by the prosecution as exhibits showing him, the car and the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used for the failed operation, were true and authentic.

The convict had also told the court that he married two wives in Sambisa Forest after joining the sect. He, however, described himself as “an Islamic warrior, and a commander in the Islamic army”. The convict, who spoke in Hausa and his testimony interpreted in English during the proceedings, confirmed that as a commander in the Boko Haram sect, he had over 100 lieutenants under him.

New Telegraph recalls that the court had earlier, on Monday, sentenced one of the abductors of the Chibok girls, Haruna Yahaya, to 15 years imprisonment. The convict, whose left arm and leg are crippled, was also found guilty of being a member of the Boko Haram terrorist group and participated in the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, in 2014. The prosecution had proved that Yahaya participated in the group’s attacks in Chibok, Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State and Gabsuri town in the Damboa Local Government of the state. Yahaya had pleaded guilty to the two-count charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.

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Mace Theft Probe: Omo-Agege declines comment, says matter in court

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Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege on Tuesday declined comments on the April 18 forceful removal of the Mace in the Senate chambers, saying the matter was pending at the court.

He made the remark in Abuja when he appeared before members of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee investigating the invasion of the National Assembly by hoodlums.

Omo-Agege had dragged the National Assembly to court to stop the investigation.

The committee had last week invited Omo-Agege (APC-Delta) and Sen. Mohammed Ndume (APC- Borno) over their alleged roles in the attack on the Senate.

The Delta senator allegedly led thugs to the Senate chamber to “steal’’ the Mace while plenary was ongoing on that day.

The incident occurred few days after he was suspended over a “dissenting comment’’ on Senate’s adoption of a conference report on Electoral Act (2010) Amendment Bill and for taking the Senate to court.

Before the probe panel, Omo-Agege said: “I will wait until the outcome of the litigation before I speak on the matter”.

“Ordinarily, I would have loved to seize this opportunity to respond to the allegations you have raised.

“As a senator, consistent to standing orders, I’m here to inform you that I have gone to court. The parties of the respondents to the suit that I have commenced at the Federal High Court are here enumerated.

“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; President of the Senate; Sen. Bala Na’Allah, and all members of the committee, Clerk of the National Assembly, Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector-General of Police and the Department of State Service.

“This action was commenced on the May 21 and I have with me proof of service to indicate that all of the parties have all been served.”

Earlier, Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Sen. Bala Na’Allah, had told Omo-Agege that some persons who had testified at the probe fingered him as connected with the April 18 invasion of the senate.

The chairman said “some witnesses have mentioned your name (Omo-Agege). It is only fair that we invite you to shed more light on it.

He said that three witnesses were unanimous on the fact that from the first gate to the main gate of the National Assembly, the lawmaker “cleared’’ the hoodlums during security check and they were allowed in.

“At the entrance of the chamber, they accosted the men and allegedly, you said they were with you.

“The deputy senate president also testified before us and said he was presiding on that day and he noticed you coming with those men toward the Mace table and that as soon as you got to the Mace table, you turned left.

“And, the men took the Mace and left the chamber fighting everybody, and in the process wounding some people,” Na’Allah said.

He said that he was not served any summons from the court as claimed by Omo-Agege.

“I cannot be served by my office. You should know this.

“I have no problem receiving service, maybe, due to my inadequate knowledge of the law; the service has to be personal.”

The chairman, however, said that the committee was not bound by law not to investigate the allegations against the lawmaker.

In his contribution, a member of the committee, Sen. Shehu Sani (APC- Kaduna) said that Omo-Agege should be able to defend his actions.

“I came here to hear a revolutionary speech to defend your actions. If he is not ready to speak, we should not sit here and be discussion other issues,” he said.

On her part, Co-chairman of the committee, Rep. Betty Apiafia, said that Section 62 of the Constitution did not stop the members from investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ndume, who is accused of being an accomplice in the mace theft, denied any wrong doing.

“I didn’t know we were that exposed, for some people to come and take the mace and ran away.

“For me to prevent someone from doing his job is totally out of place because I don’t have the authority to do that.

“I did not do that, I cannot do that and I don’t have the authority to do that,” Ndume said. (NAN)

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Catholics in Edo, Delta protest alleged herdsmen killings

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Hundreds of Catholic faithful in Edo and Delta on Tuesday joined their counterpart across the country to protest the killing of innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen.

The Catholic faithful under different groups of the church marched through the streets of Benin, Auchi and Warri with placards of various inscriptions.

In Benin, so of the inscriptions on the placards include: stop rendering people homeless, cattle grazing is private business, the Catholic Church in Nigeria rejects Federal Government of Nigeria’s poor handling of security in the country among others.

They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to address the spate of attacks and killings of innocent citizens by suspected herdsmen across the country.

The Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin, Revd. Fr. Michael Oyanoafor, said they were using the peaceful march to say that life is sacred and that nobody has the right to take a life.

He said the level of violence in the country had deteriorated to a level that puts the life of every Nigerian at risk.

He added that they were also using the protest to say no to terrorism.

“We are telling the government to make every effort to address the situation, so that Nigerians can live in peace.

“The Federal Government has the power, in terms of having control of the Nigeria Police and the military in different forms and capacity.

“We are saying that it should help ” he said.

In Auchi, hundreds of Catholic faithful converged on Immaculate Conception Cathedral to embark on a solemn protest in honour of the two priests and 17 parishioners killed by marauding herdsmen in Benue.

The protest, led by the Bishop Gabriel Dunia of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi coincided with the burial ceremony of the two priests and 17 parishioners killed by suspected herdsmen at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ukpor-Mbalom, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue state on April 24.

Speaking to newsmen, Dunia said the nationwide protest was to draw the attention of the Federal Government on the need to ensure adequate security of lives and property of its citizenry.

“This call becomes imperative in view of the killings in parts of the country by herdsmen.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to end the senseless killings across the country as soon as possible.

“It is the responsibility of the government to as matter of urgency and concern to stop the wanton destruction of lives and property of Nigerians by their fellow countrymen,” the cleric said.

He urged Christians to continue to pray for the peace and unity of the country.

“Christians should arm themselves with prayers; God has given us the protection.

“I urged Christians to continue to pray for the peace and unity of the country,” he said.

Also, the Catholic Diocese of Warri appealed to the Federal Government to deploy its machinery to end the incessant killings in the country.

The Bishop of Warri Diocese, Most Rev. John Afareha led over 2,000 worshipers in the well coordinated possession from the Cathedral in Okere through Ajamimogha to Government House Annex.

The clergyman urged government to rise up to its constitutional responsibility of safeguarding lives and properties, noting that Christians could only arm themselves with prayers.

The worshipers carried placards with inscriptions like: “For an end to killings in Nigeria”,” For peace in Nigeria “, ” FG help stop killings in Nigeria” among others.

“We have gathered here for peace and unity to end the senseless killings in all parts of the country.

“We cannot take to arms to defend ourselves but can arm ourselves with prayers and voice out our displeasure to government.

“All life is sacred irrespective of tribe or political affiliations so must be cherished and protected by all.

“So government should deploy its machinery without complicity to stop the bloodletting in our land and bring to justice the enemies of peace,” he said.

Afareha said that the church would continue to support the government in prayers to enthrone peace in the country.

A copy of the statement of peaceful possession was presented to Mr Emiro Nelson, Assistant Director, Government House Annex on behalf of Delta government.

Earlier, a requiem mass was held at the cathedral before the possession. (NAN)

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Tramadol, Codeine: Reps propose N2m fine, 2 years imprisonment for offenders

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday, proposed a N2 million fine and a two-year jail term for corporate offenders of the ban on Tramadol and Codeine in the country.

Individual offenders, according to the proposal, will be liable to N500, 000 fine and two years imprisonment or both on conviction.

The Bill on it also stipulates that in the case of a corporate body, all the directors, managers, partners and trustees would be guilty of an offence and would be punished as if they had committed the offence themselves.

The Bill, sponsored by Rep. Betty Apiafi (Rivers-PDP) seeks to amend the Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration) Act Cap. F33 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The bill also seeks to review the penalties and confer jurisdiction on High Court of the State to try offences under the Act.

Leading debate on the bill, Apiafi said “In Nigeria, between January and December 2015, 1,044 patients were admitted for treatment in the
11 treatment centres currently part of the Nigeria Epidemiological Network of Drug Use (NENDU) reporting system.

“And, 28.3 per cent of the patients had an opiate addiction and the opiates were mainly prescription Medicines: Tramadol (71 percent as 1st most frequently used substance and specified).

“Codeine (15.1 per cent) and Pentazocine (9.9 per cent), Heroine and Morphine represented only 3.3 percent of the opiates declared,” she said.

She added that since 2015, Codeine had nearly overtaken Tramadol as the most abused opiate in Nigeria.

“Thousands of young people in Nigeria are addicted to Codeine cough syrup – a medicine that has become a street drug. Three million bottles are drank everyday in Nigeria’s North alone, according to a recent Nigerian government report.”

The lawmakers also explained that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated in 2011, that 64 percent of anti-malaria drugs in the country were found to be counterfeit.

“It is assessed that counterfeit drugs provided approximately 75 billion dollars in revenue annually to illegal operators and have caused more than 150,000 deaths worldwide,” Apiafi said.

According to her, we legislators must also do our part in this war against the commercialisation of illegal and unregistered food and drugs.
Sections 6, 7, 9 and 13 of the Principal Act were amended in the new bill which the lawmaker said was birthed 25 years ago and had never seen any amendment or reform till date.

The bill was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

It was referred to the Committee on Health Care Services for further action. (NAN)

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