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Vigilantes arrest DPO, two policemen for stealing

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A policeman, who claimed to be the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the Nigerian Railway Police Station in Umuahia, Abia State, was among three policemen and seven civilians arrested by personnel of the Uzuakoli Vigilante group in Bende Local Government Area.

The three policemen and the seven others had over the weekend gone to Uzuakoli from Umuahia and were allegedly vandalising the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) property when they were arrested by the vigilantes. Narrating the incident, the leader of Uzuakoli Vigilante group, Chiledum Onwubiko, said on Saturday last week about 10.30a.m., his members were patrolling the village when they saw a lorry with about 10 men inside including three armed policemen heading towards their farmland where the NRC packed some rails meant for the replacement of damaged rail lines. According to him, last year some of the rails were stolen by unknown persons. Onwubiko explained that when the lorry headed for the area, he suspected something might be wrong. The vigilante leader said he placed his men on the alert.

According to him, after a while, he disguised and went towards the direction of the lorry.

The vigilante said he found out that the men were using oxygen cylinders to cut into pieces the rails and were packing them inside the lorry.

Onwubiko said on sighting him, one of the policemen attached to Uzuakoli Police Station, whose name he gave as Stanley, suspected that people might have been aware of what they came to do and urged them to move away from the place. He said: “Immediately they hurriedly left with the rail lines they had already packed inside the lorry, but before then, I had alerted my boys. By the time they reached the major road, my boys tried to stop them, but they refused to stop and they were pursued to a point where it was not possible for them to escape anymore and they were arrested there.

“The policeman from Uzuakoli that came with them pleaded that we should allow them to go because the DPO of the station was aware of their mission. But we refused to allow them to go and insisted that the DPO must come to confirm that he was aware of their mission before they could be allowed to go.” During interrogation by the vigilante members, one of the policemen reportedly shot sporadically perhaps to scare the vigilantes, but when this did not work out, the policeman allegedly used the butt of his gun to wound three members of the local security outfit. They were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The police at Uzuakoli Command were alerted. On arrival, they took the policemen and other together with the lorry and the NRC rails to the police station from where they were transferred to the area command at Umuahia. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Geoffrey Ogbonna, could not be reached for comment.

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Metro and Crime

Gunmen abduct businessman, kill masquerade, two others

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Armed men have kidnapped the Chairman and Chief Executive of Always Petroleum and Gas, Alhaji Otinau Momohjimoh. The oil mogul, who is in his early 40s, was abducted about 8p.m. on Sunday opposite Okene Central Mosque, kogi State, where he often spend time with friends and business associates.

A witness said the gunmen, whose numbers could not be ascertained because it was dark, stormed the place and started shooting sporadically to scare people away. The witness, who identified himself as Usman Ishaq, added that as people were scampering into safety, two of the gunmen held Momohjimoh’s hands and dragged him into their Toyota Camry car and sped away. Ishaq said that the kidnappers were yet to contact the family of the oil magnate and that no ransom had been placed on him.

In a related development, two people and a masquerade were killed at Inoziomi quarters in Adavi Local Government Area during the Ebe festival. The incident, it was learnt, occurred on Saturday between 9p.m. and 10p.m. when gunmen ridding on a motorcycle suddenly opened fire and killed a masquerade and two people on the spot while several others were seriously wounded.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. William Aya, confirmed the killing of the masquerade, but said Momohjimoh’s abduction had not been reported to the command. Aya promised that the perpetrators of the heinous act would be apprehended to face the wrath of the law.

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Metro and Crime

Man impregnates, weds teenage sister in Anambra church

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Just like a fairy tale, a 25-year-old man, Mr. Chiadi Ezeibekwe, said he impregnated his 17-year-old younger sister. As if that was not enough, he wedded her at a church at their Agba village in Ekwulobia, Anambra State. Agba youths, who saw the marriage as “an abomination,” burnt down the church where the wedding was consummated.

It was learnt that the wedding was conducted by Chiadi’s elder brother, Mr. Chijioke Ezeibekwe, a Shepherd of Dwelling Fullness of God Church, Agba. Chiadi quoted Deuteronomy 36: 6, which, according to him, permits marriage between brothers and ssters of the same parents. However, a member of the church, who spoke on condition of anonymity, countered that. He referred the brothers to Leviticus 18:9, which clearly speaks against marriage between brother and sister.

A source noted that immediately their eldest brother, Mr. Emeka Ezeibekwe, heard of the “incestuous marriage,” he alerted the clan head, who summoned the family to an emergency meeting. When their father, popularly, known as “Luisco,” was contacted for comments, he said that his concern was a way out of the situation, since according to him, “what has happened, has happened’’.

Addressing the crowd which gathered on their premises, their mother claimed that his son’s action was biblical, saying Chiadi paid her the bride price. Further enquiries showed that Chiadi and some members of the family were baptised into the Adventist Church after leaving their former church in August 2016.

“Since they were baptised into the church, they have been engaged in weird and rebellious behaviour as well as false teachings,’’ said Mr. Onyeka, a member of the Adventist Church in Ekwulobia. “Because of their rebellious attitude and false teachings, the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled them since May 2017.

Not long after that, Mr. Chijioke Ezeibekwe started his own church,” Onyeka added. It was also learnt that their grandmother passed away a few days after she found out about the marriage. The Igwe-in-Cabinet had since summoned the family for interrogation.

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Metro and Crime

Police probe ex-speaker’s brother’s killing

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Police yesterday commenced investigation into the murder of a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at a ward rally in Nwofe Primary School, Agbaja, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The victim, Elias Nwankwegu popularly known as Okarika, who is younger brother of former Speaker of the state House of Assembly and Attorney-General, Chief Augustine Nwankwegu, was at the weekend shot dead by suspected thugs during a political gathering.

A man, Emmanuel Nwofe, has been arrested in connection with the killing. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah, confirmed Nwofe’s arrest to our correspondent.

Elias’ body has been deposited at the mortuary of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA 2). Odah said the suspect, Emmanuel, in his statement, denied having a hand in Elias’ killing.

She said: “He is being accused of knowing the killers but he denied the allegation in his statement. He said he heard noises in the classroom and went there to find out what was happening. He said that some people there slapped him and kicked him to the ground and collected his phones.

“Then, shortly after that, he heard a gunshot and he took to his heels. He said he did not know his assailants as they were not from the area.” Odah said the command had also decided to invite other persons at the event for questioning in a bid to find out what actually happened.

She appealed to politicians in the state to always inform the police before carrying out any rally so that the police could deploy officers to the area to ensure safety of lives and property. “When we are not informed, we may not deploy our officers to such event and that is when such things may happen. We were not officially informed of the event,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, has denied having a hand in Elias’ killing. He was reacting to allegations that the killers were some boys loyal to his faction of the PDP in the area.

The Speaker and former Speaker, Augustine Nwankwegu, have been having a running battle in the constituency since Nwifuru defeated Augustine in the party’s primaries in 2010. Spokesman for the speaker, Mr. Tony Nwizi, exonerated his boss from Elias’ death. Nwizi said that the gathering was a ward meeting not a rally in support of the speaker’s re-election bid as claimed in some quarters.

He said: “What happened is that the party was supposed to hold a ward meeting there. The ward is not even Mr Speaker’s ward but the current Attorney General Cletus Ofoke, who is from the ward called Mr Speaker and begged him to come attend.”

Nwizi said Nwifuru decided to make a brief stop at the meeting on his way to Ikwo Local Government Area for a burial before the incident occurred. Nwizi noted that the victim was Nwifuru’s staunch supporter so the speaker or any of his supporters had no reason to attack one of their allies in the ward.

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