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Witnesses recount ordeal in Benin-Ore Expressway attack

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Fresh facts have emerged on the Tuesday’s shooting on the Ore axis of the Benin- Ore-Sagamu Expressway. On Tuesday, distressed students and passengers sent out voice recording claiming that they were being attacked by gunmen. While some claimed that it was herdsmen’s attack, others insisted that it was the usual expressway robbery, which that axis is notorious for. The two different versions of the story have created panic, worry and anxieties, with many Nigerians taking to the social media to support or kick against the story.

Yesterday, students of the Igbinedon University, Okada, Edo State, who witnessed the attack narrated their story. They described the incident as frightening. The students, who said they had left the school on Tuesday morning after their first semester examination, told New Telegraph that shortly after passing the two popular parks at Ore in Ondo State, they ran into a roadblock. According to them, commercial buses were used to block the road by six gunmen. One of the witnesses, a Petroleum Engineering student, who identified herself simply as Teniola, said she was in a car alongside three other ladies and a driver she identified simply as Faruk, when they ran into the attack.

She said: “The father of a friend of mine came around to pick her, so I decided to join her. We got to where many vehicles were flagged down and their tyres deflated by the gunmen. In fact, I was sleeping before we got to the spot; sounds of gunshot woke me. Our driver contemplated turning back when a Hilux van occupied by a foreigner, who looked like an Asian, and a uniformed man, drove past. The attackers kept shooting at the van. Our driver used the Hilux as a cover to also escape. I’m very sure the Hilux must have been a bulletproof van.

That was how we escaped.” According to Teniola’s father, his daughter was terrified by the experience when she eventually got home, but she had already recovered. A 400-level student of Computer Science Department in the school, whose father had sent the driver to pick her, identified as Osaretini, said that the men she saw were dressed in green uniform and were about six in number.

She said: “They were about six men in number and they carried big guns with some of them standing on passengers who had been ordered to lie face-down. They kept shooting at other fleeing passengers, but I couldn’t tell whether people died or not.

We had thought the attackers were herdsmen because two days before we left the school, we had received WhatsApp broadcast message which stated that herdsmen would attack along the route on that day.” When our correspondent went to the scene of the incident yesterday, people living around the place gave graphic details of the event.

A member of the National Union of Road Transport Worker (NURTW), Bimbola Badmus, who witnessed the incident, said he almost ran into the hail of bullets of the gunmen before he veered into the bush. He also quickly alerted members of the union, plying the road.

He added: “Three buses were robbed, while others abandoned their vehicles and ran into the bush in order not to be caught in the hail of bullets. I didn’t see any corpse along the road or in the bush. We hid in the bush until a combined team of soldiers and policemen came and dislodged the gunmen.” A resident of Ore, Mr. Sina Ajisafe, said the incident occurred immediately after Omotoso village about 3p.m.

He said that nobody could get near the scene until the military men came and cleared the gridlock caused by the incident. Residents, drivers and passengers who witnessed the incident were unanimous that some of the people who ran into the bush were rescued the following day and taken to the police station at Ore. However, three of the pas-sengers who were kidnapped by the hoodlums and found in the bush, have been discharged from the Police Clinic. The three victims are Nwosu Virginia, Opara Olushi and Okechucku Johnson. They were coming from Imo State and heading to Lagos when they ran into the robbery.

The Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, said a report trending on the social media which stated that many people were killed in the robbery incident was false. He said: “The command wishes to state that nothing of such happened. To set the record straight, some passengers in a commercial bus travelling from Lagos to Imo State were intercepted by the robbers on the expressway.

The hoodlums, who did not succeed in their efforts to rob the passengers owing to the quick intervention of the men of the command, kidnapped some of the commuters. However, four men were later rescued.” Our correspondent also visited interstate companies alleged to be at the scene of the incident on Tuesday. They denied there was any sort of attack on that route.

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Metro and Crime

IGP advises against inflammatory statements on herdsmen/farmers clashes

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The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday advised Nigerians to avoid making inflammatory statements and playing politics with the herders/farmers clashes so as to achieve genuine reconciliation. Speaking during the launch of his book in Lagos, Idris said the security challenges needed to be properly managed so as not to drag the country into unending crisis. He said: “This is the only way the country can secure genuine reconciliation among herders and farmers so that they can once again live in peace, harmony, love and avoid unnecessary loss of lives.” he said.

The IGP said that even though President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the security agencies to arrest and prosecute offenders in the clashes, the nation needed serious conversation on the issue. “I have realised that the issue is beyond apprehension and prosecution of offenders: There has to be speedy dispensation of justice and the protection of the rights and interests of the suspects and victims of crime,” Idris said.

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I killed 4 for ex-NURTW chair –Suspect

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●I gave him N5OO, 000 when he threatened my family –Olohunwa

A notorious South-West assassin, Adeola Williams alias Ade lawyer, yesterday said he had killed about four persons for the former Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Akanni Olohunwa, at different occasions. The suspect, who confessed that he had also killed for many people in the state, among who are traditional rulers said Olohunwa sent him to kill Kunle Poly.

According to Williams, he had known Olohunwa since he was the NURTW chairman in Lagos.
He said: “I have carried out many killings for him, during the clash between him and Musiliu Akinsanya, alias MC, I killed two people for him. On this present one, he contacted me to kill Kunle Poly that he betrayed him. “Olohunwa told me he brought Kunle Poly into NURTW and there is money he is entitled to as ex-chairman but they were giving him the money anymore claiming that it was Kunle Poly that was blocking the money from getting to him from their office at Abule- Egba.

“He then said as a result of that, he does not want to see Kunle Poly, he asked me to come and meet him somewhere to discuss, but I told him I don’t have a car, he personally drove to where I was at Igbosere area to discuss with me on how to carry out the operation.” Williams further said, he called me on his phone and I went to meet him in his car; that was how we discussed on how to carry out the attack on Kunle Poly.

While I was about going out of his car he gave me N500,000 as part payment and promised to give me the remaining N1 million as agreed. “After he had given me the money, he said he did not want to know about the operation, that was why he came to me personally. And I assured him that nobody would hear about the killing. “We were supposed to carry out the operation on Tuesday, January 22, but we shifted it to the following day. We missed our target which is Kunle Poly but killed his aide Ganiyu Ayinla on the fateful day. Immediately,

I called Olohunwa on phone to inform him about the development. “Because I missed the target, he started behaving strangely to me whenever I called him. I later called him with my private line but told me he did not want to talk anybody and I told him not to be afraid, that whatever happened had happened, that he should come out to face it.” When he said he did not want to talk to anybody, I told him he’s going to pay me my balance. I was surprised when he sent his brother to give me a Toyota Camry car and I told his brother that I don’t need that, that what I need is Hyundai jeep and he went to bring it to me. “His brother who brought the jeep said Olohunwa promised to settle me after which he would collect the car and the car has been with me for about three weeks now.”

When asked how many people he had killed for Olohunwa, Williams said: “I have killed four persons for him. I also killed for one Kazeem Eletu and Olumegbon.”
Olohunwa on his part, said: “The N500,000 I gave to Williams was not part payment to kill Kunle Poly. There was a time, when I was travelling to Ede, in Osun State, he called me that he had accident along Lagos-Ibadan expressway and he was disturbing my boy that they should tell me to do something for him. “I did not do anything for him, I travelled to England. While abroad he was sending threatening messages to me that if I fail to give him he would kill me and my family members.

“When I came back, I called one of my boys to explain what was happening to him, that my boy said we should give him something because he’s a troublesome person. That was how I gave that my boy N500,000 to him so as to some respise. “I did not give him my car, it was my brother who gave him the car. I did not send my brother. I was sleeping when my son and one of my brothers came to wake me up that brother Skoda had given my car to Williams. “Immediately my brother gave him my car, I was looking for who to contact so as to retrieve it.

And it was then I knew William was afraid of one person which is Abija that was how I called the said Abija and he promised to get it back for me that I have to be patient. “What made me fear Williams most was when about nine people were coming from Ajah to the Island and the nine of them were shot dead by him and he also killed a branch chairman of NURTW at Oyingbo. With these two scenarios, I have been afraid of him since then.”

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Imohimi Edgal, who paraded the suspects at the command’s headquarters yesterday, said they were arrested based on a confessional statement of other suspects arrested.

Edgal said on January 23, about 9pm, one Ganiyu Ayinla was killed by unknown gunmen on Lagos Island, while one Azeez Adekunle alias Kunle Poly a branch chairman of National Union escaped death.

He said based on the strength of the complaints, Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris directed the Commander Intelligence Respons Team, ACP Abba Kyari, to apprehend the hoodlums. With the credible intelligence generated with the support from Technical Intelligence Unit one Adeola Williams alias Ade lawyer was arrested in connection with the crime.

“He confessed that one Rafiu Olohunwa Akanni former chairman of NURTW contracted him with the sum of N1.5 million to assassinate Kunle Poly. One AK47 rifle with number 3501357, two empty magazines, one black Hyundai Santafee Jeep with registration number EKY 741DL seized from Olohunwa was recovered from him.”

The CP, however, said the investigation is ongoing, while effort is on to arrest the fleeing suspects.

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Flood victims get respite from A’Ibom gov

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Two victims of yesterday’s heavy downpour in Ewet Housing Extension area of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State whose buildings were submerged by flood will get compensation for their property and vacate the area. Already, the victims Mr. Anselem Etuk and Mr Micheal Ukpong, two retired civil servants, have been given some palliatives to seek alternative accommodation pending when their compensation money will be ready for them to erect new structures elsewhere.

The state’s Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who gave the directive yesterday during the project tour of the sixteen ongoing road construction in the area consoled the victims who lost properties worth hundreds of thousands naira along with some vital documents to the flood. Represented by the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, he advised those affected to immediately get money for rent from the ministry and move to a safer place till they receive their compensation. The commissioner recalled that last year, flood claimed the life of a child in the same building stressing that government is out to find lasting solution to the flood menace in the area.

Inyang-Eyen said: “At the peak of the rainy season last year, a young child was killed by flood in this same compound , we are here to find permanent solution to the flood problem here” “You can clearly see that these houses were built far below the road level. The road level is the same length with their roofs. But, because this government is about the people, we have asked them to move out immediately and save their lives. Government is giving them rent today to get a secured place until work on the road is completed.”

The commissioner who declared the area disaster prone warned residents to discontinue all building projects within the marked area. He equally advised residents to always consider their safety and the safety of others when they are building, Our correspondent observed that residents of the area woke up to be confronted by flood caused by yesterday’s heavy rain with farmlands and property worth hundreds of thousands of Naira destroyed. Responding on behalf of the affected residents, Bassey expressed gratitude to the state government for quick intervention in coming to their rescue pledging to cooperate with government by vacating their homes immediately.

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