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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

Remarkable achievement! Nigerian-American girl born without hands wins handwriting competition

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An inspirational story of a 9-year-old Nigerian-American girl, Anaya Ellick, is trending after she emerged winner of two national awards for exceptional handwriting skills in America. The feat, as outstanding as it is, is made even more remarkable considering that she was born without hands.

A third-grader in the Chesapeake area of Virginia in the United States, Ellick beat hundreds of others who competed with her to the award in competition in spite of her physical challenges.

She was named winner of the 2018 Nicholas Maxim Award, which is part of the 2018 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest on April 26. Ellick’s tale of extraordinary proportions shows she previously won the Nicholas Maxim Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship when she was a first grader two years ago.

Her story, one of the most profound depictions of the popular maxim – there is ability is disability, indicates that people should never limit the extent of their dreams and aspirations no matter the circumstance. With her feat, the amazing young girl has brought glory not just to her family but as well to Nigeria through academic brilliance.

The accomplishment by the girl, who found a way to be the best at writing despite the fact that she was born without hands, has left many observers wondering how she was able to pull it off. According to the organisers, the award recognises students with special-needs who have developed an exceptional skill in handwriting and even they are astonished that the 9-year-old who was also named winner of the contest’s print category, could do it again on a larger scale.

Being so close to home, Saturday Telegraph gathered that the little girl who doesn’t use prosthetic hands, took an unconventional approach to it all. She took time to learn how to hold a pencil between her arms both for the purposes of drawing and writing.

On account of the feat, her school has taken the lead in celebrating the Nigerian-American on social media. “Greenbrier Christian Academy is proud to announce third grader Anaya Ellick has won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Cursive!,” a post by the school began.Anaya previously won the Nicholas Maxim Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship as a first grader in 2016 and has claimed the title again with her outstanding cursive writing. “What makes Anaya’s achievement as a National Handwriting Champion so special is Anaya was born without hands and does not use prosthetic.

In order to write, she is able to hold a pencil between her two arms and stand at her desk to get the proper angle needed for writing. “Anaya is an extraordinary young lady. Her tenacity continues to inspire all of us at GCA. She has well-earned first place finish reminds us all what determination and hard work can achieve.

We are so proud of Anaya and her accomplishments. “During our Foundations Academy Chapel, Anaya’s teacher, Mrs. Becky Cannaday, shared a message on our character trait of the month, boldness, and on the importance of letting your light shine for God’s glory.

“Cannaday encouraged students to be bold and reminded our Gators that boldness does not always mean being front and center, but can also be shown by humbly standing alone in doing the right thing, even when everyone else is not. Mrs. Cannaday went on challenge students to respectfully love others and to not be fooled by the world into acting in ways that do not glorify God. “As at the time of going to the press, after Cannaday’s message, representatives from Zaner-Bloser presented Anaya with a monetary award and trophy.

The National Handwriting Contest is an annual event sponsored by Zaner-Bloser to promote legible handwriting,” the message concludes. In a statement, GCA Principal, Tracy Cox, also spoke about the remarkable 9-year-old. “Anaya is a remarkable young lady.

She does not let anything get in the way of doing what she has set out to do,” said. “She is a hard worker and has some of the best handwriting in her class. Her determination is an inspiration to all of us at GCA,” she said.

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Metro and Crime

LCDA creation: Oke Ogun community hails Ajimobi on grassroots devt

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Residents of Wewe, one of the 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) created from the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State on January 16, 2018, have given kudos to the administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi for affording them at the grassroots level the opportunity of directly participating in the governance of the 42-year-old Pace setter state.

The commendation is sequel to the election and swearing in of the Council Chairman, Mr Olaniyi Olusegun Olawuwo, who was the first Caretaker Chairman of the area, created from the Saki West Local Government, and had within a very short period of time touched many of the sectors of the area.

Wewe community is known for its heavy reliance on agriculture, as well as some economic activities like iron pots, shear butter, bakery, table water factories and modern day businesses including tourist centre. Bordered in the East by Saki East Local Government; in the North by ATISBO Local Government; in the West by Saki West Local Government, and in the South by Asabari LCDA, Wewe LCDA covers about 60 kilometres terrain around a waterlogged area with many rivers adjoining Wewe River, which the LCDA was named after. According to Olawuwo, while speaking with Saturday Telegraph, his administration had been able to embark on and completed over 31 various projects including agricultural and natural resources, environment health, education and social services, primary health care, road construction among others.

Olawuwo while recounting his experience as the pioneer caretaker chairman and his mission to transform the LCDA said the creation of the council had in no small measure justified the reason Governor Abiola Ajimobi established the LCDA.

The level of development since the creation of LCDA has really gone deeper into the grassroots in the old local government areas. By the time we are privileged to execute our mission for this LCDA, without mincing words, it would be clear to everyone, even the critics of Governor Ajimobi, that the creation of LCDAs is primarily for the good of our people at the grassroots as promised by our Governor. “When I came on board, it was evident to me that we have a lot to do to key into the vision of our governor in ensuring development across the length and breadth of Oyo State.

You will recall vividly that his administration is championing rural and urban development. The urban cities have been enjoying massive development, so creation of LCDAs will match deep rural development.

“At Wewe LCDA, we came on board with a lot of hopes on our shoulder, hence our resolve to set the area on the road of development. In conjunction with the staff, we have been able to prove that the LCDA will in truth serve as a spring board for eventual development and as a platform to get our people’s view and come up with their actual needs”, Olawuwo said.

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Metro and Crime

Court declares teacher’s sacking ‘unlawful’

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The National Industrial Court, on Friday declared as `unlawful’ the dismissal of one Akpomovine Ojo-Gabriel for embarking on maternity leave by the Hillside School, Abuja. Justice Rakiya Haastrup in delivering the judgement ordered payment of her salary and cost of suit.

The judge said the defendant’s failure to recognise the claimant’s maternity leave and refusal to allow the claimant resume after her leave was unjustifiable.

Haastrup said the stopping of her salaries is in breach of the terms of contract of the parties as contained in the staff handbook. The judge said the defendant breached the agreement in the section of the handbook that dealt with maternity leave which the claimant was entitled to as a staff.

“The handbook stipulates one month notice or salary in lieu of notice is required where the employment relationship is to be terminated by either party,’’ she said. Haastrup said the act of the defendant in mandating the claimant to re-apply for her position was null and void.

She ordered the payment of the claimant one month basic salary and any other entitlements that may be due and accrued. The claimant was also awarded the sum of N50, 000 as cost of prosecuting the suit.

The court, however, said the claimant was not entitled to the claim for an order of reinstatement. The claimant’s counsel, Kingsley Osuji, said his client before her dismissal was a teacher at Hillside School, Abuja, until she left for a two months maternity leave which was duly sought for and approved.

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