Youths from the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kwara south senatorial district raised an alarm that seven of their members have been arrested on trumped-up charges allegedly on the orders of the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
At a news conference in Ilorin, the state capital, the youths, under the aegis of Kwara South Youth Stakeholders, alleged that the development was based on the last ward congress of the party where Mohammed’s candidate had a poor showing, losing largely to another candidate supported by Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
Chairman of the group, Hon. Olasunkanmi Ereoye and Secretary, Hon. Tomiwa Kolawole argued that arresting their members to settle scores won’t force them to abandon their principal as they vowed to resist the development.
The Minister, however, denied the allegations. In a statement by his media aide, Segundo Adeyemi, the Minister said contrary to the insinuations the police was only doing its work without prompting from anyone.
Among those alleged to have been arrested as at the time of filing this report were Habeeb Adbulqaudri, chairman of the state’s Councillors Forum, Raheem Omoniyi, from Oro Ward 2 and the chairman of Ajase Ipo Ward 2.
Excerpt from the statement reads: “We the entire Kwara South Youth cry out to the general public on the activities of Alhaji Lai Muhammed and the Inspector General of Police to clamp down the vibrant Kwara youths to score political point which couldn’t be achieved on election grounds.
“We have it on good ground, the visitation of Alhaji Lai Muhammed to the residence of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris on Monday 14th May 2018. His visitation, according to findings, was to conclude arrangements to hand pick and frame our vibrant youths who are connected to the political structure in Kwara.
“Arresting our youth in Kwara to settle scores won’t work and we shall use all rightful means to resist that. It’s worthy to note that the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, who came to Kwara for the last APC Ward Congress on Saturday 5th May 2018 couldn’t believe his overwhelming defeat which was an attestation to his total disconnect from his people. In his Oro Ward ll, Lai Muhammed only managed to score 36 votes as against the 453 block votes to the winner.
“Despite the physical presence of his security guards from Abuja, his disgraceful outing during the APC Ward Congress was the singular reason he couldn’t come home for the APC LG Congresses the following week.
“It’s also worthy to note that since after the condemnable robbery act at Offa on the 5th of April, 2018, the Police has been making arrest and non of our youth was on the watch list. Surprisingly, the narration changed after the visitation of the Information Minister to the IGP, Ibrahim Idris.
“We call on the entire world, civil society groups, local and international media, civil organizations on the ploy to frame anything Saraki in Kwara. As Nigerians, the constitution provides the room for freedom of lawful association, and we shall never be intimidated for pitching our tent with whosoever who so decided.
“Lawful APC family members, we call on our President, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to talk call to order the Inspector General of Police, and his Information Minister, Lai Muhammed not to cause trouble in Kwara as the State is known for peace and harmony.
“We rise up to resist, by lawful means, any attempt by the IGP to bring trouble to Kwara state like he has been doing in some other states of the federation.
“We shall write lawfully, to international communities, embassies, civil society organizations, international and local media houses on the ploy to cause fracas within the APC in Kwara State.”
Adeyemi’s statement exonerating the Minister reads:”The attention of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has been drawn to the accusation by the Kwara South Youths Stakeholders that he orchestrated the recent arrest by the police of some youths in the Kwara South.
“The Hon. Minister vehemently rejects this accusation. He has nothing to do with the arrest of the youths in Kwara South and believes -contrary to the allegation by the stakeholders – that the arrest has nothing to do with the Ward Congress in his hometown of Oro. Afterall, suspected cultists were also recently arrested and paraded by the police in Ilorin.
“The Hon. Minister wishes to state that the police, in the exercise of its constitutional responsibility, does not need to be goaded by anyone to carry out arrests where necessary.
“Concerning the outcome of the election in his Oro Ward 2, the Hon. Minister has made his observations on the conduct of the election known to the appropriate party authorities, in line with his strong belief in the rule of law.
“Suffice it to say, however, that the only credible Ward election was the one held by the genuine party members in Oro Ward 2. That explains why, after the election, there was a rally around Oro Town that eventually terminated in the country home of the Hon. Minister. He does not believe there is any linkage between the election and the arrests.”
Navy seizes N66m illegally refined diesel, arrests 23 suspects
Nigerian Navy (NN) on Friday says it impounded a vessel, barge and wooden boat illegally conveying about 300,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel worth N66 million.
Capt. Victor Choji, the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, presented 11 suspected crewmen to newsmen in Onne, Rivers.
He said that the vessel, MV Nazarene, barge and wooden boat were intercepted in the late hours of April 20 by troops on routine patrol of waterways.
He added that “the vessel, MV Nazarene, was caught in the act by our patrol elements transhipping suspected illegally refined diesel from a barge, DP 28, and a wooden boat at about 2300 hours.
“MV Nazarene was seized with 300,000 litres of petroleum product suspected to be illegally refined diesel.
“The 11 all-male crew members of the vessel were subsequently arrested and they have been in our custody as preliminary investigation had commenced.”
Choji said that troops also on routine patrol intercepted another suspected illegal vessel, MV Asha, escorted by six undisclosed security personnel.
He said that troops on boarding the vessel found out that the security personnel did not have permission to escort the vessel at the time of seizure.
He, however, declined to reveal the identity of the security agency that provided the illegal escort to the vessel.
He said “MV Asha was seized on March 29 at Onne waterways with 11 crewmen on board. The vessel and crewmen have been in our custody because their motive is still not clear.
“The vessel was arrested with six security personnel that were not under any authority to escort the vessel, thereby, contradicting the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP).
“The HSOP clearly spelt out roles of security agencies in combating illegalities in the oil and gas sector. I advise that security agencies abide by the HSOP.”
The officer added that any individual or group that wished to lift and load petroleum products legitimately at sea must first seek clearance from navy before carrying out such business.
He said the navy was resolute to ensuring that crimes and criminality within the state maritime environment were frustrated to allow legitimate social and commercial activities to thrive.
The naval officer handed over the vessels, barge, wooden boat and 23 suspects to operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
Imo APC: Hold Okorocha responsible for breakdown of law and order
The Imo State All Progressives Congress stakeholders Forum has charged the security agencies to hold the State governor, Rochas Okorocha responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the state.
The Forum also condemned the spate of protests, allegedly sponsored by the Imo State governor.
According to the statement signed and issued in Abuja by Dr TOE Ekechi and Hon. Kingsley Ononuju, the Imo State governor should pride his office and stop engaging in activities demeaning the office of the governor.
In the statement, the Forum said, “We wish to draw the attention of security agencies and the general public to the spate of senseless protests which we believe are being sponsored by the governor of Imo State in his desperate bid to blackmail the Imo State stakeholders particularly Distinguished Senator Osita Izunaso, the National Organizing Secretary of our great party.
“We particularly draw attention to the sponsored protests of 17th and 23rd instant at APC party headquarters and SGF office respectively by hired miscreants against our coalition and Senator Osita Izunaso in particular.
“It is shameful that the governor of Imo State can tow this path of dishonour by procuring the services of helpless and hapless youths from Nasarawa State to foment trouble and embarrass the party. From the conduct of the so called “protesters” it was self evident that they did not even know why their services were procured.
“The governor must therefore be called to order by well Nigerians. We wish to warn that the continued sustenance of such senseless protests with Imo taxpayers’ money portends very grave danger. The governor must be held fully responsible for any break of law and order or loss of life if not now, by May 29, 2019, when his tenure surely would have expired.”
Recalled that the Imo State governor is contesting the outcome of the APC Ward, Local Government and State Congresses in the state.
Africans richest woman, Alakija narrates how 3 siblings defrauded her
A business tycoon and one of the richest women in Africa, Mrs Folorunso Alakija has narrated to an Ikeja High Court how Vincent Ayewah, a staff of her Rose of Sharon Foundation and his two siblings defrauded her of N3million.
Vincent, who works as a clerk and admin officer for the foundation was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his siblings Florence Ayewah and Emmanuel Ayewah and four others; Onuwa David, Okoronkwo Chikadibia, Ehizibolo George and Chinyere Awanah.
The EFCC alleged that Vincent conned Alakija’s foundation of the funds by forging cheques while conniving with his siblings and cohorts to pose to banks as beneficiaries of the foundation.
While being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr M.D Aliyu, Alakija said, “On November 13, 2012, my treasurer Gladys Efiozor called me to say that she received a call from Stanbic IBTC concerning a forgery of a cheque.
“I told her to send me an email of the forged cheque and when I saw it I told her that the signature was not mine, there are three signatories to that account and the forged signature did not match those of the other signatories.
“Florence (Vincent’s sister) was the one caught with the cheque, tge bank called EFCC to investigate and Florence was handed over to the EFCC.
“It was discovered that the bag she was carrying had 12 different Identity cards of beneficiaries of the foundation with her pictures on the identity cards.
“The bag also contained cash collected from other banks from the foundation’s account.”
Alakija further said that she confronted Vincent and seized his mobile phone after he had received a suspicious call and that he had also deleted an incriminating text message from his phone.
“He admitted to the fraud and begged for mercy, he had done other infractions in the past and had begged for mercy anytime he was caught.
“Vincent enjoyed a new lifestyle with proceeds from the scam, buying a new car which he parked far away from the premises of the office to avoid detection.
“A blank cheque and a survey plan of a property was in his car.
“He had committed infractions before, begged for mercy and I forgave him, I thought that with warnings, he will change,” the billionaire said.
During cross-examination by the Defence Counsel, Mr Obiora Umeh, she said: “There are widows and orphans that need to be empowered, I have one project manager at a time that Vincent Ayewah was reporting to.
“When he needs to write the cheques he had to handle the cheque book, I knew he was issuing the cheques because it was part of his duty.
“The auditors must have gone through the list of beneficiaries and approve it, I can’t remember now if they were going through the cheque books because our systems have since changed.
“The issue at hand is that the first defendant (Vincent) had taken blank cheques and written the names of the beneficiaries on them.
“Vincent’s siblings had gone to pose in banks to pretend that they were the original beneficiaries.
“Even if it wasn’t a blank cheque he had torn out and he had followed the normal sequence of things, they will still go and pose as beneficiaries,” she said.
Justice Hakeem Oshodi adjourned the case until October 25 for a continuation of trial.
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