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Evans seeks plea bargain on alleged attempt to kidnap Young Shall Grow Motors’ boss



EVANS: 'How I was kidnapped, tortured'– Businessman

…As EFCC cracks fraud syndicate, arrests 4***

Alleged abduction kingpin Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike has opted for a plea bargain with the Lagos State Government over his attempt to kidnap a leading transporter in Lagos.

The Defence Counsel to Onwuamadike, Mr R.B.C. Eke, made the disclosure during proceedings at an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday.

Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans is standing trial for his failed bid to kidnap Chief Vincent Obianodo, the Chairman of Young Shall Grow Motors Ltd., one of Nigeria’s leading transport companies.

Eke announced Evans’ plea bargain plans after State Counsel, Ms Olayinka Akudo, told the court that Ubong (fourth defendant) had filed a plea bargain application.

“We received a plea bargain application on behalf of the fourth defendant dated Oct. 24, which is yesterday and we received same yesterday,” Akudo said.

Responding Eke said that “the development (the fourth defendant’s plea bargain) came from us and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will be hearing from us.

“We have the intention to also file a plea bargain on behalf of the first defendant (Evans),” he said.

Mr A.B. Josiah, Defence Counsel to Arinze (third defendant), told the court that Ubong’s proposed plea bargain agreement “does not concern Arinze.

“We have no problem with the court defendant’s plea bargain agreement,” Josiah said.

Arinze and Ubong had no legal representation in court.

NAN reports that proceedings for Evans’ two criminal trials– the attempted kidnap of Obianodo and the kidnap of Mr Sylvanus Ahamonu, which were scheduled to hold on Friday were stalled, due to the absence of Insp. Idowu the Investigating Police Officer (IPO).

Explaining Idowu’s absence, Akudo said: “unfortunately we do not have our witness in court. He is outside jurisdiction.

“My lord, we will definitely do the needful during the next adjourned date.”

Responding Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo said: “your witnesses have not been coming to court. This witness is the IPO and he hasn’t finished his testimony.

“There are other witnesses in this case. If the IPO is unavailable, you can call other witnesses for this trial.”

NAN reports that in the Obianodo case, Evans and his three co-defendants face a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap and sales and transfer of firearms.

According to the prosecution, Evans, Emeka, Arinze and Ubong committed the offences on Aug. 27, 2013 at Third Avenue in Festac Town, Lagos.

Evans and his accomplices are alleged to have killed one Ngozi Chijioke and attempted to kidnap and kill Obianodo.

The prosecution also alleged that in 2008, Ubong sold and transferred two AK47 rifles and 70 rounds of live ammunition to Evans.

In the Ahamonu case, Evans and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, a dismissed member of the Nigerian Army face a four-count charge of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.

Evans and the dismissed soldier are accused of kidnapping Ahamonu, holding him hostage for at least nine weeks and collecting a ransom of 420,000 dollars from his family.

Taiwo adjourned both cases to Dec. 9 for continuation of trial.

In the meantime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has cracked a syndicate that specialised in accessing personal data of Nigerians based overseas to defraud their friends and relations back home.

This is contained in a statement signed by the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren and made available to newsmen on Friday in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that four members of the gang have been arrested and in EFCC custody while others are at large.

Uwujaren said the commission had launched a manhunt on the suspects after receiving a petition from one Prof. Godwin Ekhaguere.

He said that Ekhaguere, a professor of Mathematics who retired from the University of Ibadan, had in the petition alleged that the gang defrauded him of sums totalling N565,500.

Uwujaren said that the professor alleged that the suspected fraudsters also made him to part with MTN recharge vouchers worth N36,000 in the scam.

Also read:  Alleged Fraud: EFCC re-arraigns ex-INEC boss

“The victim only realised that he had been scammed after he managed to reach his friends on the phone, who denied sending anyone to him. That prompted the petition,” the agency ‘s spokesman said.

He said that the commission in the course of investigation arrested one of the suspects at an ATM point where he went to cash the money sent to him by one Pastor Osuji.

Uwujaren said that Osuji was also a victim of a crime similar to that which the commission was investigating.

He said that the gang’s pattern of operation was familiar, saying one of them would call their would-be victim with the impression that he was an old-time friend, now based abroad.

The commission’s spokesperson, said one of the suspects would claim that he has a mouth-watering gift to be sent through someone who was allegedly coming home for an event.

Uwujaren said that the victim would then be handed over to the ‘home-bound’ member, adding the suspect will make all sorts of requests ostensibly to clear some obstacles to delivering the consignments from the foreign-based relation or friend.

He said that investigations into the gang’s operations revealed that they have a mobile application used in making a local number appear foreign to the call recipient.

“They also use unregistered SIM cards to make their calls in order to blur out chances of tracing their real identities.

“Another trick to evade arrest was to open bank accounts in other people’s names and take over the ATM cards from them.

“They direct their victims to pay into such accounts and use the ATM cards to withdraw the cash,” he said.

Uwujaren said that the suspects had since owned up to the allegations against them and are now helping the commission in its investigation.


Health and Safety

GOUNI: After 18 Years, Varsity May Give Mass Burial To 33 Corpses



…Abandoned In Its Mortuary***

 Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI), Enugu, has given families of 33 corpses abandoned in its hospital mortuary 21 days to evacuate them, failing which the corpses would be given mass burial.

Some of the corpses had been in the mortuary for more than 18 years.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Christian Anieke, told a news conference in Enugu on Sunday that the ultimatum, given on Nov. 13 became necessary to enable the university to renovate the mortuary.

GOUNI is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. It recently converted and upgraded one of its hospitals hosting the mortuary to serve as the varsity’s medical teaching hospital.

Anieke said the renovation and upgrading would make the mortuary a fitting one for a teaching hospital.

“We have gotten a court injunction to carry out the mass burial of the 33 abandoned corpses in our teaching hospital morgue.

“Some of the corpses have been in the mortuary for more than 18 years and it is quite challenging as we want to renovate and make the hospital a befitting one for a teaching hospital,’’ he said.

While confirming ignorance of what could be responsible for the long stay of the corpses, he opined that some probably had no relations or they were criminals.

“I am appealing to those who have corpses in the mortuary to come and remove them.

“We are talking about human beings here and not animals. Go and check if your relationship is there,’’ he admonished.

Anieke added that in Igbo tradition, families have to give a befitting burial to the deceased.

“`It is believed that if the dead is not given befitting burial it will have bad consequences on the family,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Prof. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, said many of the corpses did not have name tags, while about 14 of them bore the same name.

He said there were no records of dates in which some of the corpses were deposited at the mortuary, while it was evident that some had been there for more than 10 years.

“This is our basis of approaching the court and advertising the warning in newspapers for families to see,’’ Nwadinigwe said. 

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Health and Safety

Kidnapped UNTH Doctor Escapes From Abductors’ Den – NMA Confirms



…First crawled, then trekked a while before breaking into a run…!

Those who think educated doctors are weaklings would be shocked as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) confirms the escape of an abducted resident doctor, Dr Orockarrah Orock attached to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.

The kidnapped doctor who has now rejoined his happy family gave an account of how he first crawled like an agile soldier, before trekking miles, like a Spartan, to escape and secure freedom.

The Maritime First learnt that Orock attached to the Anesthesia Department of the UNTH was on Saturday night kidnapped within the hospital premises, while on call duty.

The Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr. Celestine Ugwoke, who gave the confirmation to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, stressed that Orock miraculously made his escape after the kidnappers felt satisfied with the agreement by his wife to pay the ransom demanded,  decided to go and have a “nice time with their weeds and spirits and fell into a deep sleep”

Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr Celestine Ugwoke

The abducted doctor thereafter, “”gradually crawled away from the spot he was kept in the kidnappers’ den and later trekked and ran a distance before sighting human activities”, before finally coming out, near the Four Corner Junction of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

“He called his wife and the wife called the UNTH chief security officer that picked him up that midnight of Saturday. We are profoundly grateful to God for his miraculous escape,” he said.

The chairman, however, said that doctors had become endangered professionals in the state, as kidnappers always target them especially those working in tertiary health institutions in the state.

“We are really in trouble as doctors are now their target and we are living in fear as the kidnappers now chase us as if they are chasing rats,” he said.

The chairman said that any more abduction of any doctor in UNTH again, doctors in the teaching hospital would totally down tools adding that this warning would be extended to other tertiary hospitals in the state.

Ugwoke said that the association would be meeting with the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UNTH to mandate to release of security protocol for the hospital, to ensure the safety of all doctors, management staff, staff, and patients in the hospital.

“We also want the hospital management to beef up security within the hospital, ensure adequate perimeter fencing of the entire hospital, and installation of Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) and its monitoring base within the hospital.

“As an association, we have previously met the state’s Commissioner for Health and the Commissioner of Police on the spate of insecurity our members face even in the discharge of their life-saving professional duties.

“All efforts through official letters and other means to pay a courtesy call on Gov. Peter Mbah and intimate him on the vital issue of doctors’ security in the state had proved abortive.

“Maybe, the government wants doctors to leave their duty posts and carry placards to the Enugu Government House before listening to us. This will be very bad if allowed to drag to this point,” he said.

Efforts made to get the Spokesperson for Enugu State Police Command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, to speak on the matter proved abortive as he did not pick up several calls made to his cellphone.

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Health and Safety

Lagos Rallies Volunteer Groups On Environmental Conservation



Sanwo-Olu tasks MSMEs on digitalisation to harness AfCFTA benefits

The Lagos State Government rallied environmental groups to collaborate with it and explore innovative solutions to achieve environmental conservation.

 The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Gaji Omobolaji during a workshop for Coalition of Lagos Environmental Group (COLEG) at LCCI Building, Ikeja,  said the objective of the workshop is a commitment to the protection and preservation of the environment.  

Gaji, represented by the Deputy Director of Sanitation, Mr. Jide Adeoye said the Coalition of Lagos Environmental Volunteer Group (COLEG) is a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations that offer non-profit voluntary services and intervention exercises across the State.

He mentioned that the group was created by the Ministry as an umbrella body to coordinate and regulate the activities of the group to check abuses as well as to ensure interventions carried out by the group are guided and focused to achieve maximum environmental gains.

“Consequently, this technical workshop will focus on training environmental NGOs registered as COLEG; cover expectations of the Ministry for the groups which includes proper processes for carrying out environmental interventions in the State as well as compliance with rules and regulations”, he said.

The Permanent Secretary said the duty of non-governmental organisations in the field of environmental conservation is truly invaluable, each playing a vital role in the collective effort to address various environmental challenges, adding that they are the driving force to provide innovative solutions, public awareness, and advocacy for achieving a sustainable future.

LASG Announces Traffic Diversion At Second Rainbow

*Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor, Lagos State

He highlighted the environmental challenges faced in the state to include improper solid waste management, littering of public places, inadequate waste sorting and removal of recyclables leading to littering of the environment with PET containers as well as the impact of climate change and pollution, saying “All these are responsible for reducing the aesthetic and tourism potentials of Lagos State”.

The Permanent Secretary also gave the assurance of the government’s support, stressing that the present administration recognises the significance of NGOs in shaping environmental policy, implementing initiatives, and being the voices of conscience for the planet.

In a lecture, titled: “Process and Procedure for Environmental Interventions and Compliance with Lagos State, Rules and Regulations”, the Guest Lecture, Mr. Olasunkanmi Sojinu pointed out all areas where the NGOs can effectively partner with the Government, adding that the NGOs need to be a voice for the Environment.

He charged the NGOs and others, on the need to stop provoking the earth, adding that most waste can be used as raw materials for other products.  

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