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STATE OF NATION: Police nab 1,154 suspected kidnappers in 8 months

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Tenure extension: IGP knows fate April 16

…As EFCC arrests 113 cyber crime suspects in Benin***

The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu announced Monday that 1,154 suspected kidnappers were arrested across the country between January and August, just as the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it arrested no fewer than 113 internet fraud suspects in only eight months in Edo, through its ‘Operation Re-wire’.

Adamu, who made the disclosure on Monday during the Southwest Geopolitical Zone Security Summit held in Ibadan, said that 147 of the arrests were made in the Southwest, adding that a total of 837 victims of kidnapping were rescued with 106 of such rescues achieved in the Southwest.

“Between January and August, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected, in the Southwest.

“2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in the zone.

“1,183 suspected cultists were napped, out of which 425 were arrested in the zone.

“In relation to recovery, 1,356 firearms of various calibre and descriptions were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the Police, with 277 of such recoveries made in the Southwest.

“Similarly, 21,300 ammunition of various descriptions and calibre were recovered with the highest number of 5,270 ammunition recovered from criminal syndicates in the zone.

“Also, 1,541 stolen vehicles were recovered across the country, with 482 of such recoveries in Southwest,” he stated.

The IGP said the statistics pointed out that the Police in recent months have developed capacity and demonstrated the requisite professional zeal.

He, however, said there were isolated cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the Southwest, particularly along  and across Ondo state.

He said the current operations of the Police and other security agencies across the country, particularly along Niger- Kogi- FCT -Kaduna -Katsina and Zamfara state has been successful.

“The operations areas have engendered a dispersal and relocation of some of the criminals to new localities including the Southwest.”

He said a special operation was underway across South west to specifically address the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways Benin-Ore-Lagos highwayand other locations.

Also read:  Police arrest armed robbery suspect, recover firearms

He therefore called on the security stakeholders in the zone to support the Police in strengthening and advancing in the interest of communal and internal security.

On the essence of the security summit, Adamu said the meeting was convened within the context of police community policing vision which emphasise citizens engagement in the process of identifying, dissecting ”and prioritising threats to communal values.

“Partnering to develop strategies to address the threats and building trust to undertake actions directed at mitigating them.”

He noted that experience from the first security summit held in the North East geopolitical zone highlighted the fact that Police could not proceed on an anti-crime war against criminal elements that were united in their determination to threaten nation’s common values with a divided front.

“Hence we must as a strategy, strengthen partnership among ourselves as a community on the one hand and between the communities and the Police on the other hand.

“The strength of this partnership and the commitment of all actors within the process will undoubtedly, influence the extent of success we can record against the criminals”, he stated further, noting that the first security summit underscores the strategic importance of community policing as the most potent strategy for internal security governance.

Adamu further disclosed that 40,000 Community Police Officers (CPOs) would be recruited in order to give full effect to Community Policing Vision as a pathway towards bridging security gaps across the country.

He said the CPOs would be recruited from within the communities where the prospective applicants reside.

Reading the communique at the end of the summit, the host governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, said that the IGP has approved the deployment of special forces to be commanded by a Commissioner of Police.

Makinde said the CP would lead a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) team to support the crime-fighting initiative of the state commissioners of police.

Makinde said the South West States Governors have made commitment towards provision of more serviceable, fast-moving patrol vehicles in support of crime-fighting, which shall be launched in no distant future, to complement the available fleet.

He said the traditional rulers have promised to join hands with the Police to take the ongoing fight against heinous crime to the door steps of the criminals.

“The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has equally agreed to partner with the Police in fighting crime to bring it to the lowest ebb.

“The deployment of cutting-edge technology like CCTV will be strengthened. Aerial surveillance of flashpoints across the South West Geo-political Zone will be sustained.

“In order to give effect to the community policing vision of the Nigeria Police Force, Community Policing Officers (CPOs) would be recruited from within the communities where they reside.

“This will complement the Police in law enforcement functions within their localities by performing low-risk and non-sensitive police functions.

“It’s agreed that a committee, consisting of policemen, other security agencies, the OPC led by Chief Gani Adams, Miyetti Allah and the citizenry should be set up in each state.

“This is further discuss the modalities on reduction of crime and criminalities as it affects the state,” Makinde stated.

The governors of the Southwest states; Oyo – Makinde and Osun – Gboyega Oyetola were present at the occasion while Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti were represented by their deputies.

They were Dr Obafemi Hamzat- Lagos, Noimot Salako- Oyedele- Ogun, Agboola Ajayi- Ondo and Bisi Egbeyemi-Ekiti.

Traditional rulers across the Southwest geopolitical zone and Chief Gani Adams- the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land also participated in the summit.

Among the monarchs were the Ooni of Ife- Oba Enitan Igunwusi, Oba of Lagos- Rilwan Akinolu, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo- Alake of Egba land and Oba Akanmu Adetunji- Olubadan of Ibadan.

In the meantime, the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it arrested no fewer than 113 internet fraud suspects in eight months through its ‘Operation Re-wire’.

Mr Muktar Bello, Head of Operations, EFCC in the zone, said this on Monday during a news conference in Benin, noting that the arrest took place between January and August in its area of jurisdiction, including Edo, Delta and Ondo states.

According to him, the feat was made possible because of the anti-graft commission’s new strategic plans to tackle the menace of cyber crimes in the zone.

He said that the commission secured 53 convictions during the period under review, while other cases were still pending in different courts.

He said that several exotic cars, laptops, mobile phones, flash drives, internet modems and charms were recovered from the suspects.

Bello said the commission, in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), would soon bust cyber crime kingpins and personalities in th zone, using the new operation wire.

He gave assurance that the operation would ensure that businesses and properties established and connected to suspected cyber criminals would be confiscated.

“Very soon you will see us closing up car dealerships and raiding hotels, but all these are end result of Business E-mail Compromise (BEC),” he said.

He said that the collaboration with the FBI had led to the arrest of a female suspected cyber fraudster, who allegedly worked in collaboration with foreign counterparts in a darkweb.

Bello said the suspect specialised in obtaining and stealing people’s identification information, which she usually forwarded to her American collaborator.
“Her collaborator uses it to file for fraudulent tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, and she receives her cut through Bitcoin.

“About 185 Bitcoin, which by current market value is over N656 million, has been traced to her,” Bello said.

 

Accidents

NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim’s Families Over Boat Mishap

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NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

…As Ali Nuhu says recent deaths in movie industry rob the nation of legendary filmmakers

 The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has conveyed its deepest regret over the unfortunate boat mishap which claimed four lives on Wednesday.

It could not yet be established whether or not, all the passengers wore lifejackets at the time of the incident.

A condolence message by Dakio Horsfall, the Acting General Manager (Marine) of the authority, on Thursday in Lokoja, said the management of the authority condoled with the Actors Guild of Nigeria and the victims’ families over the losses.

The mishap reportedly involved two boars on the River Niger en route to Asaba in Delta State at about 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday.

The accident, which involved an unregistered fibreglass boat with 12 persons on board and a privately owned wooden boat with a lone driver, left four persons dead, while seven others were rescued.

Horsfall said: “Preliminary reports indicated that the accident resulted from a frontal collision between the two boats due to overspeeding.

“Sadly, two people died at the scene of the accident, two more bodies were recovered 24 hours later off-site, while 7 persons were rescued.

“Consequently, the Authority commiserates with the families of the deceased persons and pray that the good Lord will repose the souls of the departed”.

He said that upon the receipt of the report of the accident through its community-based structure, the NIWA deployed its search and rescue team to the scene for immediate rescue activities.

NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

According to him, the team and other stakeholders including the local divers, swung into action and have continued the search and rescue effort since Wednesday.

“As of the last count, one person is still unaccounted for.

“Also, the Marine Department of NIWA has activated its accident investigation mechanism to determine the cause(s) of the accident and make appropriate recommendations,” he said

The manager stressed the need for all users of the inland waterways to, mandatorily, adhere to all the established safety protocols, including the completion of passenger manifest at the loading and offloading points.

“The usage of life jackets on the waterways is mandatory, avoiding over speeding, and yielding to weather dictates, at all times,” he said.

Horsfall commended the Marine Police, local divers/ fishermen, Maritime Unions and other good-hearted Nigerians who rose to support the Authority in its rescue efforts.

“Nevertheless, NIWA hereby assures all Nigerians of its continuous efforts aimed at promoting safer inland waterways for the use of all”.

In another development, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Mr Ali Nuhu has said that recent deaths in the movie industry have robbed the nation of legendary filmmakers.

This is contained in a statement signed by Brian Etuk,  the Director of Public Affairs of the NFC in Abuja.

Nuhu described the death of Saratu Gidado (aka Daso) and John Odonwodo,  known as Junior Pope, as heart-wrenching for colleagues and film industry stakeholders.

”Their deaths, which occurred within the week has left  Nigeria’s movie industry in a state of mourning.

”Stakeholders have been pained by the frequent recent losses robbing the country of legendary filmmakers,  who have impacted and contributed greatly to the growth of Nigeria’s film industry.

“Their footprints within the development of the Nigerian film industry will not be forgotten,” he said.

Speaking about the late Gidado, the NFC boss said she caught the fancy and interest of Nigerians, particularly as a lead character in several of Kannywood films,  such as ‘Linzami Da Wuta’ and ‘Gidauniya’.

”She was a Zuma Film Festival(ZUFF)  2023 Life Time Achievers Awardee but sadly succumbed to death in the early hours of Tuesday, April 9.

“Odonwodo’s role in showcasing the professional competencies and screen delivery by actors is remarkable,  as can be found in ‘Honey Money’, ‘Blood Affair’ and ‘Wrong Initiation’ movies in which the late actor acted.

 “While Mr Ibu delivered that evoked laughter and comic relief,  leaving behind a gap to be filled, the refined gentlemen shall be greatly missed,” he added.

Nuhu pledged that the NFC would continue to support the film industry policy initiatives that promoted friendly and safe working conditions,  including medical, health and life insurance schemes for stakeholders.

Nuhu also sympathised with the immediate families, friends and associates of the deceased, as well as the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and prayed that Almighty God grant them rest.

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Health and Safety

MMA Customs Intercepts N5.7b Ammunition, Tramadol, Others

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The Murtala Muhammed Airport command of the Nigeria Customs Service has, in its anti-smuggling drive intercepted offensive items with duty paid value of N5.794 billion.

The seized items include fifty pieces of 9mm live ammunition which was discovered in a joint examination conducted by the service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Muhammed Sani Yusuf disclosed this at a press conference in his office on Monday.

According to him, other first-quarter seizures in the command are 1,164kg of sea cucumbers, 58kg of donkey genitals and 17 packages of Tramadol.

He noted that all the seized items contravened some of the provisions of the extant laws as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. 

Three persons, he said, were arrested in connection with the seizures.

The command also achieved an increase of 111.7 per cent in its revenue collection in the first quarter of 2024 when compared to the revenue generated during the same period in 2023.

Comptroller Yusuf stressed that despite certain challenges, the command collected N45,232,483,528.00 between January and March this year against N21,362,752,676.44 generated in the corresponding period of last year.

The controller stated that this year’s first quarter collection is N 23,869,730,851.56k higher than 2023 first quarter collection which is a 111.7 per cent increase.

On stakeholder engagement, the controller noted that the command has maintained its open-door policy and resolved a lot of issues of common interest with concerned stakeholders.

Yusuf thanked critical stakeholders, sister agencies and the media for their collaborative efforts and synergy while carrying out the command’s statutory mandate in the state.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR and his management team for their continued support as well as officers and men of the command.

The controller enjoined his men to remain focused and steadfast in discharging their assigned responsibilities.

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Economy

Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), on Wednesday, disclosed that he had secured the release of four family members involved in manufacturing arms at the Onicha-Olona Illegal Arms Factory in Delta.

Nwoko representing Delta North Senatorial District, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said that the release of the four persons was through collaborative efforts.

On March 12, troops of 63 Brigade, Asaba, uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Onicha-Olona, Delta North Senatorial District and arrested eight family members in connection with the crime.

Nwoko disclosed that efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“Following my recent visit to the headquarters of 63 Brigade, Asaba and productive discussions with the Brigade Commander, I am pleased to announce progress in addressing the situation regarding the illegal arms factory discovered in the Onicha-Olona community, Delta.

“Efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“I am pleased to reveal that through collaborative efforts, I have successfully secured the release of four family members implicated in the illegal activity.

“However, our commitment to upholding the law remains unwavering, and endeavours continue for fair judgment and potential pardon for the remaining four individuals,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the underlying issue highlighted by the discovery, however, remained of paramount importance.

“We must seize the opportunity to redirect the talents demonstrated by those involved towards lawful and productive endeavours.

“The young man in the family, known for his passion and ability to build drones, exemplifies this potential.

“His skills should be harnessed and put to good use,” he said.

Nwoko added that the Industrial Revolution served as a pertinent historical precedent where individual efforts catalysed transformative change and made possible by governments that created conducive environments.

“We can emulate this model here. We can provide support and opportunities for talented individuals like the young drone builder, and stimulate a new wave of innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“As previously stated, Nigeria’s economy faces significant challenges exacerbated by escalating imports, particularly in the realm of arms and weaponry.

“Therefore, we must harness our indigenous talents for the greater good and bolster our local industries,” he said.

Nwoko further said that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have crucial roles to play in this regard.

According to him, by engaging with individuals possessing such skills, we can offer them legal avenues for their expertise to flourish.

“The aim is not only to prevent the proliferation of illegal arms or other weapons manufacturing but also to channel these talents towards legitimate industries for national development.

“I reiterate the need for the government to support and integrate such offenders with specialised skills and talents into the formal economy.

“This initiative should focus on recognising their capabilities and providing opportunities for them to contribute to the development of our local indigenous technology.

“As noted earlier, an individual capable of modifying an AK-47 magazine, originally designed to hold 30 rounds, to accommodate 60 rounds using rudimentary equipment, holds immense potential for greater achievements.

”Such individual can do more with proper legal support and access to adequate resources.”

He disclosed that he was committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partnering with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.

“I am committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partner with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.”

“They have the intelligence and insights of the potential beneficiaries of this “amnesty” drive towards creating a new cadre of indigenous technologists.

“This law would establish an agency dedicated to providing government support and resources to rehabilitate and engage these individuals in legal and productive activities.

“I tentatively suggest naming this proposed law the “National Talent Rehabilitation and Integration Act”.

“This legislation will not only focus on rehabilitation but also on harnessing the skills and talents of offenders for the benefit of society.

“By providing a structured environment and necessary support, this agency will facilitate the transition of individuals from illicit activities to lawful and productive ventures.

”And they will be contributing to both their personal rehabilitation and national development,” Nwoko added.

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