Gunmen on Friday kidnapped a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Mathias Opara.
The priest was abducted along Ejemekwuru-Ogbaku Road, a highway linking Oguta and Mbaitoli local government areas of Imo State.
An eyewitness told The PUNCH that the priest was cornered while driving back to Owerri, the state capital, after the burial rites of the father of one of his colleagues at Izombo community, in the Oguta LGA.
The victim was said to be in charge of Man of Order and Discipline of the Catholic Archdiocese, Owerri.
The source said, “Rev. Fr. Mathias Opara, popularly known as Owu Ujo, has just been kidnapped along Ejemekwuru/Ogbaku Road. He was kidnapped alongside others he was in the same vehicle with.
“The incident happened right before us. We were also coming back to Owerri from the funeral rites of the father of another Catholic priest at Izombo in the Oguta LGA.”
When contacted, the Director of Public Communications of the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Raymond Ogu, confirmed the incident.
Recall that just last week, the Catholic priest in charge of Christ the King Catholic Church, Ezinachi/Ugwuago, in the Okigwe LGA of the state, Jude Maduka, was kidnapped.
Also, the Catholic priest in charge of St. Paul’s parish in Osu, Isiala Mbano LGA, Rev. Fr. Micheal Asomugha, was also abducted.
Osun: One Dead As Gunmen Storm Palace, Set It Ablaze
Tragedy stuck in Okanla community in Irepodun Local Government Area of Osun State on Sunday as some men bearing arms stormed the palace of Olokanla of Okanla, killed an admission seeker, Ibrahim Qudus, before setting the building ablaze.
Uncle to the deceased, Jimoh Qadri, who spoke to The PUNCH, said the assailants were led by a man identified simply as Naim, who was the only one among the attackers that did not cover his face during the incident.
Qadri, who could not give a reason for the attack, said the perpetrators had initially stormed his personal house, and met his absence before they proceeded to his father’s house, late Oba Jimoh Adigun, the Olokanla of Okanla, that he used as palace before his demise.
He said, “I was not at home, but my wife called me that gunmen numbering about 20 had stormed my house in Okanla area very early on Sunday. She told me they all covered their faces, but one of them bearing Naim did not cover his face and my wife saw him. The attackers were after me and they searched around the house.
“When they could not find me around, they vandalised the building and proceeded to my family house, where my late father, Olokanla of Okanla used as his palace. It was there they saw Qudus, a son to my elder brother, who was living in Ibadan, until he recently returned home to seek university admission, after writing UTME.
“He was killed and they put his corpse in my car parked within the premises and set the vehicle ablaze. They also set the palace ablaze. The reason behind the attack is not known to me. But it may not be unconnected to the tussle over land in our area. The family is pleading with the security agencies to ensure the perpetrators of this crime are apprehended.”
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When contacted, the Osun Police Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, who said the Commissioner of Police, Kehinde Longe, had visited the scene of the crime, added that more operatives had been deployed to the area.
“Someone was burnt with a car around Okanla, the area is between Ifon and Ilobu. We have deployed our men to the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order. The Commissioner of Police has visited the scene,” Opalola stated.
JUST IN: Score Feared Dead As Lagos Building With Over 800 Rooms Collapses
At least two persons are currently battling for life at a private hospital after a school-turned-residential building in the Ketu area of Lagos partially collapsed on Sunday.
The building housing over 800 rooms with hundreds of residents known as Agboye Estate on Oduntan Street, Ketu, first caved in on Saturday afternoon following hours of rainfall that greeted most parts of Lagos.
On Sunday afternoon, as residents were still trying to salvage their belongings, the building crumbled again, destroying another structure inside the compound before collapsing completely.
The development sent panic across the area, forcing hundreds of families and individuals residing in the building to vacate the premises.
During a visit to the affected building on Sunday evening, dozens of residents were seen moving their belongings in different directions as officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency cordoned off the premises.
The affected compound housing several defective buildings has been marked for demolition by Lagos officials.
On December 2014, The PUNCH, after weeks of investigation, published a report on the collapsed building titled, “500-room house in Lagos where tenants live as prisoners”.
The report chronicled the horrible living conditions of tenants of Agboye Estate, who contended with snakes, scorpions, and other dangerous animals as a result of stagnant sewage water at the back of the building.
In most of the blocks constructed only inches away from each other, at least 12 rooms shared a single toilet and bathroom.
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On average, two persons occupy each room, bringing the number of users of a single toilet to 24.
Apart from that, tenants are forbidden from using power generators, electric kettles, air conditioners, or even hosting important social gatherings like naming ceremonies or birthdays within the facility by the landlord, Onamo Agboye.
The only entrance leading in and out of the compound closes at 11:00pm daily — nobody goes in or out once the clock ticks.
Following the report by Saturday PUNCH at the time, the Lagos State Government partially sealed the building but lifted the sanction a few days later.
The landlord of Agboye Estate has since gone into hiding following Sunday’s tragedy.
Court Remands Two For Stripping Woman N*ked, Sharing N*de Videos
An Ado Ekiti Chief Magistrate’s Court has remanded two persons, Owoseni Adefolaran and Oluwatade Olaleye for allegedly meting out jungle justice on a woman accused of stealing tubers of yam.
The two accused persons and other who are now at large brutalized the victim (names withheld), inflicted grievous bodily injury on her, stripped her n*ked and circulated videos of her n*kedness on various social media platforms.
Reacting, the wife of Ekiti state governor, Mrs Olayemi Oyebanji described the victim’s maltreatment as violation of her dignity, insisting that nobody should resort to self-help but go through due process of the law to ventilate grievances.
According to a statement by her Senior Special Assistant on Media, Odunayo Ogunmola, Mrs Oyebanji has mobilized the Gender Unit of her office to work with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that the victim gets justice.
The alleged offences was committed at about 6.00am on September 5 at Aduramigba Community, Afao Road, Ado Ekiti and the accused persons are standing trial on three-count charge before the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Bankole Oluwasanmi.
The three counts of conspiracy to commit felony, assault and conduct likely to cause breach of peace slammed on the accused persons are contrary to and punishable under Sections 421, 186 and 181 of the Criminal Law, Volume 1, Laws of Ekiti State 2021 respectively.
Counsel to the accused persons, Mr. Adefolaju Ayobioloja, urged the Court to admit his clients to bail describing the first accused person as the security man in the community and the second accused person as a secretary of the community.
The defence counsel argued that the offences were bailable ones asking the Court to grant them bail on liberal terms.
Opposing the bail application, state counsel, Mrs. Shirley Atane, while noting that although the offences are bailable, the state have strong doubts that the accused persons would not jump bail.
She contended that judging by the circumstances surrounding the offences and the number of people involved, the grant of bail would not assist in getting justice and given that other alleged offenders are still on the run.
Chief Magistrate Oluwasanmi in his ruling upheld the submission of the prosecution and denied the accused persons bail.
The trial could not commence because the case file was yet to be received from the Police.
The case was subsequently adjourned till September 19 for resumption of trial.
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