No fewer than 19 people were killed in the early hours of Friday when some gunmen suspected to be killer herdsmen invaded Tawari community in Kotonkarfe local government area of Kogi State.
The rampaging herdsmen also razed down buildings, including places of worship.
Administrator of the local government, Hon. Musa Tanko Mohammed who spoke on phone confirmed that 19 persons were killed.
Public Relations Officer of the Kogi State Police Command, Mr Williams Anya, also confirmed the development in an interview in Lokoja on Friday.
Giving further update, the Police Command also disclosed that about 28 houses and vehicles were razed by the attackers in Tawari community among other destruction.
Anya said the Commissioner of Police, Mr Ede Ayuba Ekpeji, had visited the community for on the spot assessment.
He also said that the Commissioner of Police had deployed Special Police Force and Police Tactical Squad, led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, to immediately unravel those behind the heinous act with a view to bringing them to book.
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The king of Tawari, Chief Idris Yusuf, who also spoke on telephone, confirmed the incident, saying it was the first time the community was experiencing such attack.
“This is the first time we are witnessing such deadly attack in our community. Our community has been very peaceful.” Yusuf, who is the Aguma of Tawari, said that he would provide details on the development as he was busy attending to sympathisers”, he added.
A resident of Tawari community, Mrs Comfort Solomon, who survived the attack, said the gunmen, numbering about 100 invaded the community late on Thursday.
She said the gunmen came in their numbers on motorcycles and descended on the village, killing and burning buildings until the early hours of Friday.
Solomon said that many places of worship, including the palace of the Akuma of Tawari were burnt down by the invaders.
“The gunmen were up to 100 in number. They came into the community with motorcycles around 11:15 p.m. when villagers were sleeping. They entered selected houses, packed foodstuff and motorcycles and burnt selected houses, including homes of clerics. They killed more than 15 men. The attackers were communicating with each other in Hausa language,” Solomon stated, weeping profusely.
It was gathered that the attack is a reprisal attack by the herdsmen have been having running battles with the community.
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The killing of four suspected herdsmen, alleged to be kidnappers along Lokoja Abuja federal highway on December 30 by security agencies, following a tip off by vigilantes from Tawari community, was alleged to be what angered the militia to attack the community.
A source also said that one of the herdsmen was killed sometimes last year and his body mutilated by suspected ritualists, a crime for which the victim’s colleagues hold the Tawari community responsible and threatened a reprisal.
But following persistent persuasion by the community head, Alhaji Yahaya Tawari, against a reprisal, the herdsmen lived in the community with their hosts in peace until few days ago when they started moving out en masse.
While efforts were made to find out their reason for the mass movement, the herdsmen said their movement was a way of life, assuring that they had no ulterior motives.
Meanwhile, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has directed the security agencies in the state to fish out perpetrators of Tawari attack for justice.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Onogwu Muhammed, Bello said the security agencies should swing into action and ensure that those who carried out the dastardly act face the law.
The governor, who condemned the attack and warned that anyone nursing the ambition of causing crisis in the state would have himself or herself to blame, assured that his administration would do everything possible to protect life and property of the people of the state.
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He urged the people to be calm and law abiding, assuring them that his administration was determined to flush out bandits and criminals out of the state.
JUST IN: Appeal Court Upholds Conviction Of Maina’s Son
The Appellate Court in Abuja has upheld the conviction of Faisal, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, for conspiracy and money laundering.
Maina, the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, is serving an eight-year jail term at Kuje Prison in Abuja for pension fraud to the tune of N2 billion and his son has been named an accomplice.
Meanwhile, in a judgment on Thursday, November 24, 2022, a three-member panel of the appeal court reduced the term of imprisonment from 14 years to seven years on the grounds that he (Faisal) is a first-time offender.
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In the judgement by Justice Ugochukwu Anthony Ogakwu, the court held that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja was right to have convicted Faisal.
“But as a first-time offender, the trial court ought not to have handed the convict the maximum punishment under the law,” Ogakwu added.
Two To Die By Hanging Over Armed Robbery In Ekiti
An Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has sentenced Owolabi Deji (30) and Opeyemi Oluwakomolafe (22) to death by hanging for conspiracy, armed robbery, rape, and escape from lawful custody at Ado Ekiti Prison.
The convicts were arraigned before Justice Monisola Abodunde on 13th January 2017 for committing offences bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, rape, and escape from lawful custody at Ado Ekiti Prison on 1st December 2014.
The charge stated that “the defendants, on the 14th day of July 2015 at Oketa Area of Iluomoba Ekiti in Gbonyin LGA of Ekiti State, did conspire to commit armed robbery on Lucas Agboola and Oladele Oseyemi as well as Adeyemi Comfort on the same day at Araromi Street, Aisegba Ekiti, while armed with cutlass and gun.”
On the same date, time and place, the defendants also raped a 35-year-old woman, according to the charge, the defendants escaped from lawful custody at Ado Ekiti Prison on the 1st day of December 2014.
In his statement to the police, one of the victims said, “I was sleeping in my room around 3:00 a.m., suddenly, two armed men emerged in my bedroom, they cautioned me to cooperate if I don’t want to lose my life, they robbed me of a sum of N40,000, N2,000 belonging to my wife, they collected our phones and also raped my wife. I later got to know that they gained access to my room through the ceiling. We reported the matter at the police station and were later arrested,” he concluded.
To prove his case, the prosecutor, Barrister Ilesanmi Adelusi, called five witnesses and tendered a Dane gun, 10 handsets, one rechargeable torchlight, four handset batteries, N21,060 cash, recharge cards, a machete and statements of the defendants as exhibits.
The offences contravene sections 6(b) and 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap RII, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, also, Sections 357 punishable under Section 358 and Section 135 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.
The defendants, after rejecting five different lawyers, spoke in their defence and called two witnesses.
In his judgment, Justice Monisola Abodunde said, ‘’in my view, the defendants are compulsive pathological liars who have become hardened criminals; rather than mend their ways in prison, they escaped prison during a jailbreak and continued to unleash terror in the community until nemesis caught with them.
“They are a threat to a peaceful existence in our society and they must be made to face the reality of the consequences of their wicked behaviour.
“In conclusion, I find the two defendants guilty as charged in counts 1,2,3,5 and 6 and convicted accordingly.
“In counts 1, 2 and 3 (Armed Robbery), they are sentenced to death by hanging, having been the principal offence and may the Lord have mercy on your souls.
“They are discharged and acquitted in count 4, in count 5 (Rape) they are each sentenced to life imprisonment and in count 6 (Escape from lawful custody), they are each sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
“Sentences are to run concurrently.”
Ataga: Chidinma Makes Fresh Confession
Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of the Chief Executive Officer, Super TV, Usifo Ataga, on Thursday, told a Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, that she was slapped and forced to sign statements written by policemen in the state.
Chidinma, who testified in her trial-within-trial as defence witness one, told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that policemen including Assistant Superintendent of Police, Olusegun Bamidele, and Olufunke Madeyinlo, told her to sign statements against her will.
She said Bamidele told her to narrate the statement he wrote to the state Commissioner of Police after tearing the statement she wrote.
Chidinma is standing trial over the alleged murder of Ataga. She is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
Addressing the court on Thursday, Chidinma, while being led in evidence in the trial-within-trial by her counsel, Onwunka Egwu, told the court that on June 23, 2021, she was in her room at home when her 10-year-old sister informed her that some men were asking after her.
The witness said, “Immediately, my sister called my Dad (her foster father, Onoh Ojukwu), who came out and asked who the men were? They said they were policemen from (SCID), Panti, and that they came to arrest me and to search the house or that I should go in and bring the (Ataga’s) phone.
“I said I don’t know where the phone and car is and one of the policemen slapped me. My dad said you cannot slap my daughter in my house and the policemen tried to enter the room from the passage.”
Chidnma said when the policemen were taking her away, she told her foster dad to call the family lawyer, Egwu, adding that when they got to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, she was taken to the office of a policeman, Razak Oseni, who, alongside other policemen, questioned her.
She said, “We went back to my house and then returned to the DCP’s office and he started questioning me. I told him I don’t know anything about the death of Mr Ataga, and that was when they made the video that was played in court.
“The DCP said I should make my statement then the IPO, Bamidele, took me to the interrogating room with Mr Chris, and gave me a blank statement form and asked me to write what happened.
“I started writing, then he (Bamidele) took my left hand and handcuffed it to the chair. I wrote what I said at the DCP’s office. While writing the statement, Bamidele read through it and said it was not what happened.”
Chidinma said she told Bamidele that she was writing what happened, adding that before she started writing the statement, she informed him to help her confirm if her foster father had called the family lawyer.
She said, “He (Bamidele) said my (foster) dad cannot make a call as he was in custody. That was when I started writing the statement. When he said the statement I wrote was not what happened, and I told him it was what happened, I received two slaps from Mr Jemiyo.
“Jemiyo and Chris sat at the back and Bamidele was facing me. He said you are going to write the truth, tore the statement I wrote, and presented another blank statement form. I told him I was writing the truth and you tore it.
“He said if I did not comply, my family, my dad, 10-year-old sister and relative will be charged in the murder case. He (Bamidele) brought out his phone, played the video obtained from the scene of the apartment and showed me pictures of Mr Ataga’s body.
“He said now you are going to write and then I started writing. He said why I am slow and I received another slap on my back. I told him that I was not feeling well and needed to rest. He (Bamidele) said there was no time, he then collected the statement form from me and he started writing. Chris then handcuffed my hands to the chair.”
Chidinma said Bamidele initially asked her questions but later stopped, adding that after he was done writing, he read the statement to her and she said what he wrote was not what happened.
She said, “He said this is what you are going to say or else my family will be charged. He read the statement to me again and told me that I should rehearse it. He said that is what I should tell the CP.
“Bamidele and Chris returned in the morning and said I should sign the statement but as I was reluctant in signing it, Chris said I should because nobody is coming for me and that they will provide me with a good government lawyer.
“After signing the statement, I was brought out of the interrogation room, given water to wash my face, and then we entered a vehicle and drove to Ikeja. When we arrived at Bamidele took me to the CP and I said what Bamidele wrote.”
She said after her interrogation at the CP’s office, she was taken down stairs where she saw a lot of people (journalists) with cameras, adding that she was not feeling well as at then.
Chidinma said, “After I was taken to the press, then we drove back to Panti where Bamidele said we are going to do a video recording, and he said I should say everything he had written in the statement and they recorded the video which was played here in court.
“I was returned to the cell; in the evening on the same June 24, Oseni brought me out of the cell, took me to an office, where Madeyinlo and another female officer Bola were. When Oseni left, I was given a blank statement form and I was told to write another statement.
“Jemiyo also walked in and I said I had already written a statement. I said I am tired and have not eaten. I was just sitting when Jemiyo came beside me and hit my head on a wooden table. This was when officer Bola had left.
“Madeyinlo said I should start writing. I picked the pen, wrote the date, my name, then she (Madeyinlo) started dictating to me and said that I should write what she said. I started writing and at the end of writing the statement, she asked me to sign.”
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