The residents of three local government areas of Okigwe, Ihitte-Uboma and Onuimo said the gunmen terrorizing their areas operate freely especially between 8pm to 11 pm, along Owerri-Okigwe road in Imo state, linking the three council areas.
Some of them who spoke in Owerri pleaded that their names should not be mentioned in the print.
This came following the attack by gunmen last Tuesday, at Umuezeala Owerre in Ehime Mbano Council area of Imo state. The attack led to the death of five (5) security operatives of the State’s Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising two (2) NDLEA personnel, one Civil Defense officer, one Police officer, and an Air Force Officer.
Earlier, however, eyewitnesses from the affected community put the figure of killed officers to eight.
To this extent, the residents of the three local government areas have called on the Police to beef up security, particularly between Onuimo and Okigwe axis, adding that the residents have been under serious tension.
According to a traditional title holder and a farmer in Onuimo, said: “We can not talk again. They drive into our communities at night and shoot anyhow. Our people have abandoned their homes. Some of the houses now are occupied by strangers. They live there with their guns.
“Some of our traditional rulers have abandoned their palace, they live in Owerri. Some of the houses were attacked and burnt. We need security to come to Onuimo, they should go around, meet villagers, and ask them questions. I think they will get some of these boys doing all this damage.
“There is nothing we can do. We are helpless. We are trying to survive the situation. Very soon they will overrun all of us. We are begging the government to come to our aid.”
Another, resident from Ihitte Uboma and a bus driver, plying Owerri-Okigwe road, claimed; “How can they talk of security while some of the police stations burnt by these gunmen have not been rebuilt? Go around the Ihitte- Uboma, Onuimo, and even some parts of Mbaise areas you see how those police stations are looking.
“Our government should look into these areas. So that police stations in the rural areas can be active. The government should give these officers sophisticated guns to face these guys.
“Along this Owerri-Okigwe road, we see these unknown gunmen but we pretend. If you see them they wear uniforms as if they are genuine security officers. That is why when they kill security officers, they take their guns and uniforms.
“So, if you talk they will kill you. All we are saying is that the government should meet these guys and ask them what they want and settle this matter. The government knows what to do to end insecurity.”
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Also, a trader in Okigwe, who wishes to be called Nne, narrated that; “Inside Okigwe town is somehow safe. But go to the villages. We are in fear. Sometimes, we can’t go home. We move to the next village to run away from attacks. We need protection here. Villages that have border with Anambra are under serious siege by gunmen. Let’s pray that these killings will end one day.”
Speaking on insecurity in Imo state under Governor Hope Uzodimma, a former governor of the state, Ikedi Ohakim, said: “It needs no exaggeration to say that the security situation in Imo state is worrisome.”
He went further to say: “Anybody who calls himself a leader must sympathize with our young men and women for the situation they are in, arising principally from the near collapse of our national economy and the acute shortage of job opportunities.
“Having said that, let me state that it is also high time, we the elders especially those in authority, changed our tactics and strategy for finding a lasting solution to the problems of the youths, particularly that of unemployment. The situation has become quite drastic and as such, the approach has to be drastic. We must stop playing politics with the problems of the youths.”
Reacting, the Imo state police command, through the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Henry Okoye, disclosed that since last Tuesday’s attacks, the command had sent a special tactical team, well equipped to address the issue of insecurity in the area.
Three Operatives Injured As NDLEA Officers, Armed Hoodlums Clash In Edo Forest
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said its operatives repelled gunfire from armed hoodlums in Opuje, Edo State, as they sought to access forest warehouses storing psychoactive substances.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, shared on the agency’s X account on Thursday.
The incident followed a similar attack 11 months ago when NDLEA officers were ambushed during an operation, resulting in the arrest of suspects.
Opuje is known for large-scale cannabis cultivation, with drug cartels investing heavily in protecting their warehouses.
The statement said, “Following credible intelligence that the drug cartels had again stocked their warehouses in the forest to start distribution of the psychoactive substance to various parts of the country ahead of the yuletide season, teams of NDLEA officers were mobilized to enter the Edo forests and block the distribution of the illicit drug by destroying their warehouses.
“Some of the warehouses containing about 6,000kgs of cannabis were first taken down in Ujiogba forest in Esan West LGA last weekend.
“The NDLEA teams, however, came under gunfire attack in the early hours of Monday 4th December when they approached the Opuje forest after the armed hoodlums had blocked all access roads in the community. The NDLEA operatives were able to exit the area after over two hours of gunfight with the armed hoodlums.
“Unfortunately, three of the officers were injured in the attack with one of them shot in the head while some of the vehicles used for the operation were riddled with bullets. The affected officers were rushed to the hospital for treatment while the critically injured one had a major surgery on Wednesday 6th December to remove the bullets in his brain.”
VIDEO: Policemen Demand Money From Foreign Female Biker
Some policemen have been sighted in a video demanding money from a female biker who was on a tour of Nigeria from the Netherlands.
The Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, on Thursday, said the officers were recorded along Moniya Road in Oyo State.
The officers had flagged down the biker, asking her where she was from and where she was heading.
The Dutch replied that she was from the Netherlands and she was on her way to Abuja, apparently surprising the two officers.
In the 1:26-minute video, the officers asked the woman to offer them money or whatever she had in her possession.
Interacting with the biker in pidgin, the officers said: “Wetin you bring come? Wetin you won give me. O yah give me something nah.”
The tourist appeared not to comprehend the officers’ message until they clearly said, “Give me money, money,” to which she asked, “Why?”
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Reacting to the video shared by an X user, @Oyoaffairs, the Force PRO, Adejobi called on the Oyo State police command to look into the incident.
“Now that is along Moniya in Oyo, @OyoPoliceNG should take necessary steps on that. I have notified the PPRO Oyo of this. They need to be worked upon,” Adejobi reacted.
Watch video below:
EFCC Arraigns Man Over Alleged $63,590 Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Lagos Command, on Wednesday, arraigned one Abdulhamid Isah before an Ikeja High Court over alleged $63,599 fraud.
Isah is facing a three-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretences, stealing and retaining proceeds of criminal conduct.
The defendant, arraigned before Justice Ismail Ijelu, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
The EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Nwandu Ukoha, told the court that the defendant had, sometime in Oct. 2022, obtained $63,590 by false pretences.
Ukoha said the defendant also stole the said amount belonging to one Chinedu Ugokwe.
He informed the court that the money was given to Isah with the intention to exchange the same for the naira equivalent which the defendant failed to do.
The prosecutor stated that the defendant also retained the said amount, suspected to be proceeds of criminal conduct.
According to him, the offences contravene Section 1(1)(2) and (3) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.
He said the offences also contravened Sections 278(1) (b), (2)(1) and 285(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011 and Section 17 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Ukoha urged the court to remand the defendant accordingly, pending the commencement of trial.
He also said that the bail application of the defence counsel should be at the discretion of the court.
The Defence Counsel, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, moved a bail application, praying the court to grant the application, requesting that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody.
Consequently, the judge granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5 million, with two sureties in like sum.
Ijelu said one of the sureties must be related to the defendant by blood and must reside in Lagos.
He also said the sureties must present evidence of a reliable source of livelihood and that the defendant be produced at every trial date.
The judge then ordered the remand of the defendant in Ikoyi Correctional Centre, pending the perfection of his bail.
He adjourned the matter till Feb. 1, 2024 for trial.
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