Just In: Gunmen Abduct 4 Customs Officers, Kill 2 Teenage Boys In Katsina
Rampaging gunmen suspected to be bandits struck again in Katsina on Wednesday morning and reportedly abducted four men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Jibia, a border town with the Republic of Niger.
Eyewitness reports said that the Customs men were taken hostage at the Dan-Bedi Customs checkpoint, along with an unspecified number of unsuspecting travellers on the Jibia – Batsari highway at about 10 am.
“The bandits, riding on motorcycles, arrived the Customs checkpoint this morning (Wednesday) and overpowered the officers, seized their weapons and fired gunshots sporadically into the air,” an eyewitness told reporters, adding that, “the gunmen also seized several motorists and passengers and disappeared with them into nearby the Rugu forest.”
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When contacted on telephone, the Katsina Customs Public Relations Officer, Peter Duniya, declined to comment on the matter arguing that, “I am on leave.”
But a senior Customs officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Yes, we are aware of the incident but it is still fresh as it just happened this morning (Wednesday) and investigation is still ongoing. We have not even compiled the report and of course, I am not the right person to speak officially on the issue.”
This is the second time within the week that gunmen would abduct persons along the highway in the same area of Jibia. The police confirmed that suspected bandits last Sunday temporarily blocked a section of the Jibia – Batsari road and kidnapped no fewer than 19 motorists and passengers.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, unidentified gunmen equally invaded the Magama-Jibia community, also in Jibia Local Government Area, on Tuesday evening and killed two teenagers as they launched an attack on the villagers.
According to some of the survivors of the attack which occurred at about 10 pm, several other residents especially the youth who were injured during the attack are currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Jibia.
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According to a resident, “when the gunmen came to the area on Tuesday morning, they left their motorcycles outside the community and trekked into Magama-Jibia, with their weapons strapped to their shoulders.
“They moved around and later left to where they had parked their motorcycles. It was later in the night, at about 10.15 pm that they stormed the community from every side, shooting into the air.
“They succeeded in raiding some houses but some of the residents decided to confront them and they came out with sticks, matchets, and other weapons to resist the gunmen.
“It was in the process of resisting the invaders that two young boys were killed by the gunmen while several others were injured.”
For Katsina, acts of armed banditry and kidnapping have virtually become a daily routine with reports of killings and abduction of residents and motorists in parts of the state.
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From the southern parts of Katsina State including Malumfashi and Kafur, to the central area including the university town of Dutsinma and to Jibia in the north-eastern flank, the hoodlums have remained consistent and more daring in their attacks on communities.
The development comes on the heels of certain peace deal and dialogue initiative which government said it had with sections of armed bandits and kidnappers in the state, designed to tackle the menace.
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Evans Re-arraigned For Kidnapping, Attempted Murder
Convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, has been re-arraigned over the alleged kidnapping and attempted murder before a Lagos State High Court sitting in the Tafawa Balewa Square area.
Evans’ re-arraignment on Thursday follows the transfer of the case file from Justice Adedayo Akintoye, who is the initial trial judge.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Special Offences Court in September 2022 sentenced Evans and his co-defendant, Victor Aduba, to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping one Sylvanus Hafia.
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They were convicted of conspiring and kidnapping Hafia around 5:30 pm on June 23, 2014, at Kara Street, Amuwo Odofin, in Lagos and to have captured and detained Hafia and demanded a ransom of $2m.
However, the matter started afresh before Justice Ibironke Harrison, where Evans was again arraigned alongside Joseph Emeka, Victor Aduba and Okapara Linus.
The four are facing five counts bordering on conspiracy, kidnapping, and attempted murder, preferred against them by Lagos State.
Evans and his co-defendants were arraigned for allegedly kidnapping Chief James Uduji and collecting a ransom of $1.2m dollars.
They, and others at large, allegedly committed the offence on September 7, 2015 at 7th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos.
The defendants were also accused of attempted murder by allegedly firing shots at Uduji and Donatus Nwoye which hit him on the hand and again shot one Mr Jereome Okezie on the hand and head.
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According to the prosecution, the offences committed contravened Sections 411, 271 (3) and 230 (A), of the criminal laws of Lagos State 2015.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Harrison subsequently adjourned that matter till May 3 and 4, 2023 for trial.
Prof Facing N1.4bn Fraud Case Gets N1m Bail
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a Professor, Uche Edwin, before the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on charges of alleged N1.4 billion fraud.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the EFCC’s Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren on Thursday.
Edwin was arraigned alongside his companies, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention and conversion of funds to the tune of N1, 473,367,046.04 belonging to Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
He, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the 11-count charge.
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One of the counts reads: “ That you, Professor Uche Chigozie Edwin, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, Nemad Associates Limited and Revamp Global Enterprise, sometime in 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court , conspired amongst yourselves to use the sum of N1, 473,367,046.04, property of the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: fraud; and you thereby committed an offence , contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The prosecution counsel, C.C. Okezie, asked the court for a trial date and also asked that the defendant be remanded.
The defence counsel, Mobolaji Akintunde, in response, made an application for bail on behalf of his client.
He asked the court to admit his client to bail and also implored the court to allow his client to be remanded in EFCC custody pending when he would be able to meet the bail conditions the court might impose.
In a short ruling, the judge, Nicholas Oweibo, allowed bail to the defendant in the sum of N1 million and two sureties in like sum.
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The sureties, according to the court, must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, show a tax clearance certificate of three months as well as their passport photographs.
The defendant was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court.
The judge adjourned the trial till 27 June for the commencement of the trial.
JUST IN: Court Jails Ex-Imo Commissioner
A former Commissioner for Transport in Imo State, Laz Anyanwu, was on Tuesday sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Anyanwu, who served during the administration of ex-governor Rochas Okorocha, was sentenced after he was found guilty of the charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge, K. A Lewanya, while sentencing the former commissioner said that the jail term would serve concurrently.
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The judge said that the convict was found guilty of fraud , looting of public funds and stealing.
The justice said that the former commissioner was found guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he was a major shareholder and sole signatory when he superintended and doubled as commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo State transport company, ITC, which is against section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020.
The judge held that Anyanwu by that action had violated the Public Procurement Act, abused his office and used his office to gain undue advantage in his dealings during his tenure as the commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo state transport company, ITC.
The judge said that the EFCC lawyer, Micheal Ani, was able to proof beyond reasonable doubt that when Anyanwu was commissioner for transport between 2015 and 2019, he transferred the sum of N100 million from the ITC account to his private company named Oma Oil Industries Limited, which is against section 12 and 19 of the ICPC Act 2020 for a public servant.
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The judge also said that the ex-commissioner signed off another N80 million from government coffers directly to his private company account with the motive that he wanted to procure some vehicles for ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.
The judge, while sentencing him to prison, said the former commissioner looted the sum of N180 million found in his account said to be for the state transport company.
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