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Kidnapped Imo Catholic Priest Regains Freedom

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A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Mathias Opara, who was kidnapped by gunmen last Friday in Imo State has regained freedom.

The News Agency of Nigeria gathered that Opara, popularly known as Owu Ujo, was released by his abductors late Sunday night.

He was kidnapped along Ejemekwuru- Ogbaku road between Oguta and Mbaitoli Local Government Areas of Imo while returning to Owerri.

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He was said to have participated in the funeral ceremony of a colleague’s father at Izombe community in the Oguta Local Government Area and was heading to Owerri when he was abducted.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Abduct Imo Catholic Priest Returning From Funeral

A source, who pleaded anonymity said, Opara, who is in charge of Man of Order and Discipline of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, was released unharmed.

However, the source could not ascertain if any ransom was paid for Opara’s release.

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“Details surrounding his release are sketchy for now, but the important thing is that he has been released,” the source stated.

Confirming Opara’s release by his abductors, the Police command’s spokesman, ASP Henry Okoye said the command would not rest on its oars in ensuring that the culprits were brought to justice.

The priest was released as a result of the pressure mounted on the criminals by our operatives who were on an undercover operation.

“The command is trailing their track to possibly arrest them because we will not allow criminals to take over the state,” Okoye said.

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READ ALSO: Gunmen Strike Again, Kidnap Catholic Priest In Imo

Opara’s abduction and release came barely two weeks after gunmen kidnapped the Priest of Christ the King Parish, Ezinachi/Ugwuago of the Diocese of Okigwe in Okigwe KGA, Rev. Fr. Jude Maduka.

Maduka was kidnapped while preparing for the Eucharistic Mass celebration at his adoration ground.

A Catholic Priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Parish, Osu, in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, Rev. Fr. Michael Asumogha, in Okigwe Catholic diocese was equally kidnapped in April and later released.

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Four To Die By Hanging For Armed Robbery, Murder In Ekiti

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An Ekiti State High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, on Thursday, sentenced four persons to death by hanging for armed robbery, murder and conspiracy.

The court also convicted and sentenced the defendants to life improvement for attempted murder.

They are Ogunleye Sola, Adebayo Ebenezer, Lasisi Afeez and Ojo Oba.

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READ ALSO: Two To Die By Hanging For Stealing N105,000, Phones, Others In Ekiti

The charge read, “The defendants committed the offences on May 29, 2017, at Oyan Orete Camp, Ijan Ekiti where the occupants of the camp were robbed at gunpoint and one Olasunkanmi Ramon was murdered while Alhaji Adeleye Usman was attacked with a cutlass on the head by the defendants.

“The offences committed by the four defendants are contrary to Section 6(b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. R11, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004; Murder and Attempt to Murder contrary to sections 319(1) and 320 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap.C16, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Julius Ajibare, who prosecuted the case for Ekiti State, called five witnesses and tendered seven exhibits to prove his case.

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READ ALSO: Court Sentences 29-year-old To Death By Hanging

The defendants spoke through their counsel, Chris Omokhafe and Oluwaseun Banji, who gave evidence in their defence and called two other witnesses.

In the judgment, Justice Olukayode Ogundana held that the prosecution proved all the offences against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge consequently convicted all the defendants and sentenced them to death by hanging for the offences of conspiracy, armed robbery and murder just as he sentenced them to life imprisonment for attempted murder.

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Tinubu Appoints New Budget Office DG

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr. Tanimu Yakubu as the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation.

Yakubu’s appointment followed the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Ben Akabueze.

This was contained in a statement by Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelele, on Thursday.

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READ ALSO: Police Corporal Detained For Abandoning Duty For 9 Years

According to him, Yabuku is an accomplished economist and was Chief Economic Adviser to a former President from 2007 to 2010; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 2003 to 2007, and Commissioner of Finance, Budget, and Economic Planning in Katsina State from 1999 to 2003.

The statement read, “The new Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Wagner College, Staten Island, New York, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the same institution.

“The President expects the new Director-General of this pivotal agency to further enhance the provision of efficient and qualitative budget functions, with a view to promoting fiscal sustainability, transparency, and accountability in public finance management for national development.”

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NSCDC Uncovers Illegal Bunkering Sites In Rivers Cemeteries

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has busted illegal crude oil refining sites at cemeteries in Abalama and Oproama Communities in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The security outfit said the feat was achieved by its Marine Anti-vandal Squad after a four hour operational tour on water across the two coastal communities.

Speaking to newsmen after the operation, the NSCDC spokesman, Rivers State Command, Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele, said its operatives successfully uncovered the illegal bunkering sites through credible and sustained intelligence.

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READ ALSO: Lagos Students Get N1m, Land For Winning Quiz

Ayodele recalled that the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, gave a marching order to all formations in the Niger Delta to step up intelligence and operational efficiency in the fight against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities.

He expressed worry about how the miscreants devised a new means of converting cemeteries to illegal bunkering sites, saying they had already loaded several illegally refined crude and refined Automotive Gas Oil also known as diesel was sighted in boats by the riverside.

The state NSCDC image maker however said on sighting its operatives the hoodlums took to their heels though they were giving a hot chase, pointing out that men of the Marine Anti-Vandal Squad are on their trail to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted.

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READ ALSO: NSCDC Uncovers Illegal Refinery In Rivers Community

He stated, “Acting on this directive the Rivers State Commandant of the NSCDC, Basil Igwebueze, deployed the Marine Anti-vandal Squad to the crime scene where several boats filled with crude oil and refined Automotive Gas Oil were sighted.

“This is the Abalama community and behind us is the Oproama community as well where Cemeteries were converted to illegal bunkering sites; Upon our arrival, the suspects took to their heels knowing the squad had superior firepower.

“The NSCDC as an environmentally friendly agency condemns outright all acts of environmental pollution, degradation of aquatic life and economic sabotage.

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“We have contacted some good people in the two communities and they are cooperating with us so that the perpetrators would be apprehended in due course. However, the quantities in litres of the locally refined AGO cannot be ascertained.”

He added, “Consequently, the NSCDC Rivers State Command helmsman has further issued a stern warning against the activities of vandals and illegal bunkers in the state affirming that the fight against oil theft is a relentless war and suspects arrested with their sponsors would be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

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