The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abia State Council, has noted with dismay and deep sense of sadness the unwarranted invasion of the residence of her member, Norah Okafor by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) who were on manhunt of internet fraudsters, popularly known as “yahoo boys”.
It was gathered that the Port Harcourt zone of the Nigeria anti corruption agency had on Wednesday, 22nd day of September, 2021, hooded about 21 people on a sting operation in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, bursting into the journalist’s apartment in the dead of the night, after disconnecting the wire used to electrify the fence, scaled the wall and broke the gate key to gain unfettered access into the building.
Reacting, the NUJ Abia Council, in a press release by the Chairman, Comrade Victor Ndukwe and issued to newsmen in Umuahia, on Saturday, condemned in totality the midnight invasion of Norah’s residence which according to the body, amounted to a brazen violation of her fundamental human rights, a naked display and awfully wrong application of power by the EFCC.
The NUJ demanded an immediate unreserved apology from the EFCC for this inexplicable wrong mission and remedy for all damages.
The Abia body posited that this Gestapo-style invasion by the EFCC operatives was shy of due diligence and betrays the agency’s claim that it arrested about 21 suspected Yahoo boys in Umuahia during that operation without any incident because it was preceded by due diligence and verified intelligence.
According to the body, “Nothing could be farther from the truth. You can’t subject an innocent and a decent citizen to such horrifying, life-shortening, unforgettable experience and claim to have carried out due diligence based on excellent intelligence.
“It is common knowledge that in every of this kind of EFCC operation, nay any other security arm in Nigeria, is fraught with visiting a very high degree of both mental and physical torture on their targets who, often times are innocent, as exemplified in the case of Norah”.
It reminded EFCC that it was this form of brutality visited on Nigerians, especially the youths and innocent, that birthed the nationwide ENDSARS protest, and cannot forget the dire consequences in a hurry.
The NUJ further stressed, “It is trite that no society is without criminal elements. But in hunting down these criminal elements, the security agents must, as a matter of the rules of engagement, employ utmost discretion and apply high degree of caution in tracking their targets as invading the homes of the innocent constitutes the worst form of violation of the fundamental human rights of citizens.
“In this digital age, it is high time the EFCC reviewed its modus operandi by deploying technology in its operations of tracking suspects, to end its constant picking on wrong targets and subjecting innocent citizens to untold torture and national embarrassment, “the body added.
The Abia NUJ release partly stated, “Norah’s account of the incident depicts a horror scene from a hit office box not even seen in security operations against the dreaded drug czars of Columbia.
“After subjecting the poor lady and other occupants of the building to over two hours of gruelling physical stress, emotional trauma and destruction of their properties in the name of searching for non-existent incriminating evidence, the operatives declared “we have just wasted our time.
“The declaration, in clear language, is a wholehearted, voluntary expression and admission of a disastrous omission of a mission; that they were in in the wrong place clearly for the wrong reason and at the wrong time. This leaves a sour taste in the mouth, to say the least.”
Exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa, Not Pardons, Foundation Replies Buhari
The Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation has said it wants exoneration and not pardonn to be granted to the late environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others executed by the Nigerian military dictator, Sani Abacha.
The Foundation was reacting to a statement attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari saying he was considering granting a state pardon to Saro-Wiwa and others executed at the height of the Ogoni crisis in the 1990s.
A statement signed by Dr Owens Wiwa, brother of Ken Saro-Wiwa, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Foundation and obtained by SaharaReporters on Sunday, however, said the late activist and the eight others who were murdered by the Abacha regime were not criminals.
The group, which became known as Ogoni 9, were activists from the Ogoni region who opposed the operating practices of oil companies destroying their area.
They were author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.
They were tried by a special military tribunal for allegedly masterminding the murder of Ogoni chiefs at a pro-government meeting, and hanged in 1995 by the military dictatorship of General Abacha.
The statement titled, ‘Exoneration Not Pardon For Ken Saro-Wiwa,’ reads: “The Board of Directors of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation (KSWF) have received and read the statement from Mr (Femi) Adesina, the Special Adviser on Communications to the President of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), in which the President conveyed his willingness to grant clemency or pardons to Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni activists illegally executed by the Nigerian Military Dictatorship of Sani Abacha on November 10, 1995, after a sham trial.
“Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other Eight Ogonis were not criminals. They were innocent activists unjustly murdered for fighting for a just cause on behalf of their oppressed community. The path to true peace in the region begins with justice. The cleaning up of the environment for which they campaigned and died for is a first good step.
“The exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists, judicially murdered on November 10 1995 is another step towards peace.
“The family of Ken Saro-Wiwa have made a request for the exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa to the President in the past and are still waiting for a response. We urge the President to again consider this request as a path to justice and peace.”
The statement added that the “family and the Foundation have not asked any individual to ask for pardon or clemency for Ken Saro-Wiwa on our behalf, nor are we aware of any group of Ogonis making such a request”.
Drama As Ortom Busts Illegal Revenue Checkpoint In Benue, Arrests Operators [PHOTOS]
Luck ran out on a gang of illegal checkpoint operators at Abinsi, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State on Sunday, October 24, 2021, when Governor Samuel Ortom busted their operations.
Governor Ortom’s attention was drawn to the activities of the illegal revenue operators when he noticed the harassment of heavy-duty vehicles that were detained at the checkpoint on his way from Kwande Local Government.
He then ordered his convoy to stop to find out why many vehicles were parked at the checkpoint.
As soon as he alighted from his car, some of the youths at the checkpoint took to their heels.
He discovered, during an interaction with drivers of the vehicles, that the checkpoint operators were collecting money from motorists without issuing them receipts, a development that prompted the Governor to order the arrest of four of the operators who could not run.
The Governor directed that those who fled should also be apprehended and thoroughly investigated alongside the four suspects to unravel benefactors of the proceeds from their illegal collections.
He explained that within a very short time, the checkpoint operators collected more than N20,000 from the commuters without issuing them receipts.
Governor Ortom lamented that despite the collections, nothing goes to the government as such monies are diverted into private pockets for individual use.
DAILY POST reports that he vowed to sanction the management of the Board of Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, for failure to supervise and ensure the right thing was done.
Governor Ortom said he will henceforth, personally carry out surprise checks on the activities of checkpoint operators in the state.
The four suspects were then handed over to the Police for further investigation.
EFCC Grills Ex-Senate President
A former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, is currently being grilled by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a case of corruption and diversion of public funds.
Anyim who arrived the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Jabi, Abuja at about 3pm, is currently being grilled by a team of operatives.
Though details of the specific allegations against the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, were sketchy as of press time, a source familiar with the case informed that, it is tied to the corruption and money laundering case involving former Aviation Minister and serving senator, Senator Stella Oduah.
Part of the rehabilitation funds to the tune of N780 million were allegedly traced to a company in which Senator Anyim has interest.
When contacted, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman said he has not been briefed.
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