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Communal clash: Two allegedly abducted, one shot in Cross River

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Two farmers from Usumutong, in Abi local government area of Cross River State have been allegedly abducted and another shot by Ebom people.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Wednesday at the boundary between Usumutong and Ebom communities.

Veloxnews gathered that three farmers of Usumutong extraction went to their farms located at the boundary between the two communities to harvest rice when they were ambushed by people suspected to be from Ebom.

“One of the trio was shot severally but escaped with bullet wounds while two others could not be found,” an eyewitness who gave his name as Omini said, adding that the duo were yet to be seen several hours after the incident.

Speaking with Veloxnews on phone on Wednesday, the village head of Usumutong, His Royal Majesty (HRM) Oval Solomon Osım Edward said the incident occurred in a farmland located between Usumutong and Ebom communities.

“Our sons, three of them went to harvest their rice at the boundary between us and Ebom when the people of Ebom who had laid ambushed, attacked them. One person who was shot severally escaped while the other two persons have not been seen.

“The one that sustained injuries as a result of the gunshot is receiving treatment at undisclosed herbal home where the bullets are being extracted from his body”.

He said, though the army and other security operatives were in the community, the attack occurred in the bush where the people planted rice and other crops.

“As I am talking to you now, there is tension in the community; we don’t know the whereabouts of our sons, who are fathers and relations of our people,” he stated.

Also contacted, the village head of Ebom, Chief Henry Bassey said “We have already reported the incident to the police; they killed their people and alleged that we killed them. Come and ask anybody here, we have Police from AIG, Police from Area Command here, Police from the DPO and soldiers, come and ask them”.

He explained “few days ago, the people of Usumutong killed a pastor from Assigha but owned a Church in Ebom; they also killed our son from Ebom who carried the Pastor to his village in Yakurr, in a motorcycle; the duo were ambushed and killed and their heads beheaded.”

“The pastor went to his village but he was murdered with our son. We have reported the incident to security operatives. Come and find out from them, what Usumutong is doing is propaganda,” he stressed.

Reacting to the fresh attack, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Ms Irene Ugbo said on phone on Wednesday that “The Clan head has brought a letter to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Yakurr that one of their boys was shot and Police is investigating the incident with a view to bringing the suspects to book.”

She noted that, “our policemen and other security agencies are there to maintain law and other as well as to protect life and property”.

Another lawmaker dumps APC for SDP, gives reason

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A House of Representative member, Honourable Salisu Koko representing Maiyama/koko-Besse federal constituency, in Kebbi State has defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Social Democratic Party (SDP)

SDP announced the defection of the serving lawmaker in a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Malam Mohammed Alfa on Wednesday, NAN reports.

Alfa said that the development brought the number of lawmakers who had defected to SDP in less than two weeks from APC to two.

The SDP spokesman added that more members of the House of Representatives were being expected in the days ahead,

The statement read in part: “SDP has become the most accommodating and promising party for those unjustly treated in other parties.’

“Reports have indicated that the decision of the lawmaker Salisu Koko to dump APC is as a result of the party’s inability to restore his stolen mandate during the concluded primaries.

“This development has brought the number of lawmakers who had defected to SDP in less than two weeks from APC to two even as others are expected very soon.”

2019 presidency: Buhari, Atiku, others to sign MoU

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Former of Head of State and Chairman of the National Peace Committee, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, has revealed that “all the presidential candidates for the 2019 election will sign a Memorandum of Understanding.’

According to him, “this will not only be to undertake violence-free campaigns, but also to avoid hate speeches and unguarded utterances during their campaign activities.”

Abubakar disclosed this after a meeting with a delegation from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, led by its Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday.

The former Head of State also said chairmen of all the registered political parties would do same.

He added, “We will do our best to help sanitise the political arena.

“You, members of the press, have a duty to educate our people and politicians so that when they go on campaigning, they campaign on issues and that there should be politics without bitterness.”

Boko Haram: Arewa Consultative Forum reacts to killing of soldiers, speaks on 2019 election

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A frontline Northern social-political organization, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has reacted to the Boko Haram attack that claimed the lives of 100 soldiers in Borno State.

The socio-political group also spoke on the 2019 general elections, cautioning politicians against overheating the polity.

This was contained in a communiqué arising from their meeting yesterday, signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Alhaji Muhammad Biu.

ACF expressed concern over the killing of the soldiers.

The communiqué said, “The meeting noted with grave concern the incidence of insecurity in the country, particularly the resurgence of the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State, where the insurgents attacked the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno state which claimed the lives of many Nigerians.

“It also called on the Federal Government to institute an inquiry into the unfortunate attacks with the view to finding the immediate and remote causes in order to restore confidence to our troops and also avert recurrences.”

“NEC also appealed to the military and other security agencies to be proactive and always share intelligence and work in synergy to avert such unfortunate incidents.

On the general election, ACF added, “Elections should not be a declaration of war where our youths are used as political thugs, but rather an opportunity to elect credible leaders who will enhance security, eliminate corruption, enthrone social justice and the improvement of the well-being of the citizenry.”

Shehu Sani reacts to arrest of Adeyanju Deji, speaks on those responsible

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Shehu Adamu, the Senator representing kaduna Central has reacted to the arrest of social crusader and human rights activist, Prince Deji Adeyanju and other protesters in Abuja.

Adeyanju was arrested Wednesday morning, alongside Daniel Abobama and Boma Williams and was taken to the FCT command of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), for onward arraignment in court.

Police in an official statement by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Jimoh Moshood said Adeyanju and his group of protesters have been charged of Criminal Conspiracy, defamation of character, public nuisance and sundry offences.

“Deji Adeyanju, Daniel Abobama and Boma Williams contravene the law and were arrested for Criminal Conspiracy, Joint Act, defamation of character, public nuisance, disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, disturbance of public peace, inciting public disturbance, threat to public security and safety, criminal defamatory and derogatory conduct against constituent authority and breach of law and order under sections 96, 113, 114, 152, 183 and 391 of Penal Code law”, the statement reads in part.

Speaking on the development, the Kaduna lawmaker warned those abusing power by arresting those who criticized them to take note that their position was ‘temporary’ as such cruelty will also be meted on them.

Sani on his Twitter page called for the unconditional release of Adeyanju.

The Kaduna lawmaker wrote: “Deji Adeyanju should be freed unconditionally or should be charged to court.

“Those abusing the privilege and opportunity of being in office by arresting and jailing those who criticize them should always be reminded that power is ephemeral.

“And that someday they will find themselves at the receiving end of the kind of cruelty they once meted against others.”

2019: Details of INEC’s closed-door meeting with National Peace Committee revealed

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The National Peace Committee has expressed concern over the the 2019 general election.

The Peace Committee led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Bishop Matthew Kukah, is also worried about the security situation in the North East and Rivers State.

Abubakar pointed out that where there is no peace there can’t be a country.

The former Head of State said this at a meeting between the Peace Committee and INEC in Abuja yesterday.

Abubakar assured that judging by the briefing from the commission, there are strong indications that INEC is 100 per cent ready for 2019.

He said, “So far, as INEC is concerned, they are 100 per cent ready.

“But, the political parties also have to assist them in ensuring that they send the names of their agents to ensure that there are no problems so that they can finalize the printing of ballot papers and other issues.

“As far as INEC is concerned, from the briefing we received, they are ready pending of course what the political parties do. So, now, the ball is in the court of the political parties to get their acts together.”

According to Abubakar, INEC has no funding problem, notwithstanding the fact that the Commission’s budget was yet to be assented to.

He continued, “We invited the chairman of INEC and he came with his high powered delegation.

“For one hour or so, he briefed us on preparation for the elections, challenges and what he is going to do, in order to make sure the elections are successful, free and fair.

“We have taken note of flash areas in the states where he wants the Peace Committee to intervene, in order to bring peace, so that elections would be conducted.

“On our part, we will do the best that we can, in order to help sanitise the political arena,” he said, during his opening remarks.

Asked the security flashpoint the Commission expressed concern about, Abubakar replied: “All of us are worried about the security situation in the North East and, it is necessary that we try to contain it, in order for INEC to conduct elections.

“You should know that INEC will not send people to endanger their lives in order to conduct elections.

“And, in actual fact, no agent or political party will endanger the lives of its people in any conflict areas and, we will try to contain that violence in order to conduct elections.”

On other possible flashpoints, Abubakar said: “I believe that you are Nigerians, the media have told us where there are crises.

“In particular, we have problems in Rivers state and some other areas where problems are emerging.

“So, we will try to see how we can nip the problem in the bud. And, you help us, also, in giving us information, where you think we should intervene.

“It is not only the INEC that the responsibility lays on; every Nigerian has a role to play.”

Abubakar also spoke on imposition of candidates by political parties.

“It is mainly on the activities of the political parties. You saw during the primaries, either direct or indirect, or whatever it was, the report from the media where there were impositions of candidates.

“So, these are part of the challenges.”

He also revealed that the committee would be meeting with the leadership of political parties, as a precursor to signing a National Peace accord.

“The next stage is that we are going to meet with the chairmen and secretaries of political parties today to discuss and see how we can make progress.

“After the meeting with the political parties, we are going to draw a Memorandum of Understanding for peace and tranquility and this, we hope, will be signed by all the presidential candidates and chairmen of all the registered political parties,” he said.

Also speaking after the meeting, INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu told newsmen the Commission has told the committee “some of the challenges we are facing.

“Basically, this was our routine meeting with the committee and more of these interactions are planned with the committee and chairman and secretaries of political parties.

“We will continue with this kind of interactive meetings with stakeholders as the elections approach.”

How two people died after giving statements in Nyako’s trial – Witness

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A detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Adekunle Odofin, has told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, that two people who made “crucial statements” during the investigation into a N29billion fraud case involving Murtala Nyako, a former governor of Adamawa State, died mysteriously after giving their statements.

Nyako is being prosecuted by the Commission, alongside his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba, on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29billion.

Five companies that allegedly served as conduit pipes for the illegal diversion of the funds – Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited, were equally charged before the court as the 5th to 9th defendants.

Testifying as the twentieth prosecution witness, Odofin, who had started his testimony on June 23, 2018 and tendered documents which were admitted in evidence, told the court on that one Mohammad Maj Iro, who was the General Manager, Zenith Bank Plc, the Regional Manager in charge of North-East, and the Account Officer of Adamawa State 200 accounts, domiciled in Zenith bank, died after making “crucial statements”, at the time of filing the case in the court.

While being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, on November 27, 2018, the detective told the court that the Commission also extended invitations to one Dalhatu Abdulmalik, who was the cousin to Nyako and the Director of Ameak Investment Limited, Kirkelly Investment Limited and Pilkola Engineering Limited, and that after giving his own statement, during the point of filing the case in court, he also died.

Referring to Maj Iro, Odofin said he pulled out over N800million (Eight Hundred Million Naira) from the Adamawa State account, and credited same to Crust Energy Limited, the 9th defendant in the case, taking orders from the then governor of the state, Nyako.

He explained that the behaviour of two accounts belonging to the State (Special Service Department, SSD, and Secretary to the State Government, SSG) drew the attention of the EFCC.

According to him, “the behaviour of these accounts, showed how money was being withdrawn in multiple of Ten Million Naira on different dates, running into billions of naira, by late Mohammad Maj Iro”.

He said: “The question is, why did Maj Iro withdraw money from Adamawa State account, without being a staff of the state government? Investigations revealed that memos were originated from permanent secretaries of the SSD, Mohammed Ibrahim Jidado and that of the SSG, Emmanuel Ibrahim.

“Having generated these memos, same were forwarded to SSG for transmission to the number one citizen of the State, the governor. Upon the approval of these memos, same came back to the SSG”.

He explained that vouchers were raised after the approval of the memos, in the name of the Permanent Secretary, the Accountant and cashier as the same and now taken to Maj Iro.

“Having received these cheques, Maj Iro, being a seasoned banker, pulled out these monies from the two accounts ( SSD and SSG) and he starts crediting various individuals and corporate accounts, most especially, without the knowledge of the account owners”, the witness added.

He continued: “Maj Iro credited Zenith Bank accounts of the 5th to the 9th defendants (Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited), out of the money he pulled out from Adamawa State accoun.

“Part of the money Maj Iro transferred to Tower Asset Management Limited, the sum of N678,000,000 (Six Hundred And Seventy Eight Million Naira) was transferred to Crust Energy on different dates.

“Maj Iro also transferred N160, 000,000 out of the money he pulled out from Adamawa State account to a company called Maxion Option Limited. Maxion Option Limited transferred same to Crust Energy Limited Zenith bank account”.

The witness further told the court how Maj Iro disbursed millions of naira to the companies used to launder state funds.

“Maj Iro also transferred sums of money on different dates to Sabore Farms Limited. Out of the money transferred to the company by Maj Iro, the sum of N20million was transferred to Mainstream Energy Limited. Another N20million was transferred from same Sabore Farms to one Sanni Hello of Mainstream Energy Limited. Another N10million was transferred to Crust Energy Limited”, Odofin said.

The matter was thereafter adjourned to November 29, 2018 for continuation of trial.

Champions League: Rio Ferdinand singles out one player for praise after PSG 2-1 win over Liverpool

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PSG won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes to put Liverpool’s qualification hopes in doubt.

It was goals from Juan Bernat and Neymar that ensured the win for the French side.

James Milner pulled one back for Liverpool from the spot kick after Sadio Mane was taken down in the box by Angel Di Maria.

The former England defender pointed out that the first half set the tone for the remainder of the match.

Ferdinand noted that Silva was key to stopping star Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

“The foundations were set in the first half,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“A fantastic, attacking performance from this team.

“I thought Thiago Silva, the captain, was immense today.

“He shackled Salah, who was left fairly isolated up front on his own.

“But Liverpool never got going today.

“The spark, the word we mentioned in the first half, they lacked throughout the game.

“And I thought PSG were very, very much worthy winners tonight.

“I thought Liverpool were a bit short.”

EFCC talks tough as 2019 election campaigns begin

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The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has cautioned politicians against misuse of public funds for the forthcoming general elections.

Magu gave the warning in a statement signed by the commission’s Acting Head, Media and Publicity Mr Tony Orilade in Abuja on Wednesday.

The statement quoted Magu as giving the warning at a one-day retreat for 36 state governors and key election stakeholders.

Represented by the commission’s secretary Mr Olanipekun Olukoyede, Magu said that as another election cycle approached, the EFCC would not fold its hands and watch the nation’s commonwealth squandered by corrupt politicians.

The retreat, which has as its theme as “Institutionalising Transparency, Accountability, And Anti-Corruption Issues in the Electoral Process in Nigeria”, was organised by the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL).

He said EFCC would keenly monitor the financial affairs of political parties to ensure that the use of public funds to finance and prosecute their campaigns was checked.

He gave assurance that henceforth, donations to political parties and the identities of the donors would be of interest to the commission.

“To minimise corruption and the use of public funds to fund political parties and finance elections, there is need for greater effectiveness.

“In enforcing the provisions of the various electoral laws in Nigeria especially as they relate to penalties upon breach of their provisions.

“Political parties should be required to keep proper records of all incomes, contributions and expenditure, and to open their books for inspection by relevant security agencies after every electioneering cycle,” Magu said.

Europa League: Arsenal’s squad for Vorskla clash revealed

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Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, has named a host of academy players in his squad to face Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League on Thursday.

First-team players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira have not travelled to Ukraine.

Instead, the more unfamiliar names of Charlie Gilmour, Zech Medley and Dejan Iliev have taken their place.

Senior players such as Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey have made the trip, but nine outfield members of Freddie Ljungberg’s Under-23s have also travelled to Ukraine.

Charlie Gilmour, Eddie Nketiah, Tyreece John-Jules, Zech Medley, Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Bukayo Saka and Dominic Thompson were all on the plane which left from Luton airport heading for Kiev on Wednesday afternoon.

The game has been moved by Uefa from Poltava to Kiev because of security concerns in Ukraine.

Arsenal, who have already qualified for the last 32, will clinch top spot in Group E with a victory.

Emery’s men play Tottenham at home on Sunday and Manchester United away next Wednesday in the Premier League and Emery wants his squad in top condition for those two fixtures.