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Police vs Army: PDP govs react angrily to soldiers’ killing of IRT officers

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors have called on the Federal Government to prosecute soldiers who killed three policemen and two civilians in Taraba and Abia States.

PDP Governors’ Forum, in a statement on Monday by its Chairman, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, also called for adequate compensation of the families of victims.

A statement Dickson signed, said senseless killings “have in recent times, taken another gruesome dimension,” noting that this was not only wicked and malicious but unprofessional and cowardly.

“It is totally unacceptable to the people of this country. We wish to reiterate that the killings are unnecessary.

“It is very pathetic that the Nigerian Army would abandon their constitutional role of defending the borders of the country from external aggression to descend into such lowly criminality.

“It is sad that a security personnel, who is paid and maintained with tax-payers’ money, could turn around to kill the person he was paid to protect.”

“’The forum calls on the federal government to redress the situation immediately, as this portrays signs of inefficiency and irresponsibility.

“We implore the federal government to adequately compensate the families of victims and ensure justice is served on the culprits,” the forum added.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has ordered travelling officers and men to wear plain clothes [mufti] while travelling across Nigeria.

This was contained in a circular with reference number: AHQDAIOPS/G3/240/232, and copied to Army formations nationwide.

The letter signed by Brig. Gen. F. Omoigui, on behalf of the COAS, was entitled: “Need for troops to be circumspect in dealing with members of the Nigeria Police.”

Buratai directed soldiers on internal security (IS) operations across the country to be circumspect, alerting of the likelihood of aggression towards troops by police personnel.

He said Police statements and reactions had the potential of forcing the rank and file of its personnel to “exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA (Nigerian Army) personnel.”.

Buratai, in the circular, told soldiers to travel in mufti to avoid possible attacks by policemen, which he argued, may be occasioned by the Police’s comments on both social and traditional media.

Soldiers of the 93 Battalion had shot dead the IRT operatives – Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Usman Danzumi, and Sergeant Dahiru Musa.

The Army claimed they were shot after being mistaken for “suspected kidnappers”.

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Community Policing will minimise crime- Police Commissioner, Cross River State

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The new Commissioner of Police, CP Nkereuwem A. Akpan has assumed duty in Cross River State.

He took over from Austin Agbonlahor who was promoted to AIG. Nkereuwem Akpan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State

In an interactive session with Journalists in his office in Calabar on Wednesday, the new commissioner said that one of his cardinal objectives was to curb the activities of criminals in the state.

He said he will encourage community policing, “I will encourage town hall meetings, wards to local government area meetings, area commands, traditional rulers, heads of communities, etc to support the police.

“These groups can trace the origin of crimes and criminal hideouts” and called on journalists and various groups to join hands with the police in the area of giving timely information that can help the police to curb criminal activities in the state.

Akpan regretted, that because our value systems have been eroded so badly, the society no longer checks youths activities. He called on parents to educate and check the activities of their wards, particularly during this yuletide season so as to reduce all sorts of vices.

He advised criminals to keep off Cross River because according to him, he will trace them to all nooks and crannies of the state.

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EFCC Arrests Typist Over N17m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested Vivian Igwe, a typist at the Protocol Unit of the Ebonyi State Government House, Abakaliki, over allegation o N17m fraud.

The Nigeria Police Force gave Igwe, 25, to the commission following her arrest by the Special Anti- Robbery Squared.

Igwe was arrested by the squad at an ATM point on Ezza Road branch of Ecobank in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.

The funds were said to have been transferred into her account by an unknown person about three weeks ago.

Director of Protocol, Ebonyi Government House, Nnenna Okorie, while reacting to the incident, said the suspect had earlier complained of her inability to make withdrawals from her Ecobank account.

She said the suspect had gone to the bank to apply for reactivation of her ATM card when she was arrested.

She described the suspect as a humble and honest staff and called for proper investigation into the incident.

Okorie said, “The last information I got from her was that she was going for the reactivation of her ATM as directed by the bank only to be arrested on Monday.

“She was later handed over to EFCC personnel from Enugu.”

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Border Closure: Navy impounds 1,425 bags of smuggled rice in Akwa Ibom

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As the borders in Nigeria remain closed, the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo local government area in Akwa Ibom State, said it has seized about 1,425 bags of rice smugled into the state between 12th and 18th November 2019.

The command also arrested 20 suspected smugglers within the period and seized four wooden boats used in carrying the rice.

The Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Captain Peter Yilme while addressing the media, said Navy gunboats, during patrols, seized the boats on Effiat waterways, carrying 50kg bags of rice brought in from the Republic of Cameroon.

While handing over the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Yilme said the Nigerian Navy has zero tolerance for criminality and warned smugglers to desist from the act, especially within FOB, Ibaka area of operation.

Yilme, who was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf, said the base, in the last one month handed over 3,800 bags of smuggled rice, 60 drums of illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO), and 60 suspects to the Customs component of Operation Swift Response for necessary action.

“Four wooden boats carrying a combined 1,425 bags of 50kg parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled into the country and 20 suspects were impounded and arrested by the Forward Operating Base, Ibaka.

“The handover of the 20 suspects and 1,425 bags of rice on Tuesday 19 November, 2019 goes to show the resolve of the Base not to relent on its oars. The arrests were made between November 12 -18, 2019.

“I commend the untiring efforts of the officers and ratings in ensuring the mandate and tasks of the Base are achieved. I also appreciate the immense effort of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral I. E. Ibas for providing the necessary platform and logistic support for the Base to carry out its operations,” he said.

Receiving the 20 suspects from the Nigerian Navy, Deputy Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alabi, Adedokun commended the Navy for the cooperation existing between them, and for the frequent arrests.

One of the suspects, Peter Okon, a married man with three children from Okobo local government area of Akwa Ibom State, said joblessness led him to smuggling the rice.

He said it was his first time in smuggling rice and that the owner of the rice promised to pay him N2,000 to bring in 200 bags of rice from Cameroon to Nigeria.

He noted that since he lives in the creeks in Cameroon, he had no knowledge that the Federal Government had closed the borders to stop the smuggling of rice into Nigeria.

He said, “As you can see, we are jobless people. I am a worker in the boat and the owner of the rice gave me N2,000 to bring in 200 bags of rice from Cameroon. This is my first time; I live in the creeks in Cameroon and I have three children to feed”.

Another suspect, 23-year-old Samuel Etim from Oron local government area of Akwa Ibom State said he was not involved in smuggling the seized rice.

He stated that he was a fisherman in Bakassi and boarded the rice boat because he had no money to pay his fare.

“I don’t know anything about the rice. I joined the boat carrying the rice from Bakassi because I didn’t have money to pay for my fares,” he said.

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