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CRIME

Anambra Community Protests Over Release Of Four Murder Suspects From Police Custody

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Protesting widows

By Chuks Eke*

Scores of widows and relatives of those allegedly killed by a deadly gang, Pillar Youths, operating in the oil-rich Ogwuaniocha community in Anambra State’s Ogbaru Local Government Area, took to the streets yesterday to protest the release of four murder suspects detained in various police formations across the state.

The demonstrators focused their protest on the fact that the murder suspects were granted bail by the Chairman of the Ogbaru Local Government Transition Committee, Hon. Pascal Aniegbunam.

Protesters held placards with inscriptions like “Ogbaru council chairman stop aiding and abetting Pillar Youths to kill us, Ogbaru LGA chairman allow police to do their work, we need justice on the murder of our husbands and relations by killer pillar Youths, Pascal Aniegbunam, council chairman has no right to release those who kill our husbands and relations,” and chanted songs in their local dialect.

They urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to persuade the council boss to distance himself from the situation and allow the police to do their job, claiming that it took some time to apprehend the murder suspects and prepare them for trial.

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During the demonstration, Mrs. Augustina Ejiofor, wife of Mr. Sunday Ejiofor, stated that the Pillar Youths kidnapped and killed her husband. Anthony Nnaji, one of the suspects, was arrested and detained at Zone 13 Police Command, Ukpo. Chibunna and Jekwu were also arrested and detained at SARS Awkuzu, and another was arrested by Police Area Command Oraifite. However, the council chairman used his position to release them.

“Two of those suspects, Chibunna and Jekwu, are his local government security guards, and they routinely storm our camps, kidnapping and killing perceived enemies. They should leave us alone in the camp where we are staying after evicting us from our homes”.

“Governor Soludo, we need justice in the abduction and murder of Sunday Ejiofor, Afam Enyimezie, and Friday Obimma, among others. “Governor Soludo, we are dying; Pascal should let us be and let justice take its course,” she begged.

“God will not let the council chairman go Scott free because he bailed out those who killed our husbands and other relatives. Pascal, rather than acting as a father figure in Ogbaru, is biassed because he helps and abets Pillar Youths. “Let him leave the police to do their jobs,” she cried.

Mrs. Ijeoma Enumezie, a widow, stated that her husband, Afam Enumezie, was killed for no reason. Our problem began when Igwe Oliver Nnaji was declared missing years ago. Since then, the missing monarch’s killer Pillar Youths have continued to kill our people, and the LGA chairman, Pascal, has protected them from justice. How can he intervene in a murder case under investigation by the police and bail them out? He should allow the police to do their job as a deterrent to future offenders,” she said.

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Mrs Chinyere Obinna, whose son is suspected of having been killed, stated, “Pillar Youths took us to their torture camp near the river and tied my husband and son’s hands with ropes; my husband’s rope was divinely untied and he dived into the river and escaped, but my son was killed.” “Governor Soludo should please persuade Pascal to drop the case in the interest of justice and peace in the community,” she begged.

Mbakwe Ekpom Enumezie, a sibling of the alleged killed Afam Enumezie, told reporters that his elder brother, Afam, was kidnapped by some youths believed to be Pillar Youths on October 19, last year.

“When I heard about it, I called ‘Anthony Nnaji,’ and he told me that he sent the youths who kidnapped my brother.” We have not seen him since then. Police responded to the challenges by arresting Anthony Nnaji, Chibuzor, Jekwu, and another suspect, but instead of allowing the police to do their job, the council chairman went and got them on bail.”

“That means he is working with suspects in committing crimes, and he should be queried about his interest in arresting murder suspects who have even confessed to the murder of the husbands of these widows and other victims,” he disclosed.

Mrs. Loveth Ogana, wife of Okwudili Ogana, an embattled igweship contender from Ogwuaniocha, advised the council chairman to refrain from intervening in the murder case and allow justice to take its course. She emphasised that those murdered were human beings, not cows.

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When contacted, council chairman Hon. Pascal Aniegbunam told reporters on the phone that he fought for the suspects’ release and that it was done in good faith to bring about peace.

” His words, In Ogbaru we have 40-man Central Strike Force with members drawn from all the communities in the council area and group was formed to checkmate crimes and criminalities in the Area and two of my men were arrested by the police over the purported murder and I had to get to the police and told them that two of my men were detained and that they help in crime fighting in Ogbaru Local Government Area.

“If there is any murder in Ogwuaniocha it is the police and Navy that should be held responsible and not members of my strike force who merely assisted the police and navy to control crime in the area. The strike force merely assist the police and Navy in the Ogbaru terrain as indigenes”.

“I am not from Ogwuaniocha and those people have been threatening fire and brimstone, that they will kill me, and so on. I can’t advise anybody to kill his brother and whenever the police need those released, they will be produced. The police are there to investigate the matter and can rearrest if need be”, he assured.

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CRIME

Police Nab Security Guard For Allegedly Stabbing Teenage Boy To Death

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By Chuks Eke*

A security guard attached to St. Alphonsus Catholic Church parish, Nkpor Uno in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra state is now cooling off at Ogidi Police station for allegedly stabbing a teenage ex-student of the parish secondary school to death with a dagger.

The guard simply identified as David Isaac, an indigene of Kogi state under the employ of Diamond Security Company, according to the source, had pierced the dagger through the neck of the victim during a scuffle and before he could be rushed to a nearby Crown hospital, for a medical attention, he bled to death as the authorities confirmed him dead.

According to the source, trouble started when the guard was foot-patrolling around the church premises and he claimed to have seen the victim having sexual intercourse with his girlfriend inside the Church Chapel at about 8 p.m. on that fateful day.

The source further stated that when the guard queried the teenage boy as to why he was allegedly having intercourse inside a holy place like a Chapel, the victim denied having sex with the girl but insisted that he was only praying with the girl and not having sex.

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When the guard insisted that he saw them having the sex, the victim allegedly flayed up and engaged him in a hot argument which nearly ended up in a fisticuff between the duo and it was at this point that the guard applied his dagger on the victim.

The Parish Priest of St Alphonsus Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Peter Okoli could not be reached when newsmen visited the church premises to ascertain what was Ami’s but a top official of the parish who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the suspect had been handed over to the police for further investigations, adding that the church has beefed up security within the premises since the incident occurred because friends and relations of the victim were threatening to burn down the premises in a protest.

The Divisional Police Officer, DPO at Ogidi Police Division, Frank Amobi, CSP, simply confirmed the incident and explained that the suspect was in their custody, declined further details and referred newsmen to the state police spokesman.

The state police spokesman, SP Ikenga told newsmen on the phone yesterday that he was yet to get the detailed report of the incident, even as he promised to make the report available as soon as it is ready.

 

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CRIME

Marwa Insists Drug Law Enforcement Must Keep Up With Dynamics Of Crime

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Marwa

Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, has stated that the illicit drug landscape was rapidly changing, and modern drug law enforcement needed to keep up with the dynamic.

He delivered the verdict at a journalist training session organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to increase the fight against drug trafficking and wildlife crimes in Nigeria.

Marwa stated that the media, as a critical partner, must be well-informed about these shifting trends.

Marwa stated at the training, which was organised by the two agencies in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, that “there have been recent calls for training of journalists in various activities aimed at combating the abuse and trafficking of illicit substances.

“This also implies that such training should not only strengthen the capacity of anti-drug organisations. It should also reform its systems and processes, instilling the essence of best practices.

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He stated: “At NDLEA, we yearn for training, and UNODC has been forthcoming, providing various capacity development training over the last three years.”

While emphasising the importance of journalists understanding key issues of public impact and reporting them in the proper context for data interpretation, UNODC Country Representative Oliver Stolpe stated that data is critical to understanding the prevalence and frequency of scientific issues of concern.

Stolpe, while lamenting the impact of organised wildlife crime, said, “I would like to draw your attention to a much less cited study on cannabis cultivation in Nigeria. It covered six states, was published about two years ago, and established, among other things, that there is a direct link between deforestation and drug cultivation.

“We need to improve our reporting on wildlife and forest crime. I am very pleased to see so much interest in the subject.

“This is a critical issue for Nigeria. It is a much larger challenge than I believe we were aware of, even a few years ago when no one was talking about wildlife and forest crime.

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Stolpe stated that UNODC’s primary collaboration with the media has been to ensure effective information dissemination through meaningful press releases, interviews, and other media events.

He stated, “We have always made it clear that we distinguish between drug trafficking crimes and the issue of drug use, which we consider to be primarily a health issue and should be addressed as such.

“Addiction is a medical condition; it is not an option. As a result, people who are addicted to drugs may have them.

“They should be treated primarily as patients, with access to the treatment and counselling services they require to overcome their respective drug use condition,” he stated.

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CRIME

Why NDLEA Hunts A Couple After Arresting 4 Cartel Members Over Cocaine Seizures

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NDLEA operatives

Wanted couple

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has explained why it declared a couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), wanted.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the anti-narcotics agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, the married couple was declared wanted following the arrest of four members of their syndicate in Lagos, where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses traced to them were sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

According to Babafemi, two members of the syndicate, Imran Olalekan and Ishola Olalekan, were arrested on April 3, 2024, after attempting to export 3.4 kilogrammes of cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight to Oman via Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

He claimed that while Imran was the courier transporting the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the cartel’s leader, Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade, whose Indian residence permit bears the name Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun who is based in India.

He revealed that efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow-up operations, when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Saheed, who works directly with the baron, was apprehended last Tuesday in Lagos’ Abule Egba area. He went on to say that it was Saheed who put Imran in a hotel the day before his aborted trip to Oman and dropped him and Ishola off at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.

He revealed that during a search of Saheed’s home, NDLEA agents discovered 900 grammes of phenacetine, a cocaine-cutting agent. He admitted that the recovered substance was the remainder of Imran’s consignment to Oman on the day he was arrested.

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Saeed’s arrest prompted a follow-up operation at the Owoalade couple’s home at 20 Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos, where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and an additional 400 grammes of cocaine were recovered, in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales, and other paraphernalia;

He added that last Wednesday, NDLEA officers from the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI) attached to a courier firm in Lagos intercepted two parcels containing cocaine and amphetamine concealed in steel bolts and shea butter. While the cocaine weighed 587 grammes and was concealed in eight steel bolt screws going to China, the amphetamine
A shipment packed in vape pens and hidden in shea butter was destined for the United Kingdom.

He said that Emeka Nwadiaro (a.k.a Mega) attempted to export 3.6 kilogrammes. Loud, a strain of cannabis concealed in 36 water flasks bound for Dubai, UAE, was also intercepted at a logistics company in Port Harcourt, Rivers state last Thursday, while a quick follow-up operation resulted in the arrest of the consignment’s owner, Emeka Nwadiaro, in Onitsha, Anambra state the same day.

He stated that NDLEA agents in Lagos intercepted a Mercedes Benz bus loaded with 840 kilogrammes of cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, in Olojo, Ojo LGA, Lagos. Another suspect, Lawal Adam, was apprehended last Friday along Otukpo road, Aliade, Benue state, with 75,000 opioid pills, including tramadol and exol-5. Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25, were arrested on the Owerri-Onitsha road in Imo state after NDLEA agents discovered a large gas cylinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85 kilogrammes.

In Borno state, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested last Thursday at Mbulamel, Biu local government area, with 2 kilogrammes of cannabis and 33.55 grammes of diazepam, while 27-year-old Gaddafi Sani was arrested with 30 kilogrammes of cannabis along the Abuja-Kaduna road in Kaduna.

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In Yobe state, NDLEA officers discovered a consignment of 91.1 kilogrammes of opioids and 13 kilogrammes of cannabis on the Potiskum-Damaturu road and arrested the driver, Ismaila Ali.

He stated that four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials intercepted by NDLEA officers on the Agaie-Lapai road in Niger state. While Abdulrauf Adeyemi, 46, and Asmiyu Rahim, 45, who were transporting the IED materials, were apprehended on the spot, follow-up operations resulted in the arrests of Husaini Abdullahi, 25, at Sokoto main market, Sokoto, and Nazifi Abdullahi, 37, at Naibawa Motor Park, Kano, last Friday.

Meanwhile, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, has ordered that all four suspects and the explosive materials be transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation. Muhammad Lawal, 42, was arrested at Central Market Motor Park in Katsina State with 1,000 ampoules of pentazocine injection.

Last Friday, NDLEA officers raided a house in the Obola community, Owan West local government area, Edo state, and recovered 105 kilogrammes of cannabis. A suspect, Gloria Oris, was arrested. Two suspects in Kwara state, Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were arrested on Saturday, May 18th, with 83 kilogrammes of cannabis and tramadol in Boriya, Baruten local government area, and Offa, respectively.

He noted that the various Agency commands across the country continued the War Against Drug Abuse, or WADA, advocacy campaign with the same vigour in the previous week.

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While congratulating the officers and men of the MMIA, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Imo, and Edo Commands of the Agency, as well as those of DOGI, on their outstanding feats in the past week, NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) stated that the efforts have further affirmed the NDLEA’s central role in the country’s security architecture. He also praised their counterparts in all commands across the country for stepping up their WADA advocacy lectures to strike a balance between drug supply and demand reduction activities.

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