…Captain Hashim Abdullahi
1. COURT REMANDS ALLEGED KILLERS OF ARMY COLONEL IN PRISON CUSTODY
The six persons arrested in connection with the alleged killing of an army officer, Colonel Anthony Okeyim, in Ibadan, Oyo State, last year, were on Wednesday remanded at the Agodi prison on the order of the Chief Magistrate Ebeloku Mustapha. The suspects, Solomon Agada Emmanuel, 20; Taiwo Adeniyi, 33; Bibisoye Kehinde a.k.a Efrebor, 26, Ewere Andrew, 25 Udobata Orusa-Uzi, a.k.a Kaka, 28 and Ephraim Obi, had been arraigned at the Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court in connection with the murder of Colonel Okeyim, who was the Commandant of the Command Secondary School, Apata, Ibadan. bAccording to the police prosecutor, Inspector Fashola Musiliu, the suspects have been charged on three counts bordering on conspiracy, robbery and murder of the late Commandant, the acts which were committed on December 11, last year. After reading the counts to the suspects, Chief Magistrate Mustapha, adjourned the case till March 28, for hearing, saying the court would wait for the advice of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) before proceeding. With all the counts brought against the suspects punishable under the Criminal Code Cap of Oyo State 2000, the accused were then remanded at the Agodi prison. It will be recalled that after the crime had been committed, it took the partnership of the army, Department of State Services (DSS) and the police to unravel those who, in one way or the other, participated the in crime leading to the killing of the army officer.
2. BORNO: MILITARY SENTENCES 2 SOLDIERS TO 7 YEARS IMPRISONMENT OVER MANSLAUGHTER
The military mourt-martial set up by 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri has yesterday sentenced two solders to various terms of imprisonment ranging from seven years and 14 months respectively. The court-martial in the case of Lance Corporal Hassan Adamu found him guilty of shooting one Umar Alka to death at Monday Market. The accused plea that the deceased was shot when he tried to snatch his rifle was not accepted by the court as his case of murder was turned to manslaughter. In his ruling, the president of the court-martial , Brig-Gen Olusegun Adeniyi said the soldier’s claim that the deceased, Umar Alka held on to the Nussle of his rifle before the shooting does not prove that he was a considerable threat to him and other soldiers who joined him in beating the deceased. “ There is use of excessive force on the unarmed civilian and the court found you Lance Corporal Hassan Adamu guilty not on murder but on manslaughter and you are hereby sentenced to seven years imprisonment,” said Brig-Gen Adeniyi. The second case involved Private Chigozie Egbe who was charged for deserting his duty post at Gwoza and losing his AK 47 and many rounds of ammunition during Boko Haram attack at the town.
3. ARMY: SOLDIER UNDER PROBE FOR BRUTALISING WOMAN
The Army has confirmed that a soldier, who allegedly brutalised a female passenger travelling from Port Harcourt to Onitsha, is under interrogation. The incident allegedly occurred at a military checkpoint in Port Harcourt on Monday. The Army authorities pleaded with the public to have faith and confidence in it to handle such cases. According to a post on the victim’s social media account, the lady identified as Jewel Infinity said she was on her way to Onitsha aboard a Toyota Sienna bus when her car was pulled over at a checkpoint “immediately after the airport”. Jewel recounted that she was molested by a young soldier named Sulaiman Olamilekan, who accused her of “discussing him” and ordered her to disembark from the vehicle, kneel down and apologise to him. “To my greatest dismay, this dude went in search of any object at his disposal (a huge stick) and started hitting it all over my body, he shoved me out of the vehicle and when he piecesed (sic) the stick on me, he went in search of another thing and he came back with a big rod…” Jewel recounted. She claimed the incident was later reported at the Army Barracks and sympathetic officers later apologised and took her to the hospital for treatment. But in a reaction, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sanni Usman said the issue is under investigation.
4. DASUKI: COURT REJECTS N2B SUSPECT’S BID TO TRAVEL ABROAD FOR TREATMENT
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday rejected an application by Olugbenga Obadina, a business man, on trial for alleged money laundering, to travel abroad for medical treatment. Obadina was alleged to have received over N2 billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser under retired Col. Sambo Dasuki without a contract. At the resumed hearing, counsel to Obadina, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) applied for temporary release of his passport to enable him travel for treatment abroad. Uche said the medical papers were attached to the affidavit deposed to by the applicant. The prosecuting counsel, Mr Larry Aso, opposed the application on the grounds that the medical papers emanated from the clinic of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, which was unrelated to the applicant in anyway. Aso maintained that the prosecution held unto its stand that the defendant was a flight risk, adding that ulcer, the ailment the defendant sought treatment could be handled in Nigeria.
5. SIX KILLED AS ILLEGAL MINERS CLASH IN PLATEAU
No fewer than six persons were feared dead yesterday when illegal miners clashed in Gyoro village of Gyel District in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. The clash allegedly occurred at about 1p.m. when a miners from Gyel engaged in a heated argument with another from Miango in Bassa Local Government Area of the state over ownership of a lucrative mining well. The argument snowballed into a violent clash, claiming six persons. An eyewitness and miner who simply gave his name as James, said four of the victims were killed and dumped in a mining pond as people the fled the community to safety. He said: “I also escaped as the violence escalated and the youths of the area attacked innocent persons in the mining camp. They were using daggers and other dangerous weapons. He said three persons were killed from Gyel community, and another three from Miango community, adding that the escalation was however curtailed by a swift intervention of soldiers from the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army, Rukuba Barracks.
6. N420BN ILLEGAL CRUDE, DIESEL SEIZED BY NIGERIAN NAVY IN 2016
The Nigerian Navy has disclosed that it confiscated 810,725 metric tonnes of crude oil and 1.1 million metric tonnes of illegally refined diesel, with a total value put at N420.1 billion in 2016. The development, the navy noted, was despite a meagre overhead budget release of N2.5 billion in the outgone year. This is as the House of Representatives Committee on Navy stated that the country loses an estimated N3 trillion annually to the activities of economic saboteurs in the maritime domain. The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, in his presentation at the 2017 budget defence session before the committee yesterday, said the navy in the same year, also arrested 22 vessels, destroyed 181 illegal refineries and 38 barges, and arrested 784 suspected oil vandals. He further disclosed that N207 million was generated by the navy through various taxes, and contractors’ registration fees: the monies have since been remitted into the Federal Inland Revenue accounts and the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA). The sum of N26 billion is being proposed for the navy’s 2017 capital expenditure with N32 billion as overhead budget proposal, and personnel cost proposal of N60.3 billion.
7. BUDGET DEFENCE: N4BN GROSSLY INADEQUATE TO ADDRESS TERRORISM, KIDNAPPING, OTHER CRIMES, SAYS IG
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, yesterday said the N4 billion it got last year as part of its 2016 capital appropriation was grossly inadequate to address terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and maintain law and order. According to him, the 2016 budget appropriation of the police which summed up to N308.9 billion was made up of N16.1 allocation for capital expenditure, N9.3 billion for overhead cost while N284 billion was set aside for personnel. The police boss said allocations to the force are grossly inadequate despite the increasing security challenges it contends, stressing that in 2016, only 25 per cent of the appropriated fund was actually released, leaving a whooping sum of N12 billion as at December last year. Idris who made the disclosure during an oversight visit by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, led by Mr. Haliru Jika, said the police received N4 billion out of N16.1 billion appropriated for it last year. He said allocations to the force is grossly inadequate despite the increase the 25 per cent, which according to him, is a far cry from the requirement to address security challenges and violent crimes. Making further clarification, he said: “In 2016, the Nigeria Police received the sum of N6.3 billion as overhead cost allocation out of N9.2 billion appropriated for the year, leaving an out of N2.8 billion not released.”
8. ARMS CASH: OBANIKORO RETURNS N30M, TO PAY N417M
A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has returned a fresh sum of N30m to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with a promise to pay a balance of N417m, The PUNCH can confirm. Calculations by our correspondent showed that the former minister has now returned N167m to the Federal Government. A reliable source told our correspondent that the former minister paid the money from his Diamond Bank account to the EFCC Recovered Funds Account. The source stated, “I can confirm that Senator Obanikoro has been meeting up his part of the agreement. You will recall that last year, he promised to return a certain amount of money every quarter. “He has made a payment of N30m, his first instalment in 2017. He is also reporting at the EFCC as he should.” The ex-minister, who returned to Nigeria in October 2016, after spending about 15 months in the United States, was accused of receiving N4.7bn from the Office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
9. BANDITS KILL TARABA’S ASSISTANT SURVEYOR-GENERAL, FOUR OTHERS
The Assistant Surveyor-General of Taraba State, Mr Zakari Bakari and four other officials, had been killed by bandits in Cameroon. The State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Silas Sanga, on Wednesday in Yola said that Bakari together with an official of the UN and some staff of National Boundary Commission were killed in Koncha village in Cameroon. He said that the deceased were killed on Tuesday while demarcating and delineating the Nigeria/Cameroon border in line with the judgment of the International Court of Justice. He said that the deceased entered Cameroon through Toungo Local Government Area of Adamawa to conduct the exercise. Sanga added that the deceased were members of International Committee set up by the UN to conduct the exercise. He said, “The Cameroonian authorities have released their corpses and the corpses have just arrived Adamawa as I am talking to you.” He explained that the deceased included a Kenyan and another Nigerian from Jigawa.
10. THREE SOLDIERS, 41 BOKO HARAM FIGHTERS KILLED IN BORNO — ARMY
Three soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole and 41 Boko Haram members died on Wednesday in a gun battle between the troops and the insurgents in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State. Our correspondent learnt that troops of 25 Task Force Brigade, 7 Division, Nigerian Army, embarked on a clearance operation at Dulsa and Buk areas, when there was a gun battle between the insurgents and the troops. Six Boko Haram members were reportedly killed in Dulsa and 35 were shot dead in Buk by the troops. It was gathered that apart from the three soldiers killed by the Boko Haram, five others were seriously injured in the clash. The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, who confirmed the casualty figure, said the troops recovered one gun truck mounted with an anti-aircraft gun and two Hilux vehicles, among other items from the fleeing terrorists. He said, “At Dulsa on Wednesday morning, the troops cleared the hideout of the terrorists during which they killed six Boko Haram terrorists. They recovered one Light Machine Gun, two Rocket Propelled Grenade Tubes and one Extra Anti-Aircraft Gun Barrel.