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Tension as cult members kill five in Lagos community

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No fewer than five people have been killed in a supremacy fight between suspected members of the Eiye and Aiye cults in the Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Residents, who spoke during visits to scenes of the attacks, identified the victims as Oladipupo Bamitogba, Yosi, Ibrahim Abiodun, Sesan and Rasak Busari, aka Aro.

Some residents claimed that two of the victims, Bamitogba and Yosi, were not cultists, adding that they were only victims of circumstances.

A witness, Lateef Abdullahi, said Bamitogba, an accountant, was shot and cut with machetes around Adaraloye area of Ikorodu on Monday, May 6, 2019.

He explained that the victim died after running out of oxygen when the ambulance conveying him to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, ran into gridlock.

Another witness, Saliu Balogun, said Yosi was killed when the hoodlums who stormed the Isele area around 9pm last Sunday missed their target.

He said, “Around 9.30pm, the cult members came to kill one of their opponents. When they got to the area, they opened fire on the target. The target escaped, but bullets hit Yosi and another man. They ran after the target. When they could not get him, they returned to where Yosi was lying down and stabbed him. He died at the Ikorodu General Hospital, but the other victim survived.”

The third victim, Abiodun, was reportedly killed in broad daylight.

A resident, Lola Sunday, said the hoodlums first opened fire on Abiodun before attacking him with machetes.

Sunday said, “We ran inside immediately they started shooting at him; we peeped through a hole in the gate and saw two guys with an axe and a gun. After killing him, they took a snapshot of his corpse and left. It was when the police came that Ibrahim (Abiodun) was identified as a cult member.”

A businessman, who did not want his name in print, said Sesan was shot dead last Tuesday around 8pm.

Sesan was reportedly killed near his house in the Itunmoja-Itunpate area of Ikorodu.

He said,“We were praying in the mosque when we suddenly heard gunshots; we didn’t finish the prayers because everyone took to their heels. It was when we came back that we realised that Sesan had been shot dead. From what we heard, the people who killed him were cultists. We don’t know if he was a cultist or not; but ever since the incident happened, we have been leaving early for safety.”

Another resident, Thomas Badmus, said the fifth victim, Busari, was killed on the day he was to travel out of the country.

The legal practitioner said, “I knew Rasak (Busari) because we stayed in the same area. He was a notorious cult member who had attempted to kill a rival cultist on Saturday. The guy escaped and went to mobilise members of his faction.

“On Sunday, Rasak was warned about the impending danger, but he ignored it. He made an attempt to run when they eventually came, but it was too late. About seven cult members chased and caught up with him in front of his house, where he was stabbed to death with a dagger.

“This is a residential area and shops have not been opening because people are scared of a reprisal. We heard that Rasak was to travel abroad on the day he was killed.”

The Provost Marshal of Onyabo, a neighbourhood watch outfit, Olanrewaju Olabinjo, said his men had arrested four suspects in connection with the killings.

He lamented that most of the attacks were led by hoodlums his group had arrested in the past, adding that the police released the suspects for lack of evidence.

Olabinjo said, “I will describe the people carrying out these attacks as miscreants and not cult members because when we had a peace talk, the so called cultists –  the Eiye, the Aiye and the Alora members –  came together to renounce their membership. This was in the presence of a former Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, a representative of the AIG Zone 2, obas, chiefs and religious leaders in Ikorodu. So, no one can say why they have started killing one another again.

“We know these cult members personally; we know their parents and their hideouts; we need financial, moral and physical support of the Lagos State Government to bring them to justice.

“From 2018 to date, we have arrested over 250 cultists and handed them over to the police. Some were prosecuted, but to our surprise, one or two weeks after the prosecution, they were released because the police claimed that they did not have any evidence against them.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, said the commander of the anti-cultism unit of the command had been deployed in Ikorodu to restore normalcy in the area.

He explained that suspected cultists handed over to the command by security outfits were usually freed for lack of evidence.

Elkana said, “Ikorodu is well known for cult activities and we have deployed our resources there. In fact, the commander of the anti-cultism unit was asked to lead a team to Ikorodu to confront them.

“As I speak to you, there is an ongoing operation in Ikorodu; we have arrested over 20 suspects for cult-related issues and we are not stopping until we sanitise the area.

“Also, we have been educating neighbourhood watch members that there are points to prove an offence. You don’t just arrest someone and tag him a cultist, there must be evidence to show; there must be records and testimonies of witnesses. There are things that you must establish before that person is arraigned. We usually charge the cultists they bring to court; they are out because of insufficient evidence. We want them to know that while making an arrest, they should also get enough evidence that will stand in court.”

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We’ll Treat Anyone Associated With IPOB As A Terrorist – Abia CP

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The Abia State Police Command has warned the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against any activity capable of truncating the peace and safety of the residents.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ene Okon, gave the warning in an interview on Channels Television.

He said that anyone or group of persons associated with IPOB will be termed as a terrorist and dealt with severely.

“The Nigeria Police Force In Abia will treat any person associated with IPOB as a terrorist and such a person or group of persons will be dealt with according to the law”.

The commissioner’s comment comes in reaction to the sit-at-home-order issued by the proscribed movement, scheduled to come into effect on May 30, 2019.

He noted that security personnel have been put in strategic places, thereby assuring residents to go about their activities without fear.

“I am assuring the good people of Abia to disregard the illegal order and go about their normal businesses as there is every assurance of protection of lives and properties”, he added.

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EFCC arrests Kwara Assembly clerk over alleged N400m severance pay

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating alleged illegal payment of about N400 million to some members of the Kwara state House of Assembly, it was gathered.

Accordingly, the anti-graft body is quizzing Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sola Gold and the Clerk of the state House of Assembly, Kperogi Halimat Jummai over the alleged payment.

EFCC source maintained that the payment did not follow due process.

It was gathered that all the 24 lawmakers were two weeks ago paid the sum of N400 million severance package, when their tenure is yet to expire.

The petitioner said even though the lawmakers and members of the state executive council are entitled to severance package, it is the next administration that is supposed to pay the money, a source at the EFCC has said.

“More worrisome is the issue of furniture allowance running to hundreds of millions of naira according to the petitioner which they wanted it pay along with severance package,” the petitioner added.

Speaker of the Assembly Dr Ali Ahmed had in a letter with Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, confirmed that the lawmakers are entitled to severance package at the end of their tenure on June 7th this year.

The letter reads that “in accordance with the provisions of the revenue mobilization, allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) honourable members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of office.”

The clerk of the house, Halimat Jummai Kperogi confirmed that the lawmakers had received their severance package.

She was said to have told the operatives of the EFCC that Governor Ahmed approved the payment of the package.

Kperogi said “in a meeting of the principal officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I was scheduled to be the secretary, held on May 8th, 2019, issue of severance gratuity to the honourable members was raised, the principal officers were informed that the state government has approved the payment of the severance gratuity.”

“At the meeting, I informed the house that the governor had approved the payment. I added that members were expected to be paid after the expiration of their tenure of office. The house debated it and they overruled me.”

Alhaji Gold on the other hand wrote and sought for the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about N300 million for some members of the state executive council.

Gold, in a letter to the governor dated May 8th, 2019 said “your Excellency, by virtue of the provisions of Kwara state remuneration of political and public office holders laws, certain category of political and public office holders are entitled to severance and furniture allowances of their basic salaries respectively upon
successful completion of tenure.”

Alhaji Gold said that while the lawmakers had received their monies, members of the state executive council are yet to receive their gratuity.

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FG approves N25bn earned academic allowances for ASUU members

….Minister: We spent N1.338tn on education in four years

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The Federal Government on Tuesday said it has approved additional N25 billion payment for Earned Academic Allowances for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

It was learnt that the money is a part payment contained in the Memorandum of Action the Union signed with the government.

The government said the N25 billion was aside the N20 billion that was released last year to public universities in the country.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu broke the news at his valedictory press conference as a minister on Tuesday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Adamu was joined by Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah and Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed at the briefing.

The minister said all universities in the country have benefitted from the N20 billion released last year by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.

He said the Buhari administration inherited an unimplementable agreement of N1.3 trillion when it assumed office in 2015.

Adamu said: “Let me inform you that the federal government has just approved an additional N25 billion to be shared to beneficiary institutions directly. Last year, the federal government released N20 billion directly to universities. As I speak, all universities have got their share of the N20 billion.

“The sad news is that the N200 billion that was released to the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2013 for the universities has not been fully accessed. In specific terms, all the 73 public varsities have accessed the 1st tranche of 50 percent of the N200 billion.

“For the second tranche of 40 percent, only 56 institutions have been able to access their funds. The last 10 percent representing the third tranche of the N200 billion has not been accessed at all.

Adamu, in his Education for Change: Our stewardship in the last four years, address, said the government invested N1.338 trillion on the sector in the last four years.

Adamu said: “In spite of the economic downturn, we have done well in terms of investment in capital expenditure. The UBEC interventions in states have recorded a total of N350 billion, while TETFund and NEED Assessment interventions have recorded N857 billion with the main ministry and other agencies recording N86 billion, totalling N1.338 trillion in the last four years.

“This is aside from the N25 billion just approved for public universities. These figures have nothing to do with personnel and overhead cost in the education sector, which are also well over a trillion naira.

“Private sector investment in the education sector from the basic, secondary and tertiary levels far outweigh government investment. Our aggregate expenditure in the education sector (public and private) therefore exceeds the much touted 20 percent of our national budget. We are poised to do more.

He said the administration has laid a good foundation for dealing with the challenges posed by the out-of-school children phenomenon and the huge number of adult illiterates.

“If we continue on this path, in the next ten years, Nigeria’s challenges in this twin direction I’ll be confined to the dust in of history.

“On basic, secondary and tertiary education, we shall continue on the path of infrastructural and manpower development, increasing carrying capacity and creating unfettered access to all levels of our education for our young people.,” the minister added.

ASUU president. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the N25 billion was supposed to be released by government to its members in March this year as part of the MoA it signed with the union.

He said he could not confirm if members of the union had received the funds or not.

The. ASUU president said the N20 billion that has been fully accessed by its members was for revitalisation of universities in the country.

“I can’t confirm if the money has been released to our members. We still have issues with the money.

“The N25 billion is part of the Earned Academic Allowances for our members. It is a part payment. We have been chasing that money to be released to us. The money was supposed to be released in March 28 this year but the government released only N20 billion leaving a balance of N5 billion.

“The balance is supposed to be mainstreamed into 2019 budget,” he added.

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