Police Deny Reported Kidnap Of 15 Passengers On Anyigba-Itobe Highway

A police officer wields a gun at a polling unit on November 6, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
A police officer wields a gun at a polling unit on November 6, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

The Kogi State Police Command has debunked the news that 15 passengers were kidnapped on Anyigba-Itobe Highway Estate.

The police in a statement titled ‘Over 15 Passengers Missing As Kidnappers Stormed Anyigba-Itobe High Way’ said the news is totally false, malicious, and highly mischievous.

According to the statement, one Toyota bus conveying 16 passengers from Abuja heading to Benue State ran into kidnappers at Ojuwo-Ajebgo village along Anyigba road but the Commissioner of Police Edward Egbuka got the information and immediately moved to the scene and the passengers were rescued.

“On Wednesday 6/4/2022, the Command received a report that one Toyota bus with Registration Number Benue 192 XA driven by one Benard Ejeh conveying 16 passengers from Abuja heading to Benue State via ANKPA ran into kidnappers at Ojuwo-Ajebgo village of Ofu Local Government Area along Anyigba road.

“Immediately the operatives of Quick Response Unit stationed at Itobe promptly swung into action pursued the hoodlums into the bush and rescued 12 passengers including the driver while 4 other passengers are yet to be seen.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Edward Egbuka who was on a visiting tour at Kogi East Senatorial Zone got the information while he was on his way to Ejule, immediately moved to the scene met with the rescued passengers, and ordered that they should be moved to Itobe Division for debriefing,” the statement signed by the police spokesperson in the state, William Aya read in part.

The statement added that the Commissioner of Police immediately deployed a tactical team to the area to continue trailing the hoodlums with a view to rescuing other victims.

The police, therefore, urged members of the public and social media handlers to always verify facts of incidents from the Police before publishing stories to guard against misinforming the general public.

PDP Presidential Aspirants Visit Governor Udom, Move For Consensus Arrangement

Picture showing the PDP Presidential aspirants during visit to Governor Udom.

 

Presidential aspirants under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently visited Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel and made suggestions towards fielding a consensus presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.

The meeting was held on Monday night at the Government House in Uyo, Akwa Ibom capital city.

The delegation includes the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed; his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal; the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Muhammad Hayatuddeen.

READ ALSO: 2023: PDP Governors Visit Babangida In Minna

Commenting on the meeting, Governor Emmanuel, welcomed the delegation to the state, affirmed his support for the “One Nigeria” course, and stressed the need to build a team of patriots to tackle the nation’s challenges on time.

According to him, the task of rescuing Nigeria was way beyond individualism and partisanship, rather that it requires a team that can wake up and say enough of certain things and then put things in the right perspective, to rescue and restore the country, as a team.

Governor Emmanuel described the delegation as a people that love Nigeria, maintaining that they look forward to what can be made out of the country’s bad situation at the moment.

“This is the time we have to look inwards and reappraise, then look at certain things we must do and do it right, and timely.

“That’s why you see this caliber of people coming together trying to find a consensus and to find a common ground to say that we are all but one.

“We don’t have any other country to go to. That’s the whole essence of all the meetings,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation after a closed-door meeting, Saraki thanked Governor Emmanuel for playing host to the delegation and lauded his patriotism and commitment to uniting the party and for championing the ‘One Nigeria’ agenda.

Saraki described Governor Emmanuel as a key stakeholder in the party and said the meeting was to brief the Akwa Ibom Governor on the resolve to put the interest of the country first in their quest for the top job and to unite the party.

“We’ve been going around the country and we are here to meet with Governor Udom Emmanuel as a key stakeholder, to brief him of our intention to find a way of uniting us and to put the country and the party first and to inform him of our intention to have a consensus arrangement, because that is what we believe will make the party stronger,” Saraki said.

“We’ve all agreed that where we are now in Nigeria, it has become very critical that we prepare well for 2023 and we can only do that when we are selfless and united. That’s why we are here,” he added.

The immediate past Senate President, therefore, expressed optimism that only the PDP can reverse the insecurity currently plaguing Nigerians.

He explained that even though each of them may have had individual ambitions the ambition of uniting Nigeria, rescuing it from insecurity and economic instability, is a greater ambition.

7.1 Million Persons Internally Displaced In Ukraine – UN

Ukrainians who have fled the war in their country arrive at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in Tokyo on April 5, 2022, following a visit to the Polish-Ukraine border by Japan’s foreign minister. PHOTO: KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP

 

More than 7.1 million are estimated to have been internally displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, having fled their homes but remained in the country, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The figure issued by the UN’s International Organization for Migration is up from the 6.48 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) estimated in a first study by the IOM on March 16.

READ ALSO: Zelensky Calls Killings In Bucha ‘Genocide’

“People continue to flee their homes because of war, and the humanitarian needs on the ground continue to soar,” said IOM director general Antonio Vitorino.

“Humanitarian corridors are urgently needed to allow the safe evacuation of civilians and ensure the safe transportation and delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid in order to rapidly assist those internally displaced.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, causing millions to flee their homes — including more than 4.2 million Ukrainians who have left the country entirely.

The IOM conducted its second survey between March 24 and April 1, and estimated that 7,138,715 people were internally displaced within Ukraine as of Friday.

Fifty-nine percent of IDPs were estimated to be women.

It was estimated that nearly 2.4 million people had fled the Kyiv region; 2.4 million had fled the east; and 1.7 million had fled the north.

The survey found that 41 percent of the IDPs — 2.9 million people — were now located in the west of the country.

It found that more than 60 percent of displaced households had children; 57 percent included elderly members; and 30 percent had people with chronic illnesses.

More than a third of displaced households indicated that they had had no income in the last month.

 

 

– Safety fears –

Beyond the estimated 7.1 million IDPs, “more communities in need remain trapped”, said the IOM.

A further 2.9 million people were estimated to be considering leaving their homes.

As for the reasons why people are staying in their homes, 16 percent said it was not safe for them to leave; six percent said they did not want to leave family members behind; three percent said they would not know where to go, and one percent said they could not leave due to health issues.

The rapid representative assessment was conducted through interviews with 2,000 anonymous respondents aged over 18 who were contacted at random over the telephone.

The survey is used by the IOM to gather insights into internal displacement and mobility, and to assess the humanitarian needs in Ukraine.

The IOM said cash, transportation, food, shelter and hygiene items were among the most pressing needs for displaced people.

IDPs also need greater access to medicines and health services, the organisation said.

AFP

‘A Very Simple Thing’, APGA Can Handle Nigeria’s Security Challenges – Victor Oye

Mr Victor Oye speaks during the interview.

 

The National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Oye, has assured Nigerians that the political party will easily tackle the nation’s security challenges if given a chance to rule the country.

The APGA leader who said this during an interview on Channels Television programme, Political Paradigm, added that the party has recorded success ruling Anambra State and can do much more at the national level.

“What has PDP and APC offered to Nigerians? Nothing! In Anambra, see what we have done. If you give APGA to Nigeria, we will change Nigeria,” he said, “We know what to do. One, we will be transparent in running the system. we will be pragmatic. We will have a shared vision.

“We can deal with insecurity in Nigeria. It is a very simple thing. The first step is for the Federal Government to show sincerity in how they are running the affairs of the country.”

Oye also spoke concerning the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which he lamented that the Federal Government is not paying attention to the plight of the lectures and to address the situation immediately.

“Government should pay attention to the needs of the people. Provide quality education. Look at the ongoing ASUU Strike. The Federal Government does not care about ASUU.

“How much will it cost the government to take care of ASUU’s needs? And we spend billions to pay legislators. The Federal Government needs to address the issue immediately,” Oye added.

Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State is the only APGA elected governor in Nigeria.

In handling insecurity in the state, he recently declared an end to the Monday sit-at-home in Anambra and offered amnesty to pro-Biafra agitators still in hideouts.

The newly-elected governor also said a Peace and Reconciliation Committee will be set up soon to address “all areas of sincere challenge, including interfacing with the Federal Government on behalf of all prisoners of conscience.”

Zelensky Calls Killings In Bucha ‘Genocide’

President Volodymyr Zelensky (2nd L) walks in the town of Bucha, just northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 4, 2022. PHOTO: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday described as “genocide” the killings of civilians in the town of Bucha outside the capital Kyiv reclaimed from Russian forces.

“These are war crimes and it will be recognised by the world as genocide,” Zelensky said during a visit to Bucha, where bodies were discovered strewn throughout the town after it was reclaimed by Kyiv’s army.

“You stand here today and see what happened. We know that thousands of people have been killed and tortured with extremities cut off, women raped, children killed,” he told reporters wearing a bullet-proof vest and accompanied by military personnel.

“It’s genocide,” he added.

Ukraine and Western nations have accused Russian troops of war crimes after the discovery of mass graves and apparently executed civilians at Bucha, prompting vows of action at the International Criminal Court.

Russia’s defence ministry denied its troops had killed civilians in the town recently retaken by Ukrainian soldiers.

Britain, France, Germany, the United States and NATO all voiced horror at the images from Bucha, where some of the bodies lying in public appeared to have been bound by their hands and feet before being shot.

AFP

Court Upholds 25-Year Sentence For ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero

A photo collage of Paul Rusesabagina before his conviction and during his trial.

 

Rwanda’s Court of Appeal on Monday upheld a 25-year prison sentence against ailing “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina, who was convicted last year on terrorism charges, rejecting a prosecution appeal to increase the penalty to life.

The fiercely outspoken critic of President Paul Kagame, who has been in custody for almost 600 days, was convicted last year after a trial his family and supporters branded a sham that was plagued with irregularities.

“Since he is a first-time offender, the court finds that his sentence should not be increased, because the 25 years he was given is in accordance with the weight of his crimes, and the court maintains his sentence,” said judge Francois Regis Rukundakuvuga.

READ ALSO: Silk Sonic Wins The Grammy For Record Of The Year

The court was also ruling Monday on appeals against sentences meted out to Rusesabagina’s 20 co-defendants, who were jailed for between three and 20 years.

All the accused were convicted in September 2021 of backing an armed rebel group blamed for a spate of deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

The 67-year-old Rusesabagina has boycotted all the court proceedings and was not in court for Monday’s ruling.

He is credited with saving more than 1,200 lives during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which 800,000 mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

But, in the years after Hollywood made him an international celebrity, a more complex image emerged of a staunch government critic whose tirades against Kagame led him to be treated as an enemy of the state.

AFP

CBN Warns Nigerians To Avoid Dealing With Illegal, Unlicensed Financial Operators

File photo of wads of cash used to illustrate the story.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians to avoid dealing with illegal and unlicensed financial operators who lure and defraud members of the public.

The Apex Bank in a statement on Monday said the increase in the activities of Illegal Financial Operators (IFOs) is becoming worrisome and portends a grave risk to public confidence and the stability of the Nigerian Financial System.

“The FSRCC wishes to draw the attention of the general public to the worrisome increase in the activities of the Illegal Financial Operators (IFOs) which portends grave risk to public confidence and the stability of the Nigerian Financial System.

READ ALSO: Elon Musk Becomes Largest Shareholder In Twitter

“The FSRCC in its continuing efforts to end the scourge of IFOs in Nigeria hereby issues the following advisory:

“The general public is advised to refrain from dealing with unlicensed or illegal financial operators, who lure and defraud unsuspecting members of the public by offering extra-ordinary returns on investments as bait,” the statement which was signed by the Secretary, Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee, read in part.

CBN, therefore advised members of the public to visit its official website and that of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other relevant member agencies of the FSRCC to verify the registration and license status of such companies and schemes before investing in them.

They also advised Nigerians to report any individual or entities suspected to be involved in such nefarious activities to the law enforcement agencies.

VPN Use Spikes In Sri Lanka After Social Media Ban

Sri Lanka’s attempt to contain spiraling protests by blocking popular social media platforms led to an extraordinary spike in the use of censorship-dodging virtual private networks, a tracking firm said Monday.

Demand for VPNs went up by a staggering 17,000 percent on Sunday when the ban came into effect, Top10VPN.com said after tracking downloads by Sri Lankan users.

“There were 27,815 searches for VPN compared to a daily average of 321 over the previous 28 days,” Simon Migliano, the firm’s head of research, told AFP in an email.

“This is a huge increase in interest in what’s essentially a very niche tool for most people.”

Sunday’s ban blocked access to WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and a host of other popular platforms but it was lifted after 15 hours, following a ruling by the country’s Human Rights Council deeming the blackout illegal.

READ ALSO: Lagos Received 86.9% Of Capital Imported Into Nigeria In 2021 – NBS

The head of the country’s internet regulator resigned after the ban order went into effect and technology minister Namal Rajapaksa, the nephew of Sri Lanka’s president, also publicly criticised the policy.

“The availability of VPN, just like I’m using now, makes such bans completely useless,” Rajapaksa said on Twitter.

“I urge the authorities to think more progressively and reconsider this decision.”

He resigned that evening, along with all other ministers in Sri Lanka’s 28-member cabinet, excluding his uncle president and father, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka is in the grips of what the government concedes is the island nation’s worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

The anti-government hashtags “#GoHomeRajapaksas” and “#GotaGoHome” have been trending locally for days on social media after severe shortages of essentials, sharp price rises and crippling power cuts.

AFP

#TheIncredibles22: 6 Things You Should Know As MI Abaga Announces His Engagement

A photo collage of the couple.

 

MI Abaga, Nigeria’s famous rapper on Sunday night announced his engagement to his beau, Eniola Mafe, and many of his fans and followers were thrilled as they gushed with excitement.

Mr Incredible in a post on his social media handles shared a video titled ‘How I met the girl,’ with details of how they met and their beautiful moments together.

“I’m a private person. But it’s time to share a little part of my joy with you. @eniolamafe and I met in Dec 2020 and straight away I knew I had found the one,” the 40-year-old Jos-born music artist captioned the video.

READ ALSO: Grammys 2022: Wizkid, Femi Kuti, Son Lose To Angelique Kidjo

The announcement was met with tonnes of congratulatory messages and here and some of the important things you should know about the couple….

 

The duo met in December 2020 after Chocolate City Boss, Audu Makori introduced Mafe to MI.

Eniola is the founder of New Nigeria, an organisation that was formed in the wake of the #Endsars protests across the country.

MI’s parents, Pastor and Mrs Abaga are from Takum, Taraba state, both of Jukun-Nigerian descent.

Eniola holds an M.A. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.

Abaga used to be in a relationship with Erica Okundaye, a former beauty pageant runner-up.

Eniola and MI will be getting married later this year and they already have the hastag #TheIncredibles22

Emirates’ Offer To Partner Nigeria On National Carrier Will Encourage Bidders, Says Sirika

A photo collage of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and Nigeria Air airplane.

 

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has reacted to the offer by the management of Emirates Airlines to partner with the Nigerian government in its quest to establish a national carrier.

The Minister in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Public Affairs, James Odaudu said the offer serves as an encouragement to the many bidders currently preparing their Public-Private Partnership (PPP) bids for Nigeria Air in response to the recently advertised Request for Proposal.

Sirika, in the statement which was obtained by Channels Television on Monday, added that “the offer by Emirates cannot be anything other than an endorsement of the need, the zeal, and, of course, the process for the national carrier project. It is also an expression of confidence of the international aviation community in the commitment of the Buhari government to it.”

According to the statement, the management of Emirates Airlines recently made an offer to partner with the Nigerian Government in its quest to establish a national carrier and this has elicited requests for clarification, mostly from the media and industry stakeholders.

READ ALSO: 2023: Buhari Has Laid A Foundation I Can Build Upon – Yahaya Bello

Speaking recently during a panel session moderated by Richard Quest to discuss the future of Aviation at the Dubai Expo 2020, Tim Clark, President of Emirates said the organisation would be very happy to help if any assistance was required in starting the national carrier.

Clark said the establishment of a national carrier is an almost compelling case for Nigeria, going by certain indices.

The statement had quoted Clark as saying, “Of course, Nigeria needs a National Airline. There is an enormous business case for the national carrier. Nigerians are seeking to travel all over the world. Nigeria is a powerhouse of Africa. We are very interested in flying there because it is a rich nation in terms of demand for services.”

The Minister of Aviation assured Nigerians that the process for the acquisition of the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) and the Air Transport License (ATL) is well on course for the expected launch date of the airline.

At Least 13 Killed In Fresh Bandit Attack On Zamfara Villages

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

At least 13 persons have been killed by armed bandits in attacks on different communities in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The affected communities are Kadaddaba, Rafin Gero, and Babban Baye, all in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The police spokesperson in the state, Muhammadu Shehu, confirmed the attacks to Channels Television on Saturday.

He stressed that 13 persons were killed during the separate attacks on Thursday evening.

Locals, however, insist that 15 persons were killed during the attack.

READ ALSO: One Killed, Six Injured, Many Abducted As Terrorists Attack Katsina Market

An indigene of Anka community, Yusuf Anka, told Channels Television that no less than fifteen persons were killed in three villages of Anka Local Government.

“15 people were killed on Thursday evening by bandits in three villages, Kaddadaba, Babban Baye, and Rafin Gero. One of the villages is less than five kilometres away from Anka Local Government Headquarters,” he said.

There was also a reported attack on a community under Gummi Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Friday which he said no fewer than 20 persons were killed.

“Another 20 people were killed by the terrorists in Daki Takwas village early hours of Friday, with hundreds of cattle rustled.”

The Police Spokesperson in the state, Muhammed Shehu denied the reported attack, saying there was no such incident in Daki Takwas community.

Shehu said, “there was no any incident in Daki Takwas, the village is under Gummi Local Government and there was no attack in the village.”

UN Official Heads To Moscow Seeking ‘Humanitarian Ceasefire’

Servicemen ride atop a Russian armored vehicle in Armyansk, Crimea, on February 25, 2022. PHOTO: STRINGER / AFP

 

A top United Nations official will visit Moscow this weekend to try to secure a “humanitarian ceasefire” in Ukraine, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Friday.

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will fly to Moscow on Sunday then on to Kiev.

Guterres said that the visit showed “that we don’t give up on the perspective of stopping the fighting, in Yemen, in Ukraine, everywhere in the world.”

Both Russia and Ukraine had agreed to meet Griffiths, he said.

Russia has until now refused any visit by a senior UN official to discuss its war in Ukraine, including in the weeks before the February 24 invasion when Guterres sought to send his deputy for political affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo.

Since the outbreak of the war, the UN chief has failed to reach Russian President Vladimir Putin who, according to diplomats, was angered by Guterres’ charge that Russia had violated the UN Charter by invading its neighbor.

Moscow rejects the term “war” and insists it is carrying out a “special military operation” inside Ukraine.

AFP