The Abia State Police Command has launched a manhunt for a police officer, Sergeant Collins Apugo, who allegedly shot and killed a young man, Chibuike Onuoha in Umuahia North Local Government Area of the state.
The 24-year-old man was reportedly shot dead by Sergeant Apugo in the Okwulagha Afara community in Umuahia, the state capital on Monday night, during an argument.
The policeman allegedly took to his heels and abandoned his patrol vehicle, after the shooting, and angry residents of the area immediately set it ablaze in protest.
Reacting to the incident, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ene Okon said a five-man committee including an Assistant Commissioner of Police, the Area Commander, and the Security Adviser to State Government, has been set up to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
While condemning the action of the policeman, Okon admitted that the officer failed to adhere to the rules of engagement and vowed to leave no stone unturned to apprehend the culprit.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has been declared the winner of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, Professor Damian Ozurumba, declared him as the winner of the poll after he secured 261,127 votes, more than double the 99, 574 votes his closest rival, Dr Uche Ogah of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will reprint and deliver Permanent Voters’ Cards that were destroyed in recent fire incidents at two of its Local Government Offices in Abia and Plateau respectively.
This was disclosed in a statement on Sunday by Festus Okoye, a spokesperson for the commission.
INEC said it has notified the Acting Inspector General of Police of the emerging trend of the burning of the Local Government Offices of the Commission close to the conduct of the elections and at a period when the Commission is engaged in the massive movement of election related materials nationwide.
The Commission also noted that it has directed the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Plateau State to open a register for all those in the affected Local Government Area who approach the Commission to collect their PVCs within the specified period.
INEC assured all Nigerians that it will not succumb to the antics of arsonists whose motive might be to create fear in the minds of voters and sabotage the conduct of the 2019 polls.
The Commission’s full statement reads:
“THE FIRE INCIDENTS IN INEC LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES
The fire incident that occurred at the Qua’an Pan Local Government office of the Commission in Plateau State on Saturday 9th February 2019 is the second of such incidents in less than a week. The first incident occurred in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government office of the Commission in Abia State on Saturday 2nd February.
Some of the items destroyed in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government include 2979 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and other materials. At the Qua’an Pan office, items destroyed include 5987 uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs), 380 Voting Cubicles, 755 ballot boxes, 14 generators, election forms and official stamps.
The Commission has notified the Acting Inspector General of Police of the emerging trend of the burning of the Local Government Offices of the Commission close to the conduct of the elections and at a period when the Commission is engaged in the massive movement of election related materials nationwide.
In view of these developments, the Commission has taken the following steps:
Notified the Inspector General of Police of this new trend and requested that additional security measures be provided to enhance security around INEC Offices and other critical structures of the Commission.
Directed the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Plateau State to open a register for all those in the affected Local Government Area who approach the Commission to collect their PVCs within the specified period. The Commission will print the PVCs and make them available for collection in good time before the elections.
Reprinted and delivered the Permanent Voters’ Cards of the affected registered voters in Isiala Ngwa South in Abia State.
Made temporary arrangements for the relocation of the burnt offices of the Commission. The said offices will be ready for the conduct of the February 16 and March 2, 2019 elections.
The Commission will proceed as planned in the affected Local Government Areas and all the burnt materials will be replaced in good time and as such will not affect the conduct of the elections.
All relevant security agencies have been requested to arrest and bring to justice, persons or groups involved in the attacks on the offices of the Commission.
The two fire incidents did not affect the Smart Card Readers that are presently being configured in the respective state offices of the Commission.
The Commission wishes to assure all Nigerians that it will not succumb to the antics of arsonists whose motive might be to create fear in the minds of voters and sabotage the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Festus Okoye Esq National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee 10thFebruary 2019.”
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has described the coming elections as one of the most important polls in the history of the country.
He said this on Saturday at a meeting with the Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers.
According to the former vice president, the coming presidential election is about the future of the youth and the next generation of Nigerians, even as he has promised to develop small and medium businesses in the country.
He also used the occasion to pay homage to the traditional rulers and seek their support in the poll.
“Participation in this election determines the future of this country; the future of our children and grandchildren,” he said.
“Perhaps, this is one of the most important elections we are going to face as a country. Therefore, we seek your mobilisation influence in making sure that your people can know how to vote.”
Also at the gathering, the traditional rulers conferred a title on the PDP candidate.
The meeting had in attendance the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus; Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi; Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, as well as other leaders of the party in the state.
Atiku and his team, thereafter, headed to the venue of the party’s campaign in Umuahia, the state capital.
At the rally, the PDP National Chairman appealed to relevant agencies to help ensure that the coming elections were free and fair.
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured residents of Abia State 24-hour power supply.
The President stated this on Tuesday when he visited the state capital to inaugurate the Ariara Market Independent Power Plant (IPP).
He said, ‘‘I am pleased to be here today at the milestone connection of 4,000 shops that now have dedicated power.
‘‘Being a market that supplies shoes, bags, clothing, trunks and many household accessories to Nigeria, many African countries like Chad, Cameroun, the Gambia and Central Africa Republic, a reliable power supply is critical for ease of doing business to ensure sustainability and improvement.
‘‘I am told that before this intervention, traders in the market only got 4 hours a day of electricity and paid exorbitantly for it, which consequently affected the viability of many businesses.
‘‘This is the sad legacy we inherited but which we are replacing with an all-day power supply that is cleaner and better for our environment.
‘‘Those who turned their backs on these problems still have the courage to campaign about unemployment and poverty,’’.
The President promised that his administration will continue to execute people-oriented projects around the country irrespective of party differences.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President expressed delight that 37,000 shops belonging to traders and small business owners in Ariara market will, one after the other, be connected to the dedicated electricity supply.
He noted that the feat will strengthen the Made-in-Nigeria policy for which Abia and in particular, Aba, and Ariaria market are already well known.
The President told the traders and businessmen who trooped out en-masse to welcome him to Aba that the APC-led administration is creating jobs for Nigerians through investments in power projects like the IPP in Ariaria.
‘‘Today with policies and programmes such as this IPP we have demonstrated that if the common good is our mutual objective, it can be achieved irrespective party differences and constitutional limitations.
‘‘Electricity has no political colour,’’ the President said in his speech at the inauguration of the plant.
‘‘What is happening in Ariaria today by way of clean, independent and reliable power to markets and small businesses is happening in Kano, Lagos, Ondo and Ibadan.
‘‘Similar initiatives have started in nine Federal universities with a plan to cover 37 universities, through Government funding,’’ he said.
Saluting the traders for their fortitude over the years when no previous government attended to their concerns, the President declared: ‘‘Methodically, slowly, but very efficiently, we are cleaning up the mess. We are moving our economy away from rent and arbitrage and heading resolutely to building an economy that rewards investments, enterprise and hard work.’’
President Buhari assured business owners in Ariara that under his watch they will continue to experience better days and prosperity as African markets await more of Made-in-Aba products.
The President is on his 17th and 18th campaigns stop to Abia and Imo States for the February 16, 2019, presidential elections.
According to INEC timetable, the deadline for campaigns is February 14.
Earlier on his arrival in Aba, the President had paid homage to Enyi 1 of Aba, Eze Isaac Ikonne before attending the APC presidential campaign rally at the Enyimba Stadium, Aba.
The Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has embarked on a raid of black spots in Abia State.
NDLEA Commander in Abia, Mr Bamidele Akingbade, disclosed this to reporters on Thursday at the agency’s office in Umuahia, the state’s capital.
He explained that the operation was to make it impossible for the residents, especially the youths to indulge in violent behaviour before, during, and after the elections.
Mr Akingbade added that the action of the command was hinged on the premise that there was a thin line between violence, hence the necessity to nib the incessant sell and use of hard drugs so as to keep the atmosphere peaceful.
He revealed that some of the items seized during the operation include illicit drugs such as cocaine, 250/500mg tramadol, and eight locally made guns among others.
Nigeria’s largest indigenous entrepreneurial facility, popularly known as the Ariaria market in Abia state, may soon overcome decades of inadequate electricity that hampers the output of thousands of Nigerians working and trading at the multi-million dollar hub.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Wednesday announced that licenses have been issued for the generation and distribution of 9.5 megawatts of electricity to serve the Ariaria market in Aba.
The new licenses were issued to ”Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited” and ”Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited”
Ariaria market is West Africa’s largest hub of entrepreneurs who produced goods that are distributed across West and central African countries.