Saudi Arabia: We Must Protect The Innocent And Neutralise Frame Ups – Shehu Sani

 

Senator Shehu Sani has called for protection of innocent Nigerians and intensified efforts to neutralise frame ups in nations like Saudi Arabia where capital punishments exits for crimes like drugs smuggling.

Sani who in  tweet on Friday was reacting to the recent execution of a Nigerian in Saudi Arabia, noted that smuggling drugs to any country is condemnable.

The lawmaker said the act destroys the image of the nation and must not be condoned by anyone.

He however, noted that the nations owes it a duty to provide legal and diplomatic services to its citizens abroad as to protect the innocent and neutralize frame ups.

Meanwhile, Senator Sani has said that the insecurity challenge crippling the northeastern region is reinforced by silence and cowardice.

The Senator representing Kaduna Central made this assertion via social media.

READ ALSO: Policeman, Three Suspected Kidnappers Killed In Kaduna

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Sani said,  the cowardice of elites from the region who fail to speak up for the people is a major contributing factor to the insecurity challenges being faced.

“The collapse of security in the North is among other things reinforced by the silence or cowardice of those elites from the region who should speak truth to power now in their domain;the blatant refusal to hold Government to account because the President is from here, and the cancer and culture of blind loyalty founded on sectional, ethnic and religious sentiments in the face of tragedies,” Sani said.

He said the people must free themselves from following blindly and begin to hold the authorities to account.

“Our people must free themselves from the cancer and culture of blind loyalty founded on sectional, ethnic and religious sentiments and start holding Government to account to end their tragedies. Power respond or bows to an awakened people driven by the force of their conscience.”

Ozubulu Massacre: Fear Of New Narco-State Arise In Nigeria

 

In the early hours of a humid November morning, a 16-car convoy rolled into Obinugwu village in southeast Nigeria and stopped outside the iron gates of a non-descript house.

More than 50 drug enforcement officials crept through the compound and surrounded the methamphetamine lab hidden by overgrown jungle behind the property.

The bust happened just before daybreak. Dozens were arrested, including the suspected kingpin at his mansion in the nearby city of Owerri.

“It took one year of surveillance,” a National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) officer, who was involved in the raid, told AFP. “They were all sleeping. We took them by surprise.”

Inside the lab there was 78 kilograms (171 pounds) of meth — a drug as notorious for its exhilarating highs as its life-destroying, addictive lows.

But the haul, worth tens of thousands of dollars, was not for domestic consumption.

Instead, it was probably destined for South Africa and Asia, investigators said.

Drug trafficking is nothing new to Nigeria, which has long been a transit point for cocaine and heroin going to Europe and North America.

The difference is that now Nigerians are producing the drugs.

With vast quantities of chemicals entering the country, porous borders and corrupt law enforcement, Nigeria is an ideal place to produce the drug.

Since the country’s first meth lab was discovered in 2011, authorities have found 14 more producing mass quantities of the stimulant, while seizures of the drug have jumped from 177 kilos in 2012 to 1,363 kilos in 2016.

“It (meth production) is on the increase, significantly on the increase. Meth today is a serious threat to Nigeria,” said Sunday Zirangey, NDLEA Special Enforcement Team commander.

“If this continues, Nigeria may turn into a narco-state.”

Glen Prichard, Nigeria project coordinator with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, agreed.

“Nigeria is potentially following the same footsteps as Mexico that led to instability, organised crime and an infiltrated government,” he added.

– Church massacre –


Reliable data on meth production in Nigeria is hard to come by and seizures are small compared with global giants Mexico and Myanmar.

But evidence on the ground points to a much larger industry.

Nigeria’s estimated need for the stimulant ephedrine, which is used as a medical decongestant, is 771 kilos, according to a US State Department report on international narcotics.

Yet Nigeria imports over eight tons a year, with the difference suspected of either being used to produce meth or trafficked elsewhere.

Despite the risks of arrest and even execution for traffickers in Asia, the profits are irresistible in a country where the minimum wage is just 18,000 naira ($50, 44 euros) a month.

A kilo of meth sells for $3,500 on the streets of Lagos but by the time it reaches South Africa it is worth $12,000 and $150,000 in Japan — and the stakes are rising.

Last year, the fight for control of the lucrative South African market more than 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) away came to St Philip’s Parish in Ozubulu, a village in the southeast Nigerian state of Anambra.

Thirteen people were shot dead in an apparent reprisal attack between Nigerian drug barons operating in Johannesburg.

Piles of trash line the dirt road leading to Ozubulu, where an endless stream of people hawk everything from adulterated fuel to plastic flip-flops.

But among the grinding poverty are huge villas with grand columns and intricate wrought iron gates — glaring anomalies in a region with epileptic power and disintegrating roads.

In August last year, unknown gunmen interrupted the 6:00 am Sunday mass in Ozubulu, hoping to kill Aloysius Nnamdi Ikegwuonu, a Johannesburg drugs kingpin known as “The Bishop”.

He wasn’t there but his father and a one-year-old child were among the victims. Details of the shooting remain clouded in secrecy.

“What we had is gunshots, sporadic and reckless shootings. That’s what I can say,” said parish priest Father Jude Onwuaso standing by the victims’ marble graves wearing a sky-blue cassock.

Ozubulu has made headlines for drugs before. In 2015, the NDLEA busted a meth lab belonging to Ikejiaku Sylvester Chukwunwendu, also known as “Blessed Benita”.

He was charged with meth production and trafficking in the village.

“He’s one of the biggest kingpins we’ve got,” said state prosecutor Lambert Nor, who said some of Chukwunwendu’s couriers had been executed in China for drug trafficking.

– Ideal conditions –
As the popular US television series “Breaking Bad” showed, meth can be made by almost everyone in their own kitchen if they have the right ingredients and background knowledge in chemistry.

Cocaine and heroin, on the other hand, are bigger-ticket enterprises. They require land dedicated to plantations and a specific climate to grow the crop.

But Nigerians were paying thousands of dollars a week to Mexicans, Colombians and Bolivians to teach them a new form of production that pumps out bigger, purer batches of meth.

Two years ago, Nigerian authorities arrested four Mexicans from Sinaloa, the epicentre of one of the world’s biggest drug trafficking cartels and birthplace of the infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“When you found labs before you always had Mexicans and Bolivians behind it but now the Nigerians are on their own and they do even better,” said Kayode Raji, NDLEA assistant commander in Imo State.

Experts fear that as production increases, meth will find a domestic market like in South Africa, where “tik” — as it’s known on the street — has been described as an “epidemic” and is the most abused drug in the Western Cape province.

But there is no easy way to stop the rise of meth in Nigeria.

“It will become uncontrollable unless decisive measures are taken,” said Nor, warning: “Otherwise what we have in Mexico will be a small thing compared to Nigeria.”

AFP

NAFDAC Destroys Harmful Drugs, Items Worth N464m In Gombe

PCN Seals 397 Drug Stores In Abia

 

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has destroyed fake and unwholesome products with a value of about N464 million.

According to a statement from the agency on Saturday, the goods were destroyed at a dump along Bajoga Road in the capital city of Gombe State.

The drugs include antibiotics, anti-hypertensive, antiretroviral, cancer drugs, anti-malaria, and herbal remedies.

Other items destroyed are controlled drugs such as codeine-containing cough syrup and tramadol, as well as tomato paste, non-alcoholic beverages, maize flour, and insecticides.

The statement read, “The counterfeit, fake and unwholesome products destroyed were seized from companies that engaged in sharp practices by gallant and committed NAFDAC officers during surveillance and enforcement activities.

“Other products were voluntarily handed over to the NAFDAC by compliant companies, sister agencies, and associations.”

The agency assured Nigerians that it would continue to do everything possible to ensure that only safe and right quality medicines, wholesome foods and other regulated products were distributed and consumed in the country.

NAFDAC appealed to political, traditional and religious leaders to sensitise their members, subjects, and congregation on the dangers of drugs and substance abuse.

The agency warned smugglers of codeine-containing cough syrups, tramadol, substances of abuse and fake products to desist henceforth or face the wrath of the law, saying it has intensified surveillance and enforcement activities at all ports of entry.

It called for the establishment of Drug Abuse Control Committee comprising of NAFDAC officials and that of other relevant agencies by various state governments.

NAFDAC also urged the Gombe State government to provide office accommodation and vehicles for its use at each of the three senatorial districts for effective coverage.

The State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, who was represented at the site by the Commissioner of Animal Husbandry, Barka Sammy, assured the agency of continued support to ensure that the people consume only good quality and safe drugs.

He also directed the state media corporation to cover NAFDAC regulatory activities, towards sensitising the public on substandard products.

Pakistan Candidate Gets Life Term In Drug Case Days Before Poll

A Pakistani policeman stands guard beside a stage where Shabaz Sharif, the younger brother of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the head of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), is to address his campaign rally in Pindi Gheb, in the district of Attock, in the Punjab province, on July 19, 2018, ahead of Pakistan’s election.
AAMIR QURESHI / AFP

 

A candidate for the party of Pakistan’s ousted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been jailed for life by an anti-narcotics court, just days before a general election.

Hanif Abbasi, seen as a strong candidate for the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in Wednesday’s poll, was sentenced in a rare late-night session Saturday.

The six-year-old case was related to the supply of ephedrine to a drug smuggler.

Critics have long accused Pakistan’s powerful military, including its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, of meddling in politics and judicial affairs, a charge it denies.

Nawaz Sharif himself has accused the generals of targeting his party, including intimidating his candidates to switch allegiances — particularly in Punjab province.

Earlier Saturday an Islamabad High Court judge, Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, publicly accused the ISI of manipulating judicial decisions.

“ISI is fully involved in manipulating judicial process. ISI people get their choice of benches formed in the courts, cases are marked,” he told lawyers in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The political involvement of the military and ISI is rarely discussed openly due to fear of repercussions. Rights defenders have long accused the ISI of kidnapping and torturing rights activists, journalists and dissenting voices.

Journalists in Pakistan say they have come under unprecedented pressure from the authorities before the election.

Nearly 106 million Pakistanis, including more than 19 million new voters, will be eligible to cast their ballots on Wednesday.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which took power in 2013, hopes for a new mandate under leader Shahbaz Sharif, a brother of the ousted Nawaz.

Its biggest challenger is the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, led by former national cricket captain Imran Khan.

The Pakistan Peoples Party of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — son of murdered premier Benazir Bhutto — could become kingmaker by forming a coalition with one of its rivals.

Oyo House Of Assembly Identifies 500 Indian Hemp Joints

ERIKA SANTELICES / AFP

The Oyo State House of Assembly has identified about 500 hard drugs joints and 25 notorious gang leaders in some parts of Ibadan, the state capital.

The Chairman of the state House Committee on Security and Strategy, Honourable Gbenga Oyekola made this known on Thursday, while giving a report on recent violent attacks in some areas of the state, specifically one that took place on October 22, 2017 during a youth carnival.

Rendering the report, Oyekola noted that some residents shielded the gang leaders and members from arrest while also hindering the prosecution of those arrested.

He also noted that hoodlums hindered development projects in the area, specifically the establishment of a World Bank borehole project within the area.

The Assembly, therefore, beckoned on the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to deploy more of its officers to clamp down on the over 500 Indian hemp joints, while urging the Ibadan South West Local Government to see to the siting of a well-equipped police station within the area.

In addition, the Micheal Adeyemo-led Assembly urged the police to arrest all extortionists and operators of illegal road blocks with a view to guarding against molestation of drivers and commuters plying the area.

In addition, the Assembly urged the Governor Abiola Ajimobi led government to approve the deployment of two “Operation Burst” patrol vehicles and more officers to regularly patrol the axis.

It also called on the Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control to come out with new layout plan that will decongest the area and eradicate slums.

Speaking further, Adeyemo appealed to politicians to desist from engaging unemployed youths for campaigns and intimidation of political opponents.

He said as a matter of importance, that the Nigerian Police, Oyo State Command, should enforce the ban on public-procession, carnivals and other social functions without permission, in the disputed areas and across the state.

Spanish Police Seizes Over Two Tons Of Cocaine From Ship

Spanish police seized more than two tons of cocaine from a ship with a Venezuelan flag in the Atlantic Ocean and arrested the seven crew members, Spain’s interior ministry said on Monday.

The operation, carried out alongside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the UK’s National Crime Agency and Portuguese police, took place earlier this month, on May 4.

The seven people on board were Venezuelan nationals, the ministry said, adding that a gun had also been seized alongside 2,400 kg of cocaine. The vessel, a small, rusted fishing boat according to images distributed by police, has since been towed to Spain’s Canary Islands.

Separately, a shipment of 5.5 tons of cocaine destined for Spain was intercepted off the coast of Ecuador, and 24 people were arrested in that operation, the interior ministry also said on Monday.

“Today is an important day, a day of congratulations for the national police along with Spanish Customs who managed to detain a Venezuelan fishing ship with 2,400 kilograms of cocaine. I just want to mark the important job that the Spanish police has done, in this case with a previous labour of information in coordination with the U.S.,” Spanish Government’s Canary Islands Delegate, Mercedes Roldos, said.

“DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), with the Portuguese police and the British police, which have made the successful arrest of this fishing ship from Venezuela, the detention of seven people and the seizure of a very significant amount of cocaine.”

PCN To Prosecute Illegal Drug Dealers In Enugu

NAFDAC, Drug MonitoringPharmacist Council of Nigeria says its working with relevant agencies and organs of government to prosecute arrested patent medicine dealers who broke its seal during its last enforcement exercise in Enugu State.

PCN had in April 2017 sealed off 264 illegal pharmacies and medicine stores for falling short of operations standards

The organisation’s Deputy Director enforcement, Stephen Esumobi said some of the premises do not have the right facilities in place to handle the categories of medicine stock.

“The owner of this premises was arrested because he was operating illegally and he refused to update his facilities to ensure that the storage of the drugs is in line with manufacturers specifications – Most of the drugs have not met minimum requirements for safety, quality and efficacy because of poor handling. Some of these drugs when they are not properly handled, could endanger public health”

“The owner broke the seal and continued operation as at before. Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is not going to allow that. We are going to ensure that those who broke our seal in Enugu state are arrested and prosecuted”

He also noted that the agency is committed to riding the nation of illegal drugs and promoting health.

Buhari To Attend 3rd Dakar International Forum On Peace And Security In Africa

Buhari To Attend 3rd Dakar International Forum On Peace And Security In AfricaPresident Muhammadu Buhari will attend the Third Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa in Dakar, Senegal, from December 5-6, 2016.

The President’s Spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

President Buhari however had a closed-door meeting with the President of Liberia, Mrs Hellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Both leaders began the private discussion shortly after President Sirleaf arrived in the nation’s capital earlier on Monday.

After the meeting, President Buhari is expected to leave Abuja to attend the peace forum which is being convened by President Macky Sall of Senegal, with support from the African Union to discuss security-related challenges on the continent.

It will be attended by African leaders and representatives of regional and international organisations.

President Buhari is scheduled to participate in the Panel of Heads of State on Tuesday, December 6.

The President, who has identified improved security in Nigeria as a priority for development, shares the vision of the forum in finding lasting solutions to security challenges on the continent, notably terrorism and violent extremism, piracy, drugs, child and human trafficking.

In Dakar, the Nigerian leader will use the occasion of his participation in the forum to continue his active engagement with political authorities on the need for enhanced security cooperation in the region.

The theme of the two-day Forum is, “Africa and its Security Challenges: Perspectives for Effective Solutions’’.

Navy Offers Free Health Services To Community In Cross River

Navy, Ugep, Cross RiverThe Nigerian Navy has offered a free medical service to residents of Ugep community of Yakurr Local Government Area in Cross River State.

As part of activities to mark its 50th Anniversary, the Nigerian Navy said the gesture was also part of its social responsibility to the public, especially the vulnerable who cannot afford medical services.

The Medical team was led by Commodore Tanko Pani who represented the Flag Officer Commanding of Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole.

Commodore Pani said attaining the Golden Jubilee was a great feat to the command and giving back to the society was a great way of marking the milestone.

He urged the community to embrace the gesture while promising that the Navy would not relent in its commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s waterways.

In his remarks, the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar, Surgeon Rear Admiral Abubakar Yusuf, described the medical rhapsody as a means of promoting good health among communities.

While some of the beneficiaries, who were at least 50,000 commended the initiative, the Paramount Ruler of Ugep, Obol Opon Offem Ubana, also expressed gratitude to the Navy for choosing his community for the exercise.

The healthcare services rendered include eye screening, distribution of eye glasses as well as referral for surgery if need be.

Other free services were blood pressure checks, diabetes screening, malaria treatment, de-worming, distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets, drugs, and a health talk.

Insurgency Victims Get 15 Million Naira Support From Yobe Govt.

yobeThe Yobe State Government has under the Victims Support Funds (VSF), committed 15 million Naira to the procurement of health equipment, drugs and food for insurgency victims in the security threatened north-east state.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Sani Abacha Hospital in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, Dr. Garba Fika, revealed this on Monday while displaying the items procured and ready to be put to use across hospitals in the state.

The CMD said that the 15 million Naira was given to the hospital by the Presidential Committee on Insurgency Victims Support Fund and the money has been effectively put to use, to improve the health conditions of people in the state and beyond.

Dr. Fika said that the insurgency triggered influx of people in the state, thereby over stretching the health facilities in the state.

The CMD appreciated the efforts of the state and the Federal government, as well as donor agencies for their various contributions in supporting the state’s health sector.

Dr. Fika recalled that the Presidential Committee on Insurgency, under the VSF, had in August 2015 pledged the sum of 20 million Naira. He said the committee has so far released 15 million naira, with the assurance to pay the balance, pending further assessment of what the hospital has done with the 15 million Naira.

He revealed that the sum of 8 million Naira was committed to equipment, while the remaining 7 million Naira was used in the procurement of food and drugs, as well as maintenance of vehicles.

The CMD, who displayed both the equipment and items procured, said that the more the insurgency victims are well taken care of, the less the health complications. He gave the assurance that the hospital would continue to do its best in uplifting the health status of the people.

The Secretary of the State Hospital Management Board, Aliyu S. Fada, also gave the assurance that the procured equipment would go a long way in improving the over stretched health facilities in the state. He called on other donor agencies to play their parts in assisting the insurgency victims.

Items procured include multi-purpose suction machine, adjustable wheel chairs, stethoscopes, different oxygen cylinders, digital thermometers and oxygen concentrator.

Others include; arm cuff, inflammation bag and bulb, calibration glass tubes, mercury, foetal doppler, compressor nebulizers, glucometers (accu check), among several others.

Whitney Houston’s Daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Dies At 22

Bobbi KristinaBobbi Kristina Brown, the only child of late singer Whitney Houston, died on Sunday at the age of 22, some six months after suffering irreversible brain damage in an incident at her suburban Atlanta home, her family said in a statement.

Brown, whose father is R&B singer Bobby Brown, was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her home by her partner and a friend on January 31. She was moved by her family to hospice care on June 24.

“She is finally at peace in the arms of God,” her family said. “We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months.”

As news of her death became public, media crews and some fans gathered on a darkened cul de sac in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, where ornate street lamps illuminated the ivy-covered brick nursing home where Brown died.

“We just wanted to show our respect,” said Ali Joyner, 15, who persuaded her mum and a neighbour to drive the 20 miles from their home in Dacula, Ga. “I just loved her mum, Whitney. And Bobbi is part of that.”

Her death came three years after her Grammy-winning mother, who had battled substance abuse, drowned in a bathtub in a Beverly Hills hotel at age 48. Authorities said cocaine abuse and heart disease contributed to Houston’s February 11, 2012 death.

Bobbi Kristina Brown inherited her mother’s fortune.

A $10 million civil lawsuit filed last month accuses Bobbi Kristina Brown’s partner, Nick Gordon, of causing her life-threatening injuries and of stealing from her bank account while she was in a coma. No one has been charged in the case.

Bobbi Kristina Brown was an aspiring singer who began performing with her mother as early as 1999, singing duets of “My Love is Your Love.” In 2003 they recorded another duet of “Little Drummer Boy” for a holiday album.

Her father is a Grammy Award winner who started his career as frontman for the R&B group New Edition.

Houston and Bobby Brown both struggled with substance abuse and divorced when their daughter was 14. Houston described their 15-year marriage, which ended in 2007, as drug- and alcohol-fueled.

The couple’s tempestuous relationship and often erratic behavior was chronicled in the short-lived television series, “Being Bobby Brown.”

Bobbi Kristina Brown was hospitalized twice with anxiety after her mother’s death.

In 2012 she starred on Lifetime’s reality TV show, “The Houstons: On Our Own,” in which Houston’s family struggled to recover from the famous singer’s death. The same year Bobbi Kristina Brown guest-starred on “For Better or Worse,” a television series about a married couple.

Senate Committee Investigates Cecilia Ibru’s Siezed Assets

senateThe Senate has begun investigating an allegation made by stakeholders that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) failed to remit funds and assets of former Managing Director of the Defunct Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru to shareholders, as well as Eco Bank, the company that took over Oceanic Bank

At an investigative hearing organized by the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, the committee observed that four years after entering into a plea bargain with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Mrs Cecilia Ibru is yet to remit N16.1 million to AMCON.

However, the Acting Managing Director of AMCON, Mrs Foluke Dosunmu said AMCON had not taken up Mrs Ibru over the N16.1 billion, because it had not ascertained her unwillingness to pay it, saying once it is confirmed that she’s not ready to pay, the corporation would take her back to court.

The Acting MD Also maintained that AMCON does not owe the Oceanic or Eco Bank.

The Senate Committee also faulted AMCON over its failure to follow due procedures in the sales of some recovered properties, as they revealed how the corporation had failed to advertise the property before embarking on sales as required by the rules governing sales of government property.

The Senate Committee, headed by Senator Victor Lar had entertained a petition said to have been filed by a Nigerian whose name was not disclosed, said that the sale of the properties by (AMCON) were questionable.

The seized assets, worth N569 billion, were taken over by the Federal Government, following a plea bargain entered into by Mrs Ibru. The committee said that the mode of disposal of the assets located within and outside Nigeria was shrouded in secrecy.

Senator Victor Lar said on Monday that Ibru had pleaded guilty, during the course of her prosecution and entered into a plea bargain with the government, while handing over assets allegedly bought with depositor’s funds.