The Nigeria Police Force has re-arrested four persons who escaped from the Oko Prison in Edo State during the #EndSARS protest.
The suspects who were arrested for alleged armed robbery and car snatching in Kaduna confirmed that they were all part of the over 1000 prisoners who escaped from different correctional facilities in Edo State.
They include Adebayo Opeyemi, Onos Benjamin, Peter Felix, and Hudu Musa.
Parading the suspects on Monday in Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, explained that Opeyemi, a dismissed military man escaped and joined the group to form a new team.
Also, Benjamin who was on death row and awaiting execution admitted snatching a car 30 minutes after escaping from prison to aid his escape out of the state before selling the car to his contact in Niger Republic.
For Musa, the Force spokesman said he specialized in selling off stolen cars to border communities and had nine months left off his prison term before he escaped.
He also explained that the four escapees had formed a dangerous gang that started off where they stopped in crime before their convictions.
This comes a month after armed men stormed the correction facility in Oko, popularly known as the Oko prison.
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Friday said his administration will sustain ongoing reforms in the judicial system, noting that he is in full support of the independence of the judiciary.
Obaseki disclosed this while addressing members of the state judiciary at the opening of the 2020/2021 legal year.
“As a government, we are not opposed to the independence of the judiciary, and we believe that the judiciary should be properly funded,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the judiciary is like other arms of government that have been affected by the drastic decline in revenues accruing to this country due to the decline in oil revenues and the economic effect of COVID-19.
“As a government, since I became the governor of this state, we have not withheld funds due to the judiciary or any arm of government and the records are there.”
“The budgeting process in our country and our state is very defective. The challenge is to have a proper budgeting process that plans on what we have. When that is done, some of the current conflicts about funds being withheld would be resolved as it would become quite obvious that funds are not being withheld but do not exist in most cases.
“Even at the executive level, we suffer challenges of short funding just like other arms. What we have done is to undertake very painful reforms and begin to utilize technology in reducing the cost of operations and I will like to recommend that to the judiciary.
“We are looking at ways to resolve the seven months’ salary arrears owed the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), but I cannot resolve the issue by violating the law. We must find a legal way to resolve it.”
Earlier, the Chief Justice of Edo State, Hon. Justice Esther Edigin, commended the executive for facilitating the establishment of a small claims court, launched in March 2020, to enable a thriving business environment.
“My vision for Edo judiciary continues to be a robust judiciary that has zero tolerance for corruption; a judiciary that is able to hold its own in the separation of power equation with other arms of government.
“We will continue to appreciate the efforts of Governor Godwin Obaseki aimed at completing and commissioning the High Court edifice.”
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday said the state government would approach the court to seek an order stopping the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from executing projects or undertaking contracts in the state.
In a statement, Obaseki said the state government asked the federal government agency to immediately stop any project without the consent of the state’s Executive Council.
According to the statement, the governor disclosed this while receiving the management team of Seplat Petroleum Company Limited at the Government House, in Benin City, the state capital.
For Obaseki, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has continued to fail the people of the region in the discharge of its responsibilities.
“All NDDC contractors in Edo State are stopped forthwith from undertaking any contract or any work in the state. We want to go back and focus on our priorities. We want to build that Benin/Abraka Road. We are re-awarding that road,” Obaseki said.
“We embarked on a very ambitious project by signing an agreement with the NDCC and Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDOPADEC), to jointly construct the Benin-Abraka Road. Unfortunately, NDDC, as usual, failed and we are going to Court. We will not allow them to operate in the State except subject to our approving every project.
“They are only to execute projects cleared by the State Executive Council. They can’t come into the state and dictate to us what they want to do here. It’s our money and we will determine what we want, not them telling us what they want to do.”
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Obaseki stops NDDC contractors from undertaking projects in Edo
…seeks court order restraining NDDC from executing contracts without clearance from EXCO
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, ordered contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to immediately stop executing projects or undertaking contracts in the state.
The governor said the state government is approaching the court to seek an order stopping the federal government agency from embarking on any project in the state without the consent of the state’s Executive Council.
Speaking to the management team of Seplat Petroleum Company Limited, who were at Government House, in Benin City on a courtesy visit, Obaseki said the NDDC has continued to fail the people of the region in the discharge of its responsibilities.
The governor noted: “We embarked on a very ambitious project by signing an agreement with the NDCC and Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDOPADEC), to jointly construct the Benin-Abraka Road. Unfortunately, NDDC, as usual, failed and we are going to Court. We will not allow them to operate in the State except subject to our approving every project.
“They are only to execute projects cleared by the State Executive Council. They can’t come into the state and dictate to us what they want to do here. It’s our money and we will determine what we want, not them telling us what they want to do.”
“All NDDC contractors in Edo State are stopped forthwith from undertaking any contract or any work in the state. We want to go back and focus on our priorities. We want to build that Benin/Abraka Road. We are re-awarding that road,” Obaseki added.
Addressing the management team of Seplat Ltd, the governor noted: “We would like to go into an understanding with you to co-finance the project or the stretch leading to your area of operation to enable us have access to good roads in that area.
“We appeal to you to help us provide electricity in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state, which is exposed to gas flaring”
Obaseki continued: “We are focused on education, retooling and resetting our educational system. Thank you for your quiz programme. Our children are now learning, because we have retooled our educational system in Edo State.
“We would like to work with you on the teachers’ employment programme because as a state, we have experimented a lot in terms of teachers’ reforms. I just reviewed the progress we have made in the three-year teachers programme that we have just introduced in Edo State.
“We already have 38, 000 applicants and we just need 3,000 of them who will be employed into our Civil Service in three years time when they would have completed their training.”
Obaseki said his administration has made huge investment in teachers’ training facilities, adding, “We have restructured the three campuses of the College of Education in the State. The campus in Abudu will take care of early childhood and basic education, while the Igueben campus will focus on training teachers for secondary, technical and vocational training. The one in Afuze will train teachers in special education.
“The federal government has approved the setting up of a Federal College of Education to train teachers in technical subjects”.
Earlier, the Chairman of Seplat Petroleum Company Limited, Dr. ABC Orjiako, congratulated the governor on his well-deserved victory and subsequent swearing-in.
He thanked the governor for the cordial working relationship between the company and Edo State Government, noting that the company has continued to fulfill its corporate social responsibility.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has reappointed Osarodion Ogie as the Secretary to the State Government.
The governor announced the appointment on Saturday via his Twitter handle.
“I have approved the appointment of Osarodion Ogie Esq., as Secretary to the State Government,” the governor tweeted.
While noting that the SSG’s selection is the only appointment to be made, for now, Obaseki said he would unveil his other aides to make up his cabinet on February 2021.
“This is the only political appointment to be made for now. All other appointments are deferred to the first week of February 2021. All other appointments are deferred to the first week of February 2021,” he added.
I have approved the appointment of Osarodion Ogie Esq., as Secretary to the State Government.
This is the only political appointment to be made for now.
All other appointments are deferred to the first week of February, 2021
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, following the #EndSARS protest has received nine petitions from the public.
Governor Obaseki had set up the 22-man panel headed by a retired judge, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe, to look into cases of police brutality, human rights violations, and allegations of extra-judicial killings by operatives of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
Justice Ehigiamusoe revealed the number of petitions received so far to journalists on Tuesday in Benin City, the state capital.
She gave an assurance that the panel would carefully investigate all complaints and petitions brought before it, adding that the inaugural sitting would hold on Thursday.
According to the retired judge, the panel’s terms of reference include to receive and investigate complaints of brutality by security agents, human rights violations, or related extrajudicial killings in the state, as well as evaluate the evidence presented and other surrounding circumstances and draw a conclusion as to the validity of the complaints.
She noted that the panel was mandated to recommend compensation and other remedial measures where applicable and ascertain the officers responsible for the abuse of victims and recommend their prosecution were applicable.
Justice Ehigiamusoe stated that the panel would make recommendations to the Edo State government on how to ensure security agents no longer abuse the rights of citizens.
She, therefore, appealed to victims to submit verifiable evidence that could enable the panel to carry out its duty diligently.
On his part, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Edo, Pius Oiwoh, commended Governor Obaseki for inaugurating the panel.
Noting that he has confidence in the panel based on its composition, Oiwoh believes Justice Ehigiamusoe has distinguished herself during her time in office.
He promised that the NBA in Benin City would partner as observers and play a pro bono role in assisting the panel.
Elsewhere, the state government has adjusted the curfew time to span between 10pm and 6am daily, beginning from Tuesday.
Governor Obaseki’s media adviser, Crusoe Osagie, insisted that the government was committed to the security of lives and property, and was working with security agencies to ensure peace and order is fully restored in the state.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has extended the ultimatum issued to the prisoners by one week, till October 30.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
He claimed that the government took the decision following the positive response by fleeing inmates to the call for their return after the jailbreaks at two Federal correctional facilities in Benin City, the state capital.
Osagie explained that the decision to extend the ultimatum was the outcome of a security meeting between Governor Obaseki and heads of security agencies in the state.
Authorities had said they were tracking 1,993 inmates who escaped from the correctional facilities in Benin City and Oko, as of Tuesday.
Osagie, however, did not give the number of inmates who have returned to the facilities.
But he said a good number of them have since returned, adding that the new window was to allow for more prisoners to return to the centres willingly.
The governor’s aide disclosed that with the improving security situation in the state, the governor has reviewed the curfew time to span between 6pm and 6am daily, starting from Saturday.
“The security situation in the state is seen to be improving and we appreciate Edo people for adhering to government’s directives,” he said.
Osagie insisted that the government remained committed to the security of lives and property and would continue to work with security agencies to ensure peace and normalcy was fully restored in the state.
The Edo State government has rolled out technology innovation and capacity building opportunities that will benefit at least 10,000 youths in the state to drive inclusive growth.
It says this is being done through the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs), in conjunction with Songhai Labs, Cameroon.
In a chat with journalists on Friday, the Managing Director of EdoJobs, Ukinebo Dare, said the objective was to boost job creation for youths in the state, adding that the government was exploring different avenues to drive growth and development.
Dare stated that the partnership with Songhai Labs Cameroon was already yielding results, with the attraction of top-of-the-range capacity building opportunities for school leavers and youths in the state.
According to her, the training opportunities cover mobile computing, cybersecurity, business analytics, information management and big data, as well as cloud computing, among others.
The EdoJobs boss explained that the training programme would be holistic and provide leeway for youths to build careers in the technology industry.
“The partnership targets a total of 10,000 additional beneficiaries with Shongai Labs as knowledge broker supporting the efforts to bring more international opportunities into Edo State.
“Already, the Amazon Re/Start programme which is a fruit of this alliance has kicked off at Edo Innovation Hub, with many more in the offing,” she said.
She added, “Songhai Labs Cameroon will be working to bring top international knowledge suppliers to Edo State.”
Dare noted that Songhai Labs stood as a broker for international partners in working with universities and IT skills hubs in Middle East Africa, to train and certify faculty members and students in the areas of the latest emerging technologies to better align university/hub curricula with the IT industry needs and trends.
At least 1,993 inmates are at large following the attack on two Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) Custodial Centres in Edo State, the Federal Government has said.
Mr Mohammed Manga, the Director of Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Interior, gave the figure in a statement on Tuesday.
He explained that at the last count, 1,993 inmates escaped from the correctional facilities in Benin City and Oko.
According to the government official, the attackers freed the inmates who are in legal custody and looted the centres, including the weapons in their armoury.
“They came in large number, bearing dangerous weapons and attacked the officers on guard duty. They were unmistakable on their mission, which was to force the cells open, free the inmates and carry out other nefarious activities,” he said in the statement.
He added, “This is to assure Nigerians, especially Edo State residents, that in conjunction with other security agencies, we have commenced the tracking and apprehension of all the escaped inmates before they do any harm.
“Anyone who notices any person or persons that might have escaped from the custodial centres should, as a patriotic duty, inform the nearest security agency.”
Manga, however, noted that the situation had been brought under control while security in and around the custodial centres across the country had been beefed up.
He added that the government has commenced an investigation into the jailbreak to determine the full impact of the attack.
Channels Television reported the jailbreak on Monday, coming at a time when #EndSARS protesters are demonstrating in various parts of the country.
The hoodlums who attacked the correctional centres were also said to have set three police stations ablaze in the course of the attack.
“Peaceful protest is legitimate and guaranteed as a fundamental right of citizens, operating as individuals and groups.
“However, attacking a custodial centre is a criminal act which detracts from the advertised objectives of the movement and capable of imputing impure motives to its drivers,” said Manga who condemned the attack.
He described custodial centres as high-security zones which have a primary duty of keeping custody of convicted criminals and awaiting trial suspects.
This, according to the ministry’s spokesman, comes before the reformation of the inmates and is integral to the justice administration system.
He stressed that the integrity of the custodial centres was fundamental to justice and inmates were expected to pay their dues to society, undergo reformation, and be reintegrated into society as changed-for-better persons.
Manga explained that when such a process has been disrupted in any way, the integrity of justice and societal renewal had been subverted, with dire and unimaginable consequences.
He insisted that most of the inmates held at the centres were convicted criminals serving terms for various criminal offences, awaiting execution or standing trial for violent crimes.
“Their being let loose gravely imperils lives and property. It is an unacceptable and intolerable threat to national and communal security.
“Government’s primary duty is to protect lives and property and keep the people safe. We shall not be shirking in our responsibility and we shall not disappoint the people,” the government official added.
He urged the #ENDSARS protesters to remain peaceful, embrace dialogue, screen their rank and file, as well as flush out those with criminal intents and steer clear of the custodial centres.
Suspected hoodlums on Monday stormed the #EndSARS Protests in Benin City, Edo State capital.
The Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media, Crusoe Osagie, told Channels Television that the hoodlums exchanged fire with security operatives at the Maximum prison in Benin City.
“The hoodlums are currently exchanging fire with the security personnel at the Maximum security prison in Oko, Benin City,” Osagie told Channels Television.
The hoodlums can be seen in videos invading the Benin Medium security prison on Sapele Road, releasing some inmates.
Three police stations were reported to have been burnt by the hoodlums.
Some of the police stations affected include the Ugbekun and Idogbo Police Stations in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state.
Protest Against Police Brutality
The #EndSARS protests calling for an end to police brutality; extrajudicial killings and scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – a unit of the police force notorious for human rights abuse – have continued for over 12 days.
Nigeria’s police chief, Mohammed Adamu, had on heels of the disbandment of SARS, announced a new tactical unit – Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) – to replace the scrapped arm of the force.
Irked by the move, more Nigerians trooped to the streets, calling for the rejection of the new unit.
Using the #EndSWAT hashtag on the social media platform, Twitter, the protesters believe the new arm of the police would be no different from the disbanded SARS.
They argue that the introduction of SWAT is ill-timed and does not align with their demands for a reformation of the country’s policing system.
The Edo State Government on Friday charged all security agencies to fish out those involved in the alleged killing of an #EndSARS protester in the state within 24 hours and ensure that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are brought to justice.
Addressing the protesters at the Kings square axis in Benin city, the state capital Deputy Governor, mister Philip Shaibu, said the government will not fold its arms and watch harm come the way of young people exercising their rights as citizens of the country.
According to Shaibu, “I have given instructions to the security agencies to fish out those behind the attack. The police, the Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies have been ordered to bring to book those guys that harassed you and killed that young man.”
“Some of you sustained injuries, I can see them from here; they have 24 hours to bring the attackers to book,” he noted.
The deputy governor further said: “I have ordered that the victim be taken to the morgue; we are going to give him a state burial because the martyrs of this struggle must be remembered. He will be remembered for being part of this struggle. He is a martyr already and by the grace of God, he will never be forgotten.
“By the grace of God, when all these reforms have taken place, it will be on record that he joined the struggle for emancipation. I want to assure you that the Edo Government believes in your peaceful protest.”
Assuring the protesters of the government’s support, Shaibu noted: “We will not fold our hands as a government and watch miscreants brutalize anyone involved in this protest. So, please maintain your calm and orderliness during the protests.
“We are with you in this struggle. President Muhammadu Buhari has also said that there is going to be a reform, but we, as a state, are going to ensure that we have a reform that is people-friendly because the police are meant to protect lives and property not to destroy them. I want to assure you that we are with you on this.”
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Mr. David Osayende said, “One of us has been killed during this struggle. Sir, we want state burial for that man. We want an end to police brutality; we want the police to stop arresting us without any offence.”
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, says godfatherism is dangerous to the tenets of democracy in Nigeria.
Speaking during a ‘Thank You’ visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja, Governor Obaseki asked the people of the state to deal with him should he become a godfather.
“God forbid I become a godfather, I should be dealt with accordingly because it is dangerous to the concept of democracy,” he said.
While condemning godfatherism in politics, the governor argued that people who play such roles act outside of the nation’s constitution.
He warned that if people allow the act to trend in politics and governance, it will be worse than military rule.
“The godfather acts outside of the constitution. He now controls people who are constitutional players.
“If we allow such a situation to continue, it will be worse than military rule. When people who have nothing at stake, who have no checks and balances in them can just arbitrarily decide that this is the way the constitution can be interpreted, that is why the concept is wrong,” he said.
On his part, President Buhari thanked Obaseki for coming along with his deputy, Philip Shaibu, to visit him at the State House even after defeating the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just-concluded Edo Election.
The President maintained that he ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and other security agencies not to interfere in the polls to allow the will of Edo people to prevail.
“If contestants have too much money and they decide to spray, so be it. But what I insist is, nobody should go and raise a counterforce to the government, arm heavily-drugged thugs to go and humiliate people.
“I want Nigerians to appreciate that I respect them as Nigerians and that I am bound by the oath I have taken, that their security is in the hands of God and in the hands of the government, which I am leading,” he said.
According to President Buhari, he was congratulating the Edo governor “reluctantly” because he defeated the candidate of his party, the APC.
Governor Obaseki defeated APC’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to win a second term as governor of Edo State, destroying godfatherism in the state.
The governor secured 307,955 of the total votes, 84,336 more votes than his closest rival Ize-Iyamu, who got 223, 619 votes.