Police Special Forces, led by the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have killed notorious kidnap kingpin and armed robbery suspect, Henry Chibueze, also known as ‘Vampire’.
The wanted criminal met his waterloo early this morning at about 1AM on Thursday during a gunbattle with the IGP Intelligence Response Team in Omu Awa Forest,Ikwerre L.G.A. Rivers State.
Five other members of his gang were arrested alive and cache of arms and ammunition were recovered.
Recall that Vampire had escaped from Imo High Court premises following a shootout between gunmen and security operatives in Owerri, Imo State on January 27th.
In an attack that left several persons wounded,men suspected to be members of his gang attacked the operatives when Vampire and other inmates arrived at the premises of the Imo High Court in Owerri.
According to an eyewitness,the gunmen, over six of them, found their way into the court premises shortly after over 50 inmates were conveyed to court for hearing of various suits filed against them.
The gunmen opened fire on the security operatives and inmates at the court premises shooting sporadically into the air for over 10 minutes leaving several people wounded as Vampire and about eight other inmates escaped.
The Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha promised a reward of Five million Naira to anyone with valuable information that can lead to the arrest of the escapee criminal.
The Imo State government says it has spent over40billion naira on its free tertiary education policy since inception four years ago.
The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, made the disclosure at the Heroes Square in Owerri, the Imo State capital in southeast Nigeria.
He was speaking during the ongoing revalidation and verification exercise organised for Imo indigenes who are beneficiaries of the free education programme in all state-owned tertiary institutions in the state.
Addressing the students, Governor Okorocha who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Uche Nwosu, noted that the state government has decided to concentrate on Imo indigenes and drop non-indigenes from the programme.
He explained that the state government has spent about 40 billion naira to sustain the policy, adding that it would have to drop non-indigenes from the scheme as Imo indigenes in other state-owned schools across Nigeria do not enjoy such benefit.
The governor, however, assured the students of the government’s commitment to sustaining the programme beyond the life of the present administration.
“Nothing less than 40 billion has been spent in the last five years to sustain this free education policy.
“But as you know, our Imo sons and daughters in other schools outside Imo State are not benefiting any similar scheme in their various schools and we can’t keep shouldering their expenses.
“Like the saying: charity begins at home; we need to take care of our own first before others. So we have decided to drop non-indigenes from the exercise,” he said.
Governor Okorocha explained further that the essence of the ongoing revalidation and verification of students was to generate the accurate data of students and to also ascertain that students enjoying the programme were majorly of Imo extraction.
“The idea of this exercise is to capture (those) who are exactly Imo State citizens and to build a data base of who they are, and to inculcate in them the fact that government is training them for free, despite the very lean resources that is available to the government.
“From the form, they have to go back to their villages and get endorsement from their traditional ruler and also get endorsement from the secretary of the CGC (that is President-general).
“By that, we will know that they are from so so and so local government (and) let me tell you that some of them don’t even know their local government.
“The free education has come to stay,” he noted.
Dreams Of Better Educational Standard
In an interview with Channels Television, some of the students said that the free education programme has actually helped them achieve their dreams of a better and higher educational standard without payment.
A student said “because of the free education, I could achieve a lot in the medical school.
“I have not paid a dime since I got admission into the university (and) my siblings are here.
“If not for the free education, I don’t think there is a way we can do it but I just thank the government for giving us the free education”.
At the inception of the Governor Okorocha led administration in 2011, education was declared free at primary and post-primary levels in all public schools in Imo State.
The government subsequently extended the gesture to all the state-owned tertiary institutions on February 14, 2012, including the Imo State School of Nursing and Health Technology.
As an extension of the free education programme in November 2012, the government slashed the tuition fee of non-indigenes schooling in the state-owned tertiary institutions by 50%.
However, the revalidation and verification exercise is supposed to last for two weeks of which students are meant to take their forms to their traditional rulers and government liaison officers in their communities for identification and return the form to the state government within the specified period.
The Imo State government says it will commence the disbursement of one billion naira to operators of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.
The State government had applied for two billion naira, but got the approval for one billion naira after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had announced that it has earmarked 200 billion naira for MSMEs.
The disbursement plan was disclosed by the state’s Commissioner for Planning, Mr Iyke Njoku, during an interactive session with journalists in Owerri, the Imo State capital in southeast Nigeria.
The commissioner, who is also the Chief Economic Adviser to the State Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, explained that the loan was obtained from the apex bank to boost and support MSMEs in the state.
He hinted that the loan was expected to be repaid within a period of one to three years.
Mr Njoku, however, said that the loan would be strictly monitored by the state government to ensure it was not diverted from the purpose it was meant for.
The Imo state government has approved the sum of two billion Naira as take-off funds for the rehabilitation and construction of major infrastructure in the oil producing Ohaji Egbema and Oguta local government areas.
The state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, disclosed this at a meeting with the members of the Imo state Amnesty committee in Owerri, the state capital south east Nigeria.
The meeting is the first of its kind after the inauguration of the Imo amnesty committee in October 2016.
Weeks after granting the amnesty, the government set up the committee, to carry out specific tasks of consolidating on the success of the amnesty and ensuring that peace returns to the areas.
The committee which is headed by the wife of the Imo state Governor Nkechinyere Okorocha, is also saddled with the responsibility of developing and rehabilitating the areas.
3 months after its inauguration, the committee reported that about 2,800 ex-militants registered for the programme and were ready to seek peace in the region.
Mr Okoracha then explained that the funds were being released in order to sustain the success thus far.
In his words “If you can remember, we had amnesty to over 2,000 militants in Ohaji Egbema and Oguta last year and shortly after that, we inaugurated the amnesty committee headed by the First Lady.
“After 3 months, they are back to give their reports and as you can see, they have registered about 2,800 militants with their forms, and in order to meet up their demands, we are approving the sum of two billion Naira for the take off of rehabilitation works and construction in the area” the Governor said
Furthermore, he stated: “We also made available some funds as financial assistance to some of the ex-militants in order to start a business of their choice, this will go a long way to solving their problems”.
Excited about this development, the committee said they would move to the area as soon as possible, to commence the rehabilitation and construction of schools, hospitals and other meaningful projects that would restore the pride of the communities.
The Imo state Government says the new federal government policy of ‘primary health care under one roof’ will no doubt improve accessibility and enhance better delivery of quality health care to people living in the rural areas.
This was disclosed in Owerri, the Imo state capital during a two-day orientation workshop organized for the newly inaugurated board of the Imo state Primary Health Care Development Agency by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the John Hopkins International Vaccine Access Centre.
The objectives of the workshop among other things, is basically to orientate the new technical team on steps towards full implementation of the new policy as well as to adequately sensitize the Imo state PHCDA board and technical team.
The state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Mrs Ngozi Njoku, explained that the policy would give room for better supervision, accountability and better funding.
In her words “If there is anything that bothers the present administration in Imo state, it is that of giving quality healthcare delivery to the people, especially those at the rural areas who are trying to access healthcare in their various localities.
She went on to say that “with this orientation workshop, every participant will know his or her role towards giving this quality healthcare to the people and strengthen the primary healthcare delivery in the state, definitely the benefits of the workshop abounds”, Njoku said.
Shedding more light on the importance of the new policy, the Executive Secretary of the Imo state PHCDA, Emmanuel Emuka, said the new policy would correct all the wrongs and issues associated with primary health care delivery system in the state.
He added that the state government under this new policy would ensure proper coordination of activities in the primary health care sector.
Furthermore, he added that “before now, there were several ministries involved in the issue of primary healthcare in the state, such as the Ministry of Health, local governments, and local government service commission.
“There was no coordinated approach to supervise activities, so there were levels of decay, inefficiency, dilapidation and poor linkage between the community and the facilities to render service.
According to him, “this is why this revitalization and orientation is necessary to reposition the primary health care system in the state.” Emuka said.
The Imo State government has signed a two billion dollars’ partnership with an international group, African Development Funding Group, to build and develop the proposed Imo Industrial Park.
The park will be built in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.
A memorandum of understanding was also signed at the Ndubuisi Kanu Executive Chambers at the Government House in Owerri the capital of Imo State in southeast Nigeria.
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, told reporters that the proposed Imo Industrial Park in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area would generate over one million jobs for youths not only in the state but in the country.
He said that the project would turn Imo State into an investment haven which would boost the economy of the country and also increase her gross domestic product.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the African Development Funding Group, Duncan Otieno, said they were willing to partner with Imo State to actualise the project with main focus on road infrastructure, agriculture, construction, and logistics in the industrial park.
One of the delegates from the African Development Funding Group is the Nigerian Consul General to south Africa Mrs Uche Ajulu-Okeke.
The artificial fuel scarcity experienced on Friday in all parts of Imo state seems to have been resolved following the intervention of the Imo State government.
This was after hours of dialogue between the men of the Nigeria Security And Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), members of the Imo state Independent Petroleum Marketers and the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association, Imo State chapter.
The news came as a shock to residents of Imo State as they woke up on Friday morning to discover that petrol stations across the state were under lock and key.
The artificial scarcity was said to have been as a result of the alleged harassment and intimidation of tanker drivers by the NSCDC officials which recently led to the accidental shooting of a tanker driver.
The tanker driver is purportedly lying unconscious at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia state.
Most of the petrol stations visited in the Owerri metropolis were locked, as people were seen gathered at entrances of the petrol stations waiting for positive news.
Commuters were also seen stranded at various bus stops within the city.
It was also gathered that the Independent Petroleum Marketers Of Nigeria Imo state chapter, had gone on strike, as a solidarity protest following the continuous harassment of tanker drivers by the NSCDC officials.
This according to the Chairman of the Independent Marketers Association in the Southeast, Bobby Ebere Chidick, is a regular occurrence.
“This is not the first time this will happen, it’s been happening, intimidation and harassment of our drivers, we had to take this step this time around because it’s pertaining to life and death.
“One of our drivers has been shot by the Civil Defense, he’s lying unconscious at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia,” he said.
In justifying their actions, he further stressed that “it is a solidarity protest to try to notify the government of the activities of the Civil Defense”.
He said the duty of the NSCDC was to secure pipelines rather than monitoring trucks. He insisted that the matter must be resolved once and for all.
Confirming the incident, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone E of the NSCDC, Ben Dikuro, explained that the it happened accidentally in the course of discharging their primary duties.
He however debunked allegations of intimidation and harassment by his men, saying that the NSCDC will continue to discharge their duties as regards transpiration of petroleum products.
According to him, “we got an intelligence report about illegal diversion of petroleum product around Okigwe axis.
“My men swung into action and in the course of doing their duty, there was a misunderstanding and accidentally a driver was shot in the leg”.
In defense, he explained that it wasn’t intentional, adding that he had sent a team to the hospital to look after him.
Meanwhile, the state government immediately called for a meeting between both parties to resolve the issue and avert any harsh effects it might have on the masses.
The outcome of the meeting with the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Eze Madumere, was however positive as both parties resolved the issues amicably and the petroleum marketers promised to re-open as soon as possible.
“Thank God the Imo state Deputy Governor has intervened, we have been in a meeting since the last 4 hours and we have resolved to reopen our business”
The chairman of the Independent Marketers Association said.
The Imo State government says it is in partnership agreement with Kebbi State government in agricultural and educational development.
The State Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, announced the plans at an executive meeting on Wednesday held at the Government House in Owerri, the capital of Imo state in south-east Nigeria.
He said that the state government was going into the partnership to tackle the current economic situation in Nigeria which had giving room for states to look inward.
Governor Okorocha said that the partnership programme would majorly be in rice production while the educational development will be in the area of Teachers training.
The Way To Go
He also told the gathering that his administration was more determined than ever to deploy all machineries to ensure that the partnership would be sustained for the benefit of Imo people, expressing hopes that Imo state would become an agrarian state which would sustain and generate more Internally Generated Revenue for the state.
Responding to comments of the delegates of Kebbi State the Governor said: “Now that you have heard from the horse’s mouth, this will now corroborate my back to agriculture policy for civil servants.
“Agriculture is still the way to go in this period of economic recession. The government will do all it can to invest in this partnership not for we the officials but for the benefits of all Imo citizens”.
The Governor also disclosed that the partnership would not only be in agriculture but also education.
Highlighting that Imo State is known for educational development and that the state has well qualified teachers, he said the state government would partner with Kebbi State government in training thousands of their teachers.
Apart from the presence of the executive members of the Imo State government, in attendance at the meeting was also the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress led by Comrade Austin Chilakpu. They all met with the Kebbi State government’s delegates led by Mr Saidu Argungu.
Kebbi State has been a success story in agriculture, especially rice production and Imo State is looking to adopt the Kebbi State template to join the list of states producing rice in large quantity in Nigeria.
Mr Argungu had earlier told the gathering that he had inspected most of the communities across Imo state where rice production could be more viable. He said: “Imo state has all it takes to be one of the state in Africa that will become the largest producer of rice if the state government can invest in it and take farming and agriculture more seriously as the benefits and proceeds cannot be overemphasised”.
“The agricultural potential, especially in rice production, I see in Imo State since the last two days that I have been touring most of the communities is enormous.
“It is even more than the oil you have. If the government pays more attention to this rice farming, at the end of one year, Imo may be the largest exporter of rice in West Africa because Imo has water and favourable soil that is not present in other states” Mallam Argungu said.
The Imo State government has demolished buildings said to be owned by suspected kidnappers in Ohoba community in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of the state.
The Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, who led the team to Ohoba community disclosed this to reporters in southeast Nigeria.
He vowed that the state government would continue to resist any form of illegal and ill-gotten wealth in the state, especially through kidnapping and armed robbery.
“We will be committing an unpardonable sin by allowing those with ill-gotten wealth to continue to parade themselves as successful people,” he said.
Mr Madumere said that the action would also serve as a deterrent to others who may have plans to make money through such illegal means.
In his words, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Taiwo Lakanu, said that the demolition was to ensure that strategies and structures that would prevent carnage in the state were put in place.
“We are trying to ensure that we put a total end to crime and criminality (and) this will send a strong message to those using seed money to build houses and to villagers, especially those who are supporting them,” he said.
The Police Commissioner said that the suspected kidnappers whose houses were being demolished were already in Police custody.
The National Association of Nigerian Students, Imo State Chapter, has staged a peaceful protest against the recent hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also referred to as petrol by the Federal Government.
The youths in their numbers took to the streets of Owerri the capital of Imo State, causing heavy gridlock and carrying placards with various inscriptions.
Contrary To Campaign Promises
They expressed their support for the planned strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress against the increase of the price of PMS from 86.50 Naira to 145 Naira per litre.
The Labour union had issued the Federal Government a 4-day ultimatum to revert to the old petrol pump price of 86.50 Naira or risk a nationwide protest.
According to the protesting students the All Progressives Congress (APC) is delivering what is contrary to their campaign promises as regards the fuel price issue.
Recalling that the APC had promised to reduce the price of petrol to 40 Naira per litre during the campaigns, insisting that the increase was a plot by the Federal Government to cause untold hardship on the Nigerian masses.
The students during the protest also called on the Imo State government to resolve the lingering crisis between the government and Academic Staff Union of Universities, Imo State Chapter which they claimed had kept the Imo State University under lock and key for months, keeping students idle and non-productive.
The Imo Stategovernment has donated 20 Hilux vehicles to the Imo Security Network, a local security agency in the state.
This development comes as a way of boosting security surveillance and monitoring, as the Imo Stategovernment expresses worry over the rising spate of kidnapping in the state.
The vehicles were donated on Wednesday by the Imo State Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, who represented Governor Okorocha at the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chambers at the Government House in Owerri, the state capital in southeast Nigeria.
He said that the patrol vehicles would go a long way in fighting crime, especially kidnapping and other related criminal activities in the State.
While reiterating his commitment to providing adequate security for the people of the state, Governor Okorocha urged the local security agency to work closely and partner with other agencies in the state to reduce crime.
He also gave cash rewards to 50 personnel among the security men for creditably doing well in the discharge of their duties.
Receiving the patrol vehicles, the coordinator of the agency commended the state government, while he added that they would sustain their cooperation with other security agencies to eliminate crime in the state.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has called on all Nigerians to be patient with the APC-led government to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, even amidst the present challenges.
Governor Shettima made the appeal on Sunday in Owerri, when he led some other governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on an unofficial visit to the Imo State Government House in southeast Nigeria.
He spoke about the Issues facing the nation – the current fuel situation and economic challenges – and commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for stabilising and maintaining peace in the northeast by winning the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Governor also solicited support for the Federal Government to sustain the feats made so far in the northeast and giving confidence to the Nigerian Army to fight the insurgents.
He added that if the Peoples Democratic Party had been in power, the situation in the country would have been worse.
Corroborating the Governor Shettima’s declarations, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and his Jigawa and Niger counterparts urged Nigerians to be patient with the APC’s administration.
They claimed that the political party remained the only government that had the solution to the present challenges being faced in Nigeria.