Confirming the accident and number of casualties, the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa state, Bola Longe said that the accident which occurred on Saturday morning was a collision between a Federal Government DPR truck with Reg. Number DPR 18B-19FG and a green Sharon Volkswagen with Reg. number: ABUJA KWL 820 AJ.
He added that the DPR vehicle was heading to Abuja before the incident happened and the injured persons are currently at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi receiving treatment.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, on his 60th birthday, urging him to make good governance his priority in order to leave a lasting and favourable legacy.
President Buhari said: “Life is the most invaluable gift from God and we should use our birthday to thank our creator and reflect on life, with humility.’’
The President, who wished the governor “many more years and good health’’, advised him “not to rest on his oars because the task of fulfilling campaign promises is even greater than the campaign efforts.’’
“I urge you to make good governance your watchword because your good performance will be the yardstick by which your tenure will be judged for years to come. I wish you a happy birthday and more prosperous years ahead,’’ President Buhari added.
The Police paraded 81 suspects for kidnapping, robbery and cultism in Nasarawa on Friday, including a traditional ruler of Mangoro Goma of Tunga Village, Dalhatu Abubakar.
He was arrested for aiding and abetting kidnapping.
The Police, in a statement obtained by Channels TV, said Abubakar had been on their wanted list “for a long time” and, after his arrest, is now assisting the police to unravel many other kidnap cases in the state.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa, Bola Longe, said the Force’s goal was to eradicate all forms of kidnapping in the state.
“Kidnapping will be something of the past in Nasarawa state,” Mr Longe said. “Robbery has been completely reduced to little or nothing; cultism has been caged, although recently we discovered that some cultists are coming from Benue to relocate to Nasarawa state. We have re-arrested some of them and they will soon be charged to court.
The Defence Headquarters on Saturday says it will withdraw troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke from Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States.
Speaking to journalists on Saturday in Benue State, the Defence Spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the operation which began in June 2018 to combat herdsmen attacks, communal crisis and militia groups has largely restored peace in the affected areas.
“We have a mandate; we have a mission. And the mission fundamentally is to maintain peace, safety and security in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States. And to a very large extent, that mission has been achieved.
“We just travelled all the way to Gbishe now and all I see on the road was tranquility, people going about their normal businesses. We have been to countries like Liberia where we had operations where there was civil war, when we met the mandate we began to draw down and that is exactly what is going to happen here,” he said.
He however reacted to concerns raised by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State that the withdrawal of troops could spark renewed attacks in the affected states.
According to Nwachukwu, the withdrawal wouldn’t be a complete one but would be done gradually in phases.
“I saw comments made by His Excellency, the Governor of Benue State (Samuel Ortom). It is not an outright shutdown of the operation. It is not as if we are going to close the operation, pack our bags and vacate the operational area, that is not what is happening.
“There is going to be a draw down and that draw down is not immediate. It is going to be phased. So, it’s not like pack your things and get out of the place.
“Again, we have made provisions that as the troops draw down, as we wind down the operation, we have some benchmark that have been put in place to ensure that there is no resurgence of these criminalities,” he stated.
The brigadier general also revealed that the military authorities have developed kinetic operation that hev involved traditional and political leaders aimed at maintaining peace in the region.
Some youths in Nasarawa State have been engaging in commercial motorcycling to fend for themselves and augment family finances.
The greater part of these youngsters who are mostly viewed as inexperienced are viewed as the reason for accidents on the roads.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate of unemployment in Nasarawa is 27.4 per cent while underemployment rate is 24.3 per cent.
Despite the employment rate of 48.3 per cent, a number of young persons have been forced into embracing vocations considered not suitable for their ages.
The most noticeable is commercial motorcycling as the two-wheeled vehicle fills in as the commonest method for transportation.
This is often seen as most preferred by residents as it goes down the nooks and crannies with rates as low as N30.
Residents who are not car owners are left with two choices, the motorcycle or the tricycle with their destination determining their choice.
Threat Of Underage Riders
A cross-section of people who want to access a hard-to-reach area – in haste or desire to resist gridlock – simply hop on a motorcycle while those whose movements are within the city prefer to ride on tricycle.
Regardless of the worthiness and acceptability of the two-wheeled vehicle in the state, there are growing concerns over the expanding number of underage riders out and about.
In spite of this, motorcyclists have advanced a resistance over the menace, although they want the menace checked.
One of the commercial motorcyclists in the state, Ahmadu Ahmadu, shared his opinion in an interview with Channels Television.
He said, “Before a rider is registered, he should be assessed if he is suitable to ride or not. This shouldn’t be a difficult task for the concerned authorities.”
Some of the underage riders who spoke to Channels Television attributed their choice of livelihood to the absence of better options.
They, however, said they were willing to quit if provided a better means of bringing food to the table.
An underage rider, Muhammad Nura, said, “If we don’t do this business, we have a challenge because it is what we use to cater for ourselves and parents.”
Aliyu Musa also said, “it is my business; I grew up to it and If I don’t do it, I don’t have anything to do,” while another rider Aliyu Yusuf promised to quit the job if the government would cater for him.
This caught the attention of the government as the Secretary to the Government of the State, Tijjani Aliyu, gave assurance that there were plans to get young persons out of the streets.
“Very soon our incubation plant will be ready and we will use it for training our youth on various trades. We are making an effort to get them out of the streets,” he said.
The use of motorcycles for commercial transportation in the state was borne out of the necessity to fill the gap of inadequate transportation.
Yet, the attitude of these riders remains a source of worry to residents who believe the young persons are undermining such efforts.
Some of them believe the actualisation of the government’s youth empowerment plans will turn the attention of the underage riders to suitable opportunities and in turn minimise road accidents in the state.
The left hands of Ovey Friday, the teenager whose hands were allegedly burnt by a herbalist in Nasarawa state has been amputated after he developed gangrene.
Doctors assured the thirteen-year-old teenager is in a stable condition and the functionality of his right hands depends on the healing time.
Meanwhile, the Herbalist who allegedly burnt Ovey’s hands has been arrested by the police and is currently at the Nasarawa state criminal investigation and intelligence department alongside the victim’s grandmother and stepmother.
Speaking to Channels Television, the herbalist, Adamu Musa, a 45-year old herder revealed he relocated to Kwandere (where the boy was taken to by his stepmother and paternal grandmother), from Loko town in Nasarawa local government area three years ago, and has been administering herbal medicine for various ailments.
He refuted claims of burning the boy’s hands, insisting he only rubbed a herbal substance over his hands and contrary to the claims of the stepmother, Mercy Friday, he told our correspondent it all occurred in their presence.
“They are saying, I burnt his hands but I didn’t burn his hands. It is just a medicine I rubbed over his hands to ascertain if he is possessed or not and I told them(the stepmother and paternal grandmother), that if he is possessed, he would vomit and if he is not his hands will swell severely. It is the medicine that made his hands like that because he is not possessed, he said”.
After being informed of the amputation, in surprise, he chanted incantations in Arabic “Allahu Akbar!Allahu Akbar! , meaning, God is great saying….., “this kind of situation has never occurred since I started administering the medicine,”.
Ovey Friday, via a telephone call, rebutted the claims of the herbalist emphasizing, “he is lying, he burnt my hands” and the whole act didn’t happen in the presence of my stepmother and paternal grandmother, “they were in another room and we were in another”.
Ovey’s father, Friday who did not show up after the October 28th incident amidst several phone calls was also not present during the surgery. He, however, arrived Wulko community in Nasarawa Eggon local government area of Nasarawa state, Monday,18th November which is three weeks after the ordeal and is yet to visit his son at the hospital.
The state police commissioner Bola Longe has assured to thoroughly investigate the matter after which the suspects will be charged to court.
“They are being subjected to exhaustive interrogation to know the veracity of their statement. We will definitely charge them to court when we complete the investigation and it will be very soon and we want to use the case to send a message to members of the public particularly those who are saddled with the affairs of taking care of children. No one should show wickedness any child and quine who does so will face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Election Petitions Tribunal affirming the election of Abdullahi Sule as the governor of Nasarawa State.
In its judgement, the court presided by Justice Jumai Sankey resolved all the five issues raised in the petition brought before it against the appellants, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, David Ombugadu.
The court held that the appellants were unable to prove their case and thereby affirmed the verdict earlier passed by the Tribunal, which confirmed that Mr Sule was legally and lawfully returned as governor of Nasarawa State.
In his reaction, counsel to the governor, Dr Mubarak Adekunle, hailed the decision of the appellate court.
He said, “The Court of Appeal in Makurdi has just delivered its judgement. The court resolved all the five issues against the appellant.
“The Tribunal stroke out several paragraphs of their reply to Engineer A. A Sule’s reply. They appealed against that and the Court of Appeal affirmed it that the Tribunal was very right to have struck out all those paragraphs.”
“On all the allegations which border on disenfranchisement, cancellation of votes, inflation of votes and deflation of votes, the Court of Appeal affirmed that the Tribunal was right that they were unable to prove their allegations,” he added.
Adekunle added that on whether Governor Sule was fully or properly returned as elected, the appellate court affirmed that the appellants were unable to prove their case, having resolved all the allegations against the appellant.
He noted that the court affirmed the verdict of the Tribunal that “Engineer Sule was legally, lawfully and properly returned as Governor of Nasarawa State.”
The clergyman said, “He doesn’t like trouble with anyone, you hardly see him exchanging words with people.
“He was a lover of peace, even in his house when I come around to visit them, you will always see him up and doing. He is a man who is committed, diligent, and obedient.”
Nwachukwu was seized from his residence on October 30 by suspected robbers who dispossessed him of cash, valuables, and documents of his house.
After several days in captivity, a ransom of N20 million was demanded and after several pleas, it was reduced to N10 million and further down to N40,000, which was paid.
However, he didn’t come back alive.
An Unexpected Death
Reacting to his death, Nwachukwu’s wife, Nnenna and his eldest son, Uchenna, demanded a change of mind from the citizens and more government action in tackling the menace of kidnapping.
“I want God to have mercy on us because human beings are very bad, even if God provided people to guard the country, we don’t know their minds; they will be guarding but in their mind, they can be connected with armed robbers,” Nnenna sobbed.
She added, “It is only God that will deliver us from this country because look at my husband now, an innocent man, a man that doesn’t talk, a quiet man that has no problem with anybody who doesn’t even have a friend; all he was after was how he would succeed.”
On his part, the deceased’s son urged the government to recruit more personnel into the Anti-Kidnapping and Robbery units of respective security agencies.
“I didn’t expect my dad’s death because the way he died, he never deserved that. If only they shot him and leave him it will be better for me.
“But he was butchered as if he is being taken for a ritual after collecting everything they asked for, taking all the money at home alongside documents,” Uchenna said.
Meanwhile, a joint effort of local vigilantes and the police has resulted in the arrest of one of the suspects in the process of trying to dispose of the body.
According to a senior operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nasarawa, Anuforo Cletus, some people were sighted moving a wheelbarrow at midnight.
“They (vigilantes) raised alarm to the police within the checkpoint and the police quickly moved in while in the process of hitting the spot, the other two people took off. He took off too but unluckily for him, he was arrested,” he explained.
Cletus added that the suspect, a retired army officer, has been detained at the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Police in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
But the suspect insisted he wasn’t part of the abduction, stressing that he only helped the abductors dispose of the victim’s remains before he was apprehended.
“Having shot him (Nwachukwu), the man was now confused and that was where I came in,” he said.
The suspect narrated further, “It was foolish but he said I should assist him in pushing the corpse out of that farm otherwise, it will implicate him the more. So, I foolishly assisted them in pushing the body.”
On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa, Bola Longe, gave assurance that more strategies would be introduced to ensure safety.
He said, “We are going to subject the criminal elements to a kind of disjointed strategy. We will bombard them from all angles with the support of the people.
“I want to assure all the members of the public that they should go about their lawful businesses because we will provide an unfettered condition that will enable them to actualise their dreams without criminal intimidation.”
Two women, Mercy Friday and Tani Diwu have been apprehended in Nasarawa state by the Nigeria police for attempted culpable homicide.
The two women who are currently at the State’s criminal investigation department are alleged to have taken a thirteen-year-old boy, Ovey Friday who is their stepson and grand son to a herbalist over accusation of witchcraft.
The women also accused Friday of making love to his stepmother in her dreams.
Narrating the incident to Channels Television, Ovey Friday said, “She said that I am sleeping with her in the dream that is why she took me to the babalawo (herbalist), then the babalawo carried a stone, the stone was shining then he rubbed it on my hands and tied them.
“He then brought fire, and he put pepper, then he come carry one wrapper come cover me, then he said I should put my hand near the fire, then the fire come die, he still bring another fire again three times. The I pray, I pray, then the babalawo come leave for one minute then he come loose, then he come give me one medicine, I drink then him say e Don finish him work”
Ovey was said to have been abandoned after the incident for over a week, before his maternal siblings rushed him to the Dalhatu Araf Specialist hospital in Lafia, the Nasararwa State capital.
The severity of Ovey’s predicament
Ovey’s managing consultant, Doctor Edego Egba, who doubles as Chairman, Medical advisory committee of the hospital revealed that the severity of the burn may affect the usefulness of his hands and pointed plastic surgery as the last resort.
“He had 12 percent full thickness degree burns and the functionability of the hands will depend on how we finish because since it is a deep burn affecting both hands, it is usually very difficult for us to treat the patient to return to the normal because no matter how you do it, the patient may have complications”
A future almost destroyed
Wulko in Endehu district of Nasarawa Eggon local government area, Nasarawa state is Ovey’s community.
It is a settlement of peasant farmers, during our visit to the community, some residents were reluctant to share their views on the alleged continuous maltreatment and battering of Ovey before this incident since he moved in with his stepmother in September.
A two bedroom apartment standing alone at the outskirts of Wulko was Ovey’s residence where he was leaving alone with his stepmother while his father was away making ends meet as a commercial motorcyclist in Lagos State.
Ovey is a junior secondary school three pupil at the Government secondary school in Wulko, he served as the class captain of twenty three pupils before the incident. Despite having being established since 1982, the school environment is not a befitting one.
Cracked walls, broken rooftops, patched floors among other deficiencies characterized the school with teachers spotted using tree shades as offices as no provisions had been made for them. However, the pupils are grateful they have a place to learn.
We step into Ovey’s class and met the students preparing for their pre-qualification examinations to senior secondary level, an exam which Ovey is likely not going to be a part of.
Nje Alanana, the Principal of the school, Magga Ayaka, Ovey’s Form Master,Oklo Cornelius, Ovey’s Best Friend spoke to Channels Television regarding the brilliant lad’s plight.
“This boy is a boy that performs very well, very intelligent student for that matter in fact we have missed this boy, his absence has created a lot of vacuum because I don’t think we can get anybody to replace him,” the principal said.
On his part, the form master said, “We feel bad and it’s paining us because he was very active. For now,we are missing him, the role that he was playing in the class and even in the fellowship is vacant. We are feeling it very badly and we pray that this type of thing will not occur again to any of our students.”
His best friend Cornelius prayed for his return, saying he misses the moments they had.
“I have to be praying for God to save him from his condition. Me and him we used play together, we used to ask ourselves questions, we used to go to church together, the way he is not around I am not feeling good because I don’t see his face again.”
A call for justice
Abdullahi Ubandoma, a legal practitioner in Lafia wants those who dealt unfairly with Ovey to be punished according to the law.
Ubandoma says if the right penalty is accorded the crime against Ovey, then, it will serve as a deterrent to those who abuse children.
The Nasarawa State police commissioner Bola Longe assured that a robust investigation will be carried out to ascertain what really happened and to bring those involved in the crime to book.
“whether or not the child’s rights law is passed in the state, we have the penal code, we have the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that has taken care of this kind of incident so I think the woman will be charged before a court of law and we will be expecting results at least so that next time we wouldn’t have this kind of scenario happening in the state again”,Ubandoma said.
“I have ordered that the stepmother and other person’s that were involved in the whole episode should be rearrested for thorough investigation and I have ordered that the matter should be transferred to the state criminal investigation and intelligence department for professional and exhaustive investigation so that such a maltreatment will not reoccur in that family again,Longe said.
The state acting coordinator of child protection network, Jerry Danjuma noted that a number of communities are ignorant of the provisions of the child’s rights law and suggested a robust sensitization.
“We still have a lot of work to do in our communities for people to know that this is a bad behaviour. Once you Commit a crime, it’s a crime against the state so the law should take its course”
In search of spiritual solutions
Ovey’s paternal grandmother, Tani Diwu disclosed that she had declined the decision of taking him to a herbalist and rather suggested that he should be taken to a church.
In her words, “I informed his father of a church at Akwanga where I had taken one of my son’s. This boy lived with me after the demise of his mother and I am not aware of anything of such but if you insist he is possessed we should take him to that church”.
Mercy Friday, Ovey’s stepmother who is eight months pregnant, claimed that her husband was the one who sent her money to tackle the issue of the alleged witch craft and insisted the act didn’t happen in her presence.
She said, “His grandmother wanted to take him to Akwanga then his sister referred us to a man at Kwandere in Lafia. His father then directed us to go to the herbalist at Kwandere to confirm whether or not he is possessed, I had refused to go but he insisted.
“When we took the boy there, the herbalist confirmed he is a cultist, I thought he will give a concoction to drink and vomit but he took him inside a another room and we were not there. We didn’t know what he did to him. When he came out, I asked the herbalist what has happened to Ovey’s hand and he replied that it is the work that he did, then I querried Ovey for not calling our attention.”
Investigations still ongoing
Mr Friday, Ovey’s Father is yet to return from Lagos State since the incident which took place on the 28th of October.
We placed a call across to his mobile phone, he hung up immediately he was confronted with the matter and later switched off his mobile device.
The said herbalist who carried out the dehumanizing act on Ovey, is still at large, police say a manhunt has been initiated for his capture.
Ovey’s stepmother and paternal grandmother are at the state criminal investigation and intelligence department in Lafia with investigations underway after which they will be charged to court.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has told Nasarawa residents that togetherness is a Nigerian story of hope.
He said the coming together of communities in Hadari Emirate district in Kokona LGA of Nasarawa State to form a farming settlement for the production of livestock and crop products, under the auspices of the Nigerian Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS), is a true Nigerian story of honesty, hard work and cooperation regardless of ethnic differences and social background.
The Vice President was accompanied by the State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, stated this on Thursday during a visit to the NFGCS Farms Centre located in Gaa’te village, Kokona LGA, Nasarawa State.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “just going around today, I have seen a lot of hope that indeed this country can work and work very well again.
“If the people of this community can do all of what we are seeing here today, growing rice, other grains and also selling the products, I am very sure they will soon start exporting it; I think this is how it should really be.”
The NFGCS farm, which was founded by an ex-Niger Delta militant, Mr. Reston Tedheke, started with three hectares and N1.5m in 2017, now occupies 3,000 hectares and is worth about a billion naira, with over 300 people employed. Tedheke was inspired by the Buhari administration’s focus on Agricultural diversification of the Nigerian economy. The components of the farm include a ranch, crop farm, poultry and a rice mill, amongst others.
“You can see that Mr. Retson Tedheke left Delta State with his family to live here, and they can feel safe here and enjoy everything that the indigenes of this State enjoy. In fact, he tells me he is now officially an indigene of the State; this is the story of a great nation,” the Vice President noted.
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo stated that what the youth in Kokona LGA are doing is the real revolution that Nigeria requires.
He said: “I think what we are seeing here today is the revolution that we have been talking about, the real revolution; of ideas, the revolution of technology, the revolution of young Nigerians who are determined to ensure that in this country, they make money (legitimately); and they can produce what they eat. This is the story of great nations.
“Every nation that has been great, nations that have been economically successful, have done so on the back of their young men and women who are determined to make an honest living, who are determined to become entrepreneurs.”
Speaking about the resilience of the Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society and their promoters, the Vice President urged other youth groups to emulate their doggedness to succeed even under what sometimes could be difficult conditions.
According to him, “I was also quite fascinated by the way that they have been able to get credit. Just like he (Tedheke) pointed out, the banks had not been too willing to lend to farming start-ups.
“Small agricultural enterprises don’t necessarily attract the best credits from our banks. But I have been told that “Kiakia”, a FinTech company, also a mobile payment company that also gives credit to farming communities, has supported this project.”
On his part, Governor Sule commended the efforts of Tedheke for the courage to invest in a community different from his own.
He said the investment in the agricultural project was not by accident, noting that the State government under his watch is putting in place policies that would attract investments to the state, especially in areas where it has comparative advantage.
He also commended the traditional council of Kokona Local Government Area for their support and efforts in ensuring peaceful co-existence amongst the different ethnic groups in the area.
Earlier in his remark, the coordinator of the NFGCS Farms Centre, Mr. Tedheke, thanked the Vice President for personally visiting the farm, and the Nasarawa State Governor, for the support in actualizing the dream of building the farm.
He, however, appealed for more support from the State and Federal Government in the areas of infrastructure, especially road and power.
The NFGCS is an organization established in 2017 under a partnership with farming communities in Hadari Emirate District in the Kokona LGA, especially in Gaa’te, Marke, Mante, and Sabon Gida villages.
The police in Nasarawa State has arrested a 23-year-old man for slicing the throat of his step-mother in Agyaragu village, Lafia Local government Area of Nasarawa State.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nasarawa State Police Command, ASP Ramhan Nansel, confirmed the incident to Channels Television.
According to him, the incident happened on stressing that he stabbed the elderly woman with a knife.
But narrating what happened, an eyewitness who confided to Channels Television said the suspect borrowed a knife and cut the woman on the leg who forcefully ran out of their house shouting for help.
The victim who was rushed to the hospital was confirmed dead, a situation which prompted the mother of the alleged suspect to run away for safety after the children of the deceased planned avenging her death.
Nasarawa State Governor, Mr Abdullahi Sule, has extended the olive branch to members of the opposition political parties in the state.
The governor, who hosted chairmen of the 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) at the Government House in Lafiya on Monday, urged them to support his administration towards developing the state.
Reacting to his recent victory at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, he called on every citizen of the state, including members of the opposition to work together for the progress of the state.
“I think we are now putting Nasarawa on a course of development and we are making global impact; we are taking information about Nasarawa all the way to the UN and discussing with the various SDGs, in order for people to understand that Nasarawa exists and Nasarawa is on the map and Nasarawa has a focus and direction,” Governor Sule said.
He added, “If that is the case, we cannot do it alone. We need everybody with various knowledge to come together to do that.
“Therefore, I am using the opportunity to call on all good people of Nasarawa, irrespective of religion, age or political affiliations, to come together so we can develop our state because our state needs to be developed.”
The governor recalled that on receiving the news of his victory at the Tribunal, he immediately reached out to Mr David Ombugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), urging him to see the judgement as a victory for all.
“I sent a special text message to my brother, the PDP candidate, David Ombugadu, and informed him that in reality, he should take the victory for all of us,” he said.
Governor Sule equally used the moment to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for selecting him to be part of the delegation that escorted him to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
The council chairmen were at the Government House to welcome the governor back from his trip, as well as congratulate him on his recent victories at the Tribunal and Supreme Court.