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INSECURITY! Police SP puts up house for sale to pay ransom for abducted kids

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It has been two months since seven residents of Kuduru New Extension, a border town between Abuja and Niger State, were kidnapped from their homes. Since then, the family members of the abductees have been negotiating with kidnappers.

FIJ learned that on the night of the abduction, the police arrived after the kidnappers had left with their victims.

Although the police arrived late, vigilantes arrived when they heard the intruders were attacking the community. A source (name withheld for safety) familiar with the incident told FIJ that the vigilantes were exchanging fire with the gunmen but could not run after them because their ammunition was not as sophisticated as what the kidnappers had.

“I think they wanted to raid more houses before the vigilantes arrived and started shooting to scare them off,” the source told FIJ.

Community residents and the family members of the abductees also wrote letters to the police to aid in the release of their loved ones.

“Wike eventually came around, but he only spoke with the community head and promised to beef up security in the community and the surroundings,” said the source.

500 MILLION NAIRA AND FOODSTUFF AS RANSOM

Shortly after the abduction, the kidnappers began calling the families of the abductees to request ransom.

“They asked for N150 million for the release of a man, asked the police superintendent to pay N50 million each for the release of his two children in their custody, and the husband of the pregnant woman was asked to bring N100 million because they were good to their boys. They asked for N500 million,” said the source.

Money was not all the kidnappers requested. They also asked for foodstuffs, a cardigan and medicine.

“They called to say the food they were giving abductees in their custody had been exhausted. They asked relatives to buy four bags of rice, a gallon of palm oil, two blankets, three cartons of Indomie and medicine. One of the kidnappers asked for a knee-length cardigan because he was feeling cold,” the source added.

The family members of the abductees came to a consensus that they should negotiate with the abductors together instead of individually.

“They got someone from the community who could speak Hausa, because they only spoke Hausa,” the source said.

He told FIJ that they began negotiating and pleading with the abductors. He also said relatives were only able to secure N23 million. They informed them that was all they had but the abductors said they wanted more. Later, the abductors told them to bring what they had.

FINDING A DRIVER TO DELIVER THE RANSOM AND FOODSTUFF

According to the source, it was difficult to get a driver to help deliver the ransom because all the drivers they spoke with were scared they would be killed.

“It took a while before they could get a driver to deliver the ransom and the food because they were all scared. There is a story of a driver who was killed after delivering ransom to kidnappers because the people thought he knew them. The drivers were scared because of this.”

Eventually, they were able to get a driver who agreed to deliver the ransom for a fee of N400,000.

“The kidnappers said we should bring food and money and when he got to Katcha in Niger State, they would call him and direct him.”

According to the source, when the driver first went to deliver the ransom, he saw soldiers on the road and the abductors told him to go back and return later. On his second trip there, the driver got to Katcha late, and the abductors told him to spend the night in a neighbouring town and return the following day.

The source also said that when the driver arrived at the agreed-upon place, they came out to meet him on motorcycles.

“The kidnappers called to tell us they had received the money; we thought they would release our people, but they refused and requested for the balance,” the source added.

ONE KILLED

FIJ learned that one of the abductees was killed on Sunday and the abductors began calling their family members to inform them.

“They called to tell their relatives they were giving us an ultimatum of one week to get the money or they would start killing. They have always been threatening to kill, and we have always been pleading with them,” said the source.

He also told FIJ that the kidnappers told them they wouldn’t release the dead body and would continue killing them until they provided the balance.

According to him, the kidnappers are now requesting N290 million. While the relatives are anticipating the release of their loved ones, they have begun selling their properties to secure the ransom.

“The police superintendent whose children were kidnapped told them he had put his house up for sale. The money is just too much and we are pleading with them to reduce it,” the source said.

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Damagum returns as National Chairman, urges members to work for party’s success

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Ambassador Umar Damagum has retained his position as the acting National Charman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

On Thursday, the PDP conducted its 98th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

In a communique after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Barrister Debo Ologunagba said the NEC urged all members to continue to work together for the success of the party for the benefit of Nigerians.

A day earlier, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party passed a vote of confidence on Damagum.

Ologunagba said: “NEC charges all organs, leaders, critical stakeholders and indeed all members of the PDP to close ranks, put aside every personal or group interests and work together in the overall effort to reposition and return the PDP to power at the center in the interest of the Nigerian people.

“Consequently, NEC received and approved the Timetable for Party Congresses across the country.

“NEC also approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the party.

“Similarly, NEC approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

“NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the Party including the new look PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.

“NEC charges all Party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of Democracy in our country.”

Before the NEC meeting, PDP members loyal to the party’s presidential candidate in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had moved against Damagum, over allegations that he was working for former governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike.

Wike led a group of five PDP governors that rebelled against Atiku while contesting the presidential election last year.

Atiku lost the election to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who appointed Wike as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

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Reps Urge Ports Operators To Cooperate For Economic Diversification

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By Gloria Ikibah

The House of Representatives has appealed to ports operators in Nigeria to cooperate and align with Nigeria’s economic diversification move.

The Chairman House Committee on Ports And Harbours, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, made the call at an interactive Session of the Committee with all Terminal Operators and Nigeria Ports Authority Licensed Agents, on Thursday in Abuja.

He explained that the Committee’s interactive session was very crucial because of the invaluable roles the sector plays in the nation’s economy and national life.

He saud: “It therefore presents us with urgent need to effect changes that will restructure this unique and high-tech sector and position it to strategically compete in the global space.

“This sector is very dynamic and we must constantly review the standards, facilities and operational guidelines to keep pace with its obtainable global best practices.

“I wish to reiterate the Committee’s commitment to ensure that the sector remains one of the best through appropriate legislation and oversight in order to bequeath to Nigerians, a Ports and Harbours that is properly regulated and better managed for greater efficiency”.

The Committee Chairman also said that it was important to harmoniously promote the objective of professionalizing the modus operandi of the sector to improve Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.

“We intend to collaborate with relevant Stakeholders in the industry to ensure that appropriate avenues are created for its economic development and then make it a hub for better non-oil revenue generation. It is imperative to note that the House of Representatives will continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of our Ports and Harbours and allied services. We shall ever be ready to provide the necessary legislation and needed oversight to achieve this purpose”, he added.

Rep. Nnaji disclosed that the purpose of the meeting was to provide the interface for members of the Committee to interact with Stakeholders in the industry, most especially Terminal Operators and NPA Licensed Agents regarding their operations and various activities in the Ports and also create the enabling environment and synergy towards achieving the goals of the Federal Government in the Maritime sector, as well as aligning the sector with its contemporary demands, developmental goals, international standards and best practices.

“It is pertinent to note that the Committee’s role is not only to oversight the NPA, but also to partner with stakeholders in the sector to achieve maximum success taking cognizance of government’s quest on increasing revenue generation, port decongestion and boosting infrastructural development for effective service delivery. Thus, we must be committed to transparency, collaboration and open dialogue with all stakeholders to enhance ease of doing business”, the chairman said.

The lawmaker enjoined the stakeholders to bring their exclusive viewpoints and experiences on board as they will be invaluable in shaping policies and recommendations of the committee.

While briefing the committee, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, Mrs Urunta Chinyere, told the committee that there was the news for the digitization of the operations of the agents.

According to her, if operators can adopt the model, it would enhance revenue generation.

“We observed that most of the terminal operators are doing partial implementation of what we ask for. They are not fully complying to what they are supposed to do”, Chinyere said.

In his response, the Managing Director of Five Star Logistics, Mr. Rigor Nazzari, said that his agency has fully complied with all the models.

According to him, there are operators specific issues at the terminals that need to be addressed by the council.

The committee chairman thereforw called on the terminal operators to comply with the council and upgrade their systems.

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Aisha Yesufu queries Gov. Ododo for trying to prevent EFCC from arresting Yahaya Bello

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Nigerian female social activist, Aisha Yesufu,  has expressed displeasure with the role played by Kogi Stars Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo in stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from arresting his predecessor, Yahaya Bello.

It was gathered that the Kogi Governor on Wednesday, obstructed the arrest of Bello by operatives of the EFCC.

Recall that the EFCC operatives had stormed Bello’s residence in Abuja in an attempt to arrest him over an ongoing fraud investigation.

But Bello was reportedly smuggled out of his residence by Ododo to evade arrest by the anti-graft agency.

“I cannot imagine I, Aisha Yesufu as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a Governor will come to Abuja where I am, to prevent @officialEFCC from arresting someone.

“As in, prevent it from carrying out its constitutional sanctioned duty. Nahhhhh!
Kai! Poor Nigeria!”

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