- Police Recover N14.7m from Nine Suspected Kidnappers of CBN Gov’s Wife
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) monday exhibited N14,725,000, two Honda cars, one Audi car, one AK47 magazine, and two cartridges recovered from the nine suspected kidnappers of Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, and her three relatives.
Mrs. Emefiele and her relatives were abducted on Thursday, September 29 at Ogoneki Hills along the Benin-Agbor Road in Delta State. She and others were rescued 36 hours after their kidnapping, following a massive manhunt involving all the security agencies in the country.
Among the nine suspects paraded by the police yesterday were two serving Nigerian Army lance corporals — Musa Maidabra (28) and Edwin George (32) – and a dismissed soldier of the army, Ernest Anthony Uduefe.
Other arrested suspects included: Mohammed Abubakar (29), also known as Dogo, the alleged gang leader; Mohammed Musa (26); Mohammed Sule (26); Ibrahim Abdullahi (30); Aliyu Musa (30); and Mohammed Yusuf (36).
In a statement issued in Abuja on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Donald Awunah, explained that the ransom paid for the safe return of the CBN governor’s wife was used as a bait or bargaining chip to save the lives of the victims, which was primary to the objectives of the security operatives.
However, he said the police would not encourage the payment of ransom by relatives of kidnapped victims, cautioning relatives to exercise considerable restraint while the police do their intelligence gathering to rescue the victims.
He advised that at all times of kidnapping, the public should immediately involve the police because paying ransom in some cases could be counter-productive.
The IG said: “The curtailment of the activities of kidnappers in our communities will be ultimately successful through the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders. There must be collective ownership of law enforcements.”
On how Mrs. Emefiele and her relatives were rescued at Ugoneki hills, the IG said he ordered the Intelligence Response Team and other tactical teams to swing into action to rescue her when they got information of the abduction, adding that it yielded positive result, as they were rescued the following day.
All the suspects, according to the police, admitted being part of the kidnapping gang that abducted Mrs Emefiele and others, adding that through their confessional statements, they alluded to have partaken in sharing the ransom money.
While the two serving soldiers confessed to sharing N6.5 million each, the others got between N10 and N11 million each, adding up to about N54 million extorted from their victims’ families.
The two lance corporals provided the army uniforms and gun.
On the injury sustained by Mohammed Musa, the IG said: “The suspect is 26 years old and hails from Yabo LGA of Sokoto State. He confessed to receiving the N10 million from the ransom paid.
“He sustained bullet wounds after a gun duel with the police while trying to leave the forest where they had kept their victims. N7.7 million was recovered from him. Useful information was gotten from him that led to the arrest of other gang members.”
He also revealed that Lance Corporal Maidabra is a 30-year-old native of Katau Village in Billiri LGA of Gombe State.
“A lance corporal with the Nigerian Army serving at 122D30 Regiment in Maiduguri, Borno State, he was arrested for the active role he played in the kidnapping.
“Upon his arrest, he made a confessional statement to the police admitting to be part of the gang that kidnapped and collected ransom from the victim’s family.
“In the course of investigation into the crime, an SUV worth N1.5 million and a sum of N4 million, which was his own share of the ransom money, was recovered from his possession.
“It was also discovered that he, in the company of NA/65/6582 Lance Corporal Edwin George and one Ernest Anthony Uduefe, a dismissed soldier, while dressed in army uniforms, escorted some of the kidnappers and the ransom money in a maroon coloured Audi car out of the forest where they had kept the victim, to Benin City, Edo State,” the IG stated.
In the case of Lance Corporal George, he is a native of Otukpo town, Otukpo LGA of Benue State. He is personnel of the Nigerian Army serving at 122D Regiment in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“As earlier mentioned, he was part of the trio that escorted the ransom money to Benin City, Edo State. A Honda car worth N1.1 million, which he used part of his loot to purchase was recovered from him.
“The suspect was arrested on October 5, 2016 at about 1300hrs in his home town,” the IG divulged.
Uduefe, the dismissed soldier, is a native of Igbuku village, Ndokwa East LGA of Delta State. He also volunteered a confessional statement to his involvement in the crime.
“Investigations revealed that he also bought a Honda car worth N1.5 million and furnished an apartment in Benin City, Edo State within 48 hours of the kidnapping.
“The sum of N1.5 million in cash and the said Honda car were recovered from him,” he said.
Mohammed Abubakar, also known as Dogo, is a native of Mubi town, in Mubi LGA of Adamawa State and the leader of the group.
The IG said he confessed to the crime and admitted that he received the sum of N11 million in cash from the ransom, adding that the suspect, however, claimed to have given one Danjuma who is presently on the run, the said sum to keep for him.
Mohammed Sule hails from Awe village in Awe LGA of Nasarawa State, the IG added. The suspect, he said, confessed to have received N10 million in cash as part of his share of the ransom paid and claimed a soldier and gang leader escaped with the loot.
Ibrahim Abdullahi from Fondogeri LGA of Niger State, admitted to have received N10 million in cash as part of his share of the ransom money, while Aliyu Musa and Mohammed Yusuf were arrested for their involvement in the kidnapping based on information availed the police by Mohammed Musa.
Musa and Yusuf are being investigated further on the roles played by them in the commission of the crime, said the IG
COVID-19: Indian Travellers Regains Entry Into Nigeria
The federal government of Nigeria on Monday said travellers from India will no longer be denied entry into Nigeria as the country has been removed from the list of flagged countries.
In May, in an effort to curb the spread of the global health pandemic, the federal government had banned travellers from Brazil, India and Turkey from visiting the country.
Speaking on Monday during the national briefing of the presidential steering committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), said the situation in the Asian county has improved.
“The Global cases recorded continues to decline to about 4m cases weekly, although it is less, compared to last year and the situation calls for caution because we are not out of the woods yet. Africa and Nigeria in particular, continue to record rising cases and lots of fatalities,” Mustapha said.
“This can really be curtailed and reduced minimally if we adhere strictly to the NPIs. I recognize the fact that people are fatigued and tired but let me encourage all Nigerians not to give up. We all need to come together to defeat this dreaded disease so we can return to our normal life.
“The most potent way of getting out of this situation is through vaccines, which science and research has presented to us. I call on every eligible person to come out and be vaccinated. There are various choices now. We have AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and we expect Pfizer to be delivered very soon. There will be enough vaccines to go around soon. By the second quarter of 2022, we would have received about 52 million doses of the vaccines.
“To ease travels for fully vaccinated Nigerians, we are exploring the principles of reciprocity between Nigeria and other nations. For the time being, Nigerians are advised to always carry their vaccination card details or barcode on their electronic devices for easy access especially for those travelling outside the country.
“Compliance with protocols laid down for quarantine to ensure control remains a source of worry to the PSC. The need to review the protocol has become expedient to align with existing global protocols and realities. On this note, the PSC will adopt a sustainable model and policy that will be unveiled soon. To begin with, India has been removed from the list of flagged countries in view of improved situation in that country.”
“On this note, the PSC will adopt a sustainable model and policy that will be unveiled soon”, he said.
Osagie Ehanire, minister of health said evidence has so far shown that the Delta strain is already dominant in Nigeria.
He warned that though the third wave of the pandemic may appear to be leveling out because there have been no catastrophic increases in infections and fatalities, it is not wise to assume that the threat is gone, especially as cases are fluctuating and have to be identified by genomic sequencing.
The minister assured that even though there is a 25 percent shortfall in CICAX supply, Nigeria will not run low on vaccines.
Ehanire further noted that there were reports of new coronavirus mutations circulating in other countries, and assured that government will monitor with all tools available to respond appropriately.
Also speaking, Faisal Shuaib, executive director of, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency noted that vaccine cards were becoming a requirement across the country.
He, therefore, warned against any attempt to produce/procure and sell fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
“Anyone who ventures into this would be apprehended and made to face the law. This is a criminal offense, in which both the buyer and seller would be prosecuted.
“We, therefore, urge all Nigerians to report any suspected attempt by any person or group of persons to buy or sell a COVID-19 vaccination card to us via our call centre line on 0700 220 1122, any of our social media handles (Facebook and Instagram), at the nearest police station or any other law enforcement agency. No one needs to cut corners on COVID-19 vaccination.
“The vaccines are free, and the vaccination cards are given free of charge at any of our designated health facilities after your vaccination,” Shuaib said.
South Africa Plans To Introduce Covid Passport
South Africa has announced plans to introduce a vaccine passport amid widespread mistrust of the Covid-19 vaccine in the continent’s most affected country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement in a televised address to the nation and assured that the immunization of the adult population was a necessary prerequisite to fully reopen the economy and avoid a fourth wave of infections, while the number of cases has dropped sharply in the country.
In two weeks, we will “provide more information on a system of ‘vaccine passports’ that can be used as proof of vaccination for various purposes and events,” he said without providing further details.
He added that the “sustained decline in infections (…) over the past few weeks” would, however, allow for a relaxation of the restrictive measures starting Monday.
The nightly curfew will be extended by one hour, to 11 p.m., and the limits on gatherings will be raised.
Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also be eased, although protective masks will still be required in places open to the public.
The peak of a third stubborn wave due to the Delta variant is now over. Over the past seven days, the average number of new daily infections has dropped 29 percent from the previous week and 48 percent from the week before, Ramaphosa said.
“Our most urgent task is to vaccinate our population,” he said, noting that vaccine supply “is no longer a constraint.”
“If many people are not vaccinated (…) the risk of new and more dangerous variants emerging is much greater,” he warned.
After delays in the supply and distribution of doses, the vaccination campaign is now struggling to take off because of skepticism about the vaccine, especially among men.
To date, just over seven million people have been fully vaccinated in South Africa, with more than a quarter of adults have received at least one dose.
The country’s goal is to vaccinate 40 million South Africans, or about two-thirds of the population, by next March.
Authorities have recorded more than 2.8 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and 84,877 deaths, making it the worst affected country in Africa by the pandemic.
South African scientists are monitoring a new local variant with an unusually high mutation rate, dubbed C.1.2, although its presence is so far marginal among new cases detected in the country.
FG Launches GEEP 2.0 Plans To Lift 100M Nigerians Out Of Poverty
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the restructured Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) now known as GEEP 2.0. to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, speaking during the inauguration said the programme was a veritable tool designed to end poverty in many ways.
She said that GEEP was one of the components of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
According to her, the initial GEEP targets the unbanked poor and vulnerable but skilled population that has always been left out on credit delivery programmes and is directed at providing soft and affordable loans to finance their businesses.
“The GEEP is innovatively targeted and delivered under three unique products – the TraderMoni for marginalised youths, The MarketMoni targets vulnerable women, and the FarmerMoni specifically focuses on rural farmers.
“With President Muhammdu Buhari’s gracious approval of expansion to provide loans to an additional one million beneficiaries with emphasis to targeting smallholder farmers in the year 2020/2021, the GEEP has been restructured and is being flagged-off today as GEEP 2.0.
“The GEEP 2.0 is structured to effectively deliver soft loans and skills to a wide range of unemployed citizens including persons living with disability, marginalised women and unemployed youths amongst other vulnerable groups in our society.
“I wish to state here that the GEEP 2.0 is well-coordinated and has an implementation model that accommodates representation at the Federal, State and Local Government levels,” Farouq said.
Farouq said that part of the new strategies include an increase in the loan portfolio of TraderMon/ and Market Moni loans from N10, 000 to N50,000, while the FarmerMoni is now N300,000.
“There is also the provision of the value chain and creation of digital marketplace (E-platform) for beneficiaries to sell their products.
“In addition, there is a digital integration and coordination platform along with a strong and centralised monitoring and evaluation system aimed at enhancing loans recovery.’’
Speaking, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare who also represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha said he was delighted at the inauguration of the GEEP 2.0.
Dare said whenever he saw other ministries that helped in reducing the burden of youths unemployment from his ministry, he was happy, adding that youths were the biggest beneficiaries of NSIP.
Similarly, Mr Clem Agba, the State Minister of Financial, Budget and National Planning said his ministry had been at the forefront of ensuring human dignity and protecting households from poverty.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen said women and youths were always affected by humanitarian crisis and poverty.
Tallen said that the GEEP 2.0 would now help the poor and marginalised women and youths who did not have collateral to secure loans.
Also, the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said that the inauguration of the GEEP 2.0 was an indication to show that President Buhari meant it when he said he wanted to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“It is evident that as we collaborate and corporate with all hands on deck, we shall achieve the ultimate objectives of the programme.”
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) said the agency would work with state programme managers and focal persons toward the success of the NSIP.
Meanwhile, the Team Lead of the GEEP 2.0, Ms Zainab Musawa said that intended beneficiaries would be effectively supervised and monitored by desk officers in all 774 local government areas, state programme managers and the ministry in partnership with NOA.
“Essentially, GEEP 2.0 is a continuation of the Buhari administration’s laudable empowerment drive committed to the upliftment of oppressed Nigerians and we hope the programme will engender job creation.”
Ms Hadiza Hambuza, a representative of Access Bank Plc said the bank would work with the beneficiaries to achieve the objectives of the programme.
The event attracted officials from Presidency, National Assembly, NEMA, EFCC, FCTA Disability Commission among others.
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