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Melaye: Accused Persons recant on allegations against senator

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Melaye: Accused Persons recant on allegations against senator

Two accused persons who alledgelly named Senator Dino Melaye as sponsor in alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms and illegal transfer of firearms have denied all the allegations they allegelly made against the embattled senator.

The three accused Seidu, 31, aka “Osama” and Nuhu Salihu, 25, aka “Small” and senator Melaye were earlier arraigned in court to answer to a seven count charge that bordered on illegal possession of firearm, criminal conspiracy and illegal transfer of firearms, among others.

When their pleas were taken the accussed who appeared before Kogi Senior Magistrate Court, Lokoja on Monday along with the senator said the allegations were false adding that they were not guilty.

The alleged offences according the prosecution led by Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), are contrary to section 97(1) and the Penalty Code and section 27(1)(a) (1) of the firearms Act CAP P28, laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.

Izinyon had opened his case with an update on the saying that the state High Court presided over by the Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah had released the Senator on bail.

He said that the status of first and second defendants remained same in police custody as ordered by the magistrate court on May 3.

Izinyon reminded the court that the pleas of the defendants were not taken on arraignment as he submitted that the court has jurisdiction to try the case and should therefore go ahead to take their pleas.

When the charges were read afresh to the defendants, Melaye as well as Seidu and Salihu, pleaded not guilty as they said the seven charges were all false.

After the pleas were take and the defendants pleaded not guilty, Izinyon applied for the leave of the court to have prosecuting witnesses to have their depositions forwarded to the defence.

The deponents, he urged, would then attend the court to adopt the depositions and have their depositions cross examined.
Counsel to the third defendant
Mr Yemi Mohammed Esq., who was holding brief for Chief Mike Ozekhome, lead counsel for Melaye objected to the application saying that the case was a criminal one in which witnesses must give their testimonies in the open court.

Mohammed said the front-loading system the prosecution was urging the court to adopt amounted to a short cut that would be prejudicial to his client and reduce the chances of the public getting to know the truth.

“It amounts to closure of the trial by about 50 per cent. Justice is a three way traffic – the prosecutor, the accused and the society and that is why trials are done in the open court”, he said.

In his ruling, the Senior Magistrate, Mr Sulyman Abdullah said he would “wholeheartedly” want trials in his court to be concluded speedily but he would have to look at the rules of the court.

“Where they are no such rules, I harken to look at the provisions of section 479(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Kogi State.

“This is a case that this court will appreciate that everyone put what they have on the table. I am not comfortable with sworn depositions replacing oral testimonies of witnesses.

“The application of the prosecution is refused and I want this trial to be concluded in the normal ways trials are done and will be ready to take evidence day-to-day if need be”, he said.

Abdullah therefore adjourned to July 26, for commencement of hearing.

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‘Open grazing outlawed by Southwest Governors to curb criminality’

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‘Open grazing outlawed by Southwest Governors to curb criminality’

To overcome some of the security challenges facing the Southwest States, Governors of zone have banned open grazing by Fulani herders.

Speaking after the meeting of governors of the zone Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde diclosed that “ban on open grazing by Fulani herders” was a collective decision of the governors.
The meeting that was held in Akure, Ondo State capital on Monday had some governors from the North and the representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association from the South West in attendance.

He said, governors of the zone and their people are interested in peaceful coexistence, which they would take upon themselves to ensure that nothing was done to jeopardise peace and stability of the zone.


Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, Makinde said: “Today, the SW governors held a security stakeholders’ meeting in Ondo State.

“The meeting was attended by our brother governors from Kebbi and Jigawa States; security chiefs, SW zone led by the AIG Zone 11 and leaders from the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.


“Collectively, we resolved to ban open grazing in all parts of the south west. In Oyo State, we already have a law against open grazing which will continue to be implemented by our security agencies.

“I restated that we will not permit criminality as a response to criminal actions. Instead we will continue to support our security agencies to do their duties.

“Also, we will work with our people to face our common enemies – the criminals; kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits.”

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AESID asks security to probe Umahi, Ohaukwu council chair over death of 40 persons in Effium mayhem

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AESID asks security to probe Umahi, Ohaukwu council chair over death of 40 persons in Effium mayhem

Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora, (AESID) has called on the security agencies to probe Governor David Umahi and the chairman of the Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Clement Odah, over an alleged communal clash between the Effium and Effium indigenes of Ezza extraction, leading to the death of over 40 people.

President of the association, Paschal Oluchkwu, in a statement on Monday in Abuja, condemned the mayhem, alleged that it was politically motivated.

According to him, the facts on the ground actually prove that the attempt to unlawfully annex some federal electoral wards which originally belong to Ezza-Effium people of Ezza extraction to Wards of Effium indigenes of Korri extraction in the ongoing Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise by the National Population Commission (NPC)

“Further probe into the said action showed that the NPC officials were ostensibly misguided by agents of Ohaukwu Council Chairman, Barr. Clement Odah, and other stakeholders of Effium indigenes of Korri extraction.

“Documented evidence made available to AESID showed that the peculiarities of Effium community where Effium people of Ezza Ezekuna extraction or Ezza-Effium people constituted about 80% of the entire population of the community warranted the demarcation of the five electoral wards in the community with family/kindred labels or names instead of the normal physical or geographical boundaries by the Government of old Anambra State through her Edict No. 4 of 1990,” the AESID added.

The group also said that it aware of the complaints raised by Ezza stakeholders in its petition to the NPC against the actions of its EAD officials who were unfortunately misguided by the Local Government boss, Barr. Odah, his agents and co-conspirators.

According to the group, Ezza stakeholders cautioned that the acts of unlawfully annexing parts of the wards of Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction including the homes of some notable politicians, renowned academics and other prominent cum other natives of Ezza-Effium people’s homes to Effium people of Korri extraction was an open invitation to chaos.

“Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the said Odah and his agents including the government hadn’t acted fast to correct these unconscionable and inflammable annexations.

“Even the solemn prayers by the said Ezza stakeholders for a prompt and proper reversal of all parts of the wards of Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction otherwise known as Ezza-Effium people unlawfully annexed to Effium indigenous people’s wards were paid deaf ears to by the powers that be.

“We condemn this politically-motivated action meant not only to stir needless dusts but also to decimate the strengths of the most populous and peace-loving Ezza clan who has lived in peace with all its neighbours in the State be there in Ishiagu, Ukawu and Abaomege in Ebonyi South; Ezzaegu, Ogboji or Ezzillo communities in Ishielu LGA in the Central or in Effium in the north not until the last and present political dispensations.

“Whereas, we commend the new and ebullient State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba for the prompt action of arresting all those who are suspected to have had a hand in the Effium carnage.

“We wish to request that the police should get to the root of this crisis by thoroughly investigating the Council Chairman, Barr. Odah and his co-travellers in lieu of the current facts that are already in public domain particularly to the effect that his people (Effium indigenes of korri extraction) had even planned and secured weapons for the attacks with his knowledge and consent.

“Such act is worrisomely unbecoming of a public office holder who holds the sway as the Chief Security Officer of the Local Government Area. To this extent therefore, we also heap the blames on the door-steps of Governor Umahi who has continued to encourage and support the said Barr. Odah to slap, maim, attack and humiliate stakeholders and anyone who does not agree with his views.

“None of the sad incidences of mayhems reported against the said Clement Odah and his marauding band of cult-boys have ever been investigated and sanctioned by the State government since his appointment as a Council boss in 2015 and subsequently his election and re-election into the same office.

“Rather, the Umahi government does any and everything possible to always shield him from the arms of the law at each point in time.

“Also, the claims in certain quarters that the refusal of many Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction to follow the said Barr. Odah and his principal, Engr. Umahi to their new new APC voyage may have also contributed to the devious plot to forcefully coerce people in opposition to politically belong to the fold by virtue of the misguided delineation should not be swept under the carpet.

“The security agencies should investigate this as a matter of urgency and bring all those responsible for this mayhem to book. Of course, this platform is aware of Umahi’s use of majority of the Local Government Chairmen in the State to stir crisis among stakeholders and community leaders with some of them acting almost above the laws of the land.

“We know he gives them backings to perpetrate mayhems and cause unrests in their communities and LGAs so they could be emboldened to attack his political foes or opponents particularly in periods of elections and electioneering campaigns.

“This particular incident, we suspect, is obviously part of Umahi’s 2023 political game-plan!

“Unlike in the pasts, we wish to state that the reported arrest of some of the stakeholders should not be the usual smokescreen that would often yield no result or bring any permanent solution.”

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MBF Warns FG agaisnt Igboho’s arrest over quit notice as it may trigger unprecedented crises

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MBF Warns FG agaisnt Igboho’s arrest over quit notice as it may trigger unprecedented crises

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has warned the Federal Government against any attempt at arresting Sunday Igboho as it may trigger crises that may be difficult to contain.
The Forum also condemned the federal government for contemplating going after Igboho after he issued an ultimatum to Fulanis in Oyo to exit the state.
This was contained in statement that was signed by the national president of the forum Dr. Pogu Bitrus and was issued in Abuja on Sunday.
The Statement reads in part,
“What the Presidency and the Police ought to do now is to assist various states to flush out these criminals. 
“Arresting Igboho at this moment can only escalate the growing tension into a raging fury that may further lead to dreadful uncertainties forour nation’s future.”
“In this modern age noted for global best practices, the adoption of the policy of ranching has become an urgent and irrevocable option.
We call on the Federal Government, especially the Police, to desist from escalating the crisis.”
He declared the solidarity of the Forum with the Governor of Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu on his determination to rid the forest reserves of bandits engaged in Kidnappings and other criminalities.

“As the umbrella organisation representing ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt region, the MBF is in total support of ridding Ondo State of bandits and criminal elements as contained in the ultimatum handed down on criminal herders by the governor.
“We call on the Federal Government and other state governors to work in partnership and end the terror perpetrated by these bandits whose occupation of the country’s forest reserves have become present and future dangers to Nigeria as a nation.       
 
He said the storm of reactions over the quit notice issued by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to criminal herders to either vacate the state forest reserves or face the full wrath of the law is amazing.
“We are also worried at the turn of events in the South-west and the order issued by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, for the arrest of Mr Sunday Adeyemo, AKA Igboho, over his alleged role in the violence that took place at the weekend in Oyo state. 
“While we welcome the bold decision by the governor to protect lives and property of citizens threatened by the activities of bandits that have now found safe havens in forests, we are completely opposed to any action by the Federal Government to escalate the ongoing tension as demonstrated by the arrest order on Igboho.”
Bitrus observed that, as the Chief Security Officer of Ondo State, Governor Akeredolu is rightly entitled to protect citizens that are now under constant siege by criminal elements.
“For those who insist that the quit order on criminal herders amounts to infringing the citizenship rights of Fulani, the Forum wishes to reiterate that Akeredolu’s quit order is to unregistered herders occupying the forests and involved in kidnappings and banditry.
“The MBF wishes to state that it is unacceptable for the Federal Government to interfere in the genuine efforts deployed by Governor Akeredolu to end the ceaseless abductions of peaceful citizens for ransom.”
He deplored the role of the Federal Government in defending criminals whose major preoccupation is unleashing violence and terror on peaceful communities.
“What the Federal Government should do now is to assist Akeredolu and other state governors to flush out these criminals and end the culture of lawlessness ripping across not only Ondo, but also other states where these outlaws have turned our nation’s forest reserves into safe harbors for their crimes.
“The Forum recalls that in the height of grisly killings and devastations that trailed many communities in Benue state, President Buhari had called on the people to return home and learn to live with their neighbours in peace.
“When neighbours decide to turn themselves into agents of terror on their fellow neighbours who are peace-loving, then, such neighbours are no longer neighbours but outlaws that must be arrested and be made to face the law.
Bitrus indicated that the only way to end the vicious assaults by the bandits is to completely flush them out of the nation’s forest reserves. “We cannot continue to play the ostrich as Nigerian communities continue to suffer bloodshed due to increasing waves of vicious and unprovoked attacks on defenceless citizens by these vicious brigands.
“With many states, especially in the Middle Belt Region, now under the menace of these outlaws, we call for both the Federal Government and the states to adopt the policy of ranching as means of ending the security challenges 
posed by these criminal herders.”
He challenged other state governors to emulate Akeredolu’s quit order in order to cleanse Nigeria’s forest reserves of vicious brigands.

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