Monthly Archives: July 2012

FG to send soldiers to fight Islamists in Mali

Nigerian Soldiers

Nigerian Soldiers | credits: 

INDICATIONS emerged on Sunday that Nigeria will soon deploy soldiers in Mali to confront the Islamists troubling the West African country, the Presidency and foreign affairs ministry said on Sunday.

Spokespersons for President Goodluck Jonatha, Reuben Abati; and Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ogbole Ahmedu-Ode, say Nigeria holds a responsibility to return peace to Mali.

“Nigeria is committed to resolving the crisis in Mali especially as President Jonathan is a co-mediator in the crisis,” Abati said on Sunday that, while Ogbole-Ode said it was mandatory for the country to salvage the situation in Mali where Islamic fundamentalists are unleashing attacks on the country’s monuments and people.

The Presidency’s confirmation came on the heels of Ivorien President Alassane Ouattara’s announcement that member state of Economic Community of West Africa would soon send deploy troops in Mali if the situation in the country did not improve rapidly.

Ouattara said this in interview with French weekly, Le Journal du Dimanche. The interview conducted in French and published on Sunday was translated by The PUNCH via Google translator.

The Ivorien President, who is also the incumbent chairman of ECOWAS, said,  “If the (Malian) situation does not evolve positively and quickly, yes, there will be a military intervention in Mali. It seems to me inevitable. “The chiefs of staff of West Africa met in Abidjan this week. All member states of ECOWAS were represented. It shows that the Joint Chiefs of Staff Officers propose the establishment of a contingent of nearly 3,300 men. Initially, it will deploy gendarmes and police. Then, the military.

“My chief of staff said this week rightly that the situation in Mali is deteriorating a little more each day and not only in the north but also south. We plan to establish an African peacekeeping force made up half of Malian soldiers, half of soldiers from Niger, Nigeria, perhaps in Chad and other countries.”

On the urgency of the deployment, Ouattara said, “I think we can talk in weeks, not months. There is urgency. Northern Mali is a land of moderate Islam. Not Malians who violate human rights, force women to wear the burqah and abuse them, who destroy historical monuments, preventing young people from listening to music . I am told that these men come from Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan … They are extremists, terrorists who must return to where they came from.”

Abati said, “The ECOWAS leaders have the responsibility to ensure peace in Mali and the sub-region. Nigeria is committed to resolving the crisis in Mali especially as President Jonathan is a co-mediator in the crisis.

“This country has a brilliant record of participation in peace missions: Sierra Leone, Liberia and so on. Nigeria is fully committed to regional peace.”

Speaking in the same vein, Ogbole-Ode said Nigeria, as “a responsible member of the international community, was bound by agreements it entered into.”

But the opposition argued on Sunday that it was not ideal for the Federal Government to send soldiers to Mali to fight for peace at a time that Nigeria was in the thick of an insurgency.

Attacks by the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, since last year have claimed at least 3,000 lives.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party said that although there was nothing wrong if Nigeria sent soldiers to Mali, the present security situation at home did not warrant it.

Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Emma Eneukwu, said there was no need for Nigeria to abandon its problems while trying to solve that of other countries.

He said, “The present problem facing the country requires the attention of members of our armed forces. Our security is zero.

“Let us sit down and face our own problems first before handling that of others for them. We are at danger here already. Let us prevail on the government not to send our soldiers to a foreign land when they have work to do here.”

Also, the National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Bisi Akande, cautioned the Federal Government over the plan to deploy troops in Mali.

Akande, who spoke through his media aide, Mr Lani Baderinwa, on Sunday, charged the Federal Government to ensure the safety of lives and property in the country before venturing out to Mali.

“Charity begins at home. We must not be like the proverbial ostrich that buries her head in the sand while her rump is out in the open,” the ACN chairman said.

He wondered why the government contemplated deploying troops in Mali when Africa was not the centre-point of the nation’s foreign policy.

“It is ironic that the government would contemplate sending troops abroad when our security agencies are finding it extremely difficult to combat the security challenges in the country,” he stressed.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Fresh Attack On Police Station In Sokoto Kills Policeman

Gunmen riding on motorbikes opened fired on the Arkilla police station near a Mobile police barrack in Sokoto at 6:30 PM Nigerian time.

Police sources told SaharaReporters that an officer was killed in the drive-by attack. The gunmen fled on their motorbike before reinforcement could be called in from the MOPOL barrack nearby.

The attack this evening will be the third attack police formations in Sokoto by Islamist militants.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


Parents sell children for N4,000 in Makurdi

REPORTS have indicated that parents in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, were involved in the sale of their children to human traffickers at the sum of N4,000 or N5,000 per ward.

This was revealed when the Quick Response Group Team of the Nigerian Army in Lokoja arrested one human trafficking suspect, Mr. Sunday Agbo, from Benue state.

Parading the suspect to newsmen on Friday at the Army Headquarters, the Commandant of Army Record, Major General Alphonso Chukwu said the suspect was arrested alongside 10 children, both male and female, on July 26 by his Quick Response Group Team, along Itobe-Ajaokuta road.

According to him, the suspect who hails from Obi Local Government Council of Benue State was arrested in a ash colour Toyota Camry car with the registration number CW 322 LSD with 10 children, comprising of six males and four females between the ages of seven and 19 heading to Lagos state.

He stated that when  the suspect was confronted by his men, he said that the children belonged to him, but after further interrogation, he confessed that  they were handed over to him by his agent, one Madam Janet Akpa, from the same village and that he was asked to deliver them to another agent in Lagos.

The Army Commandant stressed that  investigations revealed that Agbo had been trafficking children by discussing with the parents and offering a mere sum of N4,000 or N5,000 naira  under the pretext of getting them  jobs in Lagos as househelps.

The Army Commandant who enjoined parents to be vigilant so as not to fall prey of the human traffickers, stressed that the children were most vulnerable to ritualists.

One of the children, Blessing Jacob, who said she had just finished her promotional examination to SSS 2 said she was told to follow the suspect to Lagos for her holiday where she would work for a while.

While still waiting for further details, the suspect received a text message from the agent in Lagos that one of the children he earlier brought to Lagos had absconded from the house.

While speaking with the suspect, he disclosed to Sunday Tribune  that this was not his first time, adding that parents of the children were given a token amount of money ranging from N4000 to N5000 for each of the children.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Church Refuses to Marry Black Couple

  • Mississppi Church Refuses to Marry Black Couple (ABC News)

    Mississppi Church Refuses to Marry …


They had booked their wedding far in advance. The invitations had been sent, the programs printed. But one day before Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson were to be married at the Mississippi church they frequented, they said a pastor told them they would have to find another venue — because they were black.

There has never been a black wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., since its founding in 1883. According to Pastor Stan Weatherford, some church members objected so strongly to breaking that precedent, they threatened to oust him from his pastorship.

Rather than risk his job, Weatherford, who is white, said he decided to marry the pair at a black church down the road.

“My 9-year-old was going to the church with us. How would you say to your 9-year-old daughter, ‘We cannot get married here because, guess what sweetie, we’re black,'” Charles Wilson told ABC’s affiliate WAPT-TV.

Outrage over the wedding’s forced relocation swept the Jackson suburb of about 5,000 into a media firestorm.

The vast majority of Crystal Springs residents, blacks and whites alike, were “blown away” by the church’s decision, said Theresa Norwood, 48, who was born in Crystal Springs and has lived there her entire life.

Norwood said she believes Weatherford should have married the Wilsons regardless of the risk to his job.

“That church was their home,” she said. “What would Jesus have done? He would have married them, without a doubt, because it’s the right thing to do. We’re all God’s children.”

While the Wilsons were not members of the church, they often attended services there, and Te’Andrea’s uncle is an employee of the church, and her father is a member. Charles Wilson told WAPT that the couple had planned to join as members after their wedding, which was held July 20.

Weatherford told WLBT-TV in Jackson that he would have liked to marry the couple as planned, but he decided to perform the ceremony elsewhere as a compromise to ensure that the Wilsons could be married while “addressing a need within our congregation.”

Norwood, who is black, said her nephew came to worship at First Baptist Church while he was temporarily living with her, having been evacuated from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The church “made him feel at home,” she said, but now she wonders whether he would return there when he visits Crystal Springs.

The church is now holding internal meetings to figure out how it should respond to future requests by black couples to be married there, Weatherford told WLBT-TV.

For her part, though, Norwood, who is dating a white man, said that if she and her boyfriend decide to get married, they will likely look for a different venue.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Gunmen attack VP Sambo’s Zaria home, kill one, wound two police officers

Acting spokesperson of the Police in Kaduna,Balteh Abdulrazaq, has confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that one person died Monday  when some unknown gunmen engaged the Police guarding the Zaria residence of Vice President Namadi Sambo  in a gun battle.

Mr. Abdulrazaq said, “the three gunmen came on a motor bike and opened fire on the police guards at the VP’s home at Baba Ahmed Road, Tudun Wada, Zaria”.
He also said, “The mobile policemen on guard and the assailants were engaged in a gun battle around 11.30 .am. However, a cobbler was hit by a stray bullet who  died instantly”.
“Two police officers sustained bullet wounds on  their legs and arms and have since been rushed to an undisclosed hospital,” he said.
The police spokesperson said no arrest has been made.
“We have already commenced investigation and we are urging the public to remain calm and report any suspicious activities around them,” he said.
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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FG evacuates 50 Nigerians from Syria


The Federal Government, on Monday, evacuated about 50 Nigerians from Syria, due to the ongoing crisis in the country.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, who announced this in Abuja, said the evacuees complied with government’s directive to leave Syria.

“We have evacuated quite a lot of Nigerians from Syria; it was not an airlift exercise like we did in the case of Libya, because they are very few,” he said.

“From the report I got, those moved so far are less than 50. Long before the situation deteriorated, we had advised them to move.

The minister urged Nigerians to relocate from the Middle Eastern nation, adding that those who decided to stay did so out of their own volition.

Ashiru said the families of the Charge d’Affairs and officials at the embassy had been relocated to the neighbouring nation of Lebanon for safety.

The Syrian conflict began on March 15, 2011 with public demonstrations, as part of the wider Arab spring, and developed into a nationwide uprising.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Bank driver arrested with 19 ATM cards, N652,000

Oladujoye and items recovered from him.

Oladujoye and items recovered from him. | credits: Eniola Akinkuotu

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested Dare Oladujoye, a driver with Zenith Bank, for allegedly being in possession of 19 Guaranty Trust Bank ATM cards and the sum of N652, 000.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the suspect was using the cards to withdraw money from an ATM at Ogba branch of GTB when a security guard raised the alarm.

The Commissioner of Police for the state police command, Mr. Umar Manko, said as of the time of his arrest, the suspect had withdrawn N652, 000 from the ATM.

Manko said, “On July 26, 2012, around 8:30pm, there was a distress call that there was commotion at GTB, Ogba branch. On getting there, the suspect was seen with 19 ATM cards.

“He is an employee of Zenith Bank and we wondered what he was doing with the 19 cards. He was arrested and as of the time of his arrest, he had cashed N652, 000. The matter is under investigation.”

The suspect however denied stealing the ATM cards. He said whenever he lent people money, he would collect their ATM cards as collateral and return them after payment.

He said, “I usually loan people money and I’ve been doing it for over a year. Whenever I loan people money, I will collect their ATM cards and their Personal Identification Numbers. When they repay me, I return their cards to them.

“However, if they don’t pay me back in cash, I go to withdraw money from their accounts through the ATM.”

When quizzed on where he got the money which he lent people, he said he was into various kinds of businesses.

He also said he had friends in the banking sector who helped him with funds.

He said, “I am a very hard working person. I joined Zenith Bank as a driver over three years ago and in less than a year, I bought a tricycle which I leased to another driver that gives me returns on a regular basis.

“The following year, I bought two tricycles bringing the total number to three. I make N150,000 monthly from the tricycles and N60,000 from my salary. I also get credit facilities through my connections in the banking sector.

“On the day I was arrested, I went to withdraw money on Thursday night with some of the cards when a security guard raised the alarm. I did not steal those cards. I know the owners of the cards and I have their numbers on my phone.”

Meanwhile, the command has warned members of the public to be very careful when buying vehicles so as not to buy stolen ones.

The warning became imperative following the arrest of two mechanics who allegedly received six stolen vehicles and even sold some to members of the public.

Manko said buyers could sense stolen vehicles by their cheap prices.

It was learnt that on July 7, 2012, Sunday Okoduwa came with a report that his car was stolen on Victoria Island.

Policemen later traced the car to a workshop in Agidingbi and arrested a man identified simply as Abdusalam, who in turn claimed that he bought it from one Idowu Adegboyega.

PUNCH Metro learnt that when Adegboyega was arrested and could not give a satisfactory explanation, his house was searched and some documents were found which led to the recovery of six other vehicles.

A police source said, “When we searched the suspect’s house, some documents were recovered which led to the recovery of six other vehicles.

“All the vehicles were registered in the name of one Oti Olusekola Jacob, who is believed to belong to the gang of armed robbers in Lagos.”

In a related development, the police have arrested 12 armed robbery suspects.

 Police authorities said the suspects belonged to a syndicate that specialised in snatching vehicles from the owners at gunpoint.

The police alleged that the suspects operated in Ikorodu where they robbed and also sold vehicles.

According to the police, Ahmed Abdullahi, Azeez Abiodun, Olusoga Taiwo, Wasiu Azeez and Dele Balogun are among the suspects arrested.

It was learnt that three of the suspects, Adebiyi Mafimisesin, Lekan Aibinuomo and Okalawon Akinpelu; were receivers of stolen vehicles, which were either Toyota or Honda products.

A police source said, “The case emanated from Ikorodu Police Station and was reported on June 20, 2012 by a complainant who was attacked and robbed of his Toyota Sienna Space bus.

“We swung into action and we discovered where they keep stolen vehicles and sell to buyers. We recovered six vehicles; Toyota Sienna, Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and two others.

“We also recovered single-barrelled locally-made shotguns and 24 live cartridges and one expended cartridge.”

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized