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At 70, family and friends had looked up to Lamidi Oke, a farmer from Olorunda village, Oyo State, for survival, until last Monday when a trigger-happy Customs officer dashed their hopes. Punch Reports. The septuagenarian was allegedly shot dead by the officer while he was trying to intervene in an argument between some Customs operatives and youths in the community over a barrier erected on a road within the neighbourhood.

It was learnt that the villagers put up the barrier – two poles on both sides of the road with a bamboo placed across them – to curb the recurring accidents caused by reckless motorists plying the route. It was gathered that a team of six Customs officers in a Hilux van got to the spot around 12:00pm and saw Lamidi and his younger brother, Muritala Oke, who were returning from the farm.

The officers were said to have ordered 66-year-old Muritala to remove the barrier so they could pass. But the man declined the order, telling them that motorists usually opened the barrier themselves and mounted it back after leaving the spot. Enraged by the man’s response, the officers reportedly disembarked from their operational vehicle and uprooted the barrier.

Muritala, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, stated that some youths met the officers in the act and challenged them. He said the officers responded by shooting indiscriminately, during which the deceased intervened to make peace.“As my brother and I were returning from the farm that day, we met the Customs officers in a van at the spot where the barrier was mounted. They asked us why we mounted the barrier and I explained to them that many residents, especially children had been knocked down by speeding vehicles. Till now, a resident, whose leg was broken in an accident on the road, is at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.

“They shouted at me to remove the barrier and asked if I did not know they were in a government vehicle. I explained to them that it is drivers who remove the barrier and place it back. I told them that policemen also ply the road in their vans and remove the barrier the way other drivers do.“Five of them pulled over in anger and started destroying the barrier. They resorted to shooting as some youths tried to caution them.

“My late brother sent the youths away and tried to plead with the Customs officers. The sixth officer, who appeared to be their team leader, came down from the vehicle and shot my brother directly in the chest. They hurriedly entered their van and fled. They were in uniform and Nigeria Customs Service was written on their van. We did not get to the hospital before he died.”

It was learnt that the incident was reported at the Ojongbodu Police Station and was later transferred to the police headquarters in Iyaganku, Ibadan. The deceased’s first child, Gafar, who lives in Abuja, said his father had called him on the telephone that Monday morning, adding that he was shocked when he got a call that the man had been shot dead.

He said, “I visited home (Oyo State) and was supposed to return to Abuja on Monday. He called me early in the morning and I told him I wanted to get something for my wife and would go back to Abuja the next day. To my surprise, I was called around 12:30pm that my father had been shot dead by a Customs officer. I didn’t believe it until I saw his corpse.

“He was buried on Wednesday. We cannot forgive those customs officers for many reasons. One, my father was an easy-going person. He was a generous man and the breadwinner of the family. I could not remember the last time I gave him money. One of my siblings had abandoned his wife and children. It was my father who was taking care of his wife and the children.

“We may not be able to get justice, but we will forever curse them because they have brought sorrow to our family.”The distraught widow, Adijatu Lamidi, said it was “extremely painful” to lose Lamidi in such a cruel circumstance, lamenting that she would live the rest of her life with the sad memory.

“My husband didn’t tell me he was going to die when he bid me goodbye on Monday morning on his way to the farm. He called me on the telephone when he got to the farm. I could not believe that would be our last conversation,” the 60-year-old added painfully.

A resident, Afudol Jaleel, who said the Alafin of Oyo had waded into the case, told Saturday Punch that two expended bullets were recovered from the scene of the incident. He said the barrier was erected after a consensus was reached between the villagers and motorists who usually plied the road.

“I am wondering why the officer would shoot the elderly man, who was trying to make peace. The police from Iyaganku came to inspect the scene of the incident on Thursday. A representative of Alafin of Oyo was also at the scene for assessment.“Apart from the two expended bullets recovered by the police, we had already picked six bullets from the scene and taken them to the police,” Jaleel said.

When the Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, was contacted on Thursday, he said he was aware of the incident and promised to get back with details. He had, however, yet to do so as of press time.

Several calls put across to his line rang out and he did not reply to a text message sent to his phone. The spokesperson for the Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/Osun Command, Abdullahi Lagos-Abiola, said the police had written to the agency on the incident.

“But so far, I don’t know how authentic that incident is. We have contacted all our men; we don’t have such an incident. One thing again is that, officers from the headquarters or Federal Operation Unit can come in and operate without seeking the permission of the command.“As far as our officers in Oyo/Osun Command are concerned, we don’t have such a case,” he added.

NEWS

MUST READ: Before You Crucify Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele — By Lukmon Akintola

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Those who know Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele would acknowledge that he is one of the finest prophets of God.

As far as prophecy is concerned, Ayodele, has been the most consistent, prophesying on both local and international fronts.

His prophecies that have come to pass are countless and as such, it would be a waste of time reeling them out. However, for the sake of those just familiarizing themselves with the servant of God who leads the flocks of Inri Evangelical Spiritual Church both home and abroad, his prophesies includes the demise of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, the death of General Sanni Abacha and the return of Olusegun Obasanjo as President.

Others are the reorganisation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the travails of the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, a loss in profit by social media platform Facebook, and attacks on camps of Internally Displaced People (IDP). Also, he did prophesy about the sack of erstwhile Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the death of Punch Newspapers Chairman, Gbadebowale Adeborin

His annually released collection of divine signals titled ‘Warnings To The Nations’ is verbose on his prophecies, and till date remains one of the best collector’s items and reference point of call any day or time.

However, in recent times a misconception about a certain prophesy by the man of God involving the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, has necessitated clarifications.

The spirit of God is necessary for the understanding of prophecies in some cases, while at other times common sense would suffice. One prophesy which has been consistently heard from Primate Ayodele remains his prophesy that “Only Saraki can up seat President Muhammadu Buhari if given the right support by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)“. While there is no denying that the man of God had said this, there is the need to understand the meat of the prophecy.

Primate Ayodele severally said “Only Saraki can up seat President Buhari if given the right support by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He, however, didn’t make mention of the fact that he (Saraki) would win the PDP primaries, something which is currently being confused by a lot of people who have been trying to misconstrue the prophecy.

Indeed, you have to win the primary election to be able to contest for the President.

While it might be easy to confuse both positions, they are indeed very clear cut and separate issues. There is a clear difference in the statement that “Only Saraki can up seat President Buhari if given the right support by PDP” and his winning the primaries. While the confusion has been ragging on for a while, it would make more sense if in February when the Presidential election holds Atiku Abubakar, the PDP candidate defeats President Buhari in the polls. Then, the talking point would be that the man of God was wrong in his prophesy and that someone other than Saraki had up seated President Buhari.

However, claims that because Saraki lost the primaries to Abukbakar, thus Primate Ayodele’s prophesy is wrong is like trying to tag the north and south pole as the same.

The need to be precise and on point when analyzing can’t be overemphasized, but at this point, it is very important to clarify that the chance to crucify Primate Ayodele would only come after the general election.

For now, please let Primate Ayodele be.

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BIG STORY

Ekiti Debt Less Than N60bn; Not N170bn, Fayemi Preparing Grounds For Impending Failure – Fayose

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has insisted that his administration did not commit the State to any financial institution in form of bonds and commercial loans, describing claim by Governor Kayode Fayemi that the State was indebted to the tune of N170 billion as false and “a way of preparing grounds for his impending failure just as he did when he assumed office in 2010.”

Fayose’s Media Aide, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement issued on Wednesday that Ekiti State indebtedness was under N60 billion and that the debt was either directly incurred during Fayemi’s first tenure or as a result of the loans restructuring done at the instance of the federal government and the Federal Economic Council.

He gave the breakdown as follows; Commercial Bank Loan, N2,087,788,065.28; CBN Grant for Water Project, N163,450,000; Excess Crude Account Backed Loan, N9,545,173,472.78; Bailout, N9,083,761,215.40; FGN Bonds, N18,226,699,707.18; State Bonds, N3,484,469,345.51 and Budget Support, N16,869,000,000.

While challenging Fayemi to name the banks being owed the N170 billion and monthly repayment by the State Government to such banks, Olayinka said; “He should not wait till 100 to cook up false stories of how much debt was left by the Fayose administration. He should rather tell Nigerians how it is possible for a State that is indebted to the tune of N170 billion to be making N1.1 billion repayment monthly.

“Instead of lying so blatantly to cover up his impending failure, Fayemi should publish the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ekiti State Executive Council and House of Assembly approvals for the loans since no loan can be taken without these approvals.”

Describing Fayemi as a “multiple-mouthed” person, Olayinka said; “In September this year, Fayemi claimed that Ekiti debt was N117 billion, one month after, he said the debt is N170 billion. So the debt increased from N117 billion to N170 billion in less than 30 days?

“The reality is that Fayemi is reputed for speaking from both sides of his mouth. In the past, when Fayose assisted him to be governor, he described him (Fayose) as an honourable person whose word is always his bond and today, he goes about denigrating the same Fayose.”

Fayose’s spokesperson, who admonished Fayemi to face the task of governance and stop his usual grandstanding, said; “The federal government deliberately refused to release legitimate funds belonging to Ekiti State to the Fayose administration and for this reason, the arrears of salary could not be cleared as promised.

“We are aware that in a matter of days, the withheld fund of over N30 billion is to be released to the State by the federal government as a refund on federal roads construction, arrears of Budget Support and Paris Club refund.

“Our plea is that Governor Fayemi should stop making excuses and use the over N30 billion to pay workers salary.

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NEWS

Governor Fayemi Declares Free Education In Ekiti, Abolishes Tax In Schools

Peter Okunoren

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The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Wednesday abolished the education tax introduced by the government of Mr. Ayodele Fayosein all primary and secondary schools.

Fayemi said education would henceforth be free in all public primary and secondary schools across the state, saying it was an aberration for school children to pay tax.

Fayose had in 2015 introduced payment of education tax in all private and public schools across the state, whereby children at primary and secondary cadres were mandated to pay N500 and N1,000 per term respectively.

The new governor has also appealed to Ekiti people to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, saying it is only the continuity of Buhari/Osinbajo government that could bring the realisation of all projects promised by the federal government for Ekiti.

Speaking during a thank you visit to Ekiti South and North senatorial district headquarters, Ido and Ikere Ekiti Wednesday, Fayemi said: “Education is now free up to the secondary cadre in Ekiti State. Our children would no longer pay tax in both public and private schools.

“When we were in government before 2010 and 2014, we ran free education until when the last administration came and said school children should pay tax.

“By the grace of God, by December this year, we are also going to introduce school feeding from primary to Junior Secondary 3 as part of the benefits we will get from the federal government.”

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