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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.

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Drama In Kano As Ganduje’s Aide Resigns Over Governor’s Refusal To Concede Defeat In Kano Guber Race

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Alhaji Hashim Suleiman, the Senior Special Assistant on Urban Beautification to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has tendered his letter of resignation to Secretary to the State Government.

In his resignation letter, he attributed his reason to the failure of Governor Ganduje to concede defeat to the Guber candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engineer Abba Kabir Yusuf, who won the election that has been declared inconclusive in controversial circumstances by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The letter of resignation, dated, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, which he personally signed, reads, ”I write to formally inform you of my voluntary resignation from the office of SSA, Beautification.

“I thank you for offering me the opportunity to serve under your administration as SSA.”

He added that as a transparent Khadimul-Islam, the governor ought to have conceded defeat, so as to serve as a precedent to other Muslims, who serve Allah in truth and sincerity.

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Nembe Creek Well Explosion: More Than Meets The Eye —- By Ayo Fadahunsi

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The predicament that played out on Friday, 1st March 2019, in Bayelsa is indeed a disaster like the others before it in the different parts of the country.

The Mile 1 community and others within earshot were in the wee hours of the morning, reeled off their beds by an explosion said to have come from the Nembe Creek Well 7, belonging to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production.

Within hours of occurrence, stories were churned out with headlines that threw Nigerians into pandemonium.

While both manicured and pruney fingers point at the company with zillion blame for the incident, let’s not ignore the small finger pointing to the accuser. The case of a breach cannot be overruled especially due to past escapades and ensuing crisis and case of militancy in the Niger Delta. 
In a 2018 survey, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the nation recorded 194 cases of pipeline vandalism between January 2017 and the corresponding period of last year. 

It is impossible to overlook vandalism because not only has statistics placed Nigeria at the top of pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering, it has also shown that out of every three explosions in this part of the world, one is a sabotage for economic gains. 

Considering also that according to the company, facilities at the Creek were shut down on 28th of February due to NCTL outage and judging from the point of the explosion which was not from a pipeline but from a flow station in the oil well whose valves were intact, only a third-party infraction could have been responsible. An IOC which stands to lose hundreds of dollars in Aiteo’s new project and one of Nigeria’s banks have been fingered to be behind the incident.

There is also the issue of yellow journalism to decry. Did scores really die? Just how much of what was published is true? 
First, they put death toll at 100 persons – seriously? Who conducted the census, how did the story find its way to EIN, a paid news wire in less than 24hours? 

Then, International publications latched on to the lie that the NCTL was on fire – what NCTL please? And how is it that New York Times, Daily Mail and Jeune Afrique could stoop to the level of carrying unverified stories? 
Next, they declared 50 persons missing only to turn around and publish a follow up saying missing persons have been found. What search party found them? This is a clear case of lack of professional integrity which is why rather than shamefully admit to have been cleverly used to publish a fake story and retract same, they crafted a different headline to say the latter.  They also said the company did not report the explosion to NOSDRA and appropriate authority and accused them of concealing a high level of leakage and a gas explosion at their facility at Nembe Creek. 

When that failed, they said Aiteo prevented NOSDRA from accessing the incident scene. This chain of lies cascading in the guise of media reports are barely intelligible rhythms with staccato aphorisms. 

Aiteo’s official statement debunked the stories peddled: “Preliminary investigations confirm that there were no fatalities; human incidents or damage to community property. All the wells and facilities in the immediate vicinity have been inspected and secured. This incident did not occur at or involve any part of the NCTL or other pipelines. It is important to note that prior to this incident, all facilities have been shut down since 28 of February 2019 due to NCTL outage.

Accordingly, any account suggesting that this incident arose from or affected any pipelines is wholly inaccurate and misleading.”Contrary to the ugly and destructive lies, available documents of the notification of spill reported that NOSDRA, NAPIMS, and DPR were informed and ipso facto, the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) will Thursday, 7th March, visit the scene of the event. Pipelines are expected to be open immediately after.

Also, a picture sighted saw the wellhead intact except for an external slash on one of the linking pipes to the wellhead. Anyone who saw the puncture would agree that there was a breach. If this is not an act of willful sabotage, an act that will have catastrophic effects on everyone, mostly the poor people of Nembe community, then, I wonder what it is. 

Further, the story about Aiteo denying NOSDRA access to the facility, just like others, is a publication targeted at dragging the company’s image to the mud. Judging from an angle of corrupt practices that has bedevilled the country, we can understand that a hungry and dishonest journalist is given cash in exchange for a self-serving story; we can understand that a hare-brained journalist writes reports without first verifying its authenticity, and we can understand that when something of this nature happens, it is the company that gets the first blame. But what cannot be comprehended is why a government agency would effortlessly relay information soiled with dishonesty to the media.

It makes no sense that a government agency would be denied access to a property that also belongs to the government; it is in fact, a campaign harangue with meaningless underpinning. Edification is not needed to realize the deliberate falsehood being peddled here or the creating and withdrawing sensation targeted at heating up the polity. 

When unverified facts and baseless stories are published, if it is not to mislead the public, it is to drive the country into the realm of a reality show conspiracy and when better to do this if not now that the country is starting a new dispensation. Some publications even hinted that the incident is going to affect production with the loss of 2500 barrels of oil that Well 7 produces per day. Exactly what kind of effect will a minuscule 2500 bpd have on a country that produces 2.5million bpd

People need to wake up and realize the real lies in these stories flying around. This is simply a case of cash for stories with the sole aim of discrediting the company because from every indication, the stories are all traceable to one source.

Fadahunsi writes from Ekiti State 

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29-year-old Man Butchers His 99-year-old Aunt For ‘Changing’ His Baba Ijebu Winning Numbers

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A 29-year-old man, Owolabi Folorunso Adewale, has allegedly admitted killing her 99-year old aunty, whom he accused of using her spiritual power to change his Baba Ijebu lotto winning number.

The suspect, who was arrested by operatives of the Ogun State police command, allegedly committed the crime at Maraisa Lane, Igan road in Ago-Iwoye area of the State.

According to a statement signed and issued yesterday by the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, his arrest followed a distress call received by the Divisional Police Officer of Ago-Iwoye Division, CSP Ade Adedoyin.

“On receiving the distress call, the DPO quickly led his detectives to the scene where the suspect was promptly arrested and the cutlass, which he used to wreck the havoc, was also recovered. On interrogation, the suspect admitted killing the old woman with matchet claiming that he had an inclination that the woman was responsible for most of his spiritual problems.

“He stated further that he is a regular player of Baba Ijebu lotto and that whenever he is sure of winning, the deceased who was his father’s elder sister will use her supernatural power to change the winning number.”

Oyeyemi said the body of the deceased has been deposited at the Ijebu-Ode General Hospital mortuary for post mortem examination.

He adding that the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Iliyasu, has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police State Criminal investigation and intelligence Department, DCP Wale Abass, to take over the case and see to diligent prosecution of the suspect.

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