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The operatives of the Intelligence Response Team led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, have arrested more suspects in connection with the April 5 Offa bank robberies during which nine policemen and 33 persons were killed.

Our correspondent in Abuja gathered on Wednesday that the additional suspects were apprehended in Kwara, Oyo and Kogi states and were assisting the police to track down other accomplices.

A source, who declined to give the number of the suspects, explained that two AK 47 rifles were also recovered from them.

The source said, “The fresh suspects belonged to the Michael Adikwu’s gang, the dismissed policeman and an ex-convict. He actually led our men to the hideout of the men where they were arrested.”

The fresh suspects, it was learnt, would soon be brought to Abuja and paraded before the media.

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has denied any link to the five gang leaders that were involved in the bank robberies.

A source explained that the former Kwara State Governor, in his response submitted to the police last Thursday, stated that as a politician, he had a large following and could not possibly know all his supporters.

The police had said that their investigation into the matter showed that all the five gang leaders, namely: Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran, have direct connections to the Senate President.

The force stated that the suspected gangsters were at Saraki’s daughter’s wedding and also went with him to visit the Olofa of Offa, when he paid the traditional ruler a condolence visit in the aftermath of the robberies.

It also explained that one of the five gang leaders, Abraham, was wearing the ‘Aso Ebi’ used during the Senate President’s daughter’s wedding, indicating that he was close to the politician.

A National Assembly source described Saraki’s statement as mature, noting that he denied procuring firearms for the robbery suspects and omitted the Lexus SUV he donated to the gang leader, Ayoade Akinnibosun, a.k.a AY.

“He actually denied knowing the gang members; he insisted that as a politician, he has a large following and could not know many of them. He also defended the allegation that he purchased arms for the gang, but he was silent on the SUV he gave to Akinnibosun through the Chief of Staff to Kwara State Governor, Yusuf Abdulwahab,” the source stated.

It was learnt that the letter was receiving the necessary attention, but it could not be established whether the police authorities would still insist on the Senate President’s appearance before investigators in spite of his written defence.

The police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, had insisted at a press conference that Saraki must report to the Force Intelligence Response Team’s office at Guzape, Abuja, for interrogation on his links to the five gang leaders.

Moshood could not be reached for comment as he did not respond to calls and a text message, but police sources stated that Saraki’s claims would be verified by investigators, noting that his defence had not foreclosed his connection or link to the gang leaders.

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ASUU Gives Conditions To Suspend Strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Thursday gave conditions upon which the prolonged industrial action will be suspended.

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities @ASUUNGR have asked @AsoRock to release N50 billion to demonstrate its commitment to the revitalisation of public universities, in line with previous agreements with the union,” ASUU tweeted.

The union said the N50 billion will form the first share of the N220 billion federal government agreed for the project this year and add to the N20 billion earlier released for the year.

It also disclosed that the union has “submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week.”

The lecturers are demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government, which led to the strike that started November 4, 2018.

Although the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, last Thursday said the government has approved N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears, ASUU said they are still awaiting its payment.

“Government promised to release the shortfall in salaries by January 18th, that’s a day away. Let’s wait and confirm that they’ve released it.”

“The union has submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week,” he added.

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Atiku’s US Trip: So Much Ado About Nothing —– Tunde Ajose

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For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.

The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.

Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.

And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.

One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.

It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.

This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.

The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.

No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.

As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.

If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.

Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.

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Two Church Guards Steal Pastor’s Daughter’s Pants In Ondo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Two security guards, Samuel Linus and Adekunle Ogundana, who allegedly stole two underwears belonging to the daughter of a clergyman within a church’s premises in Akure metropolis, were yesterday paraded alongside suspected kidnappers by Ondo State Police Command.

Briefing newsmen in Akure, the state Police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, said the daughter of the clergyman washed two of her pants and spread them on the line at about 8p.m. in the presence of the guards and by 6a.m., next day, the panties disappeared.

Joseph said the suspects, who are attached to the orthodox church, were posted to the apartment, which was highly fortified by a private security outfit in the state.

The suspects, however, denied complicity in the offence for which they were paraded.

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