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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.

BIG STORY

Ooni Of Ife’s New Wife, Yeyeluwa Silekunola, Enters The Palace With Grace, Elegance [PHOTOS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has received his new Olori after the necessary rites have been performed, the Palace said.

“Her Majesty, Olori Moronke Naomi Silekunola Ogunwusi is the new Yeyeluwa Oodua. Necessary rites fully performed,” a terse message from the Palace said.

See the photographs, courtesy of the Ooni’s Palace:

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NEWS

Jim Ovia Takes Africa Rise And Shine Book Launch To New York [PHOTOS]

Peter Okunoren

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The Founder/Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia recently launched his book, Africa Rise and Shine in New York.

This prestigious event happened on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and had foreign dignitaries and private sector captains of industry in attendance.

Earlier, Africa Rise and Shine was unveiled in Lagos at Eko Hotel and Suites on September 17, 2018. The event had Nigeria’s Vice President, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON(SAN), other government functionaries, traditional rulers and private sector stakeholders present.

Africa Rise and Shine is available for pre-order online at Amazon and in-store at Laterna Books and Roving Heights.

See photo excerpts from the book launch in New York below:

The Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr. John D. Coumantarosduring a meet-and-greet with the Author of Africa Rise and Shine, Mr. Jim Ovia at the Book Launch in New York

The Author of Africa Rise and Shine, Mr. Jim Ovia with the moderator, Zeinab Badawi on the podium at the Africa Rise and Shine book launch in New York

Mr. Jim Ovia holding up his book, Africa Rise and Shine during its launch in New York

The GMD/CEO of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe; The Publisher of Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex Ibru and Chairman of Coronation Capital, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede during a meet-and-greet with the Author of Africa Rise and Shine, Mr. Jim Ovia at the Book Launch in New York

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BIG STORY

We Can’t Pay New Minimum Wage — Governors

Peter Okunoren

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Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Abdulaziz Yari, said yesterday that governors were not against upward review of the minimum wage, but lack capacity to pay it.

This is as indications emerged yesterday that organized labour might resume its suspended strike over the issue as early as November 6.

Briefing journalists on the outcome of the forum’s meeting with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Wednesday night, Yari said the issue was not just on the agreed figure to be paid by the governors but also the “ability or resources to take care of that agreed minimum wage.”

Noting that his colleagues made it known that they have no problem with a review of salaries but were being real, Yari, who is governor of Zamfara State, said: “The problem of the states is the capacity to pay what is agreed. As we are talking today, we are struggling with N18,000.

“Some of the states are paying 35 percent, some 50 percent and still some states have salary arrears. So, it is not about only reviewing it but how we are going to get the resources to cater for it.”

Yari’s statement caused a stir in the polity, yesterday. There was anxiety that labour leaders who met over the issue last night may call for industrial action. Some state chapters of the NLC, vowed to shut down the country if the minimum wage was not reviewed and implemented.

The NLC had demanded N30,000 as minimum wage, the governors proposed N20,000, while the Federal Government said it could afford N24,000.

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