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A policeman and about 11 others were shot dead while several others sustained gunshot injuries yesterday when armed robbers invaded Igarra town, the headquarters of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.

The robbers unleashed terror in the town as they attempted to rob two commercial banks – Unity Bank and Keystone Bank.

The evening attack sent hordes of residents scampering for safety. Also killed were two detained suspects at the Divisional Police Station, who were arrested yesterday morning for minor offences.

One of the dead detained suspects was said to have been arrested by the police for incomplete vehicle particulars. At press time, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said information about the attack was still sketchy, but promised to release more details later.

It was learnt that the gunmen swooped on the police station, which is about 1.2 kilometres from the banks, apparently to demobilise the policemen.

They also burnt the official vehicle of the newly posted Area Commander.

Three other persons near the police station were also killed.

At least four other persons were killed within the premises of the two banks.

It was learnt that the robbers could not gain access to the vaults of the banks.

An indigene of the community, Ofei Obende, said residents mobilised themselves and tried to resist the robbers, but they were overpowered by the invaders’ firepower.

He said that policemen attached to the banks had engaged the bandits in exchange of gunfire, which was responsible for the death of the three unidentified bodies.

Palace Secretary to the Otaru of Igarra, the paramount ruler of the community, Elder Folorunsho Dania, confirmed the incident yesterday on the phone. He said: “This is a serious case. Armed robbers have besieged Igarra. So many lives were lost; 10 bodies have been counted.

The police station was set ablaze, while the Area Commander’s new car was torched. Also, close to the police station, three people were killed. In the banks – Keystone Bank and Unity Bank – many persons were killed. In all, 10 lives have gone.

“They could not access the strong rooms of the banks. The people that were killed in the bank were outside the bank premises. Four persons were killed on the bank premises. A policeman was killed in the police station. Also, a stone throw from the police station, three persons were killed. Igarra is in a war scene; I am right at the police station.”

Six persons were killed in a similar raid in November 2015 when robbers invaded the community. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy has arrested four suspected members of a notorious cult group, Debam, said to have been robbing sea travellers of their valuables.
Cdr. Ikenna Okoloagu, the Base Operation Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder (NNS), Port Harcourt, paraded the four suspected cultists to newsmen on yesterday. He said the suspects were arrested by a naval patrol team deployed to end killings and other criminal activities in its host community of Rumuolumeni.

“This decision to heighten our security patrol follows the recently reported spate of killings in Rumuolumeni community and other forms of criminality in the state.

“The patrol team was tasked with the responsibility to ensure a safe, secure and peaceful atmosphere within the state.

“So, in the course of the patrols, on August 8, about 0845 hours, the base patrol element arrested four suspected sea robbers and members of the dreaded Debam cult group,” he said.

The officer said that the suspects were apprehended at their hideout at Iwofe waterfront with a locally made pistol and four live cartridges found in their possession.

“Additionally, controlled and banned substances such as cannabis (Indian hemp) and tramadol were found in their possession.

“The suspects were immediately brought in for questioning and they later confessed to being members of the Debam cult group,” he said. Okoloagu said the hand over to the police was done in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures that spelt out roles for security agencies in combating illegalities in the oil and gas sector.

One of the suspects, who admitted to the crime and pleaded for leniency, said that he was recruited into Debam cult by a friend when he was 19 years old. “I joined the group when I was in my Senior Secondary Three level at Community Secondary School, Rumuolumeni, in 2015.

“Immediately I joined Debam, I started saving money and later bought the gun (locally made pistol) for N15,000 for my protection.

“The gun is mine, but I have not shot or killed anybody with it,” the 22-year-old said. Lekum claimed they worked for an unnamed chairman of the National Union of Iwofe who directed them to collect levies from those engaging in illegal oil bunkering in the area.
Also, a Daura Road Chief Magistrates’ Court in Kaduna, Kaduna State, on Thursday ordered the remand of three men for alleged armed robbery.

The defendants – Rabiu Abdullahi, Ibrahim Dahiru and Anas Mohammed – are standing trial on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery. The prosecutor, Insp. Akinga Akila, had told the court that the matter was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigation.

Akila said that on July 6, at 2 p.m., the defendants robbed some passengers of their property on Ishaku Road, Ungwan Rimi in Kaduna, when they boarded a tricycle.

The prosecutor said that the passengers were robbed of their phones and wallets, containing a school’s identity card and voter’s card, before the defendants were caught. He said that the defendants confessed to committing the crime during the police investigation, adding that the offences contravened Sections 59 and 283 of the Penal Code.

Magistrate Abdulkadir Musa declined to take the plea of the defendants because the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter. Musa ordered the police to forward the case file to the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice and adjourned the case until September 5.

BIG STORY

Mad Man Stabs Monarch To Death In Ekiti

Peter Okunoren

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Odo-Oro-Ekiti, a community in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, was on Monday thrown into mourning as its traditional ruler, Oba Gbadebo Ogunsakin, was stabbed to death.

Some residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the traditional ruler was stabbed with a knife by a man suspected to be insane after a meeting of the traditional council.

A resident, Mr Henry Olu, said the assailant was from the same royal family as the slain traditional ruler.

Olu said the assailant was earlier seen before the council meeting sitting on the throne and was chased away.

The monarch was stabbed by the assailant while he was attempting to enter his vehicle after the council meeting.

“All we heard was a cry for help from the traditional ruler’s driver shortly after the council meeting.

“On getting there, we saw our traditional ruler in a pool of his blood with a knife in the chest.

“We tried rushing him to the hospital, but Oba Ogunsakin gave up the ghost,” another resident, who does not want his name mentioned, said.

NAN reports that some irate youths in the community took to the streets in search of the assailant who was said to have fled into the bush after the incident.

The youths mounted roadblocks on major junctions leading into the community while the search lasted.

NAN also reports that there was panic in the community, with its market deserted as the news of the incident filtered.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Ekiti, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, confirmed the incident in a telephone interview with NAN.

“It is true the incident actually happened and policemen have moved in.

“The person alleged is of unsound mind and he actually escaped into the bush after committing the crime.

“Our men are combing the bush to fish out the suspect.

“All I can say for now is that the suspect is within reach and will be put in custody,” he said.

NAN reports that the late Ogunsakin ascended the throne in 1986.

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BIG STORY

‘I Challenge You To A Public Debate, Lets Present The Facts To Nigerians’ —- Gov Udom Dares Akpabio

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday dared his predecessor Senator Godswill Akpabio to a debate ahead of the 2019 election.

Emmanuel’s challenge was an apparent reply to Akpabio’s comments at Ikot Ekpene on Sunday.

The former governor had stated that “Udom (Emmanuel) is a mistake that must be corrected in 2019.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure that the mistake is corrected for a people-oriented leadership under the ruling All Progressives Congress at the centre,” he had said.

Responding, the governor at a rally in his honour at Onna Sports Stadium, said he was ready to present the facts of his administration to the world and that anyone who can confront him should come forward.

He said: “I have heard things, and I want to challenge any who thinks he has the truth to come out, I will use my personal money to hire the media.

“Let’s present facts to Nigerians, let’s see who would tell the truth and who will also tell a lie”.

“However, the issue on ground is Akwa Ibom, it’s about the development of this state, it’s about our children in public schools who are excelling in international competitions, it’s about the price of garri that we have drastically dropped, it’s about the unity of this state which we believe in”.

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BIG STORY

Tambuwal Blasts Tinubu, Reveals What APC National Leader Did When He Was Stopped From Running With Buhari In 2015

Peter Okunoren

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The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, has said that he has what it takes to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in any political platform.

The Governor said that if he wanted to remain in the APC and battle the party’s ticket with Buhari, he would have done so and win the presidency.

The Governor made this known in his reaction to the statement by the APC National Leader, Ahmed Tinubu, about his exit from the ruling party.

According to a statement on the State’s Twitter handle, @sokotogovthouse, Tambuwal said that Tinubu tried to rock the boat when he was denied as Buhari’s Vice President, adding that the former Lagos Governor thinks everyone was like him.

“If I wanted to and if the Presidency is what (why) Ahmed Tinubu thinks I defected, I could contest with President Buhari under the APC. I have what it takes to have contested with Mr. President.”

“Tinubu tried to rock the boat when he was denied Buhari’s vice presidency. He thinks every other person could behave his way. If I wanted to contest under the APC as president, I could have done so and only the votes could have produced a winner.”

He added that Tinubu’s statement could serve as a confirmation that there was no internal democracy in the ruling party.

He added, “In any case, Tinubu is confessing that there is no level-playing ground for all members of the APC; that there is no internal democracy in it and that some people were denied their right to internal democracy.”

The former Lagos State Governor had on Sunday alleged that Tambuwal wants to become president, the reason for his exit from APC: “Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the Presidency.

However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship

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