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I Started Planning Abuja Bank Robbery In October — First Bank Staff Who Masterminded Attack Confesses

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A customer care officer of First Bank Plc, which was attacked by armed robbers last Saturday, Larry Ehizo, has stated that he began planning how to carry out the operation in October 2019.

Ehizo, who recanted his earlier claim that a barman, Ernest Ewim, blackmailed him into carrying out the attempted heist, said he started nursing the idea having monitored the security system and the processes in the bank.

The customer care officer said, “Everything Ewim said is true; he didn’t threaten me. I willingly collected his number and I called him and he said I should give him a few days.

“When I called him, I simply told him how they would go in, where they would see the riot policeman guarding the bank and how to disconnect the CCTV. On Friday night during our meeting, we had issues with getting a driver.”

When asked the motive for the crime, Ehizo simply stated, “I was just greedy; I thought it was something simple that I could just pull off. I had taken the time to study everything; I started thinking about it since October.

“Maybe, because I work inside, I felt I could take the money. So, I gradually mapped out where the CCTV is, where the police officer stays, his movement, how people are stationed over the weekend and how the ATM functions over the weekend. I took the time to map it out for over a month.”

The Federal Capital Territory Police Command had arrested the sixth member of the gang, Ewim, at his hideout on Wednesday.

Wearing dreadlocks and dressed in a light blue denim jacket and matching blue jeans, the suspect sustained injuries in his legs.

Blood oozed out of his right ear as he spoke to PUNCH Metro in Abuja on Thursday.

The police had earlier gunned down a member of the gang, identified as Patrick, and arrested four others during the failed operation.

The FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, had on Tuesday paraded four gang members including Ehizo, 30, as well as Timothy Joe, 21; Princewill Obinna, 24; and Elijah David, 19.

Ewim, who doubles as a barman and disc jockey at the Ever Ready Hotel, Mpape, explained that he organized the gang that carried out the foiled heist at Ehizo’s request.

Narrating how he became involved in the attempted robbery, the 29-year-old said he met Ehizo at the customer care desk of the bank when he was having issues with his account.

He explained that after addressing his complaints, the bank official took his phone number and called him two days later, promising to give him a job.

Ewim stated, “After two days, I received a call from Ehizo, who identified himself and said he had a job for me. Two days later, he called back and said he would like to see me.

“He said he wanted to attack the bank branches in Mpape and Mararaba. I said I was not a robber. He asked if I could provide boys for him, so I told Obinna, a photographer, about it because I learnt that he was very stubborn and could fight.”

Ewim added that they met again on the eve of the robbery and discussed the strategy for the operation.

He added, “On Saturday, when they were going for the robbery, Ehizo called and asked if I knew how to drive, but I said no. He asked me to get a driver for him, so I introduced him to a motorcyclist, who can also drive.

“I told the motorcyclist to wait for me opposite the bank. Ehizo said he would like to discuss with the motorcyclist, so I gave the phone to him and they discussed.”

Asked if he informed security agencies about the planned robbery, Ewim said he did not, adding that he did not have the time to do so, because he was always at work.

He stated, “On the day of the robbery, I was sick. I left my hotel for the clinic around 3am. After the conversation with Ehizo that he needed a driver, I went to work. I didn’t know that they were going to rob the bank that day.

“I saw the video of the robbery, and people were calling me about it. Even, my brother called me about it, but I didn’t report myself to the police. My brother said he would take me to the police, fortunately, they came around.”

The FCT police spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, said the suspects would be arraigned soon.

Narrating how the failed heist was executed, David said Ehizo informed the gang members that the robbery would fetch them N7m, adding that he assured them that only a few staff members would be at work on the day of the incident.

David explained that the banker administered an oath of secrecy on him before they went for the robbery.

On entering the bank premises, the 19-year-old stated that they saw the policeman on duty sleeping, adding that they tied him with an old sponge and proceeded to the banking hall, where they also tied the workers on duty.

He had said, “Mr Larry (Ehizo) told us that the job could fetch about N7m. After we entered the bank, we saw the MOPOL (riot policeman) on duty sleeping, so Obinna pointed a pistol at him and we tied him with an old sponge. Mr Larry told us that he would keep the other door open for us.

“So, Larry and Obinna later went upstairs with a pair of pliers to disconnect the CCTV. On our way out, Larry suddenly shouted, ‘Ah, the MOPOL has escaped’, then I ran inside and all of us were scattered. I didn’t know what to do. Then the police fired teargas inside the banking hall.”

David said Ehizo attempted to implicate one of his colleagues after they were arrested.

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Kwara Governor’s Chief Of Staff Dies Of COVID-19

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Aminu Adisa Logun, the Chief of Staff to Kwara Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, is dead.

He died on Tuesday of COVID-19 complications, only a few hours after the result of the test carried out on him returned positive.

He was 73.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, confirmed the sad incident.

He said: “With total submission to the will of the Almighty Allah, we wish to announce the passing of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kwara State Aminu Adisa Logun (mni).

“Logun, an industrialist, a public intellectual, and an elder statesman, died Tuesday evening of complications from COVID-19. He died only a few hours after the test of his result returned positive.

“The entire government and the people of Kwara State have lost an outstanding public servant who diligently served the state at various times, including as Chief of Staff to the Governor from June 7, 2019, until he returned to his Lord.

“The Governor has declared seven-day mourning in honour of the late Chief of Staff.

“The Governor commiserates with the family of the late Chief of Staff and the entire Ilorin Emirate for this tragic development.

“We pray the Almighty Allah to grant him Al-Jannah Firdaus and give the family the fortitude to bear the huge loss.

“Details about his Janazah will be made public by the family and the government in due course.”

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BIG STORY

Senate Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill

Peter Okunoren

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The Senate on Tuesday passed the bill on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions after reading it for the third time.

The bill titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress Sexual Harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith, 2019’, was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and 106 other senators.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – which was in charge of reviewing the bill and organising a public hearing on the legislation.

The bill was reintroduced in the Senate on October 9 and scaled second reading on November 6.

The bill, with 25 clauses, seeks to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions. It also seeks to protect students against sexual harassment as well as prevent sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary institutions.

The bill also proposes up to 14 years jail term for offenders.

The bill was reintroduced to the Senate two days after a BBC documentary exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana for sexual harassment. The documentary sparked reactions from many Nigerians who described the issue as a norm in Nigerian universities.

During the public hearing, lecturers, students, academic bodies and civil organisations raised concerns and proposed amendments to the bill.

One of such was the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi, who described the legislation as biased.

He said the bill will stigmatise lecturers in universities.

In his presentation, chairman of the committee, Bamidele Opeyemi, said sexual harassment has been made an offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions.

The bill, he said, seeks to maintain the relationship that exists between educators and students with the aim of making tertiary institutions conducive centres of learning.

“This bill seeks to tame the hydra-headed monster in the name of sexual harassment which has become a pandemic in our tertiary institutions.”

The Senate, thereafter, resolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider and pass the bill.

In his remark, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill is an important and landmark legislation that the ninth Senate has passed.

“We have to protect our daughters, sisters, mothers from sexual predators. From the recommendations, we wanted a fair means of offence that somebody is accused of.

“We want tertiary institutions to be a safe and peaceful learning environment for everyone,” he said.

The bill will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence and then sent to the president for assent.

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BIG STORY

COVID-19: No More Meals Aboard Domestic Flights — Aviation Minister

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A new flight rule has banned meals aboard domestic flights. The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, spelt out the rule during the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, on Monday.

Sirika said food would no longer be served on domestic flights when operations resume, explaining that the decision is part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus on flights.

His words: “For domestic operations, there will be no food. No food will be given to reduce contamination level and we will allow you to come with your mask.

“Like the MD of FAAN said the other day, we see it as your private thing. So, you have to bring your mask, they don’t have to be the fancy ones.”

On how the cabin crew came into existence, he said the cabin crew’s job was not to offer tea to passengers.

He said: “They came into the industry because of people who were getting air-sick so we thought we would be putting nurses in the airplane to look after those people who are sick. “Since then, they metamorphosed and became something new.

“They want to now give you tea because many people don’t get sick anymore. They will give you coffee, offer you food and drinks, and so on.

“So the main purpose of the cabin staff is to ensure that we all remain safe for your welfare and your health.”

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