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FG Enlists Interpol’s Help Over Fleeing 3,471 Dangerous Prisoners

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The Federal Government has asked the International Criminal Police Organisation to be on the alert and look out for the inmates who escaped in the recent jailbreaks in the country, including the most recent in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

It added that the Nigerian Immigration Service had also been issued an alert, noting that the data of the inmates were being compiled and would be sent to the relevant organizations in batches so as not to delay the manhunt.

A senior official with the Nigerian Correctional Service on Saturday told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity that the number of “dangerous” inmates on the loose officially was 3,471, including those who escaped in Owerri.

The source noted that the inmates included hardened criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers, and condemned criminals awaiting execution. “Suffice it to say that the bulk of those who fled Owerri correctional center are hardened criminals,” the source added.

No fewer than 1,844 inmates escaped from the Owerri Custodial Centre on Monday when unidentified gunmen broke into the facility with the aid of explosives. The gunmen also attacked the state police headquarters, where they freed about 600 suspects in custody. The attackers torched the facilities and also vehicles on both premises.

Despite the persuasion by the Federal Government and its assurance that they would be given amnesty from fresh prosecution if they returned to the facility, the NCoS said on its website on Wednesday that it had a total of 84 inmates back in custody. It said the figure included those who did not flee during the jailbreak, those recaptured, those who voluntarily returned, and those brought back by their relations, traditional rulers and religious leaders.

Further investigations showed that about 1,780 inmates were on the loose, while only 35 inmates didn’t escape during the attack.

On Friday, NCoS authorities published on its Twitter handle the names and pictures of 36 of the fleeing inmates.

Meanwhile, following the escapees’ refusal to return to the custodial center, the NCoS said it was compiling the names and pictures of the fleeing inmates for dispatch to the NIS to prevent them from leaving the country and INTERPOL to track those who might have fled.

The NCoS spokesperson, Francis Enobore, a Controller of Corrections, said the service would seek the assistance of the two agencies in arresting the escaped inmates.

Disclosing this to journalists on Saturday, Enobore said, “We are putting the list together, we would definitely seek INTERPOL and NIS’ assistance.”

Asked how soon they planned to do it, Enobore stated, “Like the ones we are processing now, we want everything to be comprehensive so that we send them at the same time. We also realize that waiting for the list to be comprehensive before sending may also slow down the manhunt, so these batches that are coming up would be sent for local searches at motor parks and other places but everything would be uploaded to the (INTERPOL) platform.”

Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that the 3,471 inmates, who are now part of society, escaped from three custodial centers. Some of them are said to be serving jail terms for various crimes, including murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping while hundreds are facing trial for different crimes.

BIG STORY

I Became Poorer After Ruling Imo For Eight Years —– Rochas Okorocha

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Former Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha has claimed he became poorer after ruling the state for eight years.

He stated this during an interview on Channels Television.

Okorocha, who represents the Imo West senatorial district, denied allegations he acquired properties with government funds.

He explained he had always been a successful person before coming into office in 2011 and dared anyone to come forth with evidence that he mismanaged funds meant for the government.

He said: “I challenge anybody to prove that I acquired any property with any government fund.

“I think people have forgotten that I was Rochas before becoming the governor of Imo State; I think they have forgotten completely.

“If anything, becoming a governor made me even poorer than what I was in the past. I don’t know whether I acquired any property here in Abuja, there is none.”

He stated that during his two-term as Governor, he built the best international cargo airport and police command in the country as well as 27 hospitals, a new Government House, a new Court, and a new prison complex, among others.

Speaking on his encounter with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), he said: “I said to them (EFCC) that I have not come to respond to your call because there is already a matter in court and once a matter is sub judice, you cannot talk about it.

“Imo State government has taken me to court on the same subject matter and we are at the Federal High Court in Abuja on the same subject matter.

“EFCC is doing their job because if there is no report, they can’t nose into whatever you are doing; EFCC is not witch-hunting, they are acting on a petition being written by somebody.”

 

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BIG STORY

I’ve Not Declared Interest In 2023 Presidential Race —– Osinbajo

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The Office of the Vice President says permutations around the 2023 presidential race are a distraction as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has not declared interest to contest.

Laolu Akande, the spokesperson to Mr Osinbajo, said in a statement on Monday in Abuja that the Office of the Vice President had no connection with an online attempt to rally support for him (Osinbajo).

“The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a website: supportosinbajo.ng that is calling on Nigerians to join a volunteer group mobilizing support for Osinbajo ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

“Details of this website and the solicitation of the group are currently trending on WhatsApp with a suggestion that Osinbajo has “quietly” declared interest in the 2023 election.

“The Office of the Vice President is not in any way connected to this website or the group behind it and considers such an enterprise an unnecessary distraction.

“Osinbajo has not declared any interest whatsoever in the 2023 election; but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as vice president in the current administration to address all the compelling issues in the country and concerns of Nigerians, including finding effective and lasting solutions to the security challenges.

“Therefore, we ask that people desist from such unhelpful permutations while we all deal together with the challenges confronting us as Nigerians, and resolve them for the benefit of our people, peace, and prosperity in the land.’’

Mr Osinbajo was the running mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections.

He had served as attorney general and commissioner for justice in the administration of former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, who is reputed to be his political ally.

There are indications that Mr. Tinubu is warming up to run for president in 2023, though he is yet to confirm it.

 

(NAN)

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: EFCC Takes Over Nestoil Boss, Ernest Azudialu’s Ikoyi Residence

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Nestoil and NECONDE Boss, Ernest Azudialu, is caught up in the turbulence of steep and unforgiving commerce and the sad fact is that he lacks the instinct and judgment required to wade through the scary storm.

Yes, the truth dawned on the Anambra State-born flamboyant dude in a moment of profound terror.

According to The Capital, Azudialu’s massive mansion located in the pristine and prosperous Modupe Alakija Crescent formerly known as Ikoyi Crescent has been sealed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

A reporter who was at the house affirmed that the anti-graft agency’s red ink embarrassingly announcing that the property was under investigation is boldly written on the building.

Whether Azudialu and his family can access the home is, however, not certain as at press time. What is sacrosanct, though, is that the property he calls home is now a subject of investigation by the EFCC.

This is coming at a time when the residents of the very serene and exclusive neighbourhood and Lagosians conversant with happenings in high society felt that what happened to Festus Fadeyi, the chairman of Pan Ocean Corporation, an indigenous independent oil and gas company, would not have an encore there. Fadeyi’s mouth-watering mansion, which had served as his family home for several decades in the same street, was confiscated by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, last year. The federal government agency took over Fadeyi’s Pan Ocean Corporation’s assets and its subsidiaries over bank loans totaling about N240billion.

Now, it is the turn of Nestoil’s Azudialu. This has left high-profile residents of Ikoyi shell-shocked because he was perceived to be a decent businessman despite his la Vida loca lifestyle. Although the reasons behind the EFCC’s action are sketchy, there are speculations that he is under investigation for financial crimes.

A while ago, he ran into stormy waters with a foremost commercial bank, which solely financed his Nestoil Towers straddling Akin Adesola and Saka Tinubu Streets in Victoria Island.

The allegation then was that he defaulted in servicing the facility that he obtained to build the towers.

In the past dispensation of former President Goodluck Jonathan, he benefited from juicy contracts and basked in luxury accruable from his position as Nestoil boss and a player in Nigeria’s oil industry. As cool cash flowed into his accounts, Ernest developed a taste for expensive luxury and soon he was known for his obsession with aircraft and his penchant for acquiring private jets and pricey automobiles.

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