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5 suspected ‘one-chance’ robbers who killed their victim with hammer arrested in Abuja (photo)

– An Abuja armed robbery gang killed a victim in an attempt to rob him inside a taxi

– The victim was reportedly attacked on his way from Abuja to Suleja, Niger state on May 27, 2018

– After being arrested by the police, the robbers confessed to hitting the victim with a hammer on his shoulder and wrist but said they were surprised to hear that he died

Police operatives attached to the Federal Capital Territory Command Special Anti-Kidnaping Squad have reportedly arrested five members of an armed robbery gang that robbed unsuspecting passengers in their taxi.

The suspects, Ebuka Ezeanyido, 28; Chidebe Okocha, 36; Chukwuma Amichie, 30; Augustine Agbo, 32; and Chinedu Obi, 25, were arrested following an investigation into the disappearance of one Michael Ibebuogu who was reported missing by members of his family, The Punch reports.

Ibebuogu allegedly left his brother’s house at Apo, Abuja for Suleja, Niger state on May 27, 2018, but never arrived at his destination.

The suspected robbers confessed to hitting their victim with a hammer on his shoulder and wrist but said they were surprised to hear that he died. Photo credit: The Punch gathered that the missing man’s phone was however traced to one of the suspects who led detectives to arrest his accomplices.

The FCT commissioner of police, Sadiq Bello, who paraded the suspects in Abuja on Thursday, June 14, explained that Okocha confessed that he hit Ibebuogu on his head with a hammer when he tried to take control of their operational car from the driver.

“The suspects said they abandoned his body under Apo Bridge. Efforts are ongoing to recover the remains of the deceased. The operational car used by the gang, an army green Volkswagen Passat Wagon, one hammer and phone of the deceased have been recovered as exhibits,” Bello stated.

Ezeanyido, who said he was a taxi driver before he joined the robbery gang said: “I and my friend, Okocha came to Abuja, so we picked the man in our cab. When the man noticed that we wanted to rob him, he started dragging the steering with the driver; so this brother (Agbo) hit him on the shoulder with a hammer and we stopped the cab and allowed him to go, but he was not dead when we left him.”

Okocha claimed he was doing business at Wuse market, Abuja but decided to join the robbery gang after he had issues with some people.

Explaining how the gang operated, he said that they usually robbed one person at a time in their taxi.

He said: “We usually pick a passenger and while driving, the driver would ask him to put on his seatbelt while Magic Finger (Agbo) would cleverly snatch the victim’s money or phone.

“So the man (Ibebuogu) noticed what was happening and he attempted to take over the steering, I hit him with a hammer on his shoulder and wrist, we stopped the cab and he disembarked; we were surprised to hear that he died.”

Agbo who was responsible for picking the victim’s pocket or bag claimed he joined the gang about three months ago, adding that he had “robbed just three or four persons”.

“I just started robbing about three months, I have robbed just three or four persons,” he stated.

Earlier, reported that residents of the Salihawa village in the Batagarawa local government area of Katsina state lynched three suspected armed robbers on Thursday, June 14.

The suspects were said to have blocked a road between Barawa and Sahilawa village around 8:30 am.

According to a police source, they shot a 31-year-old resident of Salihawa village identified as Sani Lawal.

He said: “The development made other villagers to mobilise and confront the robbers who were eventually lynched.”

The incident was confirmed by the spokesman for the Kaduna state police command, DSP Gambo Isah.

Lagos Police Commissioner parades suspected criminals (Nigeria News) | on TV

By Nurudeen Lawal

‘Spiderman’ happy to be back in Mali

Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama, who shot to worldwide fame last month when he scaled a building in Paris to save a toddler, says he is delighted to return to his native country for a visit.

“I am so happy. I am so very, very happy because everyone came to meet me at the airport and then I saw my father and I saw all the members of my family. I hadn’t seen my father for nine years,” he told BBC Afrique.

Mr Gassama, 22, crossed the Mediterranean on a migrant boat in September 2014. He joined his brother in France and worked on building sites.

On 26 May this year, he saw a toddler hanging from the balcony of a fourth-floor Paris apartment block.

He spontaneously scaled the building and saved the four-year-old. He was filmed by people down below and was dubbed “Spiderman”.

‘’I wasn’t afraid. I am like anyone else. Yes, I showed courage. It came from God. God saved me,’’ he said.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron thanked Mr Gassama in person and promised he would receive French nationality.

Next week, he is due to start an internship with the prestigious Paris fire brigade.

BBC Afrique

By Morning Call

Arrests over murder of Nigerian traditional ruler

Two people have been arrested in connection with last week’s lynching of a traditional ruler, Igwe Steven Nwatu, in Nigeria’s Enugu state, police have told BBC Igbo.

Those detained have been assisting the police with their investigations into the murder of Mr Nwatu, the traditional ruler of Ogbozinne Akpugo town, Enugu police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said.

The state police chief had met other traditional rulers to assure them of their safety, he said.

Police have also been deployed to the town to ensure there is peace, Mr Amaraizu said.

BBC Igbo

Kenya ‘seizes illegally imported sugar’

Kenyan officials have confiscated 3,000 bags of what is suspected to be illegally imported sugar from a warehouse in Meru town in the east, local media reports.

The sugar, which was imported from Brazil, was being repackaged into bags to indicate it was sourced from Zambia, Meru County Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga was quoted as saying.

At least 13 workers, along with the manager of the warehouse, had been arrested, the Daily Nation newspaper reports.

Israel charges ‘spy recruited in Nigeria’

Israel has charged a former cabinet minister with spying for Iran, the Shin Bet internal security service says.

Gonen Segev, a medical doctor who served as energy minister in the 1990s, was allegedly recruited by Iranian intelligence while living in Nigeria.

He was detained during a visit to Equatorial Guinea in May and extradited following a request by Israeli police.

The 62 year old was jailed for five years in 2005 for smuggling drugs and forging a diplomatic passport.

He also had his medical licence revoked, but was allowed to work as a physician in Nigeria when he moved there after his release from prison in 2007.

How kerosene has become gold

One cannot understand why kerosene that used to be taken for granted in this country in the 60s, 70s and 80s, suddenly turned into gold that ordinary people can no longer afford. The reason is not removed from the corruption-ridden oil industry system, which the behemoth, NNPC presides over.

Just like petrol, the unending kerosene scarcity appears to be stage-managed to justify the frequent price increases. The result is that, unlike in the past, kerosene now costs more than petrol, which effectively impoverishes the poor masses.

According to reports, NNPC, through its subsidiary, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), has not been supplying the product since November but instead has been busy increasing the price of the commodity without justification.Indications are that many marketers have not been supplied with the product since November, 2017 despite making additional payments to that effect. A Punch newspaper investigation revealed that independent oil marketers paid N4.785 million for 33,000 litres of DPK since November 2017, which translates to N145 per litre but to date have not been supplied with the commodity.

According to the report, on May 3, this year, PPMC issued a circular announcing a further increase in price, which raised the price to N179.83 per litre for ex-depot Lagos while the ex-refinery was put at N168.94 per litre.Furthermore, the marketers were forced to make additional payments of N984, 390 on May 9 and N335, 610 on June 6, this year for the same product that was paid for in November, 2017. These increases brought the price of kerosene to about N190 per litre from an earlier price of N50 per litre.

The most annoying part, according to the marketers is that the product has not been supplied for the past seven months. They lament that each time they expected to receive what they had already paid for, they were told that they couldn’t because of expected price increase again, which the PPMC hinge on the appreciating crude oil price in the international market.

But the marketers see the development as fraudulent. While acknowledging that crude oil prices have been appreciating, they urged the NNPC to stop using the crude price instability to defraud them. They say this should not be happening under a government that is perceived to be fighting corruption. There is no doubt that the virtual unavailability of kerosene is embarrassing. Government ought to be embarrassed.

Unfortunately, owing to the fact that there are many embarrassing issues plaguing the system at the same time, government appears to have developed a thick skin to embarrassment. Nothing embarrasses the government anymore. Which issue is not embarrassing? Is it the epileptic power supply? Is it the dysfunctional refineries? Is it the endemic fuel scarcity that could erupt anytime? Is it the high cost of living? All these issues plague Nigerians who in turn have developed shock absorbers as survival strategy.

Ordinarily, government ought to intervene to close the gap in the supply of kerosene. But the same policies and problems that bedevil petrol and diesel also bedevil kerosene. The same vague reasons given each time there is fuel scarcity is being given in the case of kerosene. For instance, it is incomprehensible how the rising price of crude oil could be a factor in kerosene scarcity. Nigerians don’t understand how this is possible. Crude price increase ought to be a blessing to the country. Nigerians ought to benefit from the rising oil prices. But to turn around to attribute the development as responsible for kerosene scarcity is puzzling, more especially, when the ugly situation occurs only in Nigeria. Citizens of other oil-producing countries are not suffering like Nigerians.

Unfortunately, Nigerians are used to queuing up to buy petroleum products under very chaotic situation.Scarcities often occurred during high price regime or as a result of industrial action by different oil-sector industrial unions. At other times, policy changes like deregulation induced scarcity. The question is why petroleum products scarcity is unending in Nigeria even when there is oil glut in the world market? What could be done to stop the recurrent problem?

The cause of the kerosene scarcity is systemic dysfunction arising from years of mismanagement of the oil sector. The Buhari administration has inherited it and doesn’t seem to be addressing it. The absence of functional refineries to satisfy local demand of kerosene/petrol is the primary cause of scarcity in the country. Not until there are functional refineries that would put a stop to fuel importation, fuel scarcity will continue to occur, irrespective of who is in power. All hope is now placed on the Dangote mega refinery at Lekki in Lagos under construction billed to start production in 2019. Nigerians will have a new lease of life once the Dangote refinery kicks off production.

Before now, Nigeria had four refineries owned by the NNPC, located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna but there are now three. The two refineries in Port Harcourt built in 1965 and 1989 were merged into one in 1993, with a total refining capacity of 10.500 million metric tons per year. The Warri refinery was built in 1978 with a refining capacity of 5.5 million mt/yr.

Following years of low performance and high Turnaround Maintenance (TAM) cost, the Federal Government, wrongly, decided to hands off the building and running of new refineries and instead allowed private investors to take over. As for the existing refineries, the immediate past Jonathan administration offered an equity share of 51 per cent to the oil industry unions to assuage them. The aim was to privatize the refineries, which the unions vehemently opposed. That left the country in quandary. The refineries are not functional in government hand and at the same time not privatized. It is a self-inflicted pain that Nigerians are living with.

That Nigeria, a major oil producer, depends on importation for the supply of petroleum products is an aberration and a serious indictment on the country. The whole scenario is embarrassing, to say the least. The economy suffers incalculable loss. If the truth must be told, despite being a major oil producing and exporting country, Nigeria has not made appreciable investment on refineries like its peers in the oil cartel.Government should do something about the biting kerosene scarcity and skyrocketing price. The scarcity is seriously impacting Nigeria’s ecosystem. Fuel wood merchants are destroying trees to make firewood and charcoal, which many see as the cheapest and only alternative to kerosene and gas.

By Luke Onyekakeyah