Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has faulted the exclusion of persons from South-east geopolitical zone in the security architecture of Nigeria, describing such as a worrisome development.
He said that the policy of exclusion had denied the South-east region representation and voice in the highest decision making body on the issue of security despite the fact that the region was a direct victim of the activities of criminal herdsmen.
Governor Ikpeazu expressed this misgiving while addressing a delegation of high ranking clerics of the Methodist Church of Nigeria led by the Prelate, His Eminence Dr. Samuel Kalu Uche who came to Government House Umuahia.
He vowed that his administration was committed to strict enforcement of the anti-open grazing law, which had been in existence in Abia since 2018.
The governor explained that the anti-open grazing law was enacted in response to the excesses of the criminal herdsmen, who had been terrorising the people, maiming, killing and raping.
He assured that plans had been concluded “to flush out these criminal herdsmen from our forests”, adding that the present administration was fully committed to the security of lives and properties of Abia people and residents.
The Abia governor emphasised the need for Igbo youths to tread with caution in the prevailing security situation in the country, noting that with meaningful productive engagement, the young Igbo generation would survive the harsh condition they’ve found themselves.
Ikpeazu further stated that with resilience, dedication and the age-long Igbo apprenticeship mentorship system, Ndigbo would definitely prevail in the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria.
He noted that Abians were known globally for their ingenuity and entrepreneurial skills and had remained the SME capital of Nigeria, noting that no foreign direct investment would be attracted in the midst of insecurity.
The governor expressed confidence in the ability of the Methodist Church Nigeria to manage the physical, spiritual and mental upbringing of children. He assured that the Prelate’s request for the government to return some schools originally owned by the church would be considered.
Earlier, the Prelate said that he was an advocate of a Nigeria with true federalism devoid of marginalisation of any section or region.
He regretted the level of marginalisation of Ndigbo within the Nigerian political firmament and called for an additional state for the South-east in the ongoing constitution review to enable the region be at par with others in number of states.
The Prelate who also expressed support for the ban on open grazing by the Southern Governors, condemned in its totality the wanton destruction of lives and properties of Nigerians especially Christians in the North.
He noted that he had been following the governor’s transformation agenda with remarkable infrastructural facelift in Aba and other parts of the state.
The Prelate was accompanied by the Archbishops of Umuahia and Okigwe Archdiocese, Most Rev Chibuzo Opoko and Most Rev Emem John Koko Bassey, as well as the Bishops of Nneochi, Isuikwuato, Uturu and Ihube and their wives.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, said the series of attacks on the commission’s facilities may undermine its capacity to organise elections and negatively impact the country’s electoral processes.
Yakubu made the remark during an emergency meeting with resident electoral commissioners at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu’s worry emanates from a series of accidental and coordinated fire outbreaks on INEC’s facilities across the country, dating back to 2019, even before the general elections of that year.
Over time, a number of INEC offices around the country have been destroyed, with critical infrastructures affected, thereby stretching the commission’s capacity to manage elections.
The unceasing attacks and possibility of continuing means that the commission is put on the edge, especially if critical tools like the electoral register and card readers are affected.
Chronicle of infernos
On January 28, 2019, there was a fire incident at the INEC office in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State. However, in a statement after the incident, the head of the Department of Voter Education and Publicity for the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Edwin Enabor, said it was a minor incident. According to him, contrary to some reports that it was caused by hoodlums, it was a result of an electrical fault.
Enabor said, “The management of the INEC in Rivers State wishes to inform the general public about a minor fire incident that occurred at our office in Oyigbo Local Government Area.
An investigation has shown that it was caused by an electrical fault and not by hoodlums as insinuated in some quarters.
“We want to assure the public that everything is under control and that our offices across the state are well secured.”
The following month, February 3, 2019, hoodlums set the INEC office in Isiala- Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State ablaze. The hoodlums were said to have stormed the office around 2 am.
The attack was said to have woken the youths of the area from their sleep as they quickly mobilised and alerted the police, who assisted them in putting off the fire.
Although the fire did maximum damage to the structure and materials there, the quick intervention of the youths and the assistance of the police saved the situation from escalating.
The commission, however, continued to operate from the old office until few weeks before the incident when it decided to relocate from the local government headquarters.
That was the second time the INEC office in Isiala-Ngwa was burnt down.
In 2015, in the heat of the controversy surrounding the governorship election in Abia State, thugs reportedly set the commission’s office at Omopa on fire, prompting the relocation to Umu-Ikaa.
The following week, February 10, the Plateau State INEC office in Qua’anpan Local Government Area, where ballot boxes, generators filled with fuel, cubicles, newly printed electronic and manual voters register, unclaimed permanent voter cards, were destroyed.
Two days later, on February 12, the Anambra State INEC office in Awka, the state capital, was set ablaze. Card readers and other sensitive materials for the elections were burnt. Two containers containing 4,695 smart card readers were destroyed, along with other sensitive materials.
Also, on February 24, 2019, the Osun State INEC office in Ijebu-Ijesha, Oriade Local Government, was engulfed in fire, which burnt parts of the office. No life was, however, lost in the incident.
On March 8, 2019, the Akwa Ibom INEC office in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area was gutted by fire. One hundred and ninety-eight smart card readers, printed voters register, 13 generating sets, voting cubicles, as well as other sensitive and insensitive election materials, got burnt.
The following day, March 9, 2019, the INEC Registration Area Centre at Ezza North Local Government Area in Ebonyi State was set ablaze by hoodlums.
Before that, on March 3, 2019, the Jigawa INEC office in Gumel Local Government Area was burnt. Everything was destroyed, including documents, furniture, generators, electronic gadgets, computers, among other materials.
In 2020, the INEC equally recorded some fire incidents, including that of February 2 when its office in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State was gutted by fire.
Confirming the incident, a police spokesman in the state said “the fire allegedly emanated from a bush burning.”
A few days later, on February 8, 2020, hoodlums reportedly set the INEC office in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State ablaze, a week after the supplementary election held in the state.
The police public relations officer in the state said the incident happened in the early hours of Monday and no casualty was recorded, but electoral materials and properties belonging to staff members of the commission were burnt down.
This occurred less than one week after the winner of the Orlu/Orsu/Oru East federal constituency supplementary election was announced by the INEC.
Similarly, on September 10, 2020, just before the Ondo State governorship election, 5,141 card readers were destroyed by fire at the state head office of the commission in Akure.
There was also a fire incident on April 17, 2020, at the national headquarters of the INEC in Maitama, Abuja, where a section close to the media centre of the commission and the election party monitoring office were affected.
The first reported fire incident that affected the INEC in 2021 was on April 20 when an early morning outbreak razed the commission’s data processing centre in Kano State.
It was gathered that the fire incident started about 10:15 am and razed the whole building, destroying all equipment and other valuables.
On May 2, 2021, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, reported that the commission’s office in Essien Udim Local Government Area had been set ablaze.
The national commissioner and chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, in a statement noted that the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday.
Okoye stated that the security guard on duty escaped unhurt, but the destruction to the building and property therein was extensive.
“Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture,” Okoye added.
He recalled that on the eve of the 2019 general elections, the commission’s newly constructed prototype office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo local government areas were bombed.
Attack on INEC headquarters in Enugu earlier this month
A few days later, on May 9, 2021, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Abia State, Dr Joseph Iloh, reported that the recently renovated INEC office in Ohafia Local Government Area was set ablaze.
He, however, said there were no casualties on the part of the commission’ staff on guard duty, but the building was virtually destroyed, including electoral materials and office equipment.
Three days later, on May 13, 2021, the national commissioner and chairman of the IVEC, Okoye, said the REC for Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the INEC office in Udenu Local Government Area was set ablaze by gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“The latest tragic incident occurred around 8.40 pm on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Casualties were not reported.
“However, the office building was extensively damaged while electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the Enugu State Fire Service to contain the inferno,” Okoye stated.
On May 14 and 16, the Enugu State INEC office at Obollo-Offor, Udenu Local Government Area, and the commission’s headquarters were attacked and burnt, after the security personnel on duty were overpowered.
Two days later, on May 18, 2021, two INEC offices were simultaneously attacked in Ebonyi State.
The Ezza North Local Government office and that of Ebonyi were burnt, while the Izzi Local Government office was vandalised; the ceiling and doors were badly damaged.
Lamenting the series of attacks on INEC offices and facilities, the chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, warned that the situation may undermine its capacity to organise elections, including the 2023 general elections, as well as negatively impact the country’s electoral processes.
Yakubu said some events in the recent past had challenged the commission and adversely affected its commitment to continue to improve the electoral process. He added that the spate of arson and vandalism targeting its facilities and property had become worrisome.
“Unfortunately, this has been on the rise since the 2019 general elections, but it has now developed into a crisis. In the last three weeks or so, three of our local government offices in Essien Udim in Akwa Ibom State, Ohafia in Abia State and Udenu in Enugu State have been set ablaze by unidentified persons.
“Last Sunday, May 16, 2021, our state office in Enugu suffered another arson and vandalism, in which parts of the building were ransacked and several vehicles razed. More of our facilities are being systematically targeted and attacked.
“Just last night, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, two more offices in Ebonyi and Ezza North local government areas of Ebonyi State were burnt down. Although there were no casualties, the damage to the physical infrastructure and electoral materials was total,” he said.
He lamented that nothing had been salvaged from the attacks, from ballot boxes and voting cubicles to generating sets and office furniture and equipment. He added that the attacks were targeted at the INEC.
He said, “The facilities of the commission are there to serve the local communities for the most fundamental aspect of democratic governance – elections. Therefore, targeting such important national assets and repositories of electoral materials that took time and enormous resources to procure cannot be justified.
“Replacing these facilities in the prevailing economic circumstances will indeed be a tall order, thereby adversely affecting electoral services in the same communities. These facilities are not only limited to voting but also used for other critical electoral activities, such as voter registration, the coordination of stakeholder engagements and voter education and sensitisation.”
He pledged that the commission would work with security agencies to deal with perpetrators of these heinous crimes according to the law, thus a meeting with all the security agencies is expected to hold on Monday, May 24, 2021.
He, however, said it had become imperative to call on all and sundry, particularly communities where these assets are located, to see themselves as owners and custodians of these facilities and assist the commission in protecting them, expressing delight that some of the communities are already doing so.
He added that the challenges posed by these threats notwithstanding, the commission is still positive that it can find lasting solutions to the spate of attacks on its facilities.
He said, “However, this must be done quickly to forestall disruptions to several upcoming electoral activities, particularly the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, which we plan to undertake continuously in 2,673 centres nationwide for a period of over one year involving thousands of INEC officials supported by security personnel.
Parties, CSO, experts react
Speaking on the development, the director of programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, said the trend of attacks on INEC offices was becoming worrisome and had grave impacts on the commission’s preparations for the next elections with the potential to affect the implementation of its activities towards the off-cycle governorship elections and the 2023 elections.
According to her, this also comes with a huge cost implication on INEC’s budget, especially with some of its offices/structures and election materials burnt/destroyed.
“In addition, these attacks are major distractions to INEC. The commission is working to expand voter access to polling units and the plan to commence the national continuous voter’s registration exercise. There is a need for better security provision for all INEC offices and structures as a matter of national emergency.
“The spate of attacks is beyond mere coincidence and requires in-depth investigation that ensures the culprits and their sponsors are apprehended and prosecuted.
“These attacks are an indication of an absence of effective security architecture in Nigeria, which has created a porous and vulnerable system. The government at the federal and state levels must rise up to their responsibilities of ensuring the security of lives and property,” Mbamalu stated.
On his part, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Professor Ifeanyichukwu Abada, said the attacks by hoodlums on offices of the INEC, if unchecked, may affect the commission’s ability to successfully conduct elections.
“I am worried that the INEC, a vital democratic institution in the country, has become a target of attacks by some hoodlums. No matter the reason by anybody or group, the commission should not be a target for destruction.
“Destroying the commission’s facilities amounts to destroying Nigeria’s democratic process. Sponsors and perpetrators of this heinous act should have a rethink on their dangerous mission to kill the country’s democracy and disrupt the 2023 general elections,” he said.
He urged the federal government to beef up security at INEC offices nationwide to ensure 24-hour surveillance in order to arrest those behind the attacks and prevent further incidents.
“With CCTV cameras in all INEC offices, identities of those behind this crime will be unmasked; they will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Also, registered political parties in the country, under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), condemned the attack on INEC facilities, noting that the materials being destroyed would still be replaced with taxpayers’ money, which could be used in addressing infrastructural challenges.
The national publicity secretary of the IPAC, Ambassador Agbo Major, said the trend could affect the conduct of the 2023 elections, which could lead to a constitutional crisis and ultimately derail the country’s developing democracy.
Major said, “It is clear that those perpetrating this act are enemies of Nigeria. The IPAC, therefore, calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to come together and fight these our common enemies.”
The youth wing of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo Enugu State Chapter, led by Mazi Nnamdi Odo has written a petition against the Provost of the Federal College of Education Ehamufu, Dr. Mrs. Pauline Ngozi Ikwuegbu.
The petition, which came in a 17-point allegation against the Provost, was addressed to the presidential Visitation Panel, accusing her of poor leadership, victimization and harassment of Enugu youths, and illegalities.
Below are the allegations served before the Presidential Visitation panel by Ohaneze Ndi Igbo youth Enugu State Chapter:
“1. Eha-Amufu College of Education is a federal high institution and demands that federal laws should be used as a stepping stone but the Provost has turned it against Ndi-Enugu state by generating an association which houses all other members of staff from all other states within the federation with #Non_Enugu_Indigene as the nomenclature. There is no denial that the Association is to syphon the rights of Ndi-Enugu to Imo.
2. Ever since 2018, Ikwuegbu has declared war against Enugu State youths. She always says to anyone who cares to listen that she hates dealing with Enugu people because they are backward people who irritate her. And when confronted on issues, she tells you to go do your worse as she is untouchable.
3. Dr. Mrs Ngozi Ikwuegbu has employed more than 300 persons from her state without taking due processes of recommendation for employment. Instances abound of some newly recruited staff without the necessary prerequisites being elevated to ranks/positions beyond their certificate. This needs legal justification.
4. It is pertinent to note that one of the reasons why Federal Government builds institutions in different parts of Nigeria include but not limited to creating employment for the citizens, irrespective of their locality. But Ikwuegbu does not believe in this. She believes that it is an opportunity to illegally settle her people from Imo State to the detriment of the Enugu State Youths who are directly robbed by her actions. The youths of Enugu State being the host are denied the federal character percentage of employment as enshrined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) thereby increasing the unemployment in the state. It is a great injustice that our state feeds the institution with 97% of students but when it comes to employment we are told that we are not good enough.
5. It is also important to note that Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ikwuegbu is in habit of threatening students and staff who are from Enugu State. Instances abound of several students who have been denied of their results simply because they are not in her good books. We condemn her action and continued threats against Enugu State youths working with her in the strongest terms and state that it is not evil to be from a particular place(Enugu State) and Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ikwuegbu or any other person whosoever, has no right to threaten to deal with our people for no reason. She claims that she has a powerful person in the Presidency who protects her from liabilities for her actions.
6. Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ikwuegbu is barely seen in the school premises hence it is almost impossible to access her but the few occasions that she is around, she makes sure that persons from Enugu State do not see her and when they manage to see her, all she says is that they can go and report her anywhere, that she is connected to powers in the presidency to ‘water down’ any allegation against her and that this is the time of her people from Imo State, therefore Enugu State people must give way for her in an institution sited in Enugu State. For instance, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who has been the legal adviser of the institution was unceremonorously removed and replaced by her Imo State brother. All efforts by this SAN to speak with the “almighty” Provost, proved abortive until a suit was slammed against her. We hereby ask, if we should leave our land for Dr. Ngozi Ikwuegbu, where are we going to live?
7. Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ikwuegbu’s terrible attitude is not limited to only the way she treats Enugu State people but even extends to the way she runs the administration of the institution. For instance, from the school gate, the decay is manifest as there is no gate and even inside the hostel, it is cassava sticks that are used as hostel beds. You should know that the institution is sitting on a time bomb and except something is done about it, it will explode beyond containment. It is not in contention that since she resumed office as the provost, the Federal College of Education, Eha Amufu has been decaying gradually and if the decay is allowed to continue unabated, even before her tenure expires, the institution will have already been grounded.
8. The living conditions of the students inside the hostels is pitiable, the roofs of all the hostels are leaking, there are no restrooms, no bathrooms, our female students are at the receiving ends as they have to bath and cook outside. In our fact finding mission, we discovered that, the windows are broken, the roofs leaking, students baths and defecate outside. The hostels have no power supply and the student have to use lamps. Can the provost keep her daughter or sister in such pig holes like the Eha-Amufu hostels?
9. What happened to the reparation fee the students paid after the demonstrations they carried out? The provost and her Imo state cabal siphoned every dime of the reparation fee without even regards to the welfare of the students.
10. There were transfer of members of staff from Avan Ikoku College of Education to the Federal College, Eha-Amufu, these people were placed above their level at the college. There must be a reason why these staff got these unlawful transfer and placements. It’s either to leave more job opportunities for those in Imo or to jump promotion protocol as to attain high positions un-merited or to remove Ndi-Enugu and place her people around her.
11. Over 400 staff have been employed by the Provost. The employments are lopsided and greatly favours her kinsmen from Imo State. Out of this number more than 300 are from Imo. Are the unemployed youths from Enugu not qualified enough to be employed at Eha-Amufu?
12. Some students are victimized with their results being seized. They have used every known legal means to get there results but every effort proved abortive as the provost swore to deal with them for demanding for a better welfare for the students. They paid reparations fees for destroying no school property yet their results are not given to them. Why are they denied of their results after taken the punishment? Can this happen at Alvan Ikoku where the provost come from?
13. Students pay N20, 000 every year by new intakes both NCE Pre -NCE, Degrees or Direct Entry meant for renovation of hostels. The management led by the Provost should give an account what this money has being used for.
14. The provost increased collection of results from N1,000 to N5,000. This is unwarranted.
15. The Provost shows she is above her own laws as she mandates and forces students to buy her text book, “Classroom Management”. For students to get points, they must buy her book. Those who fail to purchase them are threatened with serious sanctions and failure of course works. These crime is perpetrated by course coordinator ably represented by one Bro. Jude Nweze. Worthy of note is that she doesn’t teach this course.
16. The College has no adequate drug/facility at the clinic to take care of students. The Ambulance for instance is rotting away. What happens to the money allocated for the clinic?
17. There are no security for students. Village roads pass through hostels.”
Here follows the demands of the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo youth:
“Ohaneze Youths, Enugu State Chapter led by Mazi Nnamdi Odo hereby make the following demands to be met as a matter of urgency to make room for peace to prevail.
1. Unconditional release of the results of all 15 students seized.
2. The group known as ‘Association of Non Enugu Indigenes’ should be disbanded immediately.
3. New hostels should be built and while that is going on, the older ones should be renovated. Conveniences should be put in place immediately.
4. There should be no further victimization of staff or students from Enugu state by anyone whatsoever.
5. A committee to look into the students welfare should as a matter of urgency be set up.
6. Review of all appointment made by the Provost.
7. Immediate employment of 300 Enugu youths.
8. A panel of investigation should be set to look into all allegations against Mrs. Ngozi Ikwuegbu.
9. An acting Provost appointed to revamp the decaying institution.
10. Immediate removal of the Provost from office to answer for her mismanagement.”
Responding to the plea of the association yesterday on a panel set for the petition hearing yesterday, the Presidential Visitation panel thanked the Youths for coming to the panel instead of taking Laws into their hands. He went on to promise the panel will look into the grievances of the youth wing of Ohaneze. Speaking to the Panel, Ohaneze Youth leader, Honourable Nnamdi Odo emphasized that their mission is to restore peace and progress to the institution. Meanwhile, he told the panel that they are not giving up on the fight against the victimization of Ndi Igbo youths, and would not back down until justice and peace is restored.
The Edo State State Government has said the that Freedom of Information Act is not applicable in Edo State, citing a Court of Appeal decision.
In a letter to Chief Patrick Eholor, dated 20th of May, 2021 and endorsed by the Solicitor General of Edo State and Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Justice-Oluwole Iyamu SAN, the government said the FOI is not applicable to the state.
However in a swift reaction to the letter, Chief Eholor, through his counsel, Douglas Ogbankwa Law Firm,
stated that he will be pleased to meet the Edo State Government in court, as he won a similar case against the Edo State Government recently at the Edo State High Court, where the court held that the Freedom of Information Act is applicable to Edo State and awarded damages against the Government.
Eholor stated further that the Government relied on an outdated authority or judicial precedent on the matter as latest authorities on the matter are on all fours with his position on the issue.
“Edo State Government should get ready for a long drawn legal battle, as we interrogate other governmental processes to ensure transparency and accountability in government”.
It was a gathering of National Assembly heavyweights Wednesday, 19th May 2021 when Engineer Lawrence Ezeh was inducted as a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, FNSE.
The induction, which took place at the national secretariat of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Sanni Abacha Way, Central Business District, Abuja was well attended by top engineers across the country, their families and friends. Ezeh, who was among 66 inductees, joined other engineers at the podium of the auditorium in receiving the honours.
The event is the 17th edition of the Fellowship Conferment Ceremony. The NSE auditorium also saw a gathering of political heavyweights from Enugu State, who came en masse to rejoice with Engineer Ezeh.
Among the guests include the former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, as well as a former senator and gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections in Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze.Others include Senator Chuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial Zone, immediate past senator to represent Enugu East Senatorial zone, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, and the House Member representing Isi Uzor and Enugu East in the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Cornelius Nnaji.
Present at the induction include also, the House Member representing Nkanu East and West in the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, along with his predecessor, Honourable Chukwuemeka Ujam.
Other notable personalities who were present include the Chairman of Easton Hill Continental Hotel, Chief Dr Mike Onu, President General of Mburubu Town Union, among others.
Speaking at the ceremony in her opening remarks, Engineer Ebele Okeke, who is the chairman, Board of Fellows/ College of Fellows, told the inductees to be proud ambassadors of the NSE.
President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE stated that “The board has certified a total of 66 engineers who have gone through very thorough screening and acceptance processes. And found worthy in professional practice, and character, to be upgraded to the prestigious Fellowship Society”.
Your reliable news portal, Jungle Journalist Media Limited was at the event live and brings you an array of photographs taken at the ceremony:
Foremost human rights defender and founder of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor has sent out a Save Our Soul message over alleged attempts by Edo-born billionaire, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion to intimidate him out of his landed property and arrest him.
Eholor also alleged that Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin kingdom had sent persons to physically attack him, a development which could have resulted in serious bodily harm, or death on his part.
In a petition addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police
Zone 5, Benin City, with reference number TA/04/05/21/VOL.II, and dated 04/05/2021, Chief Eholor through his lawyers, T. A. AKAHOMEN ESQ, of T. A. Akahomen & Co, Notaries Public accused Chief Igbinedion of trying to use his political influence and financial muscle to push him out of the vast, choice land located at One, Benin City and take over the property.
The petition, which was made available to journalists, is hereby reproduced in parts below:
A CASE OF THREAT TO LIFE, LAWLESSNESS, OPPRESSION AND ACTS
CAPABLE OF CAUSING BREACH OF PEACE: CALL FOR URGENT
We write as solicitors to CHIEF PATRICK OSAGIE EHOLOR, also known as
“Ultimate Equal”, the Founder and President, “One Love Foundation; a Non –
Governmental Organization, who we shall refer to as our client in this petition.
It is our instruction that our client is the owner in possession of a vast land
situate at Obe Community in Benin City. On or about the 23rd day of April, 2021,
following destruction on our client’s crops and property on the land by one MR.
FRIDAY, who claimed to be acting for an undisclosed person at that time;
ISMAILA SULE MOHAMMED, an employee of our client made a report at
Etete Police Division. Our client’s employee made an entry on the criminal acts
of the said FRIDAY. One policewoman at Etete Division made a call to FRIDAY
to report and answer to the allegations against him.
Show quoted text
every day in the country”, T. A. Akahomen stated in the petition, on behalf of Chief Patrick Osagie.
Also speaking about the matter, Eholor alleged “They are boasting that they want to use thugs, they want to use police, they want to use soldiers to silence me. The world should be aware that if anything happens to me, Igbinedion should be held responsible.
‘His son in law, Osunde has a corruption case on his neck, where people lost over 23 billion to him. The EFCC arrested him, and the case is still there.
“There is also the case of his son, Lucky Igbinedion who was tried for corruption in Edo State.
“Igbinedion is not God. He has been sending non uniform police to my house, he has been sending some unknown soldiers to my house, as a matter of fact, he has been sending people to my children’s school to go and look for them. I am crying out so that the world will know that my life is at stake with Igbinedion over a piece of land.
“This is a man who have operated an airline, a man who has houses everywhere in the world, this is a man who is so blessed by God, but this man now wants to curse God. But he cannot curse God because God is almighty. God will fight for me.
“If I speak, I will die, if I don’t speak, I will die, so let the world know that Esama is threatening to kill me and my family”, Eholor said to journalists.
Attempts to speak with the Esama of Benin to get his own side of the story were unproductive, as he was said to be away in South Africa.
On behalf of the Eastern Rights CSOs and Intelligentsia Coalition (a coalition of 40 Rights CSOs and Intelligentsia bodies), Intersociety hereby appeals and invites members of the public in the East including town union, human rights and Christian faith activists or leaders particularly in Igbo Land part of Benue, Kogi and Edo and Eastern Nigerian States of Delta, Anambra, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi to report to us any human rights violation in their areas by the following: Army, Navy, Air Force (i.e. killing of unarmed and defenseless citizens through air bombings), SSS, Police and its various operational squads.
Others are joint military and police special squads, jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their ‘Banditry’ counterparts, etc. This appeal is authorized by Emeka Umeagbalasi and Barr Chidimma Udegbunam, Board Chair and Publicity Head of Intersociety
The human rights violations being focused on include: late night abductions and disappearances involving unarmed and defenseless citizens, burning down or destruction of living houses and sacred places of worship and learning, arrest and detention of civilians by army, navy and air force, police long detention of citizens without trial, sexual violence against women including abduction, rape and death-rape; extrajudicial shooting and killing (i.e. instant or custodial killing of unarmed citizens), false labeling and trumped up charges, indiscriminate late night invasion of dwelling houses and broad day light shooting of unarmed citizens, assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and torture; Fulani Herdsmen and Fulani Bandits’ killings or destruction and seizure of farmlands and abduction, disappearance, rape and broad day and captivity murder of women and others.
Details concerning the victims of human rights violation include: full name of the victim and his/her gender, age, religion and number of kids borne (if she is a married woman), victim’s community, local government area and state of origin; time, date and location of the rights violation and type of rights abuse perpetrated; whereabouts of his/her body if killed and disappeared or name of security agency responsible for his/her body’s disappearance; name and contacts of victim’s next-of-kin; number of victims (if group victims) and name of the state actor or non state actor entity that perpetrated the human rights violation.
The purposes of this clarion call are to document and expose the atrocities perpetrated and their perpetrators for global attention and accountable-justice including trial at ICC and others as well as to safeguard the unarmed and defenseless citizens from remote and immediate operational atrocities of the Nigerian security agencies-noted globally as serial abusers and violators of human rights.
We are also determined at documenting and exposing the atrocities of the jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their ‘Banditry’ counterparts across the East particularly in Igbo Land; being perpetrated for purpose of advancing the Government backed jihad project but deceitfully camouflaged as “rural cattle grazing”. We must not allow the ongoing grisly or ‘industrial scale’ human rights abuses and violations in Igbo Land and the rest of Eastern Nigeria to continue!
Please send your verified and verifiable details to our contacts below:
A youth orientated non-governmental Organization, One Nigeria Project, has appealed to Nigerian youths to drop all forms of violence criminal attacks on government facilities, terrorism and kidnapping as it will bear enormous and long-lasting human, social and economic consequences on the better future that the same youth look out for.
Speaking in Asaba, Delta State Capital, during a sensitization program on the forthcoming National Youth Confab tagged “Beyond all talks, a United Nigeria” to be held in Abuja next month; the National President of the organization, Comrade Jakpa Elvis, said it is axiomatic to posit that there is a linkage between youth and national integration.
He said, “This intercourse is not only symbiotically connected; but, one depends on the other for its sustenance. Therefore, the role of youth on Nigeria Unity cannot be over emphasized. The wheel of developing a better Nigeria lies on the shoulder of how productive and creative the youthful are. Therefore, our actions and inaction today will develop or destroy the hegemonies/fabrics of our country.”
He said the youth are the most affected by the multiple forms of violence – from political violence, organized crimes, terrorist attacks and extremists’ kidnapping that have plagued the country.
He appealed to the youths who are bearing arm to silence the weapons, stop kidnapping, maiming of lives and destruction of public properties and approach government with more objective of purpose.
“We recognized the importance of preventing violent radicalization at the root, hence we are sensitizing the youth against all manner of criminals ideologies that are destroying the country.
“Although the positions of this organization are clear, many of the existing policies and initiatives oriented towards empowering the youth still lack solid evidence-based approach.
“More evidence based empowerments are needed to better the youth. Therefore during our forthcoming National Confab, we will approach the problem as well as proffer effective programmes that will engage Nigerian youth.
“We are making efforts, for instance, through our forums and seminars, we discuss more about how to conduct effective prevention and how to raise awareness to shun criminal activities we face today in Nigeria, while sharing good practices and discussing the lessons already learned as well as those policies that have led to more stigmatization in some way and that have had negative impacts on the youth.
“The role of youth on national unity is sacrosanct to the whole developmental aspiration of united better Nigeria,” he posited.
He lamented that millions of Nigerian youths are languishing in various prisons in the country and beyond, because of crimes.
“The Nigeria we destroy today will hunt and hot us badly. Let the youth look inwards beyond Internet fraud, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, arm-bearing and other evil vices. Let us see Nigeria as our cherished inheritance. If our leaders have failed, let not fail. Let’s not destroy the country more. Let unit with our strength and might to build a youthful resourceful Nigeria,” he said.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has said his administration is prioritizing the needs of the people in terms of infrastructure development of the state. The governor made this known during a zoom meeting organized by the Abia Media Forum.
According to him, resources of the state must be properly channeled to address fundamental needs of the people. He further stressed the importance of a dry port at Ntigha to facilitate ease of doing business in Aba and the state at large. Governor Ikpeazu who said the state will not embark on building an airport just to impress people simply because other States in the region have done so stated that “we are looking at viability here, economy is key. Only about 5% of our population have interest in flying while the other 95% use road to move their goods and services.
“We must look at the needs of our people before embarking on any project”, he said.
The governor also said his administration is working closely with sister States to address the issue of insecurity in the region. He reiterated the importance of the Ebubeagu Security outfit and said it would help address the security challenges faced in the region. He informed that the idea behind the Ebubeagu Security outfit is to collaborate and maximize the comparative advantage in each state of the region, enable the region procure modern technology to facilitate monitoring of movement of persons and to effectively tackle the challenges headlong. Dr. Ikpeazu said the launch of the new security outfit couldn’t have come at a better time and that the State already had in place the Homeland Security Unit with a mandate to protect lives and property of people of the State.
While stating that the state was deepening the Ebubeagu security outfit by recruiting at the ward and community levels citizens who would help in the area of information and intelligence gathering at the grassroots level, the State Chief Executive said “the State will soon organize a stakeholders forum which will have in attendance all stakeholders in the security sector.
“We are bringing together stakeholders in the security sector to help us evaluate the template we have; this will enable us tackle the security challenges we are faced with. Our target is to create a security architecture robust enough to secure our state.”
While addressing the issue of criminal herdsmen in the State, the Governor said his administration took proactive measure by enacting a bill through the State Assembly to ban open grazing in the State. This he said has helped the state in addressing the issue of herders and farmers clashes in the State.
“We have a law on open grazing. Aside Benue State, Abia was the first to pass the Anti-Open Grazing law in the country. We are tackling criminal herdsmen from other parts of the country and sub-region. We are enforcing the law”, he said.
He called for the decentralization of the nation’s security architecture and the creation of State Police to enable states tackle their peculiar challenges.
While reiterating the need to address the issue of perceived injustice in the country, the Governor said there are complaints of injustice, lopsidedness in appointments, lack of consideration of the feelings of those occupying the Nigerian territory in critical decision making of the country etc, he called for inclusiveness in the appointment of personnel: For example, in our security architecture of the country, the southeast doesn’t have any security representative in the security council meeting. There is a need to have an all inclusive government in order to assuage the feelings of those agitating.”
Governor Ikpeazu used the occasion to reiterate his government’s mission to leave Abia State better than he met it. “I want to be remembered as someone who came and tackled intractable issues; I want to be remembered as the Governor who tackled unworkable roads like Faulks, Ama Ikonne, and the governor who added to the road infrastructural stock of the state.
“Most of the roads we constructed are still standing and would stand the test of time. We have affected positively all facet of state infrastructure: education, health care, road, agriculture, SME, etc. Our aim is to leave the state better than we met it,” he concluded.