NEW ACTING IG USMAN ALKALI GETS FIRST TEST ON THE JOB: CORRUPTION STENCH UNDER HIS NOSE BY IG MONITORING UNIT SHOCKS PRESIDENCY, CIVIL SOCIETY PARTNERS

…As alleged Edo crime kingpin Osakpanwan “Nomoless” perverts & converts IG Monitoring Unit to IG Monsters Unit and VP Osinbanjo charges new IGP to restore public confidence in Police.

By Anta Amatoe, International Reporter for Global Media Radar for Endangered Citizens (GloMREC), Africa Region, with Associate Reporters Usman Bugaje, Yusuf Hauwa and Amber Momodu

A shattering petition to Nigeria’s Presidency and several federal redress commissions has shaken the foundation of the Buhari Administration, some of its international development partners, and called to question again before the international community the integrity of the Nigerian Police, arising from alleged corruption rot and justice perversion for cash by the IG Monitoring Unit under the nose of the new Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

At the heart of the graphic petition and devastating scandal is one Osakpanwan Eriyo, alleged top-notch political thug, strong-arm land grabber and carnage-for-hire gangster said to be known in his police corruptive and society corroding world by the mobster alias “Nomoless.”

The petition portrays how the office of several IGs before the current one supplied Nomoless a retinue of personal police bodyguards whom the accused deploys without restraint as an extension of his violent strong-arm enterprise. For these shocking crime aiding services Nomoless reportedly pays handsome monthly royalty to every sitting IG in other to ensure unfettered impunity in the plying of his menace against society, from his Edo state primary territory to other parts of the country.

Osakpanwan Eriyo, alias Nomoless

Copies of the petition obtained by our news media dated April 6, 2021 were addressed to the President through the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, the Police Service Commission and the National Human Rights Commission, amongst others. The petition’s chilling content, like many others before it by victims of Mr. Osakpanwan across the country, especially Edo state, points to a long standing multi-million naira mafia-style crime franchise the illegal proceeds of which a ring of senior investigation officers and colluding ranking superiors attached to the IG’s office allegedly mine daily into their private pockets. With these, some conscientious insiders in the police force headquarters who loathe what they say has been going on for years in the Nigeria IG’s office, say that they build across the country mansions way above their official salaries which successful industrialists of advance countries would envy.

The image cost to the Nigerian police and consequences shifted to the nation by such high-impact corruption in the highest towers of the country’s police command is best exemplified by the devastating #EndSARS protests and carnage of October last year which spread across most parts of Nigeria and led to irreplaceable loss of lives of both innocent members of the police force and the public, as well as arson, looting and destruction of private and public properties worth billions of naira.

Mafia Type Mayhem

According to the petition signed by Patrick Osayande for Paul Osarenkhoe Chambers and Tony Agu Chambers, on the 28 of February this year, the said Osakpanwan Eriyo “Nomoless,” a near-patent illiterate connected by lakes of cash to the heart of the nation’s Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, led a deadly platoon of his police orderlies and thugs to Uzebu community, one of the many co-joined municipal delineations that form main Benin city metropolis.

👆Above is the petition

As they fanned out towards their targeted circle of residential buildings they opened fire from pump-action rifles like a mafia strike force ahead of a Caterpillar Bulldozer and a second rag-tag band of Mr. Osakpanwan’s hoodlums. The hoodlums made straight for parked vehicles and set them ablaze while the Bulldozer roared into long standing residential buildings and brought them down.

Osakpanwan claimed that the long-standing buildings were developed on his land, without the slimmest strip of paper or court judgment document to show the entire community of Uzebu, an ancient municipal residence.
Several persons scampering for life from the scene of roaring artillery and mayhem were shot in the crossfire of Nomoless’ police minions and his thugs. One of them was ferried to and hospitalized at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) where he was treated of injury and post-incident trauma. That grand old elite institution stands till date to testify about the hospitalization and treatment of one of the victims.
When the dislodged residents returned to the scene, it was with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Evbotubu Police Station, the nearest police precinct to the scene of incident, where they had fled and officially lodged complaint of the broad-day mayhem.

Police Area Command Zone 5 simultaneously stepped in at the distress invitation of the triple-trauma victims of violent eviction, arson and demolition, infractions meted to them in broad daylight without recourse to any shadow of the law. For evidence, ample pellets and spent cartridges from the avalanche of Osakpanwan’s police orderlies and thugs were recovered from the scene by the contingents of investigating cops.

Investigation Subversion

Shortly after the police’s recovery of artillery evidence from the scene, matters suddenly got mysterious. The police formation in entire Edo state began to treat the heinous felonies committed by the accused like history of another age that never happened. The victims told our reporters that it became clear to them that Osakpanwan’s open boasts to them during the entire episode were manifesting under their eyes. He is said to have told them that with his “money and connection” with the nations’ top police hierarchy, he was beyond reproach. According to them, it dawned on them that the ugly lava of compromise wrapped in Nigeria’s classical disease of corruption had flowed under the bridge between Osakpanwan’s boated lake of money and the police in Edo territory.

Alarmed, the victims led by one Mr. Fidelis Owen who is the Uzebu community’s secretary, Martins Obakpolor, Sunday Ogbonwan and Victor Omoregbe, lodged the felonies with the office of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos, which promptly invited the accused. Not once but thrice. The accused blatantly ignored and dismissed Alagbon’s invitation.

The community secretary told our reporters, “Throughout this ugly nightmare, Osakpanwan repeatedly boasted to our faces that the overall Inspector-General of Police of any administration and his Abuja Force Headquarters personnel feed from his palm and are in his pocket. So, again, true to his boast that no police formation in the country could bring his actions to question, it was clear to us that somehow he had again employed superior Abuja Force Headquarters to scuttle Alagbon’s independent investigation of his atrocious brigandage against Uzebu community.”

Lous Edet House, “House of Compromise…”

In a most dramatic twist of events police of IG’s Force Headquarters, Abuja, suddenly invited notable indigenes of Uzebu community who have been in the forefront of baying for justice against Osakpanwan Nomoless. As obedient, law-abiding citizens who thought that relief and justice had come at last from the zenith court of the Nigeria police authority, they eagerly made the journey from Benin to Abuja on March 29, 2021. And walked right into the trap of Osakpanwan’s paid police personnel under the IG’s office.
The investigation and justice subversion syndicate in the IG’s office alleged to be under Osakpanwan’s payroll for mayhem, carnage and immunity from prosecution are led by ACP A.A. Elleman, SP Usman Garba and DSP Aminu Sokoto. These officers ordered the Uzebu community leaders from Benin to be stripped to their pants and herded them into detention where they have remained incarcerated to this hour of going to press. Without so much as a glance at the victims originating complaints and petitions.

Our reporters were told, “That is how it works in the office of the Police Inspector-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where ACP A.A. Elleman, SP Usman Garba and DSP Aminu Sokoto imperiously reign as prosecutors, judges and executioners.”

Our reporters went to town and spoke to a cross section of civil society, NBA, foreign embassy watchers of the Nigerian government and officials of some of Nigeria’s international development partners, including the United Nation Developent Fund, European Union Commission and the German Goethe Institute. Most of them who spoke on conditions of anonymity were unanimous in their disgust.
At a Western embassy whose country has vital trade, military training and hardware pipeline, a senior diplomat, shook his head after perusing our obtained copy of Barr. Paul Osarenkhoe’s petition to the Presidency and said, “The nefarious activities of the Nigerian Police is fairly known to the world. It is the principal reason Nigeria had the grueling #EndSARS protest across your country last year, which spread to some major countries of the world, including mine.”

He continued, “Your police authorities are also the reason why your country (Nigeria) will not leave the dishonorable corrupt nations index list of the world for a pretty long while.” Then he added with a surprising note of hope, “You know, you have a new Inspector-General of Police who was appointed only a few days ago. He could cut a different path for himself, especially now that your country is on edge in many fronts. It does happen in the history of nations. A top government fella comes along that turns the apple cart of corruption for a new dawn, keeps his nose clean and resolutely sets up new ways of doing things. Let’s see how it goes with this one. Afterall your Vice President charged him with the responsibility to restore public confidence in your police. Let’s hope this case will meet your VP’s expectations and put him in the spotlight as a reformer.”

“IGP Alkali & Uzebu 4.”

Many civil society groups across the country have come to learn in the last five days about the tragic travesty of the latest victims of Osakpanwan Nomoless’ police manipulation in the Inspector-General’s office. They have also learned of the latest intrigue of Nomoless, the actual perpetrator of obstruction of police investigations and justice perversion. On March 8, 2021, Nomoless instructed the IGP’s squad alleged to be on his payroll to urge his detained victims to beg him (Osakpanwan) for forgiveness as one of several haughty conditions if they wished to taste freedom or see their families again in the nearest future. And the news is spreading.

Well acquainted with the character of Nomoless and his modus notoriety in the game of turning victims to accused with what they describe as “Osakpanwan’s ill-gotten and ill-deployed money,” they are currently coming together across the geo-political zones of the country to take a common position.

This is a red flag for the new Acting IG to personally and thoroughly investigate what is now being called across social media platforms as “IGP Alkali and Uzebu 4,” akin to the trumped-up Ogoni-9 Victim-to-Condemned Saro-Wiwa travesty of November 10, 1995, a watershed in world history of judicial verdicts which the then Prime Minister of Britain described as ‘judicial murder.”

A large section of the Nigeria media is also watching. Before going to press we learned that they are also making the same demand of the new Acting IGP, Usman Alkali Baba. A really simple demand. Investigate the real Osakpanwan Eriyo, alias Nomoless now, and Usman Alkali might just find a deep appalling can of worms in the best friend of Elleman, Usman Garba and Kabiru Sokoto.

© Global Media Radar for Endangered Citizens (GloMREC)

APGA, APC loses big as 3000 members dump parties, join PDP in Abia State

About 3,000 decampees from APGA and APC and other Parties from the 13 wards of Bende LGA have been received into the People’s. Democratic Party (PDP) with an assurance that their interest will be highly protected. Speaking while receiving the Party faithfuls during a Bende PDP Unity Rally held at the Practising School Uzuakoli, in Bende LGA, the Governor, Dr Okezie lkpeazu commended their forsight in coming into the PDP fold and assured. them that having taken the bold step, they will enjoy all the rights and privileges other members have been enjoying.Dr. Ikpeazu represented by his Deputy Sir Ude Oko Chukwu reiterates the resolve of his administration to replicate the tremendous transformation and infrastructural development currently going on in Aba to other parts of Abia.The Governor urged the new PDP members to see the total winning of PDP in subsequent elections as a great challenge that they must surmount and pointed out that having been accepted as full fledged members of PDP , they should embark on winning more docile members into the fold so that together, they will take the Local Govt Area to greater heights.In their remarks,. The member representing Bende South State Constituency, Chief Emmanuel Ndubuisi, the Chairman Bende LGA, Chief Emmanuel Onwuchekwa , the State PDP Chairman, Chief Asiforo Okere represented by Chief Gebriel Elendu and Bende PDP Chairman, Chief Dike C Dick while welcoming them said PDP is a party that believe in equity and capable of accommodating all and assured them that they will never regret coming into the PDP.Also contributing, the Deputy Chairman of Bende LGA, Mr. Promise Uzoma, former Commissioner for Tourism, Mrs Loveth Ojo Adimoha, Chief James Okpara , Chief Ukwu Rocks Emma ,Chief P.C. Mba, a PDP Chieftain Chief Iheanyi Chinasa and Chief P.C. Onyegbu while unanimously welcoming the decampees to a democratic party and assured that they are determined to take back Bende State and National Constituencies come 2023.In their various remarks, the leaders of the decampees, Mr. Alaeligwe of All Progressive Grand Alliance( APGA) Prince Emeka Igwe from All Progressive Congress ( APC) and an APC woman leader, Mrs Mercy Abraham on behalf of others said they decided to join the PDP having witnessed the kinetic and tremendous development the Governor is doing across the StateThe event which featured the formal renouncing of their membership of their former Parties by the decampees attracted the presence of top Govt Officials and PDP chieftains from Bende LGA.

Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo’s Governorship Bid Receives Boost As Media Gurus Visit Campaign HQs

By Dr. Harris Chuma-Odili, FCMsp

The Nigeria Union of Journalists Anambra State Council, comprising of Newspaper Publishers, News Reporters, Online News Bloggers, Print and Electronic Media Practitioners Thursday had a press parley with the APGA frontline governorship aspirant Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo at his campaign office headquarters in Awka.Coming under the aegis of Journalists for Good Governance, the journalists appraised the Nwankpo’s Manifesto, and his political exploits while serving under ex President Goodluck Jonathan and reasoned that it was in the interest of the state for all to rally support as strategic partners in the Nwankpo’s governorship bid.The Journalists whose position was made known by the State Chairman, Comrade Emma Ifesinachi said further that, they were confounded by the Nwankpo’s rich and people oriented manifesto, and believed that it will be profound for Ndi Anambra to support Nwankpo’s governorship ambition.

On the rumoured imposition of candidates in the major political parties. The NUJ Chairman said “The league of journalists for Good Governance have kicked against the imposition of candidates as party flag bearers describing it as non democratic, and repugnant to natural justice. We call for a level playing ground for all the aspirants.”They announced with great delight and sense of responsibility that the journalists in the state will monitor thoroughly all the processes leading to the guber polls and report the events, accordingly.

They urged all governorship aspirants in various political parties to make themselves available for the rigors of primary elections, to enable members of the party participate in the process of selecting the best candidates.”They pledged to partner the Governorship aspirant Nwankpo in marketing his manifesto ahead of the 2021 gubernatorial election.“As the November 6, 2021 governorship election beckons, we are committed to deploying our resources and goodwill to ensure that the right man is elected Governor of this State.”

This, they promised to do through continuous profiling of the aspirants through their respective platforms, as part of their corporate goals of promoting good governance and ensuring collective growth of the State.

The highly elated Nze Nwankpo who appreciated the media professionals on the visit, encouraged them to continue considering the state’s interest above every other sentiments.He said the success of Anambra governorship election 2021 will rebirth and berth a new dawn in the quest to make the state great. He promised to sustain the good works of Governor Willie Obiano if elected as his successor.Nze Nwankpo said he will create opportunities that would be of great benefits to Anambra families.

He said his government will boost the media industry, partner with the journalists in the state, and invest hugely in the state owned print and electronic media houses, and render massive support to the non state actors.“If elected as the governor of Anambra State, my office will be opened to partnership with any group or individuals ready to offer its services in the various programmes of the state government”

Social Media Influencers, Online Bloggers, dozens of journalists from both print and electronic media were at the Media Parley.

Sporadic shooting in Aba as police block roads to correctional centre, police HQs, harass motorists

There is tension in Aba, Abia state as policemen have barricaded all roads leading to the Correctional centre and the Police Area Command in the city.

It was gathered that there was heavy shooting at the Aba Area Command and another at Bata junction. Residents of the adjoining roads to the two facilities have been barred from leaving their houses while shop owners were forced to leave the area.

Barricades guarded by the Police were observed at Okwu na Uka street, Pound and Hospital roads as well as the area near the Aba General Hospital.

Residents of the city stated that the barricade on roads leading to the Correctional centre and the Police Area Command may not be unconnected with efforts to protect the two facilities from attack by gunmen.

A police source said that the barricades are not unusual considering the recent attacks on police formations in the South-East zone.

Unconfirmed stories has it that the police received a letter from the unknown gunmen and they decided to display a show of force.

Police Public Relations Officer, Abia State Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, was yet to respond to calls and text message made to his mobile number as at press time.

BREAKING: Anambra Govt grants amnesty to 100 prisoners

Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano has set free over 100 prisoners in the various correctional services in the state.

The Governor granted the inmates the state pardon few minutes ago.

The reason for the amnesty is yet to be known as at press time.

According to Anambra Broadcasting Service, A.B.S, the governor granted amnesty to over 100 prisoners serving various prison sentences in the state.

Pundits believe that the Anambra State Government may have decided to free prisoners to avoid or avert the the likely situation in its closet state, Imo state where rampaging gunmen razed the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters and the Federal Correctional Service in Owerri, freeing thousands of inmates.

BREAKING: Dangote Petitions Trade Ministry To Shut BUA Sugar Refinery Down

A major war has been raging in the Nigeria sugar industry for some time now and the bubbles seemed to have burst with Dangote’s decision to petition the Federal Government asking the Ministry of Trade to shut down BUA Group’s Sugar Refinery located in Port Harcourt.

In the letter dated 28th January 2021 signed by Aliko Dangote himself as the Chairman Dangote Industries Limited, the billionaire claimed that when the BUA Sugar refinery was opened, he warned the Government and they told him that no new refinery would be allowed to operate in Nigeria’. Dangote accused BUA of operating with impunity by contravening the laws as laid down in the National sugar policy by selling its products locally instead of producing for export alone.

BUA in its own defense sent to the Honourable Minister of Trade however clarified issues by stating that the law allows it to sell inside Nigeria. Attaching the enabling permits and approval BUA stated that because of the connivance of the two major sugar manufacturers to hike the price of Sugar during the Ramadan period, the law allows it to sell locally.

BUA also warned that the DANGOTE group and the other major player have not been involved in any backward integration project, rather they depend on 80% raw sugar allocation which is detrimental to the Nigerian economy in long-term analysis. BUA on the other hand has been involved in a backward integration project with BUA’s Lafiagi Sugar BIP set to be completed in 2022.

Over a 250million dollars is believed to have been spent on the export-focused BUA sugar refinery already and it is also employing over 1,000 Nigerians.

Meanwhile, BUA also noted that at the center of this fight to force FG to close the BUA Sugar refinery down is the price war.

Last year, before Ramadan, sugar sold for around 18,000 Naira per bag. But as Ramadan fasting started the price jumped to 30,000 per bag. The people had no choice but to buy it because they needed a lot of it during the period. So the manufacturers were smiling at the bank. BUA group noticed the trend and decided that it had to change. There was no reason to increase the price during Ramadan simply because the demand is high.

Usually, the increase happens about one month to commencement of fasting

When the other manufacturers got across to BUA, Samad Rabiu refused. They put pressure on him, saying it was the right time to make good money but he put his feet down.

After failing to do that, they petitioned the Federal Government that he was breaking the law by selling sugar locally instead of for export.

A source however claimed that already, BUA group has dragged the Trade Minister to court to ensure that the operations of the sugar refinery are not tampered with all because of the desperate attempt by Dangote Group to monopolize the sugar trade in Nigeria.

OPEN LETTER TO APGA ANAMBRA STATE, BY DR. HARRIS CHUMA-ODILI, OGENE IGBO

Chuma-Odili

EXTRACT:

“From the standpoint of the APGA grassroots activists, critical stakeholders, and faith based organizations who had scrutinised the activities of Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo in comparison to the other governorship aspirants in Anambra and have found out that we need a man, that is straightforward, honest, industrious, energetic, knowledgeable, intelligent, proactive, visionary, courageous, tested, trusted, reliable, and credible to add value to Anambra State and re-engineer the creative and entrepreneurial skills of our people at this auspicious moment of back-to-land.

“A good governance compliant, Nwankpo, will ensure all the elements of good and creative governance will be used to enhance and unleash growth and development opportunities on Anambra State. Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo is electable and unimpeachable with a rich and robust socio-cultural background, charismatic and influential God-Given Skills, added to a highly developed human and interpersonal skills required for attracting people of value to make the business of development smooth sailing.

“My dear Honorable National Working Committee of the APGA. The credibility and authenticity of the primary election all lies in your hand. I will as a matter of fact implore the APGA NWC to as a matter of fact ensure the primary election is free, credible and provision of a smooth level playing ground for all the aspirants.
It may interest you to know that any election that is not free and fair risks negativity in compromising party loyalists, stakeholders and supporters and it encourages sparking further conflict.”

OPINION: FIGHTING INSECURITY-WHEN WE MUST SUPPORT THE POLICE

Okali

By Ifeanyi Okali

The police as the foremost law enforcement agency oftentimes come under fierce attack and destructive criticisms as a result of unprofessional conduct of few persons who have continued to portray the force in a bad light.

Most often also, when they deliver incredible milestone in an effort to make the rest of us and our entire family sleep with our eyes close, it faintly make headlines in the newspapers. Irrespective of the angle from where we may view them, the police are the number one law enforcement body and the first point of protection for the civil populace.

Have you thought of a situation where you are being randomly harassed, molested and trampled upon, yet no organ or instrumentality of the state to lay you complains to?

Have you imagined how often we will be at the mercy of those wielding iron fist and physical power in the absence of the police?

Interestingly, the force is made up of our brothers, sisters, friends, fathers and uncles. They are no strangers but part and parcel of the society. They are humans and as such feel the same way we feel.

They receive and feel all social problems bedeviling us in one way or the other. They go to the same market with us, send their children to the same school with our children, use the same road with us and live in the same neighbourhood with us. In all these, they put their lives at risk to ensure the corporate security and protection of the weak and strong, the rich and poor and indeed all manner of people.

There is hardly a day a policeman does not get killed in the course of performing his tasking duty of protecting us. In Abia our state for instance, the recent vicious series of attacks launched against officers and men of the force really got the governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu concern when he declared and demonstrated total support to ensure that the criminal elements behind the unjustified killing of policemen and stealing of their rifles are apprehended and brought to book. He did not stop there. He went ahead to place a bounty on the killers to aid their easy arrest. From Aba, to Omobo, Isuikwuato to Ohafia, Ukwa and indeed virtually all parts of the state, the stories leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Even with the constant felling of their colleagues, these gallant officers and men ensure they do not rest on their oars in protecting our lives and investments. While this intervention is not aimed at deodorizing the police of their ailings, it is important to state that appreciation for excellent work is a virtue and indeed a morale booster. The peace we enjoy in the state today is largely on the account of the vigilance, commitment and sacrifices of men of the Nigerian police and other security agencies who stake their lives for the country they love.

Kidnapping and arm robbery that was in the past a recurrent decimal across the state has largely reduced. The Isuikwuato Akara road that was a den of criminality has now become a safe haven, creating the leeway for our people to move about their legitimate businesses without fear of harassment and intimidation. The constant attacks on POS operators around Aba and Umuahia is rapidly on the decline. We cannot forget in a hurry how Miss Ezinne Iroh, a 23-year-old POS operator in Aba was callously killed in cold blood by a deadly gang after robbing her. She was just one of the many who were dispatched to early grave by these blood-thirsty men of the underworld. Cheeringly, the police have launched an aggressive manhunt against them and indeed dealing them series of bloody nose. This is commendable and worth our support. A number of them have been arrested and cooling off at the moment, waiting for their day in court.

Undoubtedly, the 2020 #EndSARS protest was an eloquent testimony that the police need to do more in the area of checkmating extra-judicial killing, flagrant human right abuse, extraction of ‘confessional statement’ through duress and torture as well as bribery. This was not only necessary but its speaks volume to the humongous power citizens wield in making their voices count in matters that challenge them and wave unanswered questions in their face on daily basis. Of course, this was followed by prompt action from the police top hierarchy that announced the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) accused of largely perpetrating most of the abuse of human rights against citizens.

An effective policing system requires the active support of all citizens through prompt provision of intelligence report. Without the support and collaboration of the community, the police cannot perform magic to serve the populace better. The fear overtime has always hinged on the protection of the identity of those who volunteer information to the police. The new, reformed police under the leadership of IGP Adamu Mohammed have never hidden their willingness to give all citizens who assist with information with the maximum identity protection. This they have demonstrated and continue to uphold.

While we were all at home at the peak of COVID-19, these security agencies were out there protecting us. A little act of kindness, like the provision of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as face mask, hand sanitisers and whatever we have to encourage them is all they need to let them know how much we cherish and appreciate their good work. As stated earlier, it is true that few bad eggs may have soiled the image of the force with adversarial behaviour. However, it will be an unfair judgment to slam all policemen with the paintbrush of bad eggs.

Our state Abia is really becoming extremely unconducive for criminal elements to perform their evil enterprises. The tempo can be sustained if all citizens offer maximum support by knowing who their neighbours are and what they do. Well-to-do individuals as well as corporate bodies can assist by donating patrol vehicles so that security can be enhanced in our society. Alhaji Aliko Dangote and others have set the pace in this regard.

Office equipment such as tables, computers, to pens and rulers can be a very significant support in helping the police serve us better.
Lastly, security is the duty of everyone and we must not lose our guard by leaving it at the doorstep of the Police, Army, Civil Defence, Immigration, Customs etc alone. A peaceful, secured and safe society can only be made possible when the people own their security.

Ifeanyi Okali writes from Ohafia, Abia state.

OkomuOil: Endangering Okomu National Park and Edo future

Tony Erha

Since about 35 years of a troubled existence as a former Wildlife Sanctuary and now Okomu National Park (ONP), the inestimable conservation enclave hadn’t suffered deadly violations as had been unleashed on it by the Okomu Oil Palm Company PLC (OkomuOil for short), under over two decades of tenacious stay by Dr. Graham Hefer as its Managing Director.

Surely, conservationists and villagers of the host communities of ONP, OkomuOil and others would readily be flabbergasted that Hefer, a South African immigrant to Nigeria, had supervised the extensive plundering of ONP by OkomuOil, a gigantic multinational plantation firm and Nigerian franchise of Socfin, the Octopus agro-allied conglomerate which was originated in faraway Belgium and Luxembourg in Europe.

Indeed, the plundering by the Hefer’s OkomuOil had encouraged the selfsame loggers and poachers, who Hefer, recently turned around to condemn as the real violators of the park.

Through choreographed and monotonous insertions of a news item that competed for choice spaces in the Nigerian media, Hefer, in a rather sanctimonious overcook attempted to misinform the public and whitewash his company. Titled “Another Lucky Elephant Rescued For National Park By Okomu Oil Palm PLC”, it added a sub-title, “…MD calls on Govt. to rescue Park and forest reserve from illegal loggers, total lack of law”.

Hefer was said to have “led a team of his staff to rescue a second elephant on behalf of the Okomu National Park, the first being in October 3, 2019”. He also appealed to “the Nigerian Government and other relevant authorities to rescue the Park and forest reserves from illegal loggers and others who have cultivated the habit of desecrating the natural habitat”.

ONP is a globally acclaimed conservation centre and valuable ecotourism destination, managed by the National Park Service (NPS), a Federal Government’s agency.

ONP is the last vestige of a (“protected”?) lowland rainforest habitat; the smallest in size amongst the old seven national parks, until recently when more of the parks were created. The park 200 sq. km by size and is situated at Okomu-Udo, in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, on about 50 minutes road distance from Benin City, the state capital. It is very rich in biodiversity and other attractions, with the said endangered African Lowland Rainforest Elephant (Loxodonta Africanna cyclotis), as one of its unique fauna flagships.

The wakeup call by Hefer though suitable, appeared lacking, coming from OkomuOil, a conservation-unfriendly business concern and a boss, who professes to love ONP and nature conservation principles, but soon reverses to do the opposite. Once beaten twice shy. If after confessing to conservation niceties and the overriding need of protecting the park in the past, OkomuOil sooner go ahead to plunder the same, what is the exactness to trusting the latest display of fickle love by its boss?

Firstly, it was outright falsehood that the multinational company “saved a distressed Elephant for the park on October 3, 2019”. Instead and evidently, OkomuOil was serially condemned by a preponderant public and a key civil society group, the Coalition Against Landgrabbing and Deforestation (CALD), after a thorough investigation that workers of the company did attacked with cutlasses and cudgels, the said Elephant, which strayed into its newest plantations, the original home and wandering range and buffers of the park, which the company had grabbed and converted into oil palm plantation. This led to the death of the Elephant at the park’s quarantine, where it received medication. (“Okomu National Park’s Elephant” ThisDay: December 7, 2019: 12/07/okomu-national-park-elephant/)

Dr. Heifer as the boss, brought about the ‘casual workers’ rule, where thousands of OkomuOil’s workforce, especially the unskilled, are hazardously employed by contractors. They are un-gainfully employed, even without ‘pensions’ and willfully sacked, as against the labour laws. The army of sacked and new casual workers, who swell the population of the host communities, easily resort poaching in the park and illegal logging, where the company fails to train them to imbibe conservation principles and support the park.

Again, Dr. Hefer was off-point that the recent Elephant was trapped in the mud, inside the park, as he sought for praises over its exaggerated accounts of helping the park’s management to bring the bulldozers and other earth moving equipment to rescue the Elephant! Was the Elephant a mountain to be bulldozed? A photograph clip of the endangered Elephant would purely show that it wasn’t stuck in a pit in the park, but one bulldozed and not de-silted by OkomuOil, on the same land it had grabbed and turned into a new plantation. Instructively, there are no bulldozed pits in the park’s main land.

Revealingly, OkomuOil had been the most violator of the park and plunderer of the park and Edo forest reserves. For instance, a tiny stream is all that separates the park and the old oil palm plantation of the company (to the left from its main entrance), making the open to poaching by its workers.

If not grandstanding, how come that Hefer, who assisted the company to grab and convert over 16,000 hectares of the original designate land areas and buffers of the park, that it bought from the Iyayi Group of Companies, is the same accusing others of desecrating the park? If Hefer and his company want to be taken seriously for making genuine and redemptory outbursts, they should hand over to the park and the host communities of Okomu forest and the Owan forest zone the 13,750 hectares of lands, which Iyayi sold to it, wherein about 8,000 hectares of the land revoked by Sdo State Government, was from Okomu forest reserve. (See Edo State Government of Nigeria Gazette No. 16 Vol. 19 (page 48-50), published on 5th November, 2015)

Irrefutably, OkomuOil is the single largest driver of land-grabbing, deforestation and livelihood loss in Edo State, regarded as the highest incidence of the just-mentioned threesome scourges, amongst the 36 states of the Nigeria country. Of the total 1081 sq. km land area of the now depleted Okomu Forest Reserve, that was the largest rainforest reserve in Nigeria, OkomuOil alone had the rare benefit of having been ceded with vast land areas and the other vastness it had grabbed from it, in addition to the over 16,000 hectares of Iyayi’s grab.

Had the state government properly catalogued and protected Okomu and other forest reserve estates of the state, OkomuOil would not cash in on the loophole to grab and destroy Okomu and the threesome forest reserves of Ehor, Owan and Ora-Iueleha-Ozalla (sometimes called Owan Forest Zone), thereby causing acute deforestation and livelihood losses to the villagers, the land owners.

Which other forestry laws did Dr. Hefer want government to establish, when he exhibits daylight impunity, by his refusal to obey existing state and federal laws, with his company’s slipshod operations in Okomu locale and Owan forest zone, where it had forcibly established its so called Okomu PLC Oil Palm Extension II? And isn’t a sheer mockery of the Nigerian jurisprudence, which tended to prostrate to the whims and caprices of a foreigner, on Nigeria soil? Has Nigeria submitted her sovereignty to him?

Why did Okomu Oil often ridicule and ignore the Environmental Impact Assessment Law, especially by disobeying severally directives from the Federal Ministry of Environment, on two letters to Dr. Hefer, by the Environment Minister dated 8th January, 2014 (Ref: FMEnv/EA/ 2712/Vol.1/82 and the other dated 22nd December, 2015 (Ref: No FMEnv.123:271/Vol.1/28), that it must follow the due processes of acquiring the Owan forest lands? Is it not shameful that OkomuOil now parades the same EIA certification, even though it burgled the due process?

Yet, OkomuOil craves for lofty praises over its tokenistic or mere cosmetic activities, which it often amplifies as justifiable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) offers to the park and host communities, despite excessive annual dividends from its huge investments in oil palm and rubber plantations, premised on the forest reserves, including the gigantic processing industry situated in Okomu forest.

Amusingly, Hefer, in the same media commentary flaunted the Roundtable Sustainable Palm (RSPO) certification as authorization to commit such heinous atrocities against the ONP treasure and poor Edo communities, in the same manner of the outlaw Apartheid of Dr. Hefer’s South Africa, where lands are still wrested from the local owners, by fastidious settlers.

Alas, the OkomuOil boss had also audaciously poked to our faces that a certain Billy Ghansah, a Ghanaian and Operational Director that goaded the grabbing of lands from the Owan Forest Zone, is the same who had also been recruited to obliterate the Okomu National Park, so that the company’s oil palm and rubber trees could take over the sacred land.

Those who destroy a global monument, like the priceless Okomu National Park, grab and terminate the people’s land heritage are destroyers of their pride and future.

Tony Erha, a journalist, conservationist and Forest Certifier of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), writes from Benin City, Edo State.

Abia State Govt shuts down pry school in Nnamdi Kanu’s community over bomb scare

Abia State Government has closed down Union Primary School, in Afaraukwu, Umuahia North of Abia State, the home community of Nnamdi Kanu. The action became necessary owing to a bomb scare in the school.

According to a statement signed by Chief John Okiyi Kalu, the state Commissioner for Information, the Government is currently working with relevant security agencies in the state to unravel the source and nature of suspected explosive devices found at the school.

He said “While initial examination of the devices show evidence of corrosion leading to suspicion of the materials being relics of the civil war era, we are awaiting definite official report from the EOD squad of the Nigeria Police who are currently investigating the incident.

“Meanwhile, necessary measures have been taken to protect the pupils and staff of the school with security sweeps ongoing while the school is temporarily closed.

“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed security agencies to embark on proactive checks in other vulnerable locations out of abundance of caution.

“While we are grateful to God that there is no harm to life or property, we urge citizens and residents to continue to maintain vigilance and report suspicious situations to security agents”.

Recall that the state government recently declared a dusk to dawn curfew in the metropolitan towns of Aba, Umuahia, Ohafia and Arochukwu in the state due to the rising cases of insecurity in the geopolitical zone.

NEWS UNBRANDED!

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