Category Archives: Crime & Justice

Guide to security and safety in the Coal City

Anambra lawmaker killed and beheaded

… Soludo offers N10m reward for info

A faceless violent gang has killed and beheaded Anambra lawmaker, Hon Okechukwu Okoye, kidnapped on 15 May 2022.

Hon Okoye, representing Aguata II in the Anambra State Assembly, hitherto chaired the House Committee on Information.

The gang abducted the lawmaker with his aide, Cyril Chiegboka, Government said in a statement.

Both died in what appears like a cheeky response to Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s efforts to rid the state of violent criminals.

An outraged Governor Soludo pledged to find the killers and offered N10million bounty for information that helps unmask them.

Incidentally, Governor Soludo, late Okoye and Chiegboka are from the same hometown of Isuofia in Aguata LGA of the State.

The double killing heightened fears that faceless terror gangs holding the State hostage were sending a message to the Governor.

Soludo said this morning he was undeterred by their action, even as the news shocked and saddened him.

He however vowed to press on with his mission to track down and deal with murderous criminals operating in Anambra

He suggested that the same criminal gang that attacked him and killed three policemen at Isuofia could have struck again.

“They can never cow down Isuofia and Anambra state,” he said in a statement released by his spokesperson, Christian Aburime.

The N10million reward he pledged is for individuals or groups that offer information to unmask and arrest the killers.

“Anambra will soon be a hell for these criminals. Anambra will win against the forces of darkness,” he said.

Gov Soludo urged Anambra citizens to brace up for “the all out war against the criminals.”

As of the time of writing this report, no group claimed responsibility for the double abduction and murder

Slug Anambra lawmaker killed and beheaded

Red Sunday in Anambra

…Policeman shot dead
…Legislator kidnapped

It was red Sunday this evening, 15 May, as gunmen shot dead a policeman and kidnapped a state legislator in Anambra.

Unidentified gunmen reportedly shot and killed a police officer at Eke Oko Market this evening.

Oko, the Polytechnic Town, is in Aguata LGA where the Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, incidentally comes from.

Witnesses said the policeman was riding on a bike when his assailants blocked his path and pumped bullets into him.

Witnesses ran for dear life as the unfortunate agent died on the spot.

In another daredevil raid, kidnappers this afternoon abducted a state legislator in the same Aguata LGA.

Witnesses identified Dr Okey Okoye who represents Aguata II in the Anambra State House of Assembly as the victim.

The abductors dragged him out of his black Sienna bus and whisked away.

The Anambra Police Command has yet to confirm both alleged killing and kidnap.

In recent times, miscreants appear to directly target the Governor’s home local government in a renewed terrorist offensive.

It is a forcible response to the Governor’s effort to contain violence and killings unleashed in the State.

Governor Soludo was in Abuja on Friday to visit detained separatist agitator, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and get him to help stem the violence.

Mazi Kanu reportedly agreed to call Biafran activists to order if given the opportunity to make a broadcast.

Red Sunday in Anambra as policeman killed

Obi Onitsha dismisses story on Kaduna-bound train

… says he never planned to travel by rail

Obi of Onitsha dismisses as false and callous the story that he nearly boarded the ill-fated Kaduna-bound train on 28 March.

Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe said in a statement last night that he was never at an Abuja train station as reported.

He admitted that he initially considered but however discarded the idea of going by rail to attend a Kaduna event.

The trip, according to him, was an invitation by army authorities to address officers of various security outfits in the country.

Obi Onitsha dismisses story on Kaduna-bound train

He named the school as the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, near Zaria in Kaduna State.

Giving a background on this journey, the monarch said he accepted the alternative of a fully-armed military escort to travel by road.

The volatile security situation in Kaduna State forced his hosts to consider various alternative means of transport, he said.

But they quickly discarded the option of a train ride in favour of heavy military escort to and from Jaji.

His speech to the officers was on 29 March, a day after the bombing of a Kaduna-bound train by terrorists.

He said he returned to Abuja on the 30 March without incident using the same military escort.

Obi Achebe strongly disclaimed the reports that he nearly boarded the ill-fated train, calling it “callous.”

“The entire country is in Dire Straits on its internal security and anyone could be a victim in the situation that we currently face…

“Thus, it is the absolutely callous for anyone to use such a distressful national tragedy to grab fake media attention.”

Chief Osita Anionwu, Chief of Staff to the Onitsha Traditional Council, signed the Obi Achebe statement.

Obi Onitsha dismisses story on Kaduna-bound train

Anambra picks prayer day to end sit-at-home

Anambra State picks Monday, 4 April 2022 as Day of Prayer For Peace in a bid to end Mondays sit-at-home in the Southeast Region.

A coalition of traditional rulers, church leaders and the Anambra State Government officials settled on the date today.

The group urged the Federal Government to unconditionally release detained IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The gesture, they said, will “douse the current tensions across the Southeast and create an atmosphere for collaboration toward a constructive resolution of the issues.”

The group asked citizens of the region to join efforts to end the sit-at-home which IPOB declared ended since August 2021.

“We declare Monday, April 4th, 2022 as a Day Of Prayer For Peace for Alaigbo.

“We implore Ndi Anambra and all religious congregations to join in this important day of Prayer.

“It will take place within the premises of the Cathedrals, Churches, and prayer houses across Ala Igbo by 11:00 a.m.

“We enjoin the faithful wherever you may be across Nigeria or abroad to pause and join in fellowship as we seek the face of our Father.

“It is the expectation of the Joint Body that the conclusion of the prayer session shall mark the end of sit-at-home in Anambra State and the Southeast region in general.”

Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, Archbishop Valerian Okeke, and Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the State Government, signed the statement.

Other signatories are Igwe Laurence Agubuzu, Chairman, Enugu Traditional Rulers Council, and Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko, Secretary and Representatives of Archbishops and Bishops.

Their statement followed Gov Soludo’s consultations with relevant groups in the state to end the notorious sit-at-home.

The Joint Body decried the Monday Sit-at-Home as an “ill-advised and counter-productive” way of advocating for a cause.

“All over the world, it is our inalienable right to make demands, make our voices to be heard, make agitations against perceived injustice and the reality of marginalization.

“It is however totally unacceptable to stop our children from going to school, to destroy our means of livelihood, to kill, maim or recklessly destroy properties of the so-called potential beneficiaries of the struggle, to make our economies unattractive to investors, and to create an environment in which our youth have little hope of realising their legitimate dreams and aspirations for jobs and wealth creation.”

The Joint Body asked “all criminal elements masquerading as working under the instruction of IPOB or ESN to cease and desist from further acts of violence and criminality or face the implacable force of law and order”.

Drop your arms, it urged all who seek resolution of their grievances through armed struggle and victims of the insecurity in Anambra State in the past three years to “step forward and cooperate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will be inaugurated by the Anambra State Government next week”.

Anambra picks prayer day to end sit-at-home

Obi Onitsha nearly joined attacked kaduna-bound train

The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, nearly joined the ill-fated Kaduna-bound train attacked by terrorists on Monday, 28 March.

The monarch broke the news today to Southeast peers and bishops who came to discuss security in their region.

The Abuja-Kaduna rail link was hitherto the safest means of transport to Kaduna, a hotbed of terrorist activities in Nigeria.

Obi Achebe said it was an emergency call that prevented him from boarding the train after he arrived at the station.

“I was among the passengers meant to be on the train last Monday because I had a meeting I was supposed to be attending.

“I was already at the train station when I got a call over an emergency and I had to leave the station to attend to it.”

The Monday evening train attack occured in an isolated location between Katari and Rijana train stations.

Obi Onitsha nearly joined attacked Kaduna-bound train

Authorities said the terrorists blew up the rail track with explosives, thereby forcing the train to derail.

They immediately opened fire on passengers and crew, forcing many to scamper into the bushes.

Authorities have not accounted for all passengers on board as many were abducted at the spot

Chief Executive of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidel Okhiria, confirmed the attack as well as the abductions and casualties.

Nine persons died while the abductors hold on to an unspecified number i the forests by their abductors.

Witnesses said the terrorists carefully isolated high profile individuals and herded them into the bushes.

The operation lasted for over an hour before a military detachment arrived, passengers said.

In Enugu today, Obi Achebe decried the insecurity that has enveloped the nation.

Obi of Onitsha nearly joined Kaduna-bound train

EFCC seizes Obiano’s passport as he is released on bail

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC seizes ex-Governor Willie Obiano’s passport and releases him last night on administrative bail.

The Agency released Obiano to family members but directed him to report regularly as investigation progresses, Enugu Metro learnt.

EFCC actually granted bail to the ex-Governor on Monday 21 March but he initially failed to meet the stringent bail conditions.

Sources said his party, APGA, intervened to assist him meet the conditions which included a public officer pledging an Abuja property as surety.

He was finally freed last night, 23 March, after spending one whole week in custody.

Agency spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed this morning that Chief Obiano met t bail conditions and was allowed to go.

He however said the Agency impounded his travel documents to prevent him from jumping bail by escaping from Nigeria.

EFCC intercepted Obiano at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA) Lagos hours after handing over power in Awka.

Sources said the former Governor allegedly misappropriated N42.0 billion from the Anambra State treasury.

The alleged withdrawals included N5.0 billion in Sure-P funds and another N37 billion misappropriated from Anambra State security votes.

Based on a petition that alleged misappropriation of funds, EFCC placed the governor on its watchlist in November 2021. The law forbids Nigerian Governors from prosecution while in office but they lose the immunity the moment they stand down.

In November 2021, EFCC wrote to Immigration to watch out and report whenever the Governor showed up at any Nigerian international airport.

Subsequently, Agency officials intercepted him on 17 March at MMA Lagos, while attempting to board a flight to Houston, United States.

They flew him to Nigeria’s capital City of Abuja the following day for questioning.

EFCC seizes Obiano’s passport

Anambra monarchs berate EFCC over leaked Obiano video

…as agency imposes tough bail conditions

Anambra monarchs berate the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) over maltreatment of former Governor Willie Obiano.

The anti-corruption agency arrested the former governor on 17 March in Lagos. He was flown to Abuja the following day for interrogation.

A leaked video showing Chief Obiano in custody wearing only red boxers and white T-shirt angered the monarchs.

Anambra Traditional Rulers Council described the former governor’s treatment in EFCC detention as “inhuman.”

Consequently, tasked the Agency to “treat Obiano with due civility and immediately restore him to his personal comfort.”

They also appealed to the President and his Attorney General to call the EFCC to order over the humiliation.

The rulers poured out their anger in a statement personally signed by their Chairman, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Obi of Onitsha.

They described the trending video as both “distasteful and reprehensible.”

“We are equally disturbed that such a video clip found its way out of a highly secured environment of the EFCC onto the social media.”

The monarchs said the video deliberately caused “maximum embarrassment to Chief Obiano personally.”

They said it also embarrassed the people of Anambra State State who he governed until three days ago.”

They also said the video is “absolutely dehumanizing” and does not bring any value to the EFCC investigation.

Obiano granted bail

EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, announced today that the agency granted Obiano administrative bail this morning.

He announced this at the 5th Annual General Assembly of the Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIMA).

Although Bawa did not disclose the conditions attached to bail, journalists speculated that it came with stringent requirements.

Among them is that Obiano produces two senior Federal Public Servants with verified landed properties in Abuja as sureties.

Obiano still in custody

At the time of filing this report the former Anambra governor is yet to regain freedom from the EFCC custody.

Agency officials picked up Obiano on 17 March, same day he handed over power to Governor Chukwuma Soludo in Awka.

Reports say Obiano was travelling to Houston in the United States whe Agents intercepted him.

Obiano and his family l in Houston from where he returned to contest for governor.

The EFCC has yet to publicly share with the public why they picked up the former Governor for questioning.

The Agency however announced in November 2021 that it had placed the Governor on a watchlist.

Anambra monarchs berate the EFCC over Obiano Video

Ebubeagu and violent crimes in Imo State

Dr. Sam Amadi ponders on the allegation that there’s a link between Ebubeagu and upsurge of violent crimes in Imo.

Ebubeagu and violent crimes

Sam Amadi

Dr Sam Amadi, former Chair of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) teaches law and practices advocacy.

There are so many violent crimes in our society today. Criminal justice system has collapsed. Consequently, criminals and their sponsors are not just free but enabled by state institutions to commit more and more crimes. Thus, ordinary citizens who are not in power and not rich enough to buy protection and justice for themselves are exposed to endless risks and ruins.

Sadly, this is the state of play in Imo State. Everyday, there are allegations of killings. The circumstances of these killings suggest political enablement either by ruling authority, opposition or other political movements and formations. Therefore, as we build up to 2023 and close to what will be a civil war over who get political power in the state, we should be concerned that violent crimes may become the social disorder.

Recently, a respected civil society voice in Imo State told me that he was shot by Ebubeagu operatives on his way to Anambra. He said Ebebuagu operatives are now shooting people and burning houses of political opponents of the government. This alarmed and surprised me.

I had read a report that Ebubeagu is responsible for wanton killings in Imo State. However, I shut down the argument; it is illogical that an outfit set up by eastern governments to protect the people will become a vehicle to destroy the people. It is not believable.

Nevertheless, I think I am the one who was not rational in that context. Is there anything that politicians cannot misuse and turn against the people, no matter how disoriented?

A big risk

To make his case, the civil rights activist informed me that there is no formal instrument or official structure for Ebubeagu in Imo State. There is as yet no law enacted to legalize the operations and no formal accountability structure for Ebubeagu. Thus, it is a militarized outfit ready for deployment according to political conveniences.

The story is the same in some Southeast states. In Ebonyi State, opposition alleges that Ebubeagu is a military squad for the governor. Unfortunately, there is no conclusive report on the many killings have taken place.

We run a big risk with these reports that politicians are fabricating severe state of insecurity in the southeast for political gain. Thus, if it were true that IPOB has sworn to deal with the killing Ebubeagu operatives, then we may have a sprawling killing field in the horizon in the southeast. We should take these auguries seriously before we descend to a dangerous zone of terror and counter terror.

Journalists in the zone should investigate the formation, management and operations of Ebubeagu in the southeast. We need clarity on this to ensure we are not being set up for bloodbaths.

Finally, don’t trust what politicians say. Let’s protect ourselves from violent crimes.

Ebubeagu and violent crimes in Imo State

Police abduct Okorocha’s in-law, Uche Nwosu, in a church

Police abduct ex-Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Chief Uche Nwosu, at a local church in Imo State today 26 December.

The raid took place this morning at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama Obieri in the Nkwerre LGA of Imo state

Nwosu is married to Okorocha’s daughter and ran unsuccessfully to replace his in-law as Governor of Imo State in 2019.

In a daredevil raid, a gang of plain clothed gunmen stormed the church, shot into the air to scare away worshippers and grabbed their quary.

They bundled the thorougly unnerved man into the trunk of their vehicle and whisked him away to an unknown destination.

Okorocha told newsmen that the raiders pushed down his daughter Nkechi and tore the clothes of his granddaughter, Uloma.

The raiders neither arrived in uniform nor drove branded security vehicles, fueling instant speculations that they were kidnappers.

The speculations subsequently set off a firestorm on the internet, giving the impression that kidnappers have laid siege to Imo State.

Witnesses widely shared video footage of the operation, claiming in their commentaries that it was a kidnap.

Imo Police Command spokesperson Michael Abattam however cleared the confusion this afternoon in a statement.

He announced that police personnel actually carried out the dare-devil operation.

“Chief Uche Nwosu was not kidnapped but was arrested by the police,” Abattam, a chief superintendent, said.

Interestingly, the statement showed that police officers from out of State effected the arrest. The State Police Commissioner was informed on the plan.

“Imo state police command is aware of the arrest and presently he (Nwosu) is in police custody.”

He did not say which branch of the Police carried out the raid, where they came from or where Nwosu is cooling his heels in detention.

The statement merely reaffirmed that Nwosu was not kidnapped “by unknown persons/gunmen.”

Abattam also said the Imo State Police Commissioner “adviced the general public to always shun fake news.”

Why the arrest?

The Police statement did not however explain why Chief Nwosu was arrested and what he was accused of.

Neither did Abattam justify Police commando-like raid of a local church to pick up and bundle away a suspect in the manner they did.

Nwosu is widely viewed as a proxy in a titanic battle between Gov. Hope Uzodinma and his embittered predecessor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha.

Sen Okorocha toed this line at a press conference in Abuja today where he made the following statement.

:Uche Nwosu, my wife and daughter were at the church for an outing service, when a group of men in police uniform started shooting while the sermon was ongoing.

“In the course of their activities, they pushed down my wife and tore my daughter’s clothes.

“No warrant of arrest. No invitation. We suspected kidnapping at first. Many people were injured while running.

“Uche Nwosu was dragged into a bus carrying Imo State Government number plate.(Editor’s Note: the vehicle bore Abia State number plates)

“They were identified as policemen from Imo State Government House by their colleagues attached to Uche for the burial (of his mother).

I got the CP who said that the IGP approved his arrest.

“The shock of such an arrest without warrant and humiliating members of my family is unfortunate.

Most security operatives in Imo know nothing about the arrest. I don’t know what they framed up.

“The IGP could only do this on high-level misinformation from Hope Uzodinma.

“Over 100 gunshots to arrest Uche Nwosu? What kind of ruthless behaviour on an innocent citizen of Nigeria?

“Uzodinma wants to frame me up by all means. Uzodinma has to answer for most of the activities going on.

“Uzodinma must mention the names of those who are responsible for insecurity in Imo State or he should be held responsible for all the killings in the state.

“Uzodinma has framed up something against Uche Nwosu.

“(President Muhammadu) Buhari should be informed about what is happening in Imo State.

“Hundreds of citizens are being killed in this state.”

The state government has yet to respond to the allegations.

Ex-Army chief faces N13b fraud charge

Ex-Army Chief, Gen Kenneth Minimah, faces N13b fraud charge at an Abuja High Court over alleged misappropriation of army funds.

The EFCC accused Minima and two others of pinching N13billion arms procurement funds from the Army till.

Minimah however argued that courts cannot prosecute officers who did not undergo a military trial for offences committed in service.

High Court trials must be preceded by a military trial as provided for in the Armed Forces Law, his defence said.

The court will hear the lawyers’ arguments on this question today, 9 December 2021.

EFCC charged the ex-Army Chief and two of his subordinates to court for diverting N13billion arms procurement funds to themselves.

Minimah’s alleged accomplices include AO Adetayo, former Army chief of accounts, and Col. RI Odi, former Army director of accounts.

EFCC said it investigated a report from a presidential panel that audited Army’s defence equipment procurements between 2007 and 2015.

The Panel, chaired by retired AVM Jon Ode, referred the report to EFCC on 15 August 2016 for further investigation, the Agency said.

The panel noted that “several billions of Naira” released for procurement of Military hard-wares were “misappropriated by Senior Army Officers.”

EFCC named Minimah, Adetayo and Odi in court as ringleaders of the alleged heist.

The Agency said it establish that the trio allegedly misappropriated a total of N13,798,619,309 of the arms procurement funds.

They diverted the funds to “company accounts of entities that had no business relations with the Nigerian Army,” EFCC said.

EFCC further alleged this was a huge loss to government as the Officers “converted the monies for their personal use.”

The court approved hearing on the matter and gave the parties 21 days to file their pleadings.

Accused challenge trial

The trio however filed a counter suit to challenge their trial which they said violates the Armed Foces Act.

The suit, filed by a team led by a senior advocate, Mahmud Magaji, was to be heard today.

They argued that both the Constitution and Armed Forces Act require that offending military officers first undergo a court martial.

This protocol restrains regulad courts at State and Federal levels from initiating trials of military offenders, the lawyers argued.

They further submitted that the Army law bars EFCC and other agencies from initiating investigations and prosecution of military officers.

The Minimah legal team argued that their clients ought to have been reported to their commanding officer after the audit investigation and not hustled to court.

They asked the court to rule on whether the officers can be prosecuted under any other law apart from the Armed Forces Act.

Their pleadings were embodied in a court-sworn affidavit by a Mr. Benjamin Anchi.

In the affidavit, the accused persons said they were not allowed to “explain their side of the story before EFCC rushed the matter to court.”

They said they overheard their names mentioned in the course of the work of the Presidential Panel.

Next they heard was that the panel had finished its work and “referred the case to … EFCC for further investigation.”

The EFCC, they said, concluded its investigation without reference to the accused and alleged that they misappropriated N13.79b.

The accused persons said nobody asked them “to explain their side of the story” before EFCC concluded that “there is a prima facie case against them.”

EFCC thereafter charged them and “requested the Nigerian Army to release them to collect their Charge sheets in other to prosecute them in the regular Court”.

The trio insisted that they are still under the military service law. Therefore, any matters concerning them ought to be referred to their commanding officer for investigation or trial.

“… Nigeria Army has its rules and statutory mechanisms for the administration of Criminal Justice. 

“…Military officer under the service law can only be prosecuted in the Court Martial … a special court specifically made for prosecution of persons in the Nigerian Armed forces”.

The EFCC, they said, “does not have powers to arraign them on the alleged offences committed in the course of their official duties.

“The law is clear on the mode of prosecuting military officers,” they concluded in the affidavit.

Ex-Army chief faces N13b fraud charge