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Witness: How Jonathan’s minister, Plateau PDP chairman withdrew N450m cash from bank

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Annette Gyen, a witness, has told a federal high court in Jos how Sarah Ochekpe, former minister of water resources, and two others allegedly withdrew N450 million cash a new generation bank.

Ochekpe, who was minister under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, and the co-accused are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly collecting N450 million from Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister, in 2015.

The two other accused are Raymond Dabo, former Plateau PDP chairman, and Leo Jatau, coordinator of the president Goodluck Johnathan campaign in the state.

The EFCC is alleging that the trio collected N450 million cash from one Annette Olije-Gyen, operation manager of the bank, which exceeded the amount authorised by law.

The anti-graft agency said the offence contravened sections 18 (a)(d), 1 (a), 16(1)(d), and was punishable under section 16 (2) of money laundering (prohibition) Act 2012, (as amended).

At the court sitting on Monday, Gyen told the court that Martins Ezuogbe, who was the then group divisional head of operations directed the bank cashiers to disburse the money to the trio.

“On March 26, 2015, we obediently called the trio, who came to our office and were given the money,” she said
“After confirming the money, we gave them our bullion van with which they conveyed it.”

She said on January 8, 2017, the bank received a letter from EFCC asking for details of the transaction, and “on January 11, we responded to that request.”

The request of Ahmed Munchaka, the prosecutor, that the two letters be tendered as evidence was rejected by the defence lawyers.

Gyang Zi and S.O. Oyewale, the defence counsels, argued that the letters should not be admitted because they were not original copies.

“The bank should have produced original copies of the letters; the court cannot work with photocopies because they might have been tampered with. We can only accept original copies,” they said.

After listening to the parties, Musa Kurya, the presiding judge, adjourned the case till May 17 and May 18 for ruling on admission of the letters, and continuation of hearing.

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4 Policemen killed, Burnt In Patrol Van In Edo

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Four policemen attached to the Sabongida-Ora Divisional Police Headquarters, were on Saturday evening killed and burnt in their patrol van by unknown persons in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo. The police officers were killed at a road block at Uzebba-Aviosi junction along Ifon road, Sabongida-Ora. Though there was nothing like exchange of gun fire, the perpetrators however went away with the guns of the deceased officers.

A resident of the community said: “Nobody can really explained what happened because there was no sound of gun fire, we saw police van burning and only realised, on a closer look, that there were four policemen burning inside. “The people responsible must have planned this thing as they carried out the job neatly. How do you explain killing of the officers and loading their dead bodies on their van and setting the van ablaze.

“This check point have for long been in existence and we have never experienced anything of such not even exchange of gun fire in the area. “We are at a lost as to what must have happened and how it occurred. It is even more confusing as there was no incident of armed robbery around the area on Friday or Saturday,” .
When called for reaction, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Babatunde Kokumo, said he cannot speak on the matter as he was in Ekiti State for election matter. Similarly, the Command’s Spokesman, Mr Chidi Nwanbuzor, declined to speak on it saying, “I am very busy now.

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Tragedy as customs officer kills 2 colleagues on Lagos-Badagry road

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An officer of the Nigeria Customs Service on Saturday, July 14, killed two of his colleagues along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

The two officers were said to have been crushed by their colleague who drove a Toyota Avalon with registration number YAB 366 JY.

Punch reports that the officers were at a checkpoint in a Toyota Camry with registration number YLA 121 BJ when the incident occurred.

While, the two officers died on the spot, the driver of the Toyota Avalon was said to be unconscious at the Intensive Care Unit of the Badagry General Hospital where he is currently receiving treatment.

It was gathered that the three officials of the NCS were attached to the Seme Border Command in Lagos.

A witness at the scene of the accident said the the tyre of the Toyota Avalon burst leading to the mishap.

The witness said: “The incident happened around 7.45 am on Saturday at Gbaji checkpoint. The customs officers were crushed to death by a Toyota Avalon driven by another customs officer of the same command.

“His car was descending the Gbaji Bridge and heading for Seme when one of his tyres burst. He lost control, thereby sending the two officers to their death,” the witness added.

However, the bodies have been deposited at a morgue in the area by officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) led by the Badagry unit Commander Fatai Bakare.

Bakare said the accident was caused by speeding.

“The customs officers were inside their vehicle at one of the checkpoints on the Lagos-Seme Road. The driver of the Avalon was on top speed when he crashed into them.

He veered off the road and rammed into them. The two customs officers died on the spot, while the man responsible for the accident is in a coma,” Bakare said.

Also, the spokesperson for the NCS Seme Command, Saidu Abdulahi, confirming the incident, identified the deceased as Usman and Kabiru while the Toyota Avalon driver was identified as George.

Abdulahi said: “On Saturday, July 14, 2018, I received reports of an incident involving three officers of the Seme Area Command at Gbaji checkpoint. Usman and Kabiru were involved in a ghastly motor accident which resulted in their fatalities.

“The driver of the other vehicle, George, is currently on admission at a general hospital,” he said

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‘I watched them kill 16 people’ — teenager narrates 24-hour encounter in Kano ritualists’ den

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Salihu Yahaya, a 17 year-old secondary student in Bauchi state, on Friday narrated how he escaped the “slaughter slab” of ritual killers in Kano state.
In an interview with NAN, the student said he had not recovered from the trauma three weeks after the gory incident.
According to him, after he was captured and taken to an undisclosed location, he and 18 other victims were dressed in red cloth and numbered, just as the first 16 people were slaughtered in his presence.
“I was in front of our house in Bauchi at 12 noon on June 23rd when some two persons in a car stopped and inquired about a bakery very close to our house,” he said.
“I was heading to the bakery house at that time so I volunteered to join them in the car and show them the place. Immediately I entered, I was hypnotized and lost my senses, only to find myself in a compound some hours later, along with 18 others victims, all of us dressed in red material that had been numbered, and our heads completely shaved.”
Yahaya said at that point, the beheading of the victims began in the presence of all of them.
“We were watching helplessly as a huge man came along with his other accomplices, tied the hands of the first victim, slaughtered him and preserved the gushing blood in a container,” he said.
“I was number 18 in the queue and when the 16th person was beheaded, the slaughter-man said he was tired, and therefore directed that the three of us remaining be kept in a room till early morning the following day for him to complete the exercise.
“At that point, I wished I had my turn that day because the sight was too much to bear.”
He said luck came their way when by 3am, the hefty man mandated to keep watch over the three of them complained of headache and went in search of ‘panadol’, leaving the room they were kept, open.
“The three of us decided to take the chance and rushed out, only to discover that the house was the only structure in a bush and had no perimeter fence,” he said.
“We ran long distances in different directions, until I fell down unconscious, only to wake up later in the day to discover that I was in a police station in Kano.
“The policemen, who were so nice to me, provided me with food and a place to take bath, after which they collected the telephone number of my brother in Bauchi, which I have, off-hand, and alerted him.”
The student, who is still looking scared and had to be persuaded by his brothers to grant the interview to NAN, said the room they were kept was full of human heads and bodies of those slaughtered ahead of them.
“As I am talking to you now, I am still seeing the face of the slaughter man three weeks after the incident and the scene of the gory happening will remain in my memory for long,” he lamented.
He said he had not been attending school since his return from Kano because of his state of mind.
Yahaya Yerima, father of the student, confirmed the incident but could not grant NAN an elaborate interview on the issue as he was busy preparing for the wedding of his daughter, slated for Saturday, July 14.

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