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Izombe crisis: Panel received over 350 petitions — Chairman



Over 350 petitions were received and treated by the judicial panel of inquiry on security crisis that rocked Izombe, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo and other parts of the state in October 2021.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Fred Njemanze disclosed this when he presented a white paper on its inquiry to Gov. Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday at the Government House, Owerri.

Njemanze said the petitions received included 19 evidences from chairmen, traditional rulers, and some President-Generals of the affected communities.

They also included evidences provided by the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Correctional Services.

The Chairman said, “We could have received more than that but because of some sort of fears which so many were entertaining, including lawyers appearing for them.

“Some of them had to withdraw at certain stage out of fear.

“Unfortunately, the Army refused to appear before the judicial panel despite all we did to bring them.

“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) also did not appear.

“But in all, we have four volumes of our reports; the first report is the main report where we made our findings and recommendations.

“Volumes two, three and four are the proceedings, exhibits and other materials,” he added.

He described part of their panel’s findings as “man’s inhumanity to man and acts of savagery.”

While presenting the report, Njemanze commended the governor for the opportunity given to the members of the panel to serve the state.

Responding, Uzodimma, who commended the panel for conducting a thorough work in a timely manner, promised to take into consideration, their far-reaching recommendations.

Uzodimma said they would be consulted whenever their services were required again.

He expressed confidence that when the recommendations were implemented, it would calm the nerves of aggrieved persons and restore lasting peace in the area.

The Governor further pledged the continued protection of lives and property of residents in the state.


FEC okays N829m to rehabilitate Anambra-Enugu link road



The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja approved the sum of N829.8 million as revised estimated cost for the rehabilitation of a road linking Anambra and Enugu States.

Contract for the rehabilitation of the road was originally awarded in 2018 because it is a strategic inter-state road that had heavy traffic.

Minister of State for Works and Housing, Malam Umar El-Yakub, gave the revised contract figure when he spoke with journalists at the end of the council’s weekly meeting.

“The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing presented a memorandum seeking council’s approval for the revised estimated cost of the contract.

“It is for the rehabilitation of the Nkwo-Inyi-Akpugoze Road at Anambra’s border with Enugu State and is expected to be completed in six months.

“One of the essences of this augmentation is not only revising the rate, but to ensure longevity for the road, using asphaltic concrete binder,’’ he said.

On the dilapidated nature of the Ekpoma-Benin Expressway, the Minister assured that measures were being taken to fix the road but that the rainy season was delaying its completion.

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Anambra: 25-year-old man arraigned for raping four underage boys



…One other docked for allegedly assaulting teenage girl

A 25-year-old man, Chidiebere Okorie, was arraigned   before a Children and Sexual Offences Court in Amawbia, Anambra on Wednesday for raping four underage boys.

The victims are aged between eight years and 14 years.

Prosecuting Counsel, Mrs Amara Amilo, told the court that Okorie of Ogboji town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra committed the offence on July 10.

She said the accused inserted his penis into the anuses of the boys and thereby committed an offence punishable under the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law of Anambra 2017.

Okorie pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge of sexual assault after which his counsel prayed the court to grant him bail.

Mrs Amilo, however, opposed the bail application and argued that the offence committed was a grievous one.

Presiding Chief Magistrate Genevieve Osakwe ordered that the accused be remanded at a correctional centre and adjourned hearing to September 21.

Similarly, a 35-year-old man, Odili Chukwuka, was arraigned before the Children and Sexual Offences Court sitting in Amawbia, Anambra on Wednesday for alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl.

Chukwuka of Aguluezechukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of the state faced a nine-count charge of sexual abuse, unlawful assault, stealing and infliction of bodily injury.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Prosecuting Insp Anayo Nwano told the court that the offences were committed on July 28 at Aguluezechukwu.

“The accused and others still at large sexually abused a 17-year-old girl by touching and applying pepper to her private parts.

“He abused her emotionally and verbally, assaulted her unlawfully by stripping her naked, tying her hands and legs, and flogging her to stupor with peppered cane.

“Chukwuka also deprived his victim of her liberty and stole her phone and a bag containing unspecified sum of money,’’ Nwano told the court.

He said the offences contravened the Criminal Code of Anambra State 1991, the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law of Anambra 2017 and the Child Rights Law of Anambra State 2004.

The presiding Chief Magistrate, Mrs Genevieve Osakwe, ordered that the accused be remanded in police custody and adjourned the case to September 21 for mention.

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Enugu AUPCTRE decries poor condition of service for members



The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) has frowned at the poor condition of service for workers in parastatal organisations in Enugu State.

The Enugu State Chairman of the union, Mr Timothy Ojielo, made the remark on Wednesday in Enugu during the state council’s Delegates’ Conference.

According to Ojielo, most of the parastatal organisations have no scheme and condition of service.

He said that the development was the reason workers were not scheduled for pension.

“It is regrettable that the situation in the state is now both systemic and endemic. Hence, no amount of demonstrations or strikes move the political class to change for the better.

“The entitlements of workers in the organisations, like gratuities and pensions, are not even mentioned year after year to justify ones diligent services for 35 years.

“This has exposed pensioners to agonising deaths as a result of starvation,” he said.

Ojielo said that it was sad that while workers in core ministries were paid the N30, 000 minimum wage, “we have been excluded since February 2020.

“We are using this conference to call on the state government for the umpteenth time to address this discriminatory issue without further delay,” he said.

Ojielo further said that most of their members in different government agencies were treated like slaves.

“We are calling on our national leadership to as a matter of urgency lend a hand of comradery to us,” Ojielo said.

Responding, the Head of Service (HoS), Mr Ken Chukwuegbo, said that the state government was doing its best to ensure that workers in the state were happy.

Chukwuegbo, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Establishment, Mr Donatus Achi, said that the government planned to do more for workers within its limited resources.

He said that the State Government had no immunity against the economic downturn and other issues currently plaguing the world.

He contended that, in spite of the challenges, the State Government had continued to pay salaries on regular basis.

“Salary payment is one of the top priorities of this administration because workers deserve their wages,” Chukwuegbo said.

He listed other government’s gestures to workers to include training and retraining of workers, lifting of ban on conversions and advancements and refund of deductions for the National Housing Funds.

“What is needed now is a teamwork where every worker is expected to play their own part by coming to work early and discharging their duties effectively.

“In the above regard, your union has a great role to play in sensitising the workers to put in their best so that our state would move forward,” the HoS said.

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