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Police nab two UNIBEN students over drowning of colleague

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Two students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Samson Kennedy, one 200 level student of Biochemistry and Wilfred Emmanuel, of a 500 level student in  Optometry have been arrested by men of the Nigeria Police Force, Edo State Command.

They were nabbed for allegedly taking their colleague, 23-year-old, Francis Aniude (a final year student of Department of Chemistry) to Ekosodin River, where he drowned.

Meanwhile, the both of them, were said to be neighbours with Aniude, allegedly invited him to the Ekosodin River for sightseeing on June 29, 2023, where he drowned.

The detainees were said to have run back to the campus to raise the alarm after the incident.

It was gathered on account from a student of the Department of Chemistry, who does not want his name in print said, “Francis was drowned in the Ekosodin River, located in an off-campus community near the school on 29th of June and was declared missing, but his body was recovered by local divers in the community on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

“The discovery of blood on his lips and peeled skin around his neck region raised suspicion amongst family members and relatives who have demanded for an autopsy,” he said.

While confirming the report, the spokesperson of the Edo State Police Command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor said the duo were arrested to help the police in investigating the circumstances behind the death.

The case has been reported long ago at the Ugbowo Police Station. Eventually, the Divisional Police Officer and his men led a team of local divers to the scene of the incident.

However, they were able to recover the body. The case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for further investigations.

As two persons were arrested, the reason being that they went together to go and swim in that river when the ugly incident occurred.

“Arresting them is very important so that we can know what made them to leave their hostel and went to that river at that point in time and what happened right there in the river,” he said.

Crime

NDLEA intercepts largest consignment of heroin at Lagos airport, arrests four cartel members

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has successfully dismantled and arrested members of an organised criminal organization which specialises in trafficking heroin across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America in a 12-day well-coordinated operation leading to the seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos.

This was disclosed at a press conference by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) in Lagos on Tuesday 27th February 2024.

While explaining that the briefing is in line with the Agency’s policy of transparency in its renewed fight against drug traffickers, he gave a chronological brief of how the operation leading to what is now the single largest seizure of heroin at the Lagos airport was successfully carried out.

According to Marwa, “It started on February 10, 2024, when NDLEA operatives of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command intercepted a suspicious package at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s Cargo Terminal. The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines. Each carton was stocked with three blocks of high-grade heroin. In total, we recovered 45 blocks of the illicit substance with a total weight of 49.70kg.

“After the discovery, we were methodical and meticulous in our investigations. We started with the arrest of the freight agent whose name is Olowolagba Wasiu Babatunde. It turned out that he was hired for clearing services by Mattpee Logistics, a company operated by one Mr. Kola, resident in South Africa.

“Next, we conducted a follow up operation at the company’s warehouse in the Shogunle area of Oshodi, Lagos, and arrested the warehouse manager, whose name is Ajayi Imole Moses. Thereafter, we set up an ambush for the expected receiver of the consignment who was duly arrested when he showed up for collection. This receiver, whose name is Adinnu Felix Chinedu, confessed during interrogation that he is the main distributor for a drug syndicate whose membership is spread across Nigeria.

“He admitted that he usually conveyed the consignment to a dedicated warehouse located in Ayobo. That place served as a workshop where he would dismantle the consignment and remove the drugs from the machines. Thereafter, he would wait for a list of various recipients to be forwarded to him from South Africa by the head of the criminal group.

“Our operatives did due diligence by conducting a thorough search of the warehouse which led to the recovery of 56 similar cartons of the cutting machines that were used previously as modes of concealment to ferry heroin into Nigeria.

“At this point, it was clear that we are dealing with a syndicate that operates in other countries. By the time we were done exploring various leads we had, we unravelled an organised criminal network that operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria and parts of Europe and America.

“This syndicate has a wide network in Nigeria because the consignments we seized were marked with several codenames, showing that they belonged to different members of this organised criminal group. Furthermore, in our follow-up operation, we uncovered from the suspect a long list of receivers of illicit drugs.

“In the end, we were able to identify the kingpin of the syndicate here in Nigeria and his name is Reginald Peter Chidiebere. Our investigations showed that he owns the Golden Platinum Hotel and Suite, located at 16 Reginald Peter Chidiebere Street, Hope Estate, Ago Palace.”

The NDLEA boss said several days of surveillance on the hotel culminated in a raid operation on Monday, February 19 in which another drug mule, Igboanugo Chukwuebuka Thankgod, was found in possession of two parcels of 2.2kg heroin with codes similar to the ones found on the seized drug shipment, bringing the total seizure to 51.90 kilograms.

“He readily confessed that he was invited by Mr. Reginald Peter Chidiebere to the hotel on Sunday, February 18, 2024. He was lodged in one of the rooms and was later summoned by the receptionist to meet a guest, from whom Reginald Peter Chidiebere had informed him over the phone to receive a package. This sequence of action was confirmed by a review of the CCTV at the hotel,” he stated.

He further explained that pre-emptive actions so far taken against members of the syndicate include freezing a total of 107 bank accounts associated with 14 members of the cartel as well as N119,582,928.31 found in some of the already traced bank accounts.

He added that the hotel and a mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Nigeria, Reginald Peter Chidiebere and another mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Mozambique, Festus Ibewuike located in Ago Palace area had already been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

He said the measure yielded further fruit on Thursday 22nd February when a female member of the syndicate and wife of Festus Ibewuike, Mrs. Confidence Ndidiamaka, Ibewuike who is one of those to collect part of the consignment from Adinnu Felix Chinedu, was arrested at Ago Palace area on last Thursday.

“When they were brought face to face, he (Adinnu Felix Chinedu) immediately identified her as one of the members of the criminal syndicate who had received similar packages of heroin

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Crime

Imposter convicted for attempting to defraud ex-Nasarawa Gov’s wife

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Justice Peter Kekemeke of a Federal Capital Territory High Court on Tuesday convicted a false investigator, Mohammed Momoh, for defrauding Mario Al -Makura, wife of a former governor of Nasarawa State.

Mr Kekemeke convicted Mr Momoh based on the charge preferred against him by the Economic and financial Crimes Commission bordering on false pretences.

The judge held that the prosecution proved its case beyond the reasonable doubt to warrant them to have the judgment in their favour after calling three witnesses.

The judge said, “The prosecution has proved their case beyond reasonable doubt and subsequently, the defendant is hereby convicted.”

The defendant’s counsel applied to the court for a date for the sentencing.

The prosecution did not oppose the application.

Justice Kekemeke then adjourned until March 12 for sentencing.

He, however, ordered that since the defendant has been convicted, he should be remanded in the correctional service pending sentencing.

Mr Momoh was arrested in December 2017 by operatives of the EFCC for attempting to defraud Mairo Al-makura.

The EFCC alleged that the suspect, while posing as a private investigator from the “Villa” approached the wife of the governor with a proposal to help stop a purported investigation of two accounts belonging to the governor.

The anti-graft agency said Mr Momoh claimed that he came across information regarding the two accounts in 2011.

The EFCC said the defendant requested N8 million but was offered N6 million. As they were not clear about the proposal, the governor’s family contacted the EFCC and were asked to play along with the defendant.

The defendant was arrested during a sting operation after he collected marked N2 million from Al-Makura.

According to the EFCC, the offence is contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.

The one-count charge read as follows, “Muhammed Momoh, on or about December 22, 2017 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N2m from one Hajia Mairo Tanko Al-Makura through Idris Ahmed Al-makura under the pretext that you are a private investigator with capacity to help the said Hajia Mairo Tanko Al-Makura resolve her case with the EFCC which you knew to be false.”

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Crime

Extortion: Customs hands over officer to Service Police

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By Austine Emmanuel, Kaduna

The Nigeria Custom Service, (NCS) Federal Operation Unit Zone “B” Kaduna has handed over an Officer to the Service Police, following an alleged extortion of N500,000 from a car buyer.

The Comptroller Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘B’ Kaduna, Dalha Wada Chedi, handed over the officer to the Customs police for proper investigation, said any act of indiscipline from officers will not be condoned.

In a statement made available to Nigerian NewsDirect on behalf of the Comptroller, Superintendent of Customs, FOU Zone ‘B’ Kaduna, Isah Sulaiman, confirm that the suspected Officer in question is an operative of the Unit deployed to Mokwa Patrol Team in Niger State, adding that the car buyer, identified as Muhammad Dahiru Ahmad was allegedly extorted along the Niger State route.

Isah further clarified that the unfortunate incident occurred in the early hours of Thursday, February 22, 2024 as reported by the complainant.

He said, “Upon hearing the alleged unfortunate incident, I directed the Customs Police Unit in the Zone that is responsible for enforcing discipline in the Service to apprehend the Officer and move him to the Unit’s Headquarters here in Kaduna for further interrogation. Also, the Complainant was invited to assist in the investigation as well.

“The Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR and his Management team frowned at such unruly behavior as such the disciplinary committee will be diligent and firm. In fact the Service is very pragmatic and practical in disciplinary cases and this one will not be an exception.

“The Officer is hereby handed over to the APM Customs Police Unit for discreet investigation and the findings of the investigation will be transmitted to NCS-HQ for further action by the Nigeria Customs Service Board as it is the only body that handles the Appointment, Promotions and Discipline of all Senior Officers of the Service.

“This unprofessional and ungodly act will not be condoned. A thorough investigation has just commenced by this handing over to unravel the facts surrounding the allegation and the outcome shall be made public to serve as a deterrent to others.

“We are deeply concerned and we assure the general public that the matter will be treated with the deserved vigour, decisiveness, and transparency,” the statement read in part.

The Comptroller however assured the public that the Unit would provide an update as the investigation progresses.

“In addition, the Unit will continue to update the public as the investigation progresses while appreciating the understanding and usual support of the public,” Isah said.

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