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Six more CUSTECH students rescued, total now 20 — Kogi Govt

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A combined team of security operatives and local hunters have rescued six additional students of the Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH) in Osara, Kogi State, bringing the total number of rescued students to 20.

This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement on Tuesday.

The students were among the 24 abducted by suspected bandits who invaded the institution on Thursday, while they were preparing for their first-semester examination scheduled to begin on May 13.

The Kogi State Government has commended the security operatives and local hunters for their efforts in rescuing the students, and has assured the public that everything is being done to ensure the safe return of the remaining students.

“Government’s data shows that only four students are still missing from Thursday’s abduction of CUSTECH students.

“Meanwhile, frantic efforts are being made to locate and rescue the four.

“Fierce gun battle between security agents and the kidnappers forced the kidnappers to abandon the six rescued students, with some escaping with severe injuries.

“The families of the six recently-rescued students have confirmed their safe return home as the first 14,” he said.

The commissioner said that the state Gov. Usman Ododo had expressed deep appreciation to the joint forces that carried out the rescue operations. He quoted the governor as urging the forces to continue the search until the remaining students would be found.

“This government wishes to assure the public that the security architecture around schools has been recalibrated for efficiency and early warning systems to prevent future occurrences,” Fanwo stated.

He expressed joy that the rescue came hours after Ododo visited the institution and assured parents of his readiness to rescue all the students.

Fanwo said that the 14 students rescued earlier were getting the required attention. According to him, security agents are combing the forests to ensure that all the kidnapped students are found and brought home safely.

Crime

Terrorists kill 12 in Kaduna market attack

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Terrorists, on Wednesday, reportedly attacked and killed 12 persons at Maro Junction, a weekly Market in Maro Ward, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

A former chairman of the local government, Cafra Caino, who confirmed the development to PUNCH Online, said the assailants invaded the market around 3pm on Wednesday and opened fire.

According to him, 12 bodies have been recovered while 20 others who sustained various degrees of injuries have been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

He explained that it was the second time the weekly market had been attacked while business owners and customers transacting businesses.

“The situation is critical and has thrown residents around the area into confusion while they scampered for safety in neighbouring villages.

“Security operatives drafted to the area have already left. We are appealing to the government to deploy security operatives to help restore normalcy,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mansir Hassan, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him by our correspondent as of the time of filling this report.

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Crime

EFCC arrests seven for alleged illegal mining activities in Ilorin

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Operatives of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC have arrested seven suspects for offences bordering on illegal mining activities, and two others for offering N1.2million bribe to compromise the operatives of the Commission.

The arrest, which followed credible intelligence and days of surveillance, was carried out on Friday,  May 24, 2024 at Ogbomosho, Oyo State. The suspects are Waliyu Abidoye, Abubakar Auwal, Abdulrauf Hakim, Sabiu Usman, Salihu Godwin, Dauda Mohammed and Olalekan Aremu.

At the point of arrest, five truckloads of assorted minerals suspected to be lepidolite, lithium and precious stone among others were recovered from the suspects.

Investigations revealed that the suspects were not licensed miners and  did not requisite authority to purchase and possess the minerals. They were also not paying royalties to the Federal and States Governments, as required by law.

The Commission also arrested two other persons, Faleti Waheed and Noah Olalekan who allegedly offered N1.2million bribe to the operatives in order to secure the release of one of the seized trucks.

The duo of Waheed and Olalekan approached the EFCC operatives at the point of arrest and negotiated to give them money in order to have their seized truck released. The officers played along and got the suspects arrested at the point of delivering the money.

The sum of N995,500 (Nine Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Five Hundred Naira Only) was recovered from Waheed who claimed to be a manager at a filling station in Ogbomosho while the sum of N201,000 (Two Hundred and One Thousand Naira Only) was recovered from Olalekan who claimed to be a scavenger.

The suspects will be arraigned in court upon conclusion of ongoing investigations.

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NDLEA nabs cocaine trafficking couple, seizes multi-billion-naira drugs

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested a cocaine cartel led by a couple, Bolanle Lookman Dauda and Olayinka Dauda, in Lagos and Ogun states.

The duo were arrested with the assistance of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on May 25, 2024, at Ibiye, along the Lagos-Badagry expressway, as they attempted to cross the land border to deliver the consignment to Ghana.

According to NDLEA’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, the husband and wife were found with 42 blocks of cocaine weighing 47.5 kilograms. A subsequent raid on their residence in Agbara, Ogun State, uncovered an additional eight blocks of cocaine weighing 10 kilograms, bringing the total seizure to 57.5 kilograms.

The statement reads: “A cocaine trafficking cartel headed by a couple: Bolanle Lookman Dauda and Olayinka Toheebat Dauda has been smashed in Lagos and Ogun States by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, with multi-billion-naira worth of the illicit drug recovered in two major operations following the arrest of the kingpin and his queen in one of the intelligence-led raids.

“The duo were arrested on Saturday 25th May 2024 by operatives of a special operation unit in NDLEA with the support of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States at Ibiye, along Lagos-Badagry expressway while attempting to cross the land border to deliver the consignment in Ghana.

“At the point of their arrest, 42 blocks of the Class A drug weighing 47.5 kilograms were found on them. A swift follow-up operation in their residence at Plot 24/25 OPIC extension, Petedo road, Agbara, Ogun State, led to the recovery of an additional eight blocks of the same drug weighing 10kg, bringing the total weight of the cocaine seized from the couple to 57.5 kilograms.

In a related operation, NDLEA operatives also recovered 1,100 ampoules of fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid, from two members of a drug trafficking syndicate at the Idumota market in Lagos Island. Additionally, 432 grams of methamphetamine were seized from two individuals in a separate raid on Lagos Island.

The statement said, “In another raid by the special operation unit, no fewer than 1,100 ampoules of lethal synthetic opioid, fentanyl, weighing 6.48kg were recovered from a member of a drug trafficking syndicate, 34-year-old Ikeh Stanley Ifeanyi at the popular Idumota market in Lagos Island.

“No less than 790 ampoules of the dangerous opioid weighing 5.273kg were equally seized from another member of the fentanyl syndicate, 48-year-old Chieze Ogechukwu Benjamin who was also arrested at Idumota market. Fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid, which is 100 times more potent than heroin is currently responsible for over 70% of overdose deaths as well as a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the US.

“Two other persons: Olayiwola Aremu Kazeem, 37, and Ogunfowora Taofik Ajibola, 35, were arrested on Lagos Island in a different raid by NDLEA officers with 432 grams of methamphetamine recovered from them.

NDLEA operatives at Tincan port in Lagos intercepted a container marked MSMU 7294325 on May 25, containing a Toyota Highlander SUV with 15 parcels of Loud, a synthetic cannabis strain, weighing 7.5kg. The container, which originated from Toronto and passed through Montreal, Canada, was declared to contain three used vehicles, including the Toyota Highlander. However, the hidden drug consignment was discovered and seized by the NDLEA.

Following the interception of the drug consignment, a swift follow-up operation led to the arrest of two suspects, Sunday Sodade and Oriyomi Adesina, who were supposed to receive the vehicle and the drugs. Additionally, a bribe of six million naira offered to NDLEA officers by the sender of the container, based in Canada, through his agent, has been recorded as evidence for the prosecution of the case.

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