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Land Dispute Leaves Traditional Ruler, 2 others Dead In Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi 

A land dispute between Amla Community in Otukpo and Okete Community in Ohimini Local Government Areas of Benue State, has claimed the life of a traditional ruler identified as Chief Sunday Okpe, while five other persons have been injured.

Late Chief Sunday Okpe, a clan head in Okete Community was reportedly slaughtered along side, with two other people by the Amla militias who also burnt down 17 houses and ten motorcycles on Friday and Saturday, May 2024.

It was gathered that the dispute which has lasted for over three years, came to climax last Friday and Saturday leaving three persons dead from both communities while property worth millions of naira also destroyed.

The dispute had left several persons injured who are currently receiving treatment at different hospitals in Otukpo and many houses reportedly burnt down beyond repairs.

Speaking to newsmen on phone in Makurdi, the Caretaker Chairman of Otukpo, Mr Alfred Omakwu, confirmed the incident and simply said “The problem was that the Okete people lost it.”

He explained that “They, Okete people, used to farm in Amla land and sometimes last year, 2023, when we wanted to do layout to develop the place, the Okete people went to report to the Och’Idoma that their farm products was there and so the Och’Idoma told them no layout would be done until they harvest their products. 

“February this year they went and harvested their products and the Och’Idoma told them that in March, the Otukpo people can go ahead with their layout. That none of them should farm there again.

“So when the bulldozers were brought back to the place, they again said that they have already farmed on the land and that it is affecting their farm products.”

He said the Okete people reported to their second class chief who also confirmed from the Och’Idoma that their people have been told not to farm there again.

“So when they were doing the layout on Friday, they went to their lawyer and when he called me, I told him the people were asked not to farm there again but if they want to go to court, it’s their right.

“They said they would stop the bulldozers from working and the lawyer told them he would have to get an injunction from the court and they said they can’t wait.

“Then they went to the First Class Chief of Otukpo/Ohimini, who called the Och’Idoma and he still said they should not stop the people doing the layout that he asked them not to farm there again.

“Then they went there and opened fire on the people. They killed one, shot two people and burnt all their motorbikes, about 10 of them.

“So the Otukpo people retaliated the next day, burnt some houses, killed two persons,” Omakwu said.

But the Caretaker Chairman of Ohimini LGA, Mr Samson Okoh, accused the Otukpo Chairman of taken bulldozers to destroyed farm crops of his people.

Giving account of the incident from his side, Mr. Okoh said the land in dispute is in a place called Amla, close to Okete.

According to him, “the Otukpo Chairman took bulldozers to the place where the Okete people happened to be farming for years to open a layout and then bulldozed all the farm crops belonging to his people.

“When the Okete people approached them and asked why they are doing that, the Amla people said the land does not belong to the Okete people but to them Amla people. 

“So when the argument ensued according to what I was told, somehow one of them from Otukpo pulled the trigger but mistakenly the bullet entered the Otukpo person rather.

“Then on Saturday night the Amla people reinforced and barricaded the Okete people burnt houses beat up one boy and in the day time around 10 to 11am when I went to take the boy they killed to the mortuary, the Alma people went to the place and burnt 17 houses, burnt motorcycles, slaughtered a chief, a clan head Sunday Okpe, and injured five persons. we have taken them to the teaching hospital in Otukpo for treatment.”

Okoh lamented that Okete community is completely deserted as the people have ran to take refuge at Ojayi community pending when peace is restored.

He further stated that he was not aware that the Och’Idoma asked his people not to farm there again “I am not aware of that but the Otukpo Chairman claim so. I was not told by the Och’Idoma to tell my people not to farm there.

“The Och’Idoma cannot tell people to stop farming where they have been farming for years without compensation, without settlement and you just take the bulldozer and bulldoze people’s crops.

“Automatically you’re killing those people and this people have nothing else that they do apart from farming. 

“I am writing to the government to restore peace to enable my people to go home and continue their normal business. If the government can do this I’ll be very happy,” Okoh said.

Meanwhile Otukpo Chairman who noted that calm has been restored in his area said after a peace with the state Commissioner of Police, CP Hassan Yabanet in Makurdi on Monday, they have been asked to fish out those who perpetrated the act to ensure they are brought to book to serve as deterrent to others.

“Yesterday the Commissioner summoned all of us from both parties for a peace meeting. We have agreed that all the culprits will be brought to book. We will arrest all those who went to start the attack and those who did the reprisal because we asked them not to attack since the people who went to shoot are known, they would be handed over to the police so that it can serve as deterrent to other people who will take laws into their hands,” Omakwu said.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident. She said “I don’t have details but the incident was confirmed to me and one person died at the time I called.”

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Rivers Assembly Screens, Confirms Eight Commissioner Designates

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The Victor Oko-Jumbo-led faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly, on Tuesday screened and confirmed eight nominees for possible appointment as commissioners in the state.

Reports says that the screening took place at the temporary legislative chambers located within the state Government House.

The Oko-Jumbo-led three-member legislature is loyal to the state Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

The commissioner designates are to fill some of the vacancies created by the recent resignation of nine commissioners loyal to the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike.

During the sitting, Oko-Jumbo read the correspondence from the governor, requesting the screening and confirmation of the nominees.

He expressed the assembly’s commitment towards supporting the governor to provide democracy dividends to Rivers people.

The factional speaker said that the screening was part of the assembly’s responsibility in the governance of the state

Responding, the House Leader, Mr Sokari Good-boy and Deputy Speaker, Adolphus Timothy, unanimously adopted the request.

They said that most of the nominees had previously served the state at various capacities without blemish.

The commissioner designates include, Mr Charles Bakee, Mr Collins Onunwo, Dr Peter Medee and Mr Elloka Amadi,

Others are, Mr Basoene Benibo, Mr Sydney Gbara, Dr Ovy Chukwuma and Mr Solomon Eke.(NAN)

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Police Arrest Suspect for Allegedly Defrauding Thai Citizen of $216,000, N30m

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Police in Lagos State have arrested a suspect, Chimereze Chinedu, for allegedly defrauding a citizen of Thailand of $216,000 (₦317,725,271) and N30 million.

Police spokesman in the state, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the arrest in a post he shared on his X (formerly Twitter) handle @benHundeyin on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect was arrested by detectives of the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID).

“Chinedu defrauded his victim under the pretense of selling 37 tricycles to her.

“He further expanded his fraudulent activity by forging letters of SCID, Lagos, showing that the tricycles were seized by the police and further extorted N30 million from the victim to purportedly secure the release of the tricycles,” he said.

The image maker said that the suspect was arrested on May 10 in Enugu State following weeks of diligent investigation and technical support from the International Criminal Police Organization, (INTERPOL)

The spokesman said that the suspect was currently in detention, as investigations continued to uncover details towards identifying and apprehending his accomplices.

According to Hundeyin, the Lagos State Command remains steadfast in its commitment to combating internet fraud and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice. (NAN)

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Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers not Proven Effective, Says UNODC

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that the move by the Nigerian Senate to impose death penalty for drug trafficking offenders would not yield the desired result.

UNODC Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe, said this at a two-day Media Personnel Training organised in collaboration with NDLEA and other partners on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that the training is centered on Anti -Corruption, Police Accountability, Wildlife Crime and Sensitisation on Drugs Prevention, Treatment and Care, (DPTC).

“Our stance as UN is clear on the death penalty we are principally and categorically against it. And from a very practical viewpoint, I have to say, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Stolpe maintained that the UN had always advocated for clear distinction between crimes of drug trafficking as opposed to the issue of drug use.

He said that it was always considered primarily to be a health issue saying that it should be dealt with as such.

According to him, addiction is a health condition, it is not a choice.”

On the need for an updated drug data for Nigerians, Stolpe observed that the current national drug survey for Nigeria was last done six years ago, (2018), and therefore does not reflect the current situation for Nigeria.

He said “the drug use survey of 2018 remains as far as I can tell the most cited study in the media.

“This data is outdated and I think a very critical question that media could ask at that point is really well, how can we still refer to 2018 data to describe today’s levels of drug use?

Stolpe enjoined the media to keep the good work while ensuring that information were disseminated efficiently and effectively. NAN)

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