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Many Injured as Traders, Revenue Agents Clash in Abakaliki Market

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Abakaliki Traders Revenue Collectors 28 August 2019 Clash
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Several people on Wednesday 28th August 2019 in Abakaliki sustained various degrees of injuries as traders at the Abakpa Main Market, Abakaliki clashed with suspected revenue agents drafted to enforce payment of tax in the market.

Some of the victims including Messrs Uchechukwu Nkwegu, Sunday Awoke, Patrick Eze among other traders are currently receiving treatment at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

Mrs Loveth Odah, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ebonyi confirmed the incident while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Odah said that armed policemen had been drafted to the market to maintain law and order, adding that the police had launched preliminary investigation into the incident.

She confirmed that one of the traders was left unconscious after the clash but was revived by doctors.

According to Odah, trouble ensued when Ebonyi revenue collection agents led by Mr Martin Ukwuegbu, Special Assistant to Gov. Dave Umahi on Internally Generated Revenue went into the market for tax collection.

She said that in the statement deposed on oath by Ukwuegbu, some of the affected defaulters resisted and began fighting with the revenue agents.

“According to the SA to the governor on IGR, trouble started when revenue defaulting traders at the market refused to pay their tax to the agents who came to collect it.

“The SA said that expected IGR from the market has been on the decline due to refusal by shop owners to remit taxes to appropriate government revenue accounts.

“So, the SA and the revenue agents moved into the market to enforce compliance and to get defaulters to face approved sanctions after the defaulters have failed to honour series of invitation and papers served on them to come and explain their non-compliance.

“The revenue agents went into the market to identify those ones who have refused to pay and to seal their shops.

“They have succeeded in sealing about seven shops when clashes began.

“In the process of the clash, one person was confirmed seriously injured and currently on admission at the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

“The Commissioner of Police quickly deployed two Assistant Commissioners of Police and a tactical team to the market to restore order and sanity.

“Everywhere is now calm and normalcy has returned to the market and we have launched investigation to ascertain the cause of the clash,” Odah explained.

She said that preliminary reports obtained indicated that the traders were agitating against alleged government imposition of leaders on them.

“We, the police will investigate because we have different reactions from traders at the market.

“One was the allegation that one Mr Peter Oba was allegedly imposed on them but when we asked government, they denied any imposition of leadership on the traders.

“Government said that the tenure of the former executive expired and in order to avoid any vacuum, an interim leadership was put in place pending when substantive executive will be elected and inaugurated to pilot affairs of the market.

“Again, the traders alleged a witch-hunt because they dragged government to court to challenge quit notice and revocation of lease-hold order served on them by government.

“But government through the SA to the governor on IGR denied the allegation saying that they were in the market to enforce revenue payment compliance,” Odah added.

Meanwhile, some traders at the market who spoke with NAN including Chief Emeka Uba, Sabastine Achaniru and Dandy Ogbonnaya condemned the clash and called for unbiased police investigation into the incident .

The traders alleged that many of them were severely injured, shops vandalised and goods worth millions of naira allegedly looted by the suspected revenue agents.

They said government served them quit notice and revocation of their lease-hold order and had already gone to court as peaceful and law abiding citizens to challenge the government action.

The traders said their lease-hold with the Ebonyi local government council was 30 years and they still have 12 years remaining.

Oba, the interim market chairman when contacted for comments, declined to speak. (NAN)

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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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