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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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)

CRIME

Troops arrest 10 Robbers, rescue 3 Victims in Kaduna 

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja 

The military high command, yesterday said its troops deployed on internal operations in Kaduna state has arrested ten armed robbery suspects at Kafanchan town in Jema’a local government area of the state. 

A statement issued by the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko stated the names of the arrested suspects as: Messrs Manga Ismail, a 22 – year-old, Idris Haruna (Ban Sambo), 20- year-old, Sani Bali, 19- year-old.

 

Others are Shamsudeen Ladan, 25 – year-old, Abdulmajid Yau (Sele), 22 – year – old , Abubakar Hassan, 23 – year-old, Abbas Aliyu, 15 – year-old, Mohammed Umar (Jazuli), 17 – year – old, Jonathan Vincent (Bamai), 19 – year-old and Stephen Joseph, 25 – year-old.

According to him, items recovered from the criminals include: TV, DVD, gas cookers, Mattresses, woofer, phones, scissors, among others.

 

Gen. Onyeuko also said on the same day, troops acting on intelligence reports, conducted a cordon search operation at Fanock Village, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and found a Toyota Corolla car with registration number ABUJA KUJ 452 AZ with no occupant. 

Onyeuko explained that Troops conducted search operations in the surrounding bush and rescued 3 kidnaped civilians comprising two females and a male. 

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Speaking further, he said :”Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN in a sustained effort to eliminate criminals elements in their Area of operation on 28 June 2022 based credible intelligence conducted clearance operation in conjunction with vigilantes at Kan Duniya Village, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Plateau State, neutralized notorious bandit and kidnapper.

“Similarly, on the same day, troops on fighting patrol sighted 2 x suspected kidnappers around Sara High Ground Mangu Local Government Area Plateau State on a motor cycle, suspects abandoned their motor cycle on sighting troops and fled.

” Troop exploited area and recovered 2 AK47 rifles, 101 rounds of 7.62mm special, 5 magazines, 1 motor cycle, 1 iron digger and 2 black jackets amongst others”, he said. 

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Foreign News

Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain

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The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.

Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.

Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.

The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.

But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.

The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.

A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.

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NEWS

HEDA Petitions ICPC over Allegations against Ex-CJN

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The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the allegations against the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Chairman, HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, yesterday in Lagos.

Suraju, in a letter to the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, urged the commission to stand tall over the allegations of corruption, maladministration and incompetence leveled against Muhammad.

“As a leading anti-corruption organisation in Nigeria and non-partisan human rights and development league, we call on the ICPC to commence investigation into the budgetary allocation, utilisation and development process of the judiciary with a view to sanitisation of that critical arm of government,” he said.

Suraju said it was widely reported that the immediate past CJN responded to the allegations brought against him by 14 Justices on the aforementioned allegations.

“It is unarguable that the judiciary is the last hope of the helpless and its judges are only meant to be heard and not seen.

“However, these allegations made by fellow Justices of the apex court against the CJN cannot be overlooked as it is weighty and must be diligently investigated by the commission in order to protect that vital institution.

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“If the Supreme Court of Nigeria is infested with corrupt persons, then our democracy is doomed, ICPC and others relevant bodies should rise and act fast to redeem the temple of justice from possible collapse,” HEDA said. (NAN)

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