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Police Charge Eight Edo Train Attack Suspects with Kidnapping

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The Edo State Police Command has charged eight suspects to court for the abduction of over 20 passengers and two Nigerian Railway Corporation staff on January 7, 2023, following an attack by gunmen on the Igueben Train Station in Edo Central.

The police on Wednesday said two village chiefs and five others were arrested in connection with the crime, while revealing that all the victims had been rescued.

In a court document exclusively obtained by our correspondent, the police charged the suspects; Ibadin Hamilton, Ighoko Odion, Okojie Ewa, Okie Patrick, Friday Ighedujiemu, Halilu Umaru, Aminu Ibrahim, and Isah Aliyu for criminal conspiracy and kidnapping.

The charge sheet dated January 17, 2023, was filed by the Legal Section State Criminal Investigation Department, Police Headquarters, Benin City.

The document revealed that Odion, 62, Ewa, 58, Patrick, 42, Ighedujiemu, 51, Hamilton, 59, Umaru, 28, Ibrahim, 25, and Aliyu, 25, all male, conspired to kidnap the victims with the expectation of getting N20million from their relatives as ransom for their freedom.

Count one reads, “That you Ighoko Odion, Okojie Ewa, Okie Patrick, Friday Ighedujiemu, Ibadin Hamilton, Halilu Umaru, Aminu Ibrahim, Isah Aliyu, and others now at large, on or about the 16th day of January, 2023 at about 12:00 hours at the Nigerian Rail Way Station, Igueben, Edo State, in the Benn Judicial Division, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: Kidnapping and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 5 and punishable under Section 2 (1) (2) of the Kidnapping Prohibition (Amendment) Law of Edo State, 2013.”

Count two reads, “That you Ighoko Odion, Okojie Ewa, Okie Patrick, Friday Ighedujiemu, Ibadin Hamilton, Halilu Umaru, Aminu Ibrahim, Isah Aliyu, and others now at large, on or about the 16th day of January, 2023 at about 12:00 hours at the Nigerian Rail Way Station, Igueben, Edo State, in the Benn Judicial Division, while armed with guns and other dangerous weapon, did attack and kidnapped passengers inside the train to an unknown destination till now with intent to receive ransom payment of N20,000,000.00 before release from your captivity and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 2 (1), (2) of the kidnapping Prohibition (Amendhent) Law of Edo State, 2013.”

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Diversion to Asaba: United Nigeria Airline Suspends Flight Dispatcher over Wrong Code

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The United Nigeria Airlines (UNA) has suspended the flight dispatcher who entered the wrong code to the dispatch document on Sunday, for a flight to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, which ended up at Asaba airport..

The flight dispatcher (names withheld), according to reports, was issued a suspension letter on Tuesday, by the management of the airline following an outcry from the public, which caused the carrier avoidable embarrassment.

Although the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is already investigating the incident, the suspension of the Dispatcher will remain in place until after the conclusion of the  probe.

Head, Corporate Communications, United Nigeria Airlines, Mr. Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, confirmed the suspension.

Uchegbu clarified that the suspension is not a sack, “but an action to enable investigation.”

The flight Dispatcher, on Sunday, entered into the dispatch document ABB, which is the code for Asaba International Airport, Delta State, instead of ABV, the code for Abuja airport.

Commenting on the incident, President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Comrade Galadima Abednego, described the situation as worrisome.

Speaking in Kano at the ongoing National Air Traffic Communicators’ Association of Nigeria (NACAN) 10th Annual General Meeting/Conference, Galadima said: “I would not like to call it a diversion. It is quite a worrisome situation, where an aircraft that is Abuja bound found itself in Asaba. It has serious safety and security breaches.”

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Appeal Court Judgment: Fresh Crisis Rocks Kano

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A wave of fresh protests have broken out in the Kano metropolis as thousands of residents on Wednesday trooped to the streets demonstrating their rejection of the Appeal Court judgment  sacking of Governor Abba Yusuf.

The appellate court, on September 20, upheld the verdict of the State Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, which sacked Yusuf and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),Nasir Ganuwa, the authentic winner of the March 18 governorship election in the State.

The tribunal had ruled that 165,663 votes garnered by Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) were invalid on the grounds that they were not signed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thus reducing his votes to 853,939 while those of the APC rival remained at 890,705.

Yusuf, who was not satisfied with the tribunal judgment, took his case to the Appeal Court only for it to uphold the verdict.

With the outcome of the appeal court, there has been tension in the state as several groups who are in support of Yusuf have been holding sporadic protests against the ruling which they see as a travesty of justice.

Different groups had also reportedly fixed protests but were dispelled by security operatives who prevented them from going ahead with the demonstrations to prevent break down of law and order.

However, despite concerted efforts by the police and other security agencies, the protesters defied all warnings and took over the streets in the city to protest the ruling of the appeal court.

The protesters were seen carrying placards as chanting slogans like “We will not accept it”; “We will not allow it”; “Kano belongs to Abba”; “Our mandate must be restored”; “Injustice exposed in CTC”; among others.

It was gathered that efforts by security operatives to disperse the protesters were abortive as they stood their ground and refused to back off.

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Palliative: Adeleke Approves Monthly Wage Award for Civil Servants, Pensioners

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The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has approved the payment of wage award of N15,000 and N10,000 respectively to civil servants and pensioners in the state as a measure to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal.

The Governor, in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, stated that the action was in continuation of his avowed commitment to workers’ welfare and a fulfillment of his pledge for the gradual rollout of palliative measures to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

“On the first day of my second year in office, I unveil this wage award and reaffirm our five point agenda which has workers’ welfare as number one item,” Governor Adeleke noted.

Governor Adeleke’s approval was conveyed in a circular issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Capacity Building, disclosing that workers in the service of the state will get a N15,000 wage award while pensioners will receive N10,000.

The circular which was signed by Sunday Olugbenga Fadele, a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, noted that the wage award will run for six months, beginning from the month of December.

“Sequel to the negotiation meetings and interactions with labour movement in Osun state, including the representatives of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, the Governor of Osun State, His Excellency, Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, has approved the monthly payment of N15,000 to each active worker and N10,000 to each pensioners in Osun state as palliatives to assuage the pains being experienced as a result of removal of petroleum subsidy by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The payment, as approved, is to commence from the month of December, 2023 for a period of six (6) months,” the circular reads in part.

“While acknowledging and appreciating the understanding of Osun state workers and pensioners for their show of understanding regarding the efforts of the State Government in the last one year to improve tremendously on their welfare, being the first on the 5-point Action Plan, the present administration will continue to ensure its commitment to the welfare of workers are met at all times.

“It is expected that this gesture of government will spur workers in the State to be more diligent and committed to their duties.”

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