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Almost 2 Years After Ozubulu Church Mass Killing, Suspects Freed | The Republican News

Tony Okafor, Awka

An Anambra State High Court sitting in Awka has discharge and acquitted the suspects in the killing of 13 worshipers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state.

The mass killing happened on August 6, 2017.

In a three-hour judgement, Justice Fidelis Aniukwu said the prosecution counsel was unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt the culpability of the defendants, Chinedu Akpunonu and Onyebuchi Mbanefo, concerning the crime.

The court had, in December 2018, discharged two out of the four suspects arraigned before it on the matter.

Justice Aniukwu said the prosecution witnesses could not “provide any evidence linking the defendants to the murder as alleged.”

Reacting, the defence counsel, Mr. Festus Kayemo, SAN, described the judgement as “a landmark” in view of the accelerated hearing accorded to it.

Keyamo said, “It’s the prosecution’s right to appeal the judgement. But from what I witnessed in the court today, it will be very difficult for the appeal court to upturn the judgement.”

Speaking to newsmen, one of the freed suspects, Chinedu Akpunonu, who was full of gratitude, thanked God for vindicating him from what he called “an attempt by some persons to smear” his reputation.

He said he had forgiven his traducers, urging them to join hands to ensure that peace returns to the Ozubulu community.

He said, “From the beginning, I told my people that I was not involved in the killing. But the Lord has given me victory as a proof that I’m very innocent.

“I didn’t know I was very important to my people until I saw excitement in the faces of the crowd that came to court. I’ve already forgiven all the hands that put me in prison.

“I thank those that stood by me throughout my travail. I also thank my lawyer and the judge for delivering a fair and sound judgement.”

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Jay Jay Ezeuko, SAN, in his reaction said he would determine the next step after he might have received a copy of the judgement.

 

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Nigerians Top List of Foreigners Held For Drug Smuggling, Say Indian Officials

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Since 2012, the Navi Mumbai police have arrested 14 foreign nationals for smuggling drugs to the city and 13 of them were from Nigeria. One was from Ghana, the Hindustan Times has claimed.

Nigerians have reportedly topped the list of foreigners arrested for drug smuggling in Navi Mumbai over the past five years.

According to the sources from the anti-narcotic cell of Navi Mumbai police, a total of 66 narcotic related cases were registered between 2012 and April this year in the city. Nigerians were involved in 14 of these cases, the police said.

Barely a week ago, the police arrested one Nigerian from Kopar Khairane who had come to sell mephedrone rock and powder. Around 25g of the drug in powder form and 85g in rock form was seized from his possession.

Tushar Doshi, deputy commissioner of police (special branch) said, “When it comes to drug smuggling by foreign nationals, by and large all the criminals are from Africa in general and from Nigeria in particular.

“The number of foreign nationals including those from Africa has also increased in the city over the past two years.”

The police said these Nigerians work in networks which also operate in other cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

Apart from their countrymen, several Indians are also working in those networks.

Maya More, police inspector from the anti-narcotic cell said, “These criminals collect their drugs from people in their networks and then smuggle those to different cities.

“The biggest problem faced while trying to get details about their business is the language issue. We cannot interrogate them properly after their arrests, as many of them cannot speak proper English or any Indian language.”

Officials from the city special branch told Hindustan Times that presently, around 950 foreign nationals from nearly 70 counties are staying in Navi Mumbai and around 50 of them are Africans.

Amit Shellar, police sub-inspector from the anti-narcotic cell said, “Most of the Nigerians arrested for drug smuggling had come to India on a business visa.

“Initially, they would export garments from Mumbai to their country. However, when their business would fail, they would trade drugs for easy money.”

According to the crime branch official, such networks are operating in the city through word-of-mouth publicity.

“They initially target students from the affluent families and help in forming a habit of taking the drug. Once they create a good number of customers, they keep selling it to them,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.

Apart from drug smuggling, several Nigerians were also arrested for online cheating, credit card and debit card frauds among others.   (Punchng.com)

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George Michael Laid To Rest Three Months After His Death

 

Jordan Runtagh
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, British singer George Michael performs at a concert to raise money for the AIDS charity Sidaction, during the Symphonica tour at Palais Garnier Opera house in Paris, France. Michael, who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career lined with controversies, has died, his publicist said Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016. He was 53. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)© The Associated Press FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, British singer George Michael performs at a concert to raise money for the AIDS charity Sidaction, during the Symphonica tour at Palais Garnier Opera house in Paris, France. Michael…

Three months after his death on Christmas Day, George Michael was laid to rest Wednesday in an intimate ceremony.

“We can confirm that the funeral of the singer George Michael took place today. Family and close friends gathered for the small, private ceremony to say goodbye to their beloved son, brother and friend,” a rep for the singer tells PEOPLE in a statement.

“George Michael’s family would like to thank his fans across the world for their many messages of love and support. We ask that the family’s wish for privacy be respected so that they can continue to live their lives privately, away from any media intrusion. No further details will be released.”

Related: BREAKING NEWS: Pop Superstar, George Michael Dies At 53 |The Republican News

A source tells PEOPLE Michael was buried in London at Highgate Ceremony next to his beloved mother, Lesley, who died 20 years ago.

The burial comes almost three weeks after the legendary singer’s cause of death was revealed to be dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, according to the senior coroner for Oxfordshire, Darren Salter.

Dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart, occurs when the left ventricle stretches and fails to effectively pump blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. As the muscle becomes weaker, heart failure can occur. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart usually caused by a viral infection.

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, British singer George Michael sings in concert to raise money for AIDS charity Sidaction, in Paris, France. A British coroner said Tuesday, March 7, 2017, that George Michael died of natural causes as the result of heart disease and a fatty liver. Darren Salter, senior coroner for Oxfordshire, says a post-mortem has found that the singer died of "dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver." Michael died at his home in southern England, on Dec. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)© The Associated Press FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, British singer George Michael sings in concert to raise money for AIDS charity Sidaction, in Paris, France. A British coroner said Tuesday, March 7, 2017, that George Michael died of natural ca…  

As the death was determined to be the result of natural causes, Thames Valley Police stated that they would close the related investigation.

Related: George Michael’s 911 Tape Reportedly Details How Partner Fadi Fawaz Found Him Unconscious

“The investigation into the circumstances of the death has now concluded and a file was passed to the Coroner. As the cause of death was natural, no further action is proposed or required,” authorities wrote on Facebook. “No further updates will be provided and the family requests the media and public respect their privacy.”

The initial autopsy, completed on Dec. 30, was revealed to be “inconclusive” in a statement released by the Thames Valley police.

It had previously been speculated that Michael had died of drug-related complications – with some even raising questions about boyfriend Fadi Fawaz’ role in the singer’s death, despite Thames Valley Police treating it as “unsuspicious” from an early stage.

Fawaz slammed these “nasty comments,” in tweets posted soon after the cause of death was revealed.

“The Truth is out…” he captioned a smiling photo of the couple in happier times.

Michael suffered many health issues in recent years, though. In November 2011, the “Careless Whisper” singer was hospitalized for pneumonia. One year earlier, he was involved in a car accident and arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana.

Michael sold 100 million albums worldwide during his nearly 40 years in the spotlight, and has won a slew of awards. However, the star also fell on difficult times with multiple arrests as well as battles with depression and drug use.

(People)

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