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Buhari’s Government Continues With Clampdown On IPOB: Police Arrest 15 Biafrans In Ebonyi State

IPOB: Biafrans march in Ebonyi state

At least 15 people said to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have been arrested by the Nigeria Police Force in Amasiri, Afikpo North local government area of Ebonyi State.

A spokesperson for the police in Ebonyi, Loveth Odah, the 15 were arrested at their convention ground in Amasiri.

According to the police, the arrest was made after receiving a report that some secessionist groups planned to hold a two-day convention in the state.

“The Ebonyi State police command in active collaboration with other security agencies in the state, while acting on credible intelligence report that IPOB/MASSOB/BIM members will have their 2019 convention in the state, on 13 and 14 August 2019, embarked on a massive ‘show of force’ covering the entire length and breadth of the state with particular focus on identified flashpoints.

“The exercise dominated the entire state and frustrated the activities of IPOB/MASSOB/BIM members thereby denying them the opportunity to hold their meeting in the pre-arranged venue.

“They were, however, traced to a hideout in the bush around Amasiri, Afikpo North L.G.A of the state where 15 members led by one Rev. Ogbonna Nnachi, ‘M’, about 70 years of age were arrested.

“Items recovered from them include Biafra currency (two pounds), branded Biafra T-shirts etc.

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Umahi: ‘I Rented 2,000 Persons To Cheer Buhari In Abakaliki If Not APC’ll Be Booed

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye , Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

 

The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, has disclosed how he rented 2,000 persons to beef up the crowd that came to cheer President Muhammadu Buhari at the Abakiliki Township Stadium. He said he did that to save the president from seeing empty seats because his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not on ground in the state.

He has also debunked allegations that he is paying any amount he likes to workers in the state saying that if he is doing that, he would have long been exposed in the media.

Umahi was reacting to APC gubernatorial candidate, Sonni Ogbuoji’s allegation at the presidential campaign rally at the Abakaliki Township Stadium, that Ebonyi workers have had to endure poor pay, no gratuity for retired workers and even some of them have been reduced to mere slaves that do not deserve any form of promotion.

Speaking to journalists shortly after seeing off President Muhammadu Buhari to his helicopter on his way to Calabar, Umahi denied that the 5,200 workers he inherited had been reduced to 3,200. He said rather than do that, he released the sum of N4 billion to the workers to access soft loans to help them to do any form of agricultural business of their choice. He added that he even had to allow them to use Fridays to engage in any business they prefer that would help them generate additional income.

The governor said: “You see, when they have nothing to accuse you of, they  come up with something. In the first place, the staff I met, I have never retired anyone of them and I don’t think two percent of the workforce has been retired. But I have said that there is no need to employ more people because the condition of those in service – not only in Ebonyi State but also, nationwide  – is not palatable. So you have to take care of those you have employed before you think of employing more people.

“That is why I made available N4 billion to the civil servants to take loans within a range they can pay back ; even if any of them has up to 25 years to stay in service, the loan will last for 25 years.

“I gave them Fridays free to go and do any agric business of their choice.. Because, I know there is no amount of money you will pay civil servants that will be enough for them; there is always nothing left after paying salaries for you as a governor to work with. Because, the essence of one being in government is to do something for the people; but when you use 100 percent of your earnings to pay salaries, then what are they working for? So, I devised a means whereby everyone should be doing something more useful and that is why we made available soft loan to them.

“If it’s true that I pay the civil servants anything I like, I will be on the pages of newspapers always; you know civil servants are not the type that will keep quiet. Ask them (APC members in the state) what is the GDP of the state like;; ask them the factors and indices that make up the GDP, they won’t know. I am a trained engineer and all my life I have been in business, employing thousands of people, and so I understand what governance and administration are all about.”

He described Ogbuoji as spent force who has nothing to campaign with.

The governor said as the Chairman of South East Governors Forum, he decided to organise 2,000 people to fill the stadium to welcome President Buhari  because he didn’t want him to feel he was not liked by the people of the state or the region, that has benefited from his administration’s projects.

Umahi said: “They have nothing to talk about but complaints. The last time Mr. President was here, they wrote a 15-page petition against me and Mr President said to me, don’t allow your frustration to overwhelm you. We have performed beyond human expectations and that is their problem; they have nothing to campaign with.

“When I was a deputy governor, they were all the people we helped. Then, and if you saw their venom against Mr. President when he was contesting in 2015, you would doubt the morality of human beings. So they have nothing to campaign about.”

On the allegation that he bamboozled the president, pretending to be his supporter while he was doing everything underneath to frustration his re-election bid, the governor said: “I don’t understand what they mean by support. We belong to two different political parties and so the support for Mr. President as a governor, is what we are doing.

We are not castigating Mr. President; rather, we are supporting him; that is our  support for him. We acknowledged publicly what he, Mr. President ,is doing for Ebonyi State, that is the support we are giving to him.

“Morally and ethically, I am not supposed to come out and start shouting while I’m still holding the ticket of PDP and saying ‘vote APC president.’  But there are many ways of giving support, as the chairman of South East Governors Forum; we have given Mr. President a very good landing opportunity in the South East and definitely he will have more votes that he had the other time.”

On the allegations that he initially denied the APC use of the Abakiliki Stadium, Umahi said: “The first time they wanted to use the stadium, But ;they had two factions of the party, and they were likely going to fight and destroy our property. So, I said no; they should clear with the Commissioner of Police and come up with one set of leadership so that they can use the stadium and I was going to give it to them free of charge.

“Today, not only did we give them the stadium which of course is important of  me it to give them when Mr. President is coming;, we renovated the stadium and painted the seats. We called them for a security council meeting; some of them came and we asked them what they want.

“ere Now, the crowd you saw there at the stadium, 2,000 of them were from me because I know they have nobody. But for it not to seem like Ebonyi people don’t love Mr. President, I had to make available 2,000 persons to come and cheer the president. That is why if you check the crowd, while they were castigating me unduly, the crowds were not clapping’, the people were not happy. But for the respect they have for Mr. President, they could have booed them. I had to do what I because L’m not into extreme politics; I’m into politics for development.”  (The Sun)

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13-year-old Boy Stolen In Ebonyi, Sold In Imo For N300,000 |RN

Boy-sold

On arrival at Owerri, 13-year-old Daniel was separated from his family and sold to one Madam Peppe from Mbaise community for N300,000.

Mother, 2 siblings still missing

Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

Uncertainties are still surrounding the whereabouts of Mrs Ngozi Nweze and her two children: Elochukwu and Wisdom, who were taken away from their abode on June 15, 2015, by their neighbour who sold them in Imo State.

Until his recovery by the officials of the Ebonyi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development recently, her first son, Daniel, was also part of the persons trafficked to the state and sold like a common commodity.

The family hails from Umuezeoka community in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The four were lured to Imo State on a fateful day by their neighbour, whose name was simply given as Amaechi.

Before that fateful day, Sunday Sun gathered that life was hellish for the poor family of the Nwezes. The breadwinner of the family had kicked the bucket, leaving his young wife and three children, whose ages range from seven to 13, behind.

To feed, the widow worked herself to the bones in order to raise money. And in all she did, helps appeared not to be coming from anywhere. There were a series of bills to pay, ranging from school fees to clothing the children.

It was perhaps based on the obvious predicament of the family that their neighbour, Amaechi, allegedly lured them to Imo State with a promise to offer the widow a plum job through which she would be able to take care of her children.

Like the proverbial goat that goes to the slaughterhouse, Ngozi prepared the family for the journey. And on a fateful day, they bid their villagers goodbye not knowing that they had set out for a precarious journey which return was uncertain.

On arrival at Owerri, the Imo State capital, 13-year-old Daniel, was separated from his family as he was sold to one Madam Peppe who reportedly resides in Mbaise community in the same state for N300,000.

But the business went sour when the boy sneaked out of his buyer’s house during a renaming ceremony reportedly staged for him by his buyers and ran into a team of mobile policemen on patrol.

The Director, Child Development Department in the Ebonyi State Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Mr Godwin Igwe, who had been on the matter confirmed the incident.

He disclosed that the trafficker who also hails from the same Ebonyi community sold Daniel to the said Madam Peppe, noting that the whereabouts of the other family members remained unknown.

“What happened was that a human trafficker hoodwinked his mother and two other siblings to Imo State and probably sold or gave them out to different people.

“The story has it that the person who bought this Daniel Nweze organized a renaming ceremony. But as they were entertaining themselves lavishly, the child sneaked out.

“In the course of running back home, he ran into policemen on patrol and they then took the child to an orphanage home in the state”, he said.

Daniel’s uncle, Ven. Silas Nweze said that he got the message about the family’s disappearance a month after the incident happened.

“It was in July 2015 that I got a message that some policemen from Imo State came to our place with Daniel. I rushed to Imo State to find out. So, when I got there, I discovered that the police kept him in their facility.

“On inquiry, I was told that somebody in a nearby compound sold Daniel out to one Mr Solo from Mbaise in Imo State on one Eke market day together with his two siblings and mother. Mr Solo later sold Daniel to one Madam Peppe for N300,000”, he narrated.

But a source who preferred anonymity gave a conflicting account. “It was Mr Solo that sold this boy to a woman called Madam Peppe. Then, they organized a party, as they said; to rename him, but the boy refused to answer the name and insisted on answering his real name.

“The woman was shocked by his spontaneous rejection of the new name and she immediately demanded her money back. She accused Mr Solo of selling an ‘old man’ to her. She told him to come and take the boy back.

“In the morning, Mr Solo came and an argument over the refund of N300,000 ensured between them. The boy, having eavesdropped on their argument, ran out of the house.

“Incidentally, he ran into a team of mobile policemen on patrol. He took the police to the scene of the incident after narrating his ordeal to them. On getting to the scene, the argument was still on.

“The police arrested them, but one week later, they were released. After they were released, Mr Solo ran away”, the source said.

Receiving the boy in her office, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Rebecca Ogbuewu, said that it took the ministry three years of consistent efforts to recover him from a motherless babies’ home where the police had sent him to.

Boy-sold1

She said that when the mission to recover the boy became too tough for the officials of the ministry she had detailed to bring the boy back, she liaised with her counterpart in Imo State who assisted to ensure that the child was released to the Ebonyi State government.

She, however, promised to rehabilitate the child and ensure he is properly taken care of; even as she vowed that his siblings and mother must be discovered no matter what it would take. (The Sun)

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JUST IN: Buhari Renames Federal University In Ebonyi, Alex Ekwueme University

Alex-Ekwueme
                                                Dr Alex Ekwueme

Anthony Okafor

President Muhammadu Buhari has renamed Federal University, Ndufu-Ikwo, Ebonyi State to Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State.

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo, announced this during the burial service of the former late, Dr Alex Ekwueme at St John, The Divine Church, Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He said this was in honour of Ekwueme’s contributions to nation building.  (Punch)

Details later…

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260,000 Persons Living With HIV/AIDS In Ebonyi State – Commissioner |RN

From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, on Friday, said that about 260,000 persons were infected by the HIV/AIDS disease in the state. Out of this figure, only 4,000 people, according to him, are currently living on drugs.

The Commissioner disclosed this in his office in Abakaliki at a press briefing to mark this year’s World AIDS Day. He disclosed that a total of 3.4million are infected by the virus nationwide out of which 600,000 patients are on drugs.

He further explained that 37.7 million people worldwide are living with the virus. This was even as he lamented that many people have not shown willingness to check their status to enable them embark on early treatment.

“It is note-worthy to clearly state that testing positive is not a death sentence but the beginning of a new life. People have lived with the virus for over 40 years as long as you live positively.

“Know your status and you will have the right to health which is the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day while concealing or not knowing your HIV status is your right to death” he declared.

Umezuruike disclosed that the state has a total of 202 HIV Health service facilities across the 171 wards in the state and called on the people to access the services free of charge. (The Sun)

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Forget About Biafra Being Promoted By IPOB, Buhari Tells Igbo |The Republican News

…Promises South East better deal in 2018

From Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the people of South East region not to buy into the idea of Biafra being promoted by the members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

He assured Igbo of fair share of his developmental projects next year, revealing that some key projects had already been designed for the region, especially in the area of road infrastructure, agriculture and social services, captured in the 2018 budget.

Speaking at the Abakaliki Township Stadium, as part of programmes lined up for his one-day visit to Ebonyi State, President Buhari asked Igbo to work for the country’s unity, saying  the agitation for the realisation of Biafra was “a senseless propaganda” being promoted by “some misguided youths” in the region.

He said dividing the country across ethnic lines was tantamount to betraying the efforts of Nigeria’s founding fathers.

“I am asking you all not to buy into the senseless propaganda on secession. Igbo is Nigeria and Nigeria is Igbo, both are inseparable.

“We must, therefore, continue to commit ourselves to the development of Nigeria by sustaining our national unity without compromising our cultural identities, a Nigerian where the aspirations of its people is guaranteed without prejudice to tribe or religion, a Nigerian where we can sleep at night knowing that tomorrow will be better than today.

“The task of nation building is a continuous one. Our founding fathers from all corners of this country worked together to actualise the creation of one Nigeria. After independence, the same founding fathers worked together to maintain this one Nigeria.

“Yes, they had differences of opinion at times; after all, they were only human. And yes, they had moments of weaknesses and doubt, but again no one is perfect. However, one thing they all protected until the end of their lives was having one Nigeria for all Nigerians. Today, Nigeria is 57 years old. Nigeria has gone through many pains, but has also achieved significant successes.

“Its citizens are leaders in all aspects of human development, but we rarely celebrate these successes. Some misguided Nigerians will rather channel their energies to propagating negative stories and senseless rumours. Over 68 per cent of Nigeria’s population is under 25 years old. They have little knowledge of Nigeria’s journey. They were not born during the dark days of the civil war and nation building afterwards.  The task of nation building is a continuous one; it relies on the successful transition of factual knowledge from one generation to another. This means it is our collective responsibility to ensure we do not betray our founding fathers as we transfer the Nigerian project from one generation to the next.

“As our national anthem says, the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain. So, parents, speak to your children about the importance of their heritage, culture and being open-minded. Teachers, teach your students about the history of the nation and how it was a correlation of diversity that brought it to existence. And as leaders, we must lead by example, tolerance and acceptance of diversity.”

Also speaking earlier, when he addressed stakeholders, Buhari had said his visit to Ebonyi State was  a demonstration of the belief in the unity of Nigeria.

“When I met with the leaders of the South East in Abuja last month, they raised several issues of concern, including the state of the roads and infrastructure in the region. I want to assure you that we will deliver on our promises. Our 2018 budget included many strategic projects for the region in the area of road, power, agriculture and social services.”

President Buhari expressed delight to be in Ebonyi State, noting that he was glad that the state has fared well.

He praised Governor Dave Umahi for his developmental strides while thanking traditional rulers in the state for bestow on him a chieftaincy title.

He said: “I am delighted to be in Abakaliki today to interact with the good of Ebonyi State and again with the South East region as a whole. I want to extend my gratitude to the people of Ebonyi State for their hospitality and the warm reception since my arrival a few hours ago.

“I will like to commend His Excellency, Governor David Umahi, for his vision and commitment to the development of Ebonyi State, which included some of the projects I commissioned since my arrival. They are laudable.

“I am also grateful to the traditional rulers of Ebonyi State who bestowed on me the traditional title: Ezi Enyi Oma 1 (Good friend 1). I thank you for this honour and kind gesture.”

Governor Umahi thanked the president for “supporting the state in many ways.”

“You have helped us quite a lot, especially in the area of agriculture revolution and solid mineral. Today, you made us a giant in agriculture and so, we have here with us 2,000 bags of rice and 2,000 pieces to give to our president.

“It is a prayer answered because you have sown in the land of Ebonyi and God has given you the strength and health to partake in that seed that you planted. We are grateful to give back to our father who has given so much to us,” Umahi said.

The president, incontinuation of his visit to the South-East would be in Anambra State today where he is expected to meet with chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  (The Sun)

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Ebonyi State Government Supports Army’s Operation Python Dance |RN

Operation-python-dance 2

The Ebonyi State Government has declared support for the ongoing Nigerian Army exercise – “Egwu Eke’’, Python Dance II, in the South East zone.

Governor David Umahi declared the support when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He, however, urged the army to keep to its rules of engagement.

Represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwu, Umahi noted that there was a misconception of the exercise by some people in the region.

He said that the first phase of the exercise, which took place in the zone between November and December 2016, recorded success without any reported case of human rights abuse or molestation.

“We support the army; we support the exercise, but please dance by the rules of engagement; dance in the bush, not in the street,’’ the governor said.

On the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Umahi condemned the activities of the group, saying “we do not address perceived injustice through violence’’.

The governor said the state was enjoying relative peace in terms of security.

He called for army establishment of army formation in the border between Ebonyi and Cross River, to address recurring communal clashes in the area.

Earlier, the army chief restated that the exercise was designed to sharpen the skills of personnel to be able to deal with internal security issues.

Buratai stressed that Egwu Eke was carefully planned in the interest of the South East and not targeted at any group, saying that security was “key to development’’.

“We assure you that our troops will abide by rules of engagement and code of conduct,’’ he said.

He said that alongside the exercise, the army would render humanitarian services such as medical outreach and sanitation in various communities in the region and urged the people to show understanding. (NAN)

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