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Abducted female soldier not our daughter – Imo community *Cries out over army onslaught

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Umu Aku community in Okigwe local Government Area of Imo State, has cried out to the world to stop the onslaught against their people by soldiers from the Nigerian Army, over the alleged abduction of a female officer.

The community through the Umu Aku Aku-Okigwe Forum, bewailed the activities of the soldiers, particularly the wanton killings and destruction of properties “in a scorched earth manner it descended on the whole community,” since the alleged abduction of the soldier, identified as, Lieutenant Patience P. Johnson, saying they had nothing to do with the dastardly act.

To underscore their innocence, the community in a statement signed Don Ifeanyichukwu Okereke Administrator, Umu Aku Forum and Deacon Mahakwe Ukaegbu President General, Aku Community Development Union (ACDU); and Obinna Okoye, Secretary General, Aku Community Development Union (ACDU), they said that the alleged soldier was neither from the Aku community nor was she abducted there.

Debunking the claim by the Nigerian Army in one of its press releases published in the national dailies on December 31, 2022, that the mother, father, and grandmother of the officer were from the town and that she was purportedly visiting her grandmother at Aku-Okigwe, when she was siezed, they described it as ‘blatant falsehood saying she has no paternal or maternal affiliation to the Aku community.

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Military authorities had stated that the female army officer, who was abducted on Monday, December 26, 2022, was visiting her grandmother in Aku-Okigwe in Okigwe LGA of the State, shortly after completion of her Cadet training and subsequent commissioning as a Lieutenant into the Nigerian Army.

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The community said, since then, a horde of military personnel and other security agents invaded the community on Friday, December 30, 2022, in search of the abducted officer, where they reportedly not only shot indiscriminately but plundered, and burnt several houses.

Okereke, said: “Without pointing fingers, the video of her abduction and dastardly treatment which was widely circulated online suggests she was abducted along the Ihube-Enugu expressway. According to a Vanguard Newspaper report, on January 1, 2023, Lt. Johnson was abducted at ‘Mbaraukwa’, her maternal home. There is no village, kindred, or place known as Mbaraukwa in Aku-Okigwe.

“It therefore beggars’ belief why Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu tagged in his press release that she was kidnapped while visiting her grandmother at Aku-Okigwe. Aku people are generally agrarian, peaceful, and law-abiding. Aku people are cognizant of their rich tradition and cultural heritage which amongst other things, forbids the mere thought of hurting an ‘nwa’ (child) let alone dehumanising or killing a grandchild. It is distasteful, an abomination. Children born and bred in the Aku community are aware that hurting/killing a ‘nwa-nwa’ (grandchild) is an abomination in our clime.

“The dust is yet to settle, and people are yet to return home, but we understand that a few people may have been killed during the latest military bombardment of the Aku community. One of them is a young man named ‘Sunday Ejishim’ who was gruesomely shot dead by the rampaging Government Security Forces (GSF). This is the umpteenth time that Government Security Forces (GSF) will be launching unrestrained, indiscriminate attacks, and burning of houses in the Aku community. Recall that a secondary school student, Miss Favour Okoronkwo was gunned down in her family house on November 13, 2022, while Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Orji, a father of seven children whose wife gave birth to twins not long ago, was shot dead on November 20, 2022, also in front of his house,” he cried.

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Okereke pointed out that the ongoing indiscriminate military operation, extrajudicial killings, and barbaric human rights abuses on the Aku community negates the Nigerian Armed Forces Rules of Engagement (RoE), Code of Conduct, the principle of minimum force and proportionality which amongst other things stipulates that, “fire must be aimed and controlled and that indiscriminate firing is not permitted.

“No doubt the security agencies can go about their operation, but their action must be intelligence-driven, they must use very minimal force, ensure there is no collateral damage, no indiscriminate burning of houses, nay, plundering,” he said.

The Forum called on the military hierarchy to cease further indiscriminate rampage and killing of innocent people in the Aku-Okigwe community. They called on the governor of Imo state to rein in the Imo state-backed security militia from sweeping attacks on innocent people and burning of houses.

The Forum, which called for an independent judicial inquiry and investigation into the vicious attack on the Aku community, said the brutal action by security forces should not be swept under the carpet.

“This must not be like the case of ‘unknown soldier’. It must be investigated, and action taken against the masterminds. We ask for compensation as a result of the loss of lives and unimaginable financial losses incurred as a result of the military action on the Aku-Okigwe community,” it said.

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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