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Lagos demolition: Top journalist who lost N70million home leads protest to NASS  



Felix Oguejiofor Abugu, former Editor of The Guardian on Saturday, whose N70million Lagos home was demolished recently by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAA), is leading a group of other victims to the National Assembly to protest the inhuman act.

The group under the aegis of Association of Victims of Runview/Mercy Estate Lagos Demolitions, petitioned NASS over the incident, which occurred on Friday, April 28, 2023, when bulldozers sent by agents of FAAN, brought down their homes, with many of them not allowed to pick out even a broom.

In protesting “the wrongful destruction of our houses by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and its agents,” the victims, in a petition signed by Abugu and countersigned by five others of the 13 victims of the controversial exercise, asking the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to intervene, the group insisted  the action was wrongly done by FAAN (which owns Runview/Mercy Estate).

They described the treatment as “unfair, even lacking in common sense,” especially with the fact that the same FAAN, which, ab initio, gave them approval to build on their plots would later turn around, after the empty lands had been developed, to claim that “we built on unauthorised area.”

Outside Abugu, the group’s spokesman, others who signed the document, dated May 4, 2023, included Olufemi George Adewunmi, Francis Okechukwu Eke, Mr. George and Mrs. Victoria Egwakhe and two others, the petition recalled that “on Friday, April 28, 2023, bulldozers hired by FAAN from Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) rolled into our Estate and demolished 13 buildings.”

The statement, said: “Out of this number, we protest that six of the buildings belonging to our members were wrongfully demolished,” the petitioners asserted, adding that “had FAAN or any of its agents given us audience prior to the demolitions, they would have discovered that there was no cogent reason for their action (because) we have evidence to prove that the plots on which we built were legitimately acquired under an arrangement put in place by FAAN itself.

“In 2015/2016, long before most of us started developing our property,  FAAN undertook an enumeration of all the plots of land in what was originally Richfield Estate (named after a school called Richfield Schools, the first development on that piece of real estate), later renamed Runview/Mercy State by the Airports Authority.

“Termed ‘Regularization’, the idea of the enumeration was to streamline all titles to plots of land in the Estate at the payment of N2m (two million naira only) per plot to the Landlords Association acting in behalf of FAAN.

“Sir, there is available evidence that more than half of the six landlords whose houses were destroyed had paid more than half of the 2m ‘Regularisation’ fee (some N1m, some N1.2m, some 1.5m, among others) demanded by FAAN, long before they even started building their houses.

“What that means is that FAAN had way back recognised us as bonafide owners of property in the Runview/Mercy Estate. The question is, if our members had complied with the Airports Authority’s demands ab initio, why did FAAN then turn around to demolish our houses without any cogent reasons?

“As we read in the press, LASBCA, which merely deployed its equipment and personnel to carry out the demolitions for FAAN, said our buildings were destroyed because they were built on an oil pipeline. However, to the best of our knowledge, Sir, none of our members built their house on any oil pipeline as no such a thing exists in our section of the Estate.

“As a matter of fact, FAAN itself, aided by the Landlords’ Association, had in April last year carried out an excavation on one of members’ property to find out if there was any pipeline running underground through that stretch of land covering six buildings on IK Peter’s Close, but did not find any. Indeed, it is on record that FAAN/Landlords Association offered to pay for the cost of that excavation but one of our members eventually picked the bill.

“So, how could our buildings have been demolished on the grounds that they were built on a non-existent oil pipeline? Is this a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to kill it? Obviously!”

The group, which presented a copy of the petition to the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, who led members of his Committee on a fact-finding tour of the demolition site over the weekend, consequently appealed that in the light of the ‘obvious miscarriage of justice’ in the “wrongful demolition of our members’ houses, we plead with you, Sir, and members of your committee to use your good offices to ameliorate the physical and psychological trauma our families who were roughly thrown out on the streets as a result of the demolitions, have suffered.”

“We insist that we did not do any wrong in all the transactions we have had with FAAN at Runview/Mercy Estate and should, therefore, not be treated with such indignities as have been meted out to us by the Airports Authority.

“Please, save us from this inhuman treatment by an agency of government that ought really to treat citizens with some level of empathy, respect and dignity,” the group pleaded.

Hon. Nnaji’s team was later received at the FAAN head office in Lagos, where the Airports Authority’s officials and representatives of the Runview/Mercy Estate’s Landlords Association strove to justify the demolitions.

In his remarks, a former Chairman of the Landlords’ Association (name withheld) in whose tenure the plots on which six of the demolished houses were built were enumerated and receipts given for payments made, thanked FAAN for demolishing the houses, claiming that the victims defied the Association’s order not to build on the property.

According to findings, it was incidentally the same former Chairman who negotiated, at a commission, the purchase of the plot on which one of the victims built his now demolished house.



Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

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Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

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Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

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