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How ‘power-drunk’ Otti illegally appropriated Abia councils – PDP



More missiles have been launched against Alex Otti, Governor of Abia State from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is now accusing him of taking over the running of the local government councils directly in total disregard of the law of the land, which made the third tier of government a distinct level of government from the state.

In the latest attack, the party, which lost power in 2023 after 24 years in the saddle, bewailed a situation in which Otti, allegedly collected the official seals of the 17 Local Government Areas in the state from the local governments’ Heads of Service (HoS), infused their affairs firmly in his office after the dissolved immediate past council chairmen handed over.

Abraham Amah, Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary, who relied on “credible, reliable and authentic intelligence,” while describing the development as “blatant act of illegality,” also accused the governor of becoming too power-thirsty that he had now assumed the roles of a governor and chairman of the councils at the same time, adding that the act was not only unconstitutional, and usurpation of the powers of the local councils, but also actionable by law.

Arguing that no bill had been passed into law by the Abia State House of Assembly which mandates the governor to run the local governments as one of the Ministries in Abia State, he said: “This novelty, unfortunately, is one that puts the governor as the arrowhead of those in breach of the Constitution they swore to protect and defend at all times.

“For the purpose of clarity, the local government is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria and is in no way an appendage of the State government.

“Though the Constitution mandates the States House of Assembly to make laws for the good governance of the local governments, in no section of it did it make the local government an arm of the State government and its running should therefore not be at the whims of the State governor as we are seeing in Abia today?

“The local government’s finances are run with the states through the process and operation of a Joint Account Allocation Committee, (JAAC), between representatives of the State and the local governments and both tiers are signatories to the local government accounts as funds from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and other accruals are received monthly and at other times into the joint account.

“The PDP, therefore, finds it curious and strange that Governor Otti would bypass legal procedures and run the 17 Abia local governments as if it were one of the Ministries in the State. By confiscating the Seals of the local governments as it were, the state governor now acts not only as the state governor but also as the Chairman-General of the Abia Local Government system, a system that is very strange and unaccommodated by the letters of the Nigerian laws.

“This unholy effort makes the running of the local governments not only undemocratic, cumbersome and complex but also opaque because there is no check as would ordinarily have been when all the signatories are in the know of how the finances of the local governments are run.”

Contrasting the current situation with that of Otti’s predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu, whom he said never emasculated or usurped the powers of the councils, he added: “In the absence of elected local government Chairman and Councillors, the convention has been to appoint local government Transition Committees; made up of an appointed Chairman and Councilors to oversee the affairs of the local governments.

“Instructively, the former governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu never allowed any vacuum in the administration of local governments as he always ensured that the local councils were manned by capable hands, and it is on record that he is one of the few governors across the country that conducted local government elections twice in their eight-year tenure and was committed to conducting the third one before it was scuttled by the Labour Party and its agents, all in a bid to diminish the glowing popularity of former governor Okezie Ikpeazu who brought peace and prosperity to Abians.

“ The danger of running the state outside the confines of the law, is that such ugly precedents being set by Otti with every of his action since he was sworn into office would one-day boomerang and consume everybody including those cheerleaders who are nudging him to act recklessly even in the face of known illegalities.

“We call upon the governor to retrace his steps and allow the Abia local government system to function within the ambit of the law, return the seals to the Heads of Service of local governments, who are by law, custodians of the authority of the local governments in the absence of elected or appointed political heads of the council.

“He should allow them to do their constitutionally assigned duties or at best, appoint Transition Committees to oversee the affairs of the local governments before the conduct of local government elections.

“And to the elders of Abia State, members of the Labour Party and the good people of Abia State, we remind everyone once again, that eternal vigilance is still the price of liberty and that we should collectively prevail upon the state governor, Dr Alex Otti to do what is right before our dear state descends into autocracy as it is gradually, but manifestly tending to with every action of the governor that is condoned by those that should speak up.”


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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