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Awka New Yam Festival: Activist berates Anambra Governor over police invasion of monarch’s palace



An Anambra state-based social activist, Comrade Chuks Okeke, has condemned last weekend’s invasion of the palace of the traditional ruler of Awka capital city, His Imperial Majesty, Obi Austin Ndigwe, Eze-Uzu III of Awka, by a ‘battalion’ of security operatives on the orders of the state governor, Prof. Charles Soludo.

Comrade Okeke spoke with newsmen in Awka while reacting to the governor’s directive to the police to stop the New Yam Festival of the Awka monarch, the Eze-Uzu III, and the bloody attack on the convoy of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) at Nkwo market, Enugwu-Ukwu, on Sunday, by dare-devil gunmen, who reportedly killed no fewer than ten persons including six policemen.

According to him, the invasion of the monarch’s palace where invited dignitaries and royal fathers from different states were billed to celebrate the 2022 New Yam festival was an unjustifiable attack on the traditional stool and culture of Awka people, stressing that the reason given by the state government for the “condemnable action” was totally unacceptable.

He said: “What happened in Awka last Saturday was very disturbing as it is generally viewed as an attack and desecration of Igbo culture and tradition, and I want to condemn it in its entirety and to call on Governor Soludo to stay away from communal politics and concentrate on the major challenges including high-level insecurity that have almost crippled the state and his administration.

Chief Austin Ndigwe, the ‘Eze-Uzu III of Awka’

“We are aware that  “I am very much aware that all processes were duly observed by the Council of Kingmakers in the selection and crowning of His Imperial Majesty as Obi of Awka and Eze-Uzu III and the process was very transparent.

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“It is on record that some aggrieved parties opposed Obi Ndigwe’s enthronement had gone to court seeking to stop him from parading himself as traditional ruler of Awka which the Awka High Court refused to grant as requested. The case is still pending in court.

“We are therefore surprised that the state governor who is a professor, without any court order, decided to use the police to invade somebody’s palace by 5.30 am to prevent the New Yam festival from holding and went ahead to arrest some persons seen within the premises and detained them for five days before the court granted them bail on Wednesday.

“It is surprising to observe that this kind of impunity was carried out Igbo land because, according to Igbo customs, any titled man in entitled to celebrate New Yam festival in his house without seeking any permission either from government or from anybody else,  and in this case the traditional ruler of Awka ought not to seek the permission or approval of the state government or anybody for that matter before celebrating his New Yam festival.”

The social activist also condemned the armed attack on the convoy of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah last Saturday killing his personal and security aides, saying had the large number of  policemen deployed for such “inconsequential duty” of stopping celebration of traditional new yam festival in Awka been deployed to nipping points in local government areas within Anambra Central senatorial zone, the bloody incident may have been nipped in the bud.

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Comrade Okeke, therefore, called on Governor Soludo to stay away from Awka politics and traditional matters, saying administrations before him knew the truth and facts of Awka traditional stool hence they never interfered and wondered why Governor Soludo, should decide to interfere in the affairs of Awka chiefdom.

The Ndigwe’s palace sealed off by security operatives denying his guests access to the festival venue on Saturday

The Advocate reports that the Anambra State Government had last Saturday sealed off the palace of Ndigwe describing him as an impostor but the action caused pandemonium in the area as some persons including his guests sustained injuries when security operatives chased them away.

A statement issued after the incident by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Paul Nwosu said: “It has come to the attention of Anambra State government that one Austin Chukwuezube Ndigwe, alias Uzu Awka, is still parading himself as the authentic traditional ruler of Awka.

“Not only that; he is also taking steps to perform one of the major harvest season’s traditional rites known as New Yam festival of the Awka people, thereby threatening the peace and tranquility of the town. The state government will not tolerate this.”



EFCC decries rise in fake dollars circulation, cyber crime in Benue



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has decried the sudden rise of fake dollars and cyber crimes in Benue axis.

Its Acting Chairman, Mr Abdulkarim Chukkol, who disclosed this on Thursday in Makurdi, said that the commission had taken measures to address the situation.

The EFCC chairman spoke during a workshop on “Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes,” organised for 30 journalists of major media organisations in the country.

Chukkol was represented by the Head of Makurdi Zonal Office of EFCC, Mr Friday Ebelo.

He said the primary aim of the commission was to reduce corruption in the country to barest level, and would continue to discharge its duties effectively and professionally.

“Through the commission’s enforcement activities, recoveries running into several billions of naira have been recorded and the country’s anti-money laundering framework strengthened.

“There is now a more robust regulation of the activities of these entities which are vulnerable to money laundering,” he added.

The EFCC chairman warned people against disclosing their bank details to anybody to avoid its being used for illegal financial deals.

“I will like the media to educate family members, friends, politicians and others that they run the risk of going to jail if they allow their companies or banks accounts to be used to launder proceeds of illegal activities.

“Under the Money Laundering Act, 2022 family members and close allies of politicians and public office holders, including top civil servants, are now classified as Politically Exposed Persons.

“The EFCC is determined to ensure that anyone who steals from public treasury and all those who assist them under whatever guise, are brought to justice, and ignorance of the law will not be an excuse,” he said.

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Chukkol said that the commission had recorded 3,785 convictions in 2022, the highest since its establishment.

He said that the Makurdi Zonal Office, which was established in 2019, has so far recorded 107 convictions. (NAN)

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Akwa Ibom tribunal affirms Governor Eno’s victory, dismisses ADC, NNPP’s petitions



• Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo has discarded the petition brought before it by the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Ezekiel Nyaetok, challenging the election of Pastor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal had earlier thrown out suit number EPW/AKS/GOV/03/23, brought by the governorship candidate of the NNPP, Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, challenging the election of the governor.

Among other grounds, Nyaetok of ADC sought the disqualification of Pastor Umo Eno, alleging that he was convicted by a Magistrate Court in Abuja and that having been convicted, all votes accrued to him during the March 18 elections ought to be nullified.

He also challenged other candidates who scored more votes than him, alleging that they were handicapped by litigations and legal bars which hampered their eligibility to participate in the elections.

But delivering judgement on the matter, Justice Adekunle Adeleye chaired the panel and unanimously ruled that the same magistrate court presided by Emeka Iyama, delivered a judgment, nullifying its earlier conviction of Pastor Umo Eno and that once a judgement is nullified, it ceases to exist.

The tribunal also held that Nyaetok’s petition lacked merit as the petitioner was not able to establish one polling unit in which there was noncompliance with the electoral law in the March 18 Governorship elections.

After about one hour and thirty minutes of detailed and considered judgement, the governorship election panel, in a unanimous decision concluded that the petition by Senator John James Akpanudoedehe and his party against Gov Umo Bassey Eno, the PDP, and INEC deserves no less a verdict than a dismissal for lacking in merit.

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The governorship election petition by the former senator followed the defective trajectory of two previous cases dismissed by the tribunal two weeks ago, by virtue of the attempt to resurrect the subject matter of certificate forgery leveled against Governor Eno, which was previously buried by the Supreme Court.

Counsel to the PDP had told the tribunal that the petition was “most unambitious”, as the Petitioners neglected and or refused to declare what they really wanted.

Akpanudoedehe of the NNPP had in his arguments claimed that Gov. Umo Eno was a convict by the Wuse Magistrate Court, Abuja, thereby robbing him of the qualification to have contested the March 18, 2023 governorship election.

He prayed the Tribunal to order that the election be cancelled, and a fresh one conducted within 90 days.

He also alleged that the Governor was born in Enugu, even though he declined to show proof of this claim as he neither front-loaded nor relied upon any document to back it.

Surprisingly, of the over 5000 voting units in the state, the NNPP candidate called only 2 witnesses with himself as one of the two.

Under cross-examination, the NNPP gubernatorial candidate admitted, when shown the enrolled order of the Wuse Magistrate Court repudiating its judgement orders, that he lacked knowledge of the existence of the order before his petition.

Counsel to the PDP and Pastor Umo Eno had noted in their submission that the NNPP petition is most unambitious, as the petitioner has not only failed to prove the criminal allegation of forgery but also failed to state what he wants.

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The tribunal, presided over by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, ruled that lacking in merit, the petition had to be confined to the trashcan.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to the PDP, Barr Emmanuel Enoidem said the judgement was in strong agreement with the point of law.

Enoidem said the petitioners failed to prove that Pastor Umo Eno did not meet the constitutional entry requirements for office of the Governor, adding that most of their claims were pre-election matters which they could not also substantiate.

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NDDC Invites Applications for 2023/2024 Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship




The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has announced the commencement of the application process for its 2023/2024 Foreign Post Graduate (Masters) Scholarship Programme.

This marks a significant stride in the Commission’s unwavering commitment to fostering human resource development and empowerment of the youths in the Niger Delta region.

Aiming to cultivate empowerment and specialization, this initiative is designed to equip the vibrant minds of the region with indispensable skills and training. The goal is to facilitate their meaningful participation in the Federal Government’s local content programme and to enable them to excel in various professional disciplines, enhancing their global competitiveness.

Diverse Opportunities for Study:
The programme offers a broad spectrum of fields, including diverse engineering disciplines like Biomedical, Software, and Marine, and cutting-edge domains such as Artificial Intelligence and Math/Sciences. Opportunities also extend to Health and Social Sciences, with options in Medical Sciences and Law, as well as Environmental and Physical Sciences, including Architecture and Environmental Science.

Eligibility and Application:
Eligibility is reserved for individuals originating from the Niger Delta Region, possessing relevant Bachelor’s Degrees with commendable classifications from recognized institutions. Prospective candidates are invited to submit their applications online through our official website [](, with the application window closing five weeks from the date of this announcement.

Rigorous Selection Process:
Candidates will undergo a comprehensive selection process, including preliminary shortlisting, a computer-based test in Rivers State, and final verification through respective Local Government Areas and Community Development Committees. The scholarship amount will be determined based on the prevailing exchange rate of the Naira.

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For detailed information on application procedures, required documentation, and other relevant aspects, applicants are encouraged to visit []( Further enquiries can be directed to:

Director, Education, Health and Social Services, NDDC
Mobile: +234(0)9137806550, +234(0)9049409391

The NDDC remains steadfast in its mission to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative, and politically harmonious. We extend our sincere best wishes to all applicants and eagerly anticipate welcoming the scholars who will contribute to shaping a brighter future for the region.

Pius Ughakpoteni
Director, Corporate Affairs
September 28, 2023.

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