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Bello orders arrest of six ‘thugs’ over attack on Kogi Senator Echocho inside Govt House

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Bello orders arrest of six 'thugs' over attack on Kogi Senator Echocho
• Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho (Kogi East)

Governor Yahaha Bello has ordered the arrest of six persons believed to be political thugs, who reportedly attacked the member representing Kogi East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho at the Government House in Lokoja on Tuesday.

The senator elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was said to have been assaulted by the thugs loyal to the state government in the presence of other National Assembly members he came with to congratulate the outgoing governor for the success of the party in the last governorship election.

He was reportedly singled out for the embarrassing attack for failing to adhere to Governor Bello’s directive that all APC chieftains should ensure the victory of the party in their immediate constituencies during the gubernatorial poll.  Echocho, as learnt, was unable to deliver his senatorial district to the APC, as his people (the Igalas) voted massively for the Social Democratic Party, SDP governorship candidate, Alhaji Murtala Ajaka.

Echocho, who was with Senator Sunday Karimi and other members of House of Representatives from the state, was in the Government House when the thugs surprisingly approached him and began to rain verbal abuses accusing him of betraying Governor Bello.

But for the intervention of some of his colleagues on the visit, the senator would have been harmed even as security operatives attached to the Government House allegedly looked the other way when the thugs descended on the lawmaker.

The news of the attack on the senator, who had once demonstrated his absolute loyalty to Bello by kneeling before him in a viral video, attracted angry reactions among members of the APC and the public Tuesday night. They described the report as another round of humiliation for the senator, demanding an urgent investigation to bring the culprits to book.

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However, in an official reaction to the embarrassing incident, Governor Bello, on Wednesday, ordered the arrest of six persons said to be responsible for harassing “some National Assembly members” during the courtesy visit to the Governor’s office.

The  Advocate learnt that the governor consequently banned unauthorized persons from accessing the Government House and ordered immediate prosecution of the culprits.

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Shortly after the fruitful discussion with the visiting National Assembly members, the governor  said he received with rude shock the news of the harassment of some of the lawmakers on their way out of the government house and swiftly ordered the arrest of the culprits.

He charged security agencies to investigate the issue thoroughly to ensure the offenders face the full wrath of the law.

Bello’s directive to the heads of security agencies reads: “Information just got to me as I left the office to the residence that one man called Suleiman and others embarrassed Sen Jubrin Echocho in Government House. I’ve directed CSO to arrest all those involved in such stupid act and bring them to justice immediately. I will NEVER condone act of hooliganism and indiscipline.
Thank you sir”.

The federal lawmakers who visited the governor at the Government House on Tuesday were Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho of Kogi East, Senator Sunday Karimi of Kogi West, Rt Hon Abdullahi Ibrahim Halims of Ankpa Federal Constituency, Hon Zachariah Idris of Idah Federal Constituency, Hon Sani Abdulrahim Egidi of Ajaokuta Federal Constituency, Hon Abdulrahim Danga (PDP) of Okehi/Adavi Federal, Hon Gowon Haruna of Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency, Hon Tijani Ozigi of Okene/Ogori Federal Constituency, Hon Danladi Aguye of Lokoja/Koto Federal Constituency and Hon Salman Idris (ADV) of Kabba/Ijumu.

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The senator representing Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was not in attendance.

How thugs attacked me in Kogi Govt House — Sen Echocho

Meanwhile, the senator representing Kogi East in the National Assembly, Isah Echocho narrated how thugs attacked him inside the Government House, Lokoja, Kogi State.

The lawmaker, in a telephone interview with Daily Trust, said the incident happened on Tuesday immediately after a meeting with the governor.

Echocho said himself, Senator Sunday Karimi (Kogi West) and other All Progressives Congress federal lawmakers from the state had gone to pay homage to the governor after the festive season.

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He said the thugs singled him out of other legislators and pounced on him, accusing him of being responsible for APC’s poor performance in the last governorship election in Kogi East senatorial district.

Though APC’s Usman Ododo won the election with 446, 237 votes, his main challenger, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party, who came second, won the majority of his 259,052 votes in Kogi East Senatorial District.

Both Ajaka and Echocho are from Kogi East Senatorial District.

 

 

Echocho said the attackers berated him for not working for the success of APC in Kogi East during the poll.

The lawmaker, however, said he did not suffer any injury as the police officers present provided him security and he had since returned to Abuja safely.

Narrating how the incident happened, the senator said, “I was attacked by thugs in Government House Lokoja but the police rescued me.

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“What happened was that all APC senators and the House of Representatives members from the state visited the governor on a courtesy call for the New Year.

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“Being one of them, I was not left out. We went up and we had some brief meeting with the governor, though he expressed dissatisfaction over APC performance in Kogi East (my senatorial district) in the last governorship election.

“I told the governor that I tried all I could to convince my people to vote for the APC. I campaigned vigorously for APC in Kogi East but the people were resolute in voting for another candidate despite my efforts.

“It is not as if APC performed woefully in the election in Kogi East. There were pockets of LGs and wards that we won. There was no other thing I could have done beyond what I did. We exchanged pleasantries with the governor, took a group photograph and left.

“As we were coming out, in front of the governor’s office, the thugs pounced on me, that I was responsible for APC’s failure in Kogi East.

“To my surprise, they brought out knives and other dangerous weapons to attack me but police officers around were able to rescue me inside my vehicle and we zoomed off. I thank God I didn’t suffer any injury. The police were able to provide sufficient security.”

When asked if the governor was aware of the attack, he said: “The governor cannot descend so low and send thugs to attack me.

“The governor spoke with me after the attack, and he assured me that the thugs would be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law, but I told him not to worry since I’m safe.”

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When contacted for comment, the Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo did not respond to a message sent to him and did not answer several calls to him.

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Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, others blocked over forex crisis (FULL LIST)

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Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, others blocked over forex crisis (FULL LIST)

The Federal Government has moved against online platforms of Binance and other cryptocurrency firms over alleged manipulation of the forex market.

Binance is a digital assets platform which serves as a window for peer to peer transaction allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

On February 5, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.

The regulator also warned local financial institutions against dealing in crypto assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

CBN cited concerns over money laundering, terrorism financing, cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrencies as reasons for the ban.

In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria changed its stance on crypto assets and asked banks to disregard its February 2021 ban on crypto transactions.

This latest restriction on crypto websites is aimed at slowing currency speculation activities in the country, with Binance stating that its platform is not for currency pricing.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, argued that Binance and other crypto platforms should be banned from operating in Nigeria.

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He said the cryptocurrency trading platform is facing restrictions in multiple jurisdictions such as the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Reacting, Binance said its firm does not operate as a price discovery platform and FX rates are determined by complex forces that have nothing to do with the company.

The trading company said it provides a market-driven peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that is not meant to be a proxy for currency pricing in Nigeria.

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The platform users have complained about their inability to buy dollars.

The platforms blocked include:

– Binance

– Forextime

– OctaFX

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– Crypto

– FXTM

– Coinbase

– Kraken

– Kucoin

– Bybit

There are also many other platforms used in the cryptocurrency transaction in Nigeria.

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Military warns Nigerians calling for coup over economic hardship

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Military warns Nigerians calling for coup over economic hardship
• Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa
The military has issued a warning to those calling for a coup against President Bola Tinubu’s administration on account of the hardship in Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently facing one of its worst economic crises in history, triggering protests in different parts of the country.

Some people have said if things do not get addressed on time, the military could stage a coup and oust the government of President Bola Tinubu.

Reacting to this, Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said those insinuating such do not mean well for the country, warning that the law would catch up with them.

Musa said the Armed Forces would continue to do the needful to protect the country’s democracy.

He spoke while responding to questions from newsmen shortly after he commissioned the main entrance of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Officers Transit Accommodation, both at the Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

While admitting that the country was experiencing some challenges, he said coup calls were improper because nations achieve more and develop faster under a democracy.

“Whoever is making that call (coup) does not love Nigeria. We want to make it very clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are here to protect democracy. We all want democracy and we do better under democracy. And so we will continue to support democracy. And any of those ones that are calling for anything other than Democracy are evil people and I think they don’t mean well for Nigeria.

“And they should be very careful because the law will come after them. We can see that with democracy a lot of things are happening in Nigeria. Yes, we are going through trying periods, I mean in life nothing is hundred percent.”

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He emphasized that what is needed is for citizens to be patient and give their support to the Tinubu government to succeed and put the enemies of the state calling for a coup to shame.

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“Everybody goes through a trying period in life, and it is what you do with them. You can see the government putting efforts to ensure that we come out better. And it is when you go through difficulties and come out better you will really appreciate what it is to build a nation. And so we are going through our trying period, but I can assure Nigerians that it will get better.

“All we need is for all of us to put our hands together to ensure that we defeat those enemies of the government, those enemies of this country that don’t want us to succeed. We will surely succeed and the Armed Forces are here to support the Government in ensuring that we develop, we succeed and to see that there is peace in Nigeria.”

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Enugu govt withdraws fraudulent approvals obtained by property developers

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Enugu govt withdraws fraudulent approvals obtained by property developers
Executive Chairman ECTDA, Mr Uche Anya at the press briefing in Enugu on Thursday

Enugu State Government, on Thursday, decried what it called worrisome activities of some developers parading fraudulent approvals.

Executive Chairman of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Mr Uche Anya disclosed this while briefing journalists.

He said such fraudulent approvals have been withdrawn, vowing that the government would never succumb to blackmail.

Anya said, “it is very disheartening that in spite of all we have done, we are still facing challenges in our development control, we have some unscrupulous developers who call themselves investors, sabotaging our master plan, corrupting the system.

“We have instances where people secured approvals using the Certificate of Occupancy, C of O of a different area and passed it on for a property in another location.”

He cited a particular outfit operating in Independence Layout, a night club, which he said has a land title of a property in GRA but passed it on for another property in Independence Layout

“On top of that, they went out of their way and built things not approved.

“We have a similar instance opposite Fire Service, you will see a huge building that we don’t know what to make of it, whether to call it a hotel or complex or whatsoever, in variance to what was approved.

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“Then you go to the bank of Ekulu River, people who have jettisoned even the setback they signed up for and they are parading fake approvals, distorting our place, threatening our bridges, we cannot afford to have another collapsed bridge in Enugu. We must save Trans Ekulu Bridge at all costs.

“So we want to tell the world that we are not afraid of doing the right thing.

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“We have withdrawn all the approvals that were fraudulently obtained and we intend to ensure that Enugu State, as much as we would do everything to encourage investors, will not allow unscrupulous people to violate our laws and end up blackmailing government officials.

“How on earth did someone get approval for a night club in Independence Layout using title documents of GRA?” Anya queried.

“All the people that have approval for one property and end up building up everywhere, we are also withdrawing such approvals.

“We need the world to understand that Enugu is a city of law and order and all our investment drives remain in front burner. All genuine investors have nothing to fear but those who want to corrupt the system have everything to worry about,” he added.

The ECTDA boss assured all genuine investors that Enugu State is open for investments.

He said, “we welcome people that want to make Enugu their preferred home. Enugu is home for all and this is what this administration is committed to.

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“Our 30 billion dollars investment drive for Enugu State is not a joke, and you can see that Governor Peter Mbah’s administration is not joking about it.

“You can see the massive infrastructural investment going on in all the places, you can see that we have paid attention to ease of doing business, the taxation system has been harmonized, this administration has zero tolerance for double taxation.

“You can see that E-government has taken firm root. For instance, we have eliminated corruption from our system of doing business.

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“In line with our ease of doing business, our land department is totally reformed, we can assure you that C of O in Enugu can be obtained within 72 hours if all your documentations are in order

“We also make it easy for every development approval to be processed and issued within 5 working days.”

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