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Two kidnapped Kogi varsity students killed amid negotiation

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Two kidnapped Kogi varsity students killed amidst negotiation
Kogi varsity student killed by abductors

• Varsity declares three-day mourning

The Kogi State Police command yesterday confirmed the killing of two of the abducted students of Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara.

The State Police Commissioner, Mr Bethrand Onuoha, confirmed the death to newsmen in Lokoja.

Onuoha described  the killing as “very unfortunate”. The CP, who did not give further details, said security operatives were on the trail of the abductors to bring them to book.

• Another Kogi varsity student killed by abductors

Gunmen believed to be kidnappers invaded the school around 9.00 p. m. on May 9 while the students were studying in their classes ahead of their examinations slated for May 13, and abducted some students, after shooting sporadically into the air.

However, security agencies had succeeded in rescuing 21 of the abducted students with the help of local hunters but the abductors held on to a few of them.

Meanwhile, the management of CUSTECH  has  declared three-day mourning over the killing of two  students of the institution by  kidnappers.

Its Registrar, Ms Olufunke Hudson, made this known in a statement yesterday.

The students –  James Michael-Anajuwe and Musa Hussein,  first year students of  Information Technology and Software Engineering,,  were among  students of the university kidnapped on May 9.

They students were abducted while reading for their examinations slated to start on May 13.

Twenty-one of the students have been rescued through efforts of security operatives and local hunters.

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Hudson said:  “It is with deep shock and pain that the management of CUSTECH is mourning our  beloved slain students.

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“Consequently, all activities in the university are to be held low-key from May 27 to May 29 in memory of our departed students.”

The registrar said  that the university  management shared in the grief  of the families  and colleagues of the deceased students.

She urged the  parents, other family members, guardians, friends and well-wishers of the deceased students to take solace in God.

According to her, the state government is intensifying efforts to ensure  safe rescue of the remaining students from their abductors.

“Gov.  Usman Ododo is leaving no stone unturned at ensuring that the students are released safely.

“We, therefore, urge everyone to remain calm and maintain the peace the state is enjoying.’’

Meanwhile, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Education For All (E4A), has condemned the killing of the students despite ongoing negotiations with the parents to pay ransom for their release.

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The Publicity Secretary of the NGO, in a statement in Lokoja, Malam Nasir Ibrahim, described the killing as the height of callousness.

He said the kidnappers were out to scare young people from going to school, which was unfortunate.

“It is sad that the criminals killed two of the students who were not among the 21 rescued through the operation coordinated by the Kogi government.

“This is sad, callous and a call for collective action against attackers of educational institutions.

“We are aware that parents of the students were negotiating with the kidnappers which slowed down the offensive on the kidnappers by security agencies so as not to endanger the lives of the captives.

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“We were very hopeful and optimistic that they will be released at the end of the negotiations.

“Information reaching us shows that the students killed were James Michael Anajuwe, a 100 level Information Technology student, and Musa Hussein, a 100 level Software Engineering student.

“They were allegedly killed at the kidnappers’ hideout in Kwara.

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“We are broken and shattered that despite the efforts of the parents, NGOs and the State government, we still lost these promising students.”

He called on the Kogi government to work with its Kwara counterpart to take decisive action against the perpetrators who were said to be hiding in a forest in Kwara, very close to Kogi and Ekiti States.

He commiserated with the families of the lost children, urging the National Security Adviser and the Federal Ministry of Education to reinvigorate efforts on the Safe School Initiative.

“The painful loss of the two students should provoke the office of the National Security Adviser to work with the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure the safety of our schools across the country.

“It is unacceptable to lose children whose only offence was embracing education. Our nation must rise to the occasion to arrest the rising insecurity across the country, ” he said.

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Ex-Kogi Gov Bello’s trial for alleged N80.2Bn graft stalled again, to appear in court June 27

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Follow AGF’s advice, submit to EFCC – Group tells Yahaya Bello
Former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello

The arraignment of former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello for alleged N80.2 billion fraud slated for Thursday was stalled again as the case was adjourned to June 27 based on requests from both counsels in the case.

Bello, who was expected in court on Thursday, before Justice Emeka Nwite at the Federal High Court Abuja on a 19-count charge, was absent.

According to the EFCC, through the counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), the court had previously adjourned the case on May 10 with the expectation that Bello would be present for arraignment today.

However, Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), argued there was a misunderstanding.

He claimed the lead prosecutor, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), had suggested to his colleague, Aliyu AbdulWahab, of postponing the arraignment to June 27 for convenience sake during an informal meeting outside of court.

Adedipe stated that he was surprised to find EFCC lead counsel, absent from the court today.

“They (EFCC) agreed that junior counsel would be sent to court today to formally pick a date. And the registry can confirm this.

“Kemi Pinhero, SAN, has been calling us to say today is not convenient,” Adedipe said, accusing the prosecution of attempting to “ambush” him.

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The EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), countered by saying the defense team was misrepresenting the situation. He argued that holding an unofficial meeting was not a valid reason for Bello’s absence and called for an apology to the court.

“Assuming without conceding that there was a conversation between the counsel for Bello and the prosecution (outside the court), to have this matter adjourned, the fundamental issue today is compliance with the order of my lord; to with, the appearance of the defendant,” he said.

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According to Adedipe, Yahaya Bello was prepared to appear today as originally scheduled.

“Under 266 ACJA there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe argued.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the judge acknowledged the confusion and accepted the defense team’s apology.

“I am minded to take the apology on the ground that the defendant is making a fresh undertaking that the defendant (Bello) will be produced on June 27.

“The matter is adjourned to June 27 for arraignment,” the judge ruled.

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Alleged N80bn Fraud: Yahaya Bello to appear in court for trial today

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Ex-Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

After several months of hide-and-seek between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the ex-governor is expected to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 13 for arraignment on the corruption charge against him.

The former governor, through his lawyer, finally agreed to submit himself to the court at the last adjourned date.

Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, gave the undertaking to Justice Emeka Nwite on May 10, shortly after the court rejected the defendant’s request for suspension of trial.

According to him, the former governor was not afraid of arraignment but of the safety of his life in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.

He said the life of his client has been under consistent threats in Abuja, hence his decision to go underground for safety.

The agreement to submit to court trial was informed by Justice Nwite’s remarks that the EFCC, as a law-abiding body, would not do anything contrary to the provisions of the law.

The judge said Bello was not the first former governor to be merely invited by the anti-graft agency and would not be the last.

The judge also said that the charges are based on allegations that have not been proved, adding that the law presumes any accused person innocent until proven otherwise.

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He advised the senior lawyer to prevail on his client to respect the law and order of the court as a law-abiding person.

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Bello’s lawyer, responding to the admonition, thanked the Judge for the hint, adding that, with the assurance that the EFCC would not do anything untoward, the former governor would be brought to court.

“All my client needs is just an assurance for the safety of his life, which has been under threat for some time in Abuja.”

The lawyer requested for four weeks to bring his client before the court.

He said Bello would, however, come to the court instead of the EFCC to take his plea in the charges.

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‘I did my Dobale’, Tinubu breaks silence on Democracy Day fall at Eagle Square

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Minimum Wage: FG denies offering N105,000
President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu late yesterday, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, broke his silence on a viral video on social media where he missed his steps and tripped earlier in the day during the proceedings at the Democracy Day Parade at Eagle Square, Abuja.

Speaking at the Democracy Day Dinner, Tinubu, a Yoruba from South West Nigeria, said tongue-in-cheek that he was only performing a traditional Yoruba gesture of respect.

“Early this morning, I had a swagger and it is on social media. They are confused on whether I was doing Buga or doing Babariga but it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing ‘dobale’ for the day. I am a traditional Yoruba boy and I did my Dobale,”

The president also underscored the importance of national orientation and collective effort in fostering a prosperous future for the country.

“Nigeria is blessed, our complexity, our diversity is there, but is the best road to success. Whatever we have to invest in our national orientation, we have to do it,” Tinubu declared, stressing the need for a concerted effort to instill a sense of service and patriotism among Nigerians.

He also noted that the nation’s national anthem encapsulated the essence of service, a value he observed being practiced by many governors across the country.

He expressed his gratitude to the governors, acknowledging their dedication to serving their people irrespective of their political affiliations.

“We include in our national anthem, the essence of service. I have seen many governors, both live and on tv, serving their people. They belong to other parties and many of them are here tonight. Thank you, Governor Eno, of Akwa Ibom, thank you Governor Okpara, my comrade from Kaduna, thank you, Sheriff and Abia, thank you. If I miss you, forgive me. Everybody has forgotten the partisanship column and embraced that green, white, green that depicts Nigeria.”

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Acknowledging criticisms of the national anthem, he called on governors to redouble their efforts in fostering a sense of duty and national character among citizens.

SEE ALSO:  Eight more kidnapped Kogi varsity students regain freedom

“Citizenship is not just the dictionary meaning of it, it is the actual character. Let us teach this to our children, so that Nigeria collectively, we will do the job that we are called upon to do as both family or nation under God almighty,” Tinubu urged.

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