Personnel of the Oyo State Police Command, on Monday, stormed an illegal detention centre at a mosque in the Ojoo area of Ibadan, and rescued 259 persons being held hostage there.
The victims were made up of 19 males, 34 females, 11 children, and 23 sick persons.
It was gathered that the victims had been in chains for between two and 10 years.
The police arrested nine suspects during the raid, including the owner of the centre.
PUNCH Metro findings showed that many such centres had been in existence in the city for several years, with clerics using them as corrective homes for recalcitrant persons.
The state Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, who led the police team to the centre, said a 17-year-old escapee from a holding facility in another part of Ibadan hinted the command about the existence of the centre.
The commissioner stated that the escapee mentioned the Oloore mosque in Ojoo as another facility used for holding the victims against their will.
According to him, on arrival at the mosque, the victims recounted their harrowing experience, stating that some of them had been held hostage for up to 10 years.
Olukolu said, “The young man said the victims were being maltreated and were poorly fed; being treated like slaves and engaged in forced labour; and oftentimes, their deaths were not reported to anybody.
“On the basis of that information, the police decided to check out the centre. By the time we got to Owode, Apata, the facility had been evacuated. But from the surroundings, we knew that there were people in that place earlier than the time we arrived.
“However, the young man informed the police that there was another detention facility and that is where we are now at Oloore, Ojoo area of Ibadan.
“Actually, when the police got here, we discovered that young men and women were being kept in captivity in a dungeon-like situation. As a matter of fact, man’s inhumanity to man is being manifested in this environment. We are not happy about the situation.
“So, we got across to the state government and the state government officials are around. They are here with a view to ensuring that some of these young people, who are kept against their will, are liberated and allowed to be in a position where they can talk and take care of themselves.
“Definitely, this area will be secured and the police will be able to do further investigation.
Anyone, who is found culpable, will definitely be arrested, investigated and prosecuted diligently to serve as a warning to others, who may want to operate such houses that serve as illegal detention centres.”
FUTA Suspends Six Students for Brutalising Mate
The Federal University of Technology, Akure, has placed six students of the institution, who were allegedly involved in beating a female undergraduate to a pulp, on an indefinite suspension.
The sanctioned students are Olaniyi Popoola, Faith Oluwadare, Jessica Nandi, Emmanuella Ajuwon, Taiwo Emmanuel and Cecilia Alao.
The assault on their fellow student reportedly occurred at one of the students’ hostels outside the campus of the institution.
It was gathered that the students had on Saturday pounced on the victim for allegedly gossiping about one of them, while the other five decided to teach her a lesson by beating her mercilessly.
One of the students recorded the assault and posted it on the Internet.
In the video that went viral, two of the students were seeing slapping and whipping the victim, who was begging them to leave her alone.
A source said the brutal assault landed the victim in hospital, where she was treated and later discharged.
“The victim was accused of gossiping about one of the female students in the hostel. So, the accuser invited her friends, a male and four females, to deal with the gossip. That was how they started beating her,” the source said.
FUTA said in a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Adegbenro Adebanjo, that the six students had been suspended indefinitely, while an investigation into the incident had begun.
The university declared that it would not tolerate indiscipline or any act that contravened its rules and regulations, and vowed that the errant students would not go unpunished.
The statement read in part, “Following the ugly incident of bullying of a female student by some students and as a result of preliminary investigation, the students have been placed on an indefinite suspension with effect from Monday, November 17, 2019.
“As a consequence of their suspension, they are precluded from all academic-related activities indefinitely and barred from the university and its precincts forthwith.
“At the conclusion of the ongoing investigation, the full weight of the law of the university, as contained in the handbook and oath of matriculation, which all the students were made to sign and subscribe to, will be visited on those found culpable.”
Man, Grandchildren Die of Suspected Food Poisoning in Imo
A man, Moses Oguebuka, and two grandchildren, were on Tuesday found dead in Okwudor in the Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.
The development, our correspondent learnt, caused tension in the community as the police took over the investigation.
A community source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the man and his grandchildren ate dinner together.
He said the bodies of Moses, who was a widower, and his eight and 11-year-old grandchildren had been evacuated by the police.
The source said, “Their lifeless bodies were found in a room in the morning. It was the man’s mistress, who had come to check on him, who found the corpses. She quickly raised the alarm, which attracted the villagers.
“We don’t know what actually happened, but food poisoning is suspected. The deceased ate dinner together and were found dead the next morning.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, confirmed the incident and said investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths had commenced.
Price of Cooking Gas Soars as Supply Drops
The drop in the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly known as cooking gas, to Lagos has led to an increase in the retail price of the commodity, raising fears of an imminent scarcity in the state and many parts of the country.
The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers said last Wednesday that terminal owners had increased the price of 20 metric tonnes of the LPG by 33 per cent to N4.2m within five days.
NALPGAM said efforts to extract the cause of the sudden price increase from the terminal operators had not been successful.
The Nigeria LNG Limited, which is based in Port Harcourt, uses a vessel to deliver the LPG to Lagos at least twice in a month and buyers take the commodity to different parts of the country through trucks.
The company only delivers volumes to government-owned Northern Oil Jetty terminal and Navgas terminal, a private facility.
Our correspondent gathered that over 34 off-takers involved in the distribution of the NLNG’s volumes across the country received supply from the terminals.
But investigations revealed that the vessel only delivered the LPG volumes to Lagos once in October and no supply had been received this month as of the time of filing this report.
The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers said on Sunday that the reduction in supply had led to about 90 per cent increment in gas price within a space of one week.
“It is likely that this ugly situation will continue if there is no urgent intervention, especially as Christmas and New Year approach. Just a week ago, in Lagos and some neighbouring states, 12.5kg LPG was sold between N2,600 and N3,000 at retail outlets. It is now sold between N4,000 and N4,500 owing to the sudden hike in the price by tank farm operators,” the LPGAR said in a statement.
Last week, the NLNG, in a letter seen by our correspondent, explained to off-takers recent delays and disruptions to the Lagos delivery schedule.
It said deliveries to Lagos had progressed uninterrupted until August when the LPG vessel, ‘Navigator Capricorn’, loaded a cargo in Bonny and then experienced a suspected piracy attack en route to deliver the cargo to Lagos.
The spokesperson for the NLNG, Sophia Horsfall, in an emailed response to questions, told our correspondent on Friday that the company delivered 12,000MT to the Navgas terminal in Apapa, Lagos on October 15, 2019.
“Before then, we delivered a total of 32,050MT (three cargoes) in the month of September to Lagos. Our next delivery for about the 10th of November will be to NOJ terminal in Lagos. We typically deliver at least two cargoes of the LPG each month to Lagos via NOJ and Navgas terminals,” she said.
The LPGAR called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to urgently intervene in order to restore sanity.
“The situation is already forcing many users to abandon their cylinders and opt for other sources of cooking energy such as firewood and saw dusk irrespective of the attendant health risks and resultant environmental degradation that results from those alternative energy sources,” it added.