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Gunmen Kidnap Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith in Lagos

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Masked gunmen have abducted Air Vice Marshal Sikiru Smith (retd.), in the Ajah area of Lagos State.

Smith is a cousin to a former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith.

The retired general, who is currently the Chairman of Double Wealth Ventures Limited – a dredging and engineering firm – was supervising work on a site in the Ajah area of Lagos State on Monday when masked gunmen invaded the place and shot sporadically.

The gunmen were said to have whisked the retired general away in a waiting speedboat and sped away.

According to an SOS voice note shared by his driver, Corporal Odiji, the retired AVM engaged in a struggle with the gunmen before he was subdued.

Odiji stated, “This is an emergency. I am Corporal Odiji attached to Air Vice Marshal Smith. They just abducted him from the site where we were working. Some gunmen who were wearing masks just came and snatched my boss now. They shot everywhere. I was near where I was fixing my boss’ vehicle.

“As I was coming, I saw them leaving in a boat but I wasn’t armed so I just ran to the site and I saw his glasses and where he struggled with them. Please pass this information. It is an emergency.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, promised to make inquiries and give a detailed response in due course.

The Spokesman for the Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, also promised to make inquiries and provide information on the matter later.

AVM Smith was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer in 1979 and had a highly successful military officer that combined soldering with serious academic pursuit.

He holds BSc, MSc, MBA and PhD degrees. He is an Alumnus of Harvard University and fellow of many professional bodies including the Institute of Management, Nigeria.

Smith attended several military courses both locally and overseas which include flying and engineering. He was awarded numerous military decorations such as Distinguished Service Star, Pass Staff College (Dagger) and Fellow of the prestigious National Defence College.

The notable appointments he held include Commanding Officer Air Engineering Wing, Sierra Leone/Liberia; Commander, Nigerian Air Force Station, Calabar; Deputy Director, Air Engineering, Nigeria Air Force Headquarters, Abuja, Commander 333 Logistics Group, Kaduna, Commander, 401 Aircraft Maintenance Depot, Ikeja; Chief of Logistics, Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja and Chief of Defence Communications, Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

Smith, who was a guest on The PUNCH Roundtable recently, had advocated for the use of drones in security surveillance and military offensives in the country to curb the use of military jets.

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NSCDC Partners NECO for Hitch Free Exams

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the National Examination Council (NECO) to ensure a peaceful and hitch-free examination.

The process of the memorandum signing was contained in a statement signed by the Corps’ Director of Public Relations, DCC Olusola Odumosu, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP).

The noted that the Commandant General of NSCDC, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, while receiving NECO Registrar, Professor Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi at the Corps National Headquarters, said that the visit was prompt, timely and very germaine to schools’ security which encompasses that all measures be taken to combat threats in our educational environment.

He congratulated the Commandant General for his well deserved appointment and commended the Corps for its partnership over the years which he hopes to sustain in his own tenure.

The Registrar solicited for more support and cooperation in ensuring that the NECO examination is conducted in a peaceful, secured and serene atmosphere, reiterating that, NECO is like a threshold for children’s progress and national development.

According to him, the examination conducted at secondary schools terminal level helps students to become professionals that will have the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.

He craved the support of the Corps to safeguard materials for the examination and to also assist in conducting the test in a very secure and safe manner.

Prof Wushishi commended officers and men of the Corps for contributing to safety and smooth conduct of previous examinations and expressed hope that this year’s exercise will not be different.

“We take our activities seriously, ensure students during examinations are protected jealously more than legal tender which is the currency.

“We are here to seek your assistance and sign a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for you to participate fully as you used to for a peaceful and hitch free examination.

“We felt it is important to come to you as our partner over the years to safeguard materials and also assist us to conduct examination in a very secure atmosphere across the country,” Prof Wushishi said.

The Commandant General on his part welcomed the delegates and assured them of the Corps’ readiness to ensure a safe examination environment for students.

 

He said that, in an attempt to ensure schools are adequately protected, NSCDC special female squad was established to ensure security across schools in the country.

He stated that the Corps had always ensured safety and protection of examination materials, staff and students and will not hesitate in ensuring that this year’s exercise is a huge success.

Audi appreciated NECO for it’s educational standards in ensuring that adequate knowledge is being impacted into Nigerian students to meet up with international education best practices.

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PDP Chairman Not Suspended, Says Ayu’s Aide

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The Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorchia Ayu, Simon Imobo-Tswam, has described as false a report stating that his principal had been suspended from the position.

According to the report, the suspension followed an emergency meeting of the PDP National Working Committee.

The report claimed the Deputy National Chairman (North), Amb. Umar Damagun, had been appointed as National Chairman of the PDP, in an acting capacity.

Reacting, Imobo-Tswam said, “Even though we do not wish to dignify falsehood with a response, an official reaction is necessary in order to stem the tide of misinformation.”

This was contained in a statement, titled, ‘Ayu still PDP National Chairman,’ made available to newsmen on Wednesday.

It read in part, “Dr Iyorchia Ayu, the PDP National Chairman remains the PDP National Chairman.

“Dr Ayu took a well-deserved, two-week leave on 21st June 2022. He will be back next week to resume duties, specifically on July 6, 2022.

“A stickler for due process, Dr Ayu formally handed over to the Deputy National Chairman (North), Amb. Umar Damagun, and the Deputy National Chairman has held forth admirably since that day.

“It was in that acting capacity that he (Damagun) today, presided over the inauguration of the Osun State Gubernatorial Campaign Council, headed by the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, H.E. Douye Diri

“If not that the authors of the mischievous and baseless Facebook posts were out to serve nefarious interests, they would have heard when the acting national chairman, Amb. Damagun, said during the ceremony today: “On behalf of my able National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, I hereby inaugurate you.”

“The general public is, therefore, advised to ignore the mischievous social media publications as they are purely the work of mischief makers and idle minds.”

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Corruption Allegations: Senate Orders Fresh Probe of Ex-CJN

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The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, on Tuesday, received a fresh order to probe the erstwhile Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammed over the allegations of corruption raised against him by some justices of the Supreme Court.

14 Justices of the Supreme Court had recently leveled allegations of corruption against Tanko Mohammed, which the ex-CJN denied.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has then mandated the Committee led by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele to probe the allegations leveled against the ex-CJN and the crisis presently rocking the judiciary.

Lawan said, “ The chamber mandates the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to go ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a lasting solution to the matter by interacting with relevant stakeholders to address the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.

The Senate “Mandate the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to interface with the relevant stakeholders in the three Arms of Government as well as at the Bar and on the Bench to collate aggregate views and positions on the short term, medium term and long term measures needed to decisively address the crisis facing the Judiciary, including the immediate fiscal intervention as well as long term and sustainable budgetary allocations, required for the optimal performance of the Judiciary, in line with global best practices; and urge the Senate to wish the Hon. Chief Justice well, following many years of meritorious service to the nation and to pray for his good health.”

The Senate noted that on Tuesday, June 21, 2022,  Lawan drew the attention of the Senate to the media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, whereby Justices of the Court, through a petition signed by majority of them, raised issues bothering on deplorable welfare conditions and difficult working environment for the Justices, which was addressed to the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council.

He also noted that the President of the Senate emphasised the need for the Senate to urgently step into the matter as any issue that concerns the Judiciary is an issue of urgent national importance that the Senate could not afford to sit idly by and allow to spiral out of control.

Accordingly, the President of the Senate directed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to get involved in the matter with a view to unravelling the root cause of the recent development in the Judiciary and how best the Senate can intervene in order to address the concerns raised by the Justices

Lawan noted that Justices were taciturn and reticent in handling issues outside their judicial domain but resorting to such measures in order to protect the Judiciary, required the Senate to rise up to the occasion to ensure that their demands were addressed.

The committee chairman, Senator Bamidele said his team was taking steps to look into the matter as directed by the President of the Senate by making arrangements to interface with relevant stakeholders both at the Bar and on the Bench.

Bamidele said, “The poor welfare of Judicial Officers would affect the delivery of the judiciary in respect of their output and will prevent them from performing optimally.

“The sacred image of the Judiciary, which is the epicentre of the temple of justice should be preserved by the Senate through appropriate legislative measures in order to safeguard this highly revered institution and prevent it from being ridiculed.”

Bamidele added that it is a regret that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed on Sunday,  June 27, 2022, voluntarily resigned his appointment on grounds of ill-health, leaving the most senior Justice to act as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. However, this development would not prevent the Committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.

He stated, “Though Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed has stepped down as CJN, most of the issues raised by the Justices of the Supreme Court and other stakeholders within the Judiciary, still remain and need to be addressed urgently to prevent an eventual shutdown of the Judiciary.”

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