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‘I Became an Armed Robber after Losing N6m Capital in Betting’

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Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team have smashed a robbery gang which specialised in robbing women of expensive vehicles in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Three members of the gang arrested by the police were identified as Ego Ike, Obinna Igwe and Adamu Nuhu.

City Round learnt that the suspects usually took the stolen vehicles to Niger Republic, where they sold them.

It was gathered that the police went after the gang members after they allegedly stole a 2016 Toyota Corolla from an official of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, who was on her way home from work.

The suspects were said to have driven the car to Katsina State, from where they took it to Niger Republic.

Nigerien policemen reportedly impounded the vehicle and arrested a member of the gang identified simply as Yellow, while the three others escaped.

Our correspondent learnt that the three fleeing suspects were recently tracked down in their hideout in Abuja after the FIRS official reported the robbery to the IRT.

One of the suspects, Ike, told City Round during the week that he joined the gang after he lost a sum of N6m he had invested in clothing business to gambling.

He said, “I was a spare parts dealer at the Ladipo Market, Lagos, but I moved to Abuja in search of greener pastures. When I couldn’t achieve much, I pressured my father to sell his only land in the village and he used the money to send me to Istanbul, Turkey.

“I worked in Istanbul for three years and saved close to N6m which I used to start a clothing business in Nigeria. In 2016, one of my friends introduced me to online sports betting, and I lost all my money. I met one Linus in Abuja and we became friends.  He introduced me to a robbery gang. We stole a Toyota RAV4 from a woman who was driving to her house on Shafar Road, Abuja and we took the car to Kaduna. We sold it to one Mallam Nuhu for N200,000.”

He stated that his gang also carjacked a Toyota Matrix from a woman and sold it in Kaduna for N270,000, adding that they usually targeted women to avoid resistance.

Ike, who hails from Anambra State, also admitted to have participated in the operation in which the FIRS official’s car was stolen.

He said, “We took the car that night to Niger Republic, but at the Katsina border, Linus and I came down from the car while Yellow and a man took the car into Niger Republic. Unfortunately, Nigerien police arrested them.  We target wmen because we don’t use guns and women won’t resist us. We go for Toyota vehicles because we easily find buyers for them.”

In his account, Nuhu, a native of Kaduna State, said he took to robbery when he was 17. He said he got a master key he used to steal some cars from one MD in Kaduna.

He said, “The first car I stole with the master key was a Toyota Carina. I stole it in Tuniga Maji, along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway. I took the car to Kaduna and one Garuba bought it from me for N120,000. MD then introduced me to Yellow and asked me to get a vehicle from him. The vehicle had a problem with the engine. We contacted Garuba and he bought it for N180,000.

“I stole three other Toyota Camry cars in Tuniga Maji area and sold them for N420,000 to one Alhaji in Sokoto State. MD also gave me four Toyota Corolla cars to deliver to one Abdul in Niger Republic. Later in September 2018, Yellow introduced me to his own gang, who were operating mainly in Abuja. We were preparing for a robbery operation when the police arrested me.”

Culled from The Punch

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Call for Sack of Service Chiefs is ‘Out of Place’ – Presidency

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Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari says the clamour for the sacking of service chiefs is ‘out of place’.

According to Shehu, the president has the prerogative to appoint or sack any of the country’s service chiefs, adding that the president keeps the service chiefs as long as he is satisfied with their performance.

The horrific killing of at least 43 rice farmers at Zabarmari in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State last Saturday sparked fresh call for the sacking of the country’s service chiefs.

Reacting to the call by several Nigerians who also want the president to rejig the country’s security architecture, Shehu said the decision to sack or retain any of the service chiefs is entirely the president’s.

He spoke on Monday night in an interview with Arise TV monitored by The PUNCH.

The presidential spokesman said, “I am not aware that the tenure of service chiefs is subjected to any law of regulation that is clearly stated. They serve at the pleasure of the president and (if) the president is satisfied with their performance, he keeps them. The buck stops at his table —with due respect to the feelings of Nigerians.

“The clamour for the sack is out of place considering that the president is not subject to the opinion of opposition political party which has clamoured for this all the time. It is entirely his own determination; he decides who he keeps as his service chiefs and for how long.”

Boko Haram were reported to have first tied up the farmers, who were working in rice fields, before slitting their throats.

Shehu had said the farmers had no military clearance to be on the rice farms when the attack happened.

His reaction was greeted by outrage on social media as many Nigerians lambasted him for blaming the dead.

Explaining further last night, Shehu said, “My suggestion in the earlier news report is that the military had not certified those areas as being free of landmines and terrorists’ intrusions. Whether there are processes for getting licences or commissions, it is not for me, the military is in a better position to describe those processes.”

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F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton Contracts COVID-19

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World champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, Formula One’s governing body FIA announced Tuesday.

“In accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain he (Hamilton) is now isolating,” said an FIA statement.

“The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 will ensure no wider impact on this weekend’s event.”

Hamilton who on Sunday won the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first of back-to-back races in the Gulf state, has already secured a record-equalling seventh world championship this season.

“He woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive,” a statement from Hamilton’s Mercedes team said.

“Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest.

“Lewis is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain.

“Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery.”

The team added that Hamilton had been tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time as part of the sport’s strict anti-virus protocols, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain circuit.

AFP

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Beware of Festivities, Christmas Carol, FG Warns

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has urged Nigerians to be weary of festivities such as Christmas carols as the year winds down.

It also warned against non-essential travels just as it asked Nigerians abroad to remain wherever they are or stand the risk of being stranded in the country in the event that the government takes a decision on international travels.

The call formed the theme of the speeches of the Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha; the national coordinator, Sani Aliyu; the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, at the weekly briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday.

Mustapaha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the PTF was escalating its surveillance and testing drive to ensure that the spread of the virus was effectively contained as the nation approaches the festive season.

“We shall continue to remind Nigerians that all non-essential trips should be put off this December. This is for your safety and good health,” he said.

Speaking on vaccines, the PTF chairman said while it was a significant achievement, it was however, important for the citizens to continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions before the vaccines would become available.

“The PTF is already working on the strategy for gaining access to the vaccine as soon as they are available,” he added.

The SGF also said over the past weeks, discussions have been held about the safety issues pertaining to the National Sports Festival scheduled to hold in Benin, Edo State.

He said new dates have been agreed upon early in 2021, before which, measures would be put in place to minimize infections.

‘Don’t come home for Christmas’

Aliyu advised Nigerians in the Diaspora not to consider coming home, urging them to celebrate Christmas and New Year wherever they are.

He said, “Nigerians outside the country, hopefully they will stay where they are. And for Nigerians in-country, we will also stay where we are.

The national coordinator disclosed that for every 1,000 passengers coming into the country, the nation records 10 positive cases of COVID-19.

He added, “Please, for this period, if your travel is not essential, stay where you are. We are actively discouraging Nigerians abroad from coming home this Christmas because of COVID-19 and the number of infections we have outside the country.

“So, the message is; if you do not want to get stranded, if you do not want to bring COVID-19 to your elderly relatives in Nigeria, please stay where you are. There will be other holidays.”

Christmas carols, travels ‘supper spreaders’ of virus

At the press briefing, Ihekweazu said Christmas carols, travels and other gatherings during festivities were capable of turning out to be “super spreaders” of the virus, hence the need for Nigerians to avoid them as much as possible.

He said, “This is really to re-emphasise the call by the PTF that many of the traditional meetings that we engage in at this time of the year, whether they are Christmas carols or festivals, trips, family gatherings, each of those could end up being a super spreader event. So, we must take this into consideration as we make our choices.”

Ihekweazu said a travel advisory has been issued detailing why both local and international travels must be avoided unless they are absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, the SGF said the national response to COVID-19 pandemic and security must be prioritised as security could not be relaxed even while tackling the virus in the country.

Mustapha also noted that the global number of COVID-19 infections crossed 63 million on Sunday, 29th November, 2020.

According to him, in Africa, Nigeria ranked 5th for both the highest cumulative cases and deaths.

The Punch

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