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Niger School Sells Land to Raise Money As Bandits Demand Extra N20m

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Part of the land belonging to Tanko Salihu Islamic School, Tegina, in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, was sold to raise N50m ransom in two batches, which was paid to the bandits that kidnapped 136 students from the school, The PUNCH has learnt.

This was as the parents of the students who had spent 79 days in captivity as of Wednesday said they had exhausted every available means to get the children released from captivity.

A source from Tegina, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said part of the school land was sold to raise the initial money paid to the bandits to release the children.

He added, “After paying N50m ransom in two batches, the kidnappers insisted on collecting additional N20m and six motorcycles which will cost another N3m. A part of the school land was sold to raise the N50m paid.”

The source lamented that informants contributed to the continued stay of the children with the kidnappers, saying they were keeping the bandits abreast of developments among the parents.

He said, “The first time the honourable representing our area came on a sympathy visit to the parents, he gave us N1m. Immediately he left,  the abductors called  to tell us how much he dropped.

“Also, when the Director General of the state Emergency Management Agency came, the abductors did the same thing, but we cannot identify anyone who could be doing that.”

Meanwhile, the parents, who resume at the school every day, lamented that the state government had not been discussing with them on efforts aimed at rescuing the children.

One of them, who declined to be named, said, “We are tired; the government is doing nothing.”

The principal of the school, Alhassan Garba Abubakar, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said, “The government should adopt the same method used rescuing the Commissioner for information to free the children.”

He said, “They said they didn’t pay any ransom to rescue the commissioner and the Zone C APC chairman; so we want them to use the same method to secure our children’s freedom.”

The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, said government had wanted to take military action, but the parents were reluctant.

Also, the new Niger state Commissioner of Police, Monday Bala Kuryas, said intelligence was ongoing to discover the location of the students.

The CP said this while speaking to journalists in the Mariga Local Government Area during a visit to tactical teams and special formations across the state.

He said, “The children will be released very soon. We are doing our best to locate where they are.”

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Travel Agent Scams Cristiano Ronaldo of £250,000, Jailed

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A travel agent, named Maria Silvia scammed Manchester United striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, out of £250,000 (about N140 million) after the football star entrusted her with his credit cards and pin.

The 53-year-old travel agent also scammed Ronaldo’s super-agent Jorge Mendes of £14,000 and Manchester United winger, Nani, of over £1,500.

Due to her wrongdoing, Silvia got a four-year suspended prison sentence on Sunday after being earlier convicted by a Porto criminal court in 2017.

It was also revealed that Ronaldo was targeted for three years between February 2007 and July 2010.

The paper read, “Afterwards the travel agent had to plug the hole in the firm’s accounts. She, therefore, began to bill those trips to Cristiano Ronaldo, who had an account at Geostar and for practical reasons, handed the agent a virtual credit card and pin code. It was a green route to taking money out.”

Quoting a renowned Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias, Sun Sports reported that the 36-year-old Ronaldo submitted a statement to the police after flying to the court to meet up with his lawyer.

The travel agent, who currently works as a cleaner, was first interrogated in 2011 before her eventual sentence on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

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I am Getting Better, Says Hospitalised Pele

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Brazilian football legend Pele said Sunday he is “punching the air” to celebrate “every better day” after the 80-year-old suffered his latest health scare.

“As you can see, I’m punching the air in celebration of every better day,” Pele wrote on Instagram beside a photograph of him sitting in a hospital chair, watched over by two medical staff.

The three-time World Cup winner was Friday briefly transferred back to an intensive care unit at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he underwent surgery earlier this month, after suffering breathing difficulties.

“A good mood is the best medicine and I have plenty of that. It couldn’t be different,” he added Sunday.

“I have received so much affection that my heart is full of gratitude. Thanks to all the amazing staff at Albert Einstein Hospital!”

His condition had been described as stable.

Pele’s daughter Kely Nascimento also posted a photo of herself next to her father in the hospital on Friday, seeking to cheer up his fans.

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We Won’t Accept Second Position in 2023 – NEF

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The Northern Elders Forum has said the north was in the process of rebuilding itself and was not prepared to play second fiddle in a nation where it clearly enjoys numerical strength.

Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series organized by the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, held at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Saturday.

He said, “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want.

“Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?

“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership and being honest is not being stupid.

“The North has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fiddle to anybody. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.

“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.

“Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses. This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.

The NEF’s spokesman added, “If the majority of Nigeria voters vote for a candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under the Nigeria President, the person can leave.”

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