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Panic-Gripped Residents Flee Imo Street As Army, Police Begin Show of Force

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There was panic in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Monday as news filtered in that a group of gunmen were on the rampage.

Schools, markets, banks and eateries immediately shut down as residents ran for their lives.

While parents and guardians rushed to withdraw their children and wards from schools, all roadside shops and motor parks were deserted.

Vehicles that were on transit when the news broke reversed and discharged their passengers.

One of our correspondents saw parents withdrawing their children from Orji Primary School, as students of Imo State University deserted the campus.

A parent who refused to disclose his identity told one of our correspondents that his neighbour told him that hoodlums were going to schools to attack pupils, saying that it was a huge risk to allow his children remain in school considering the current situation.

The PUNCH observed that the panic situation, which began at about 10 am, was as a result of Operation Show of Force embarked upon by the army and police in the state.

The situation forced vehicles owners, and barrow pushers to quickly leave the roads and streets just as road side traders also took to their heels.

The state Commissioner for Information and strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the stampede was uncalled for, adding that the security operatives were on Operation Show of Force in the state capital.

The  302 Artillery Regiment General Support, on Monday, launched  ‘Exercise Golden Dawn’, to provide security in the state.

The exercise, according to the Commander 302 Artillery Regiment (General Support) Col Abdulkarim Usman, will help to combat insecurity in the state and foster inter agency cooperation.

Usman said the exercise would routine training in various  South-East geopolitical zone.

He said that the rise of insecurity across the country had made it imperative that the Nigerian Army needed to come in to assist.

Usman said, ”The military will use the golden opportunity in conjunction with other security agencies to curb the existing security threats in Anambra State.

“The threats range from secessionist agitations, by the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, the Indigenous People of Biafra, and Eastern Security Network.

“Others are banditry, kidnapping, cultist activities, land disputes clashes, communal clashes, chieftaincy issues, assassinations and youths restiveness. To curb these countless security challenges, a robust posture in what the unit has always maintained”

The launching of the military operation was held as The PUNCH learnt that South-East governors and some selected Igbo leaders would be meeting on Tuesday (today) in Enugu to discuss the crippling effects of the sit-at-home and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government.

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UN Deputy Sec Gen Condemns Gruesome Killing of Deborah, Demands Justice

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Amina Muhammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, has called for justice following the killing of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto over blasphemy.

Muhammed spoke out via her official Twitter page on Tuesday, stating that religions should not be “misinterpreted to preach violence”.

“Justice must be done for the senseless, brutal killing of the young Deborah Yakubu in Nigeria. Religions should not be misinterpreted to preach violence when they promote peace.

“My prayers are with the family and for the repose of her soul,” she tweeted.

Yakubu, a second-year student of the Sheu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was lynched on the school premises on Thursday after classmates accused her of blasphemy.

On Monday, the Sokoto Police Command arraigned two suspects, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in the state, for their alleged participation in the crime.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges while the defence counsel, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim, applied for their bail on liberal terms, citing constitutional provisions and sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.

The trial judge reserved the ruling on the bail application and ordered the accused to be remanded at a correctional centre.

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AfDB’s Adesina Not Contesting for Presidency – Report

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The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, will not be contesting the Presidency of Nigeria.

A support group had purchased and submitted the N100m Presidential form of the All Progressives Congress for the top banker last week.

Some had also reported that Adesina visited Mamman Daura, the influential nephew of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) last week to seek his support.

But The PUNCH confirmed that Adesina will not be taking part in the Presidential screening of the APC slated for May 23.

Adesina’s office is expected to issue a statement in a few hours distancing himself from Nigeria’s partisan politics.

The AfDB regulations bar its President from partisan politics.

Specifically, Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the agreement establishing AfDB, titled ‘Prohibition of Political Activity; the International Character of the Bank’, states that “The Bank, its President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member (country); nor shall they be influenced in their decisions by the political character of the member (country) concerned.”

Paragraph 3 of the article states that “The President, Vice Presidents, officers and staff of the Bank, in discharge of their offices, owe their duty entirely to the Bank and to no other authority.”

Similarly, the AfDB code of conduct bars its executive from partisan politics. Section 10 of the Code reads: “Although Executive Directors are elected representatives of governments from their constituencies, they shall during their tenure of office as executive directors refrain from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere.”

Should Adesina seek to run for the office of President of Nigeria, he would need to resign his current position permanently, a risk it was learnt the top banker was not willing to take.

There are at least 25 other aspirants running for President on the platform of the APC.

Some of them include APC stalwart, Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; oil mogul, Tein Jack-Rich; Senator Ajayi Boroffice; Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State and many others.

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N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris

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Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds, according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the report, Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.

Sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.

The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.

The sources further said that after progress was made in the investigation, Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.

“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”

However, a top EFCC confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.

President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.

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