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Edo primaries: INEC foresees crisis as APC, PDP begin gov aspirants’ screening [Punch]

…Court asked to disqualify Obaseki from Edo election over alleged certificate forgery

The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed fears over the possibility of crisis affecting party primaries ahead of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 2020 respectively.

The commission called on security agencies to act proactively to contain the threat, while advocating a “review of the security architecture,” in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. It urged them to “come up with clear guidelines as well as supplementary code of conduct for security personnel on election duty.”

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, expressed these observations in Abuja on Friday during the first virtual consultative meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.

He also said it was necessary for ICCES to evolve effective ways of securing and protecting the integrity of the electoral process as the COVID-19 pandemic would impact on the planning and deployment strategy for the conduct of elections generally.

The virtual meeting was also joined by the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Commissioners of Police for Edo and Ondo states.

Yakubu said, “INEC’s policy on conducting elections under the current global pandemic is anchored on the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force based on the advisory by health authorities.

“The guidelines provide for measures to protect the electoral process and the people involved, ranging from the election officials, observers, media and, above all, voters.

“Doing so will also increase public confidence and consequently enhance the credibility of the electoral process. To do so effectively, there is a need to review the security architecture in the light of the global pandemic and come up with clear guidelines as well as supplementary code of conduct for security personnel on election duty.

“We should, as a matter of urgency, come up with a policy and code of conduct for security personnel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to him, early engagement with political parties and aspirants is necessary to create the atmosphere for peaceful primaries and subsequently peaceful elections.

He said, “The primaries for the nomination of candidates for the Edo governorship election have commenced. As of yesterday (Thursday), 15 out of the 18 registered political parties have invited the commission to monitor their primaries.

“The process for Ondo State is scheduled for July 2 – 5, 2020. As you are aware, the conduct of primaries by political parties tends to be very acrimonious. The acrimony is carried forward into the electioneering and Election Day activities. Already, there are warning signals.

“The security agencies need to act proactively. An early engagement with political parties and aspirants is necessary to create the atmosphere for peaceful primaries and consequently peaceful elections.”

The INEC chairman reassured that the commission would continue to deepen the use of technology in the management of the electoral process in Nigeria, including ICCES meetings and other engagements with security agencies.

He said, “In the next few months, the commission will hold two major elections. The end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19, 2020 and October 10, 2020 respectively. The commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections early this year.

“At that time, no one anticipated that our preparations for the elections would be done in the middle of a global health emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the normal way of doing things, including the conduct of elections. For this reason, the commission released a new policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to the two governorship elections, vacancies have occurred in 10 national and state constituencies in eight states across the country. The commission is also making preparations for the consequential bye-elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

PDP screens three aspirants, appeal committee sits Monday

Also, a five-man committee set up by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party screened the party’s governorship aspirants in the state on Friday.

The committee, headed by a member of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, met at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja.

Other members of the committee are Oladimeji Fabiyi, Senator Joy Emordi, Aishat Hasindu and Boyele Debekeme.

Two out of the three aspirants who obtained and submitted their expressions of interest and nomination forms were at the venue of the screening while the third aspirant was part of the session virtually.

The two aspirants physically present were Gideon Ikhine and Ogbeide Ihama, while Kenneth Imansuangbon was screened virtually.

Earlier, Chinda, who addressed journalists shortly before the exercise behind closed-doors, said the PDP was “determined to select the best candidate to regain control of Edo State”.

He assured party members as well as the aspirants that the committee would be strict but fair to all to ensure the emergence of the best candidate.

Sources close to the committee however told one of our correspondents after its sitting that the committee would present its report to the National Working Committee of the party on Saturday (today).

Meanwhile, the Screening Appeal Panel of the party is expected to meet on Monday to review the report of the screening committee.

The appeal panel, which has 13 members, is headed by Senator James Manager.

Court asked to disqualify Obaseki from Edo election

The Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to disqualify Governor Godwin Obaseki from contesting the September 19 governorship election in the state for allegedly forging his university certificate.

The suit was filed on May 29, 2020, by Edobor Williams, Ugesia Godwin and Amedu Anakhu. Joined as respondents to the suit were the governor’s party, the All Progressives Congress, the Inspector-General of Police and Obaseki.

The plaintiffs alleged in the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/553/2020, that the University of Ibadan certificate which he attached to his Form CF.001 and submitted to INEC for his first term election in 2016 was forged.

They argued that the governor’s educational information contained in Part C of the Form CF 001 which he submitted to INEC on July 12, 2016 and the first degree certificate of Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies, said to have been obtained from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, was forged.

They contended that this was “contrary to the provisions of section 182(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”

According to them, Obaseki was therefore “not qualified to run or seek the office of Governor of Edo State under the platform of the 1st defendant (APC) in the governorship election scheduled for September 19, 2020.”

250 election petitions judges to attend debriefing conference

A debriefing conference is to be held for 250 judges and Justices of the Court of Appeal who participated in the hearing of election petitions filed after the 2019 general elections.

A statement on Friday by the Media Officer of the Court of Appeal, Sa’adatu Musa-Kachalla, said the conference would be organised by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in conjunction with the management of the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal is the coordinating secretariat for election petition tribunals and appeals.



Alleged rape: Ex-BBA winner, Uti Nwachukwu surrenders to police probe [Punch]

The winner of the fifth edition of Big Brother Africa, Uti Nwachukwu, who was accused of rape by a Twitter user, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to launch an investigation into the allegation.

Nwachukwu, who said he would surrender himself to the police to assist the investigation, also called on the IGP to prosecute the owner of the Twitter account for cybercrime if the allegation could not be substantiated.

Denying the rape allegation, Nwachukwu stated that he was away in Houston, Texas, US, on August 5, 2017, the date of the alleged incident.

Uti, who is also a TV host, submitted his petition through his lawyers, Johnmary C. Jideobi and Co., at the IGP’s office in Abuja on Friday.

The lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, stated that his client emphatically denied all the allegations contained in the impugned tweets of Kambili Korie which are nothing but the figment of the imagination of the person who contrived same.

“My client has no personal knowledge of the harbinger of these outlandish claims and satanic falsehood,” he said.

The lawyer stated that his client would surrender himself for investigation for the rape allegation.

But he said in the event that nothing was found against his client, the account holder should be prosecuted under the relevant laws.


Woman jailed 25 months after husband jumped bail: I gave birth in prison, lost my mum, business [Punch]

Thirty-five-year old Bose Abiodun, who has four children, spent 25 months in Ilesha Correctional Centre after her husband, Femi – under trial for manslaughter – whom she stood surety for, jumped bail. Abiodun, who had her fourth child in prison, shares her experience with BOLA BAMIGBOLA

What do you do?

I am a native of Ijebu-Jesa in the Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State. I am a tailor and was also doing petty trading alongside before I was put in prison. I am a mother of four children –three boys and a girl. I had the girl while in Ilesha Prison.

What led you to prison?

I stood surety for my husband, Femi Abiodun. He was arrested after he mistook a man for an animal during a hunting expedition and shot the person. The person eventually died. He was a hunter in Ijebu-Jesa.

How did you get involved in the matter?

The matter started in January 2014. He was arrested and arraigned. The court remanded him in Ilesha Prison and he spent a year and some months there. Our lawyer later secured bail for him. But my brother-in-law (husband’s elder brother), Dele, and I had to stand as sureties. While my husband was on bail, we appeared before High Court 6 in Osogbo about three times. Before I was arrested and sent to prison, my husband had stopped going to court.

Didn’t you know about it?

I knew he was no longer going to court. He moved out of the house in December 2017 and till date, I have not seen him. He left me with three kids and quietly ran away.

What did you do after your husband moved out of the house?

In the first few days, I was calling him repeatedly. He used to answer my calls; he would tell me he was working to raise money. He promised to return home as soon as he had some money. But few weeks after, he stopped answering my calls.

What happened after that?

His lawyer came to our house and informed me that my husband and his brother had stopped appearing in court. I was scared but there was nothing I could do. On April 11, 2018, I was arraigned and remanded in Ilesha Prison because the accused I stood surety for had run away.

Before your eventual release, were you not appearing in court?

I was taken to court on May 5 and October 9, 2018. Aside from those two occasions, I was not taken to court. I always asked prison officials for the date my matter would come up, but they used to tell me no date had been picked for the matter.

You had a baby while in prison, how did that happen?

I didn’t know I was pregnant until few days after I was remanded. I took ill and was taken to a clinic inside the prison. After examination, I was told by the officials there that I was few months pregnant.

So, what did you do after you realised you were pregnant?

I told my mother and brother, who were always coming to check on me, about it. I was delivered of the baby on a Sunday; it was on September 2, 2018. I had been in labour since around 8pm on Saturday (previous day) and to the glory of God; I put to bed around 3.30pm on Sunday without any complications. I had mixed feelings though; I was happy I was delivered of a healthy baby without complications and was sad that it was while I was in incarceration.

The baby was named Oyinkansola by the leaders of a church that usually visited the prison. She is my fourth child. My first child will be 11 years old this month (June 2020).

How did you secure your release?

My name was not on the list of inmates to be released on the day I was released. It happened that someone came to look for me and I was told that the Chief Justice’s panel wanted to meet me. I was elated when I saw the lawyer, Julie Olorunyomi, because she was involved in my matter. I was asked questions about how I got to prison and after sharing my story, I was granted amnesty.

On getting home, I realised my world had shattered. When I left my three boys with my mother, she was hale and hearty.  But when I was released, I learnt she died while I was in prison. I was told she died on December 30, 2018. She and my elder brother used to come together to see me in jail but at some point, she stopped coming. When I asked my brother why she stopped coming, he said she was fine. Anytime my brother came around and I asked after our mum, he would say she was fine and that I should calm down.

How did you feel when you were released?

On the day I was to be freed, I woke up feeling extremely happy. That morning, my daughter packed her clothes and said, “Mummy, let’s go home.” Oyinkansola would wake up and sing songs of praise; she is 20 months old now and has never asked about her father.

After I returned home, I realised I had nothing anymore; the little things I was trading in were gone. My kids and I are with my aged father now. I am helpless and need the support of everyone. My parents had sold their belongings before my mother died.

Do you think you can forgive your husband?

I don’t think I can ever forgive him for what he did to me. Though before the case in 2014, he did what he could do within his capacity but after he returned from prison, he became irresponsible. He started womanising and that led to a misunderstanding between us in December 2014. I don’t want to be with him again or any other man. I have enough (children) to cater for. I just want to be able to start a new life.

I am not really educated; I dropped out of school at Senior Secondary School 2 but I want something better for my children. I want them to have the best of education. My three boys were attending a public school while I was in prison. Life in prison is not good at all. Although they fed us, being in incarceration is never a good experience. My daughter was getting diapers through donations made by churches and mosques. My brother also brought (diapers) for me. A group from Lagos, Anchor Heritage, came to the facility to train us to have some skills, especially on how to make decorations but I would prefer to go into trading if I get (financial) assistance.

I met with the legal aid council on October 9, 2018 when I was taken to court and she empathised with my daughter and promised to take over my case. I am from Ijebu-Jesa and my husband is from Ekiti State. His parents reside in Ido. They didn’t come to check on me while I was in prison and they were aware I was there. I called them and my brother also spoke to them in person, yet they were not moved.



How we killed, buried 55-yr-old widow in septic tank in Abuja — Brothers [Nation]

It took a little while, but karma caught up with 38-year-old Johnson Emmanuel who allegedly killed and buried a 55-year old woman in his backyard at Wumba Community in Apo area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Police operatives attached to the Intelligence Response Unit of the Nigeria Police Force arrested him, earlier this week, alongside his two younger brothers, Gideon, 31, and Success, 27, for the kidnap and murder of one Mrs Janet Nnenna Ogbonnaya on Thursday May 14, 2020.

She had lost her husband last year.

Johnson, though admitting to killing the woman, said they were not kidnappers.

The suspects, all born of same parents, and natives of Isiekenesi, Ideato Local Government Area, Imo State, were arrested by the police in their home town this week where they had taken refuge after the crime was committed in Abuja. The police said they fled Abuja to evade arrest.

The police said they began investigation into the matter when a son of the deceased, Chinedu, reported that their mother had been kidnapped and a five million naira ransom placed on her head by unknown persons.

According to Johnson, the woman had been a friend of his for two years and they had met through FaceBook, a popular social media platform.

But another son of the deceased, Jonathan, who spoke with The Nation yesterday, said it was not true.

Johnson admitted that he laced the woman’s drink with drugs, which killed her that Thursday night.

According to him, she had visited him that day in his house located around Second Transformer, Wumba in Apo area of Abuja.

He said that she had told him that she wanted to leave, but he insisted that she stayed the night in his house.

He said because he did not want to struggle, he had gone to a nearby chemist shop and asked them to give him some sleeping drugs so he could put it in her drink so she could sleep off till the next morning in his house as he wanted.

According to him, after she took the drink, she slept off and did not wake up again. Panicking, he called his younger brother Gideon, to help him deal with the situation, and they eventually ended up burying her in a septic tank in his backyard.

Johnson said the compound belonged to him and he had sold it off at a giveaway price, so he could get the matter behind him.

He said they decided to talk to the woman’s family about ransome, so they would think she had been kidnapped by unknown persons, and would not be traced back to him. A Toyota Highlander Jeep, which belonged to the deceased, was also recovered by the police operatives at a mechanic workshop in Apo where it had been repainted into a different colour, vehicle documents fraudulently changed and ownership of the stolen vehicle criminally transferred.

Johnson said: “This this thing happened on the 14th of last month. I have known her for two years now. We have been dating. Each time she came to my house, she always went back. So, on that day, she came to my house and wanted to go back, but I did not want her to go. So I went and bought her sleeping medicine for her to sleep with me.

“I went to the pharmacy to buy the sleeping medicine. It was a powdery substance. I put it in a juice and she slept and did not wake up again. When she did not wake up, I called my younger brother, Gideon, between 9.30 and 10. I told him I wanted to see him.

“Gideon came and I told him that my friend had died in my house. I explained everything to him. I suggested that I wanted to bury him in my backyard and he said no. He advised me to put her inside the car and dump her by the roadside.

“I did not agree. I was afraid people would see us and report us and it would be a murder case. That was how he helped me and we buried her in the soak-away in the compound.”

According to him, the last brother was not involved in what happened.

On why he called the woman’s family for ransom, he said: “I told my brother that I wanted to make it seem like she was kidnapped so nobody would suspect that it was me. That was why I called. I called and told them to pay a ransom, and after two days, I broke my SIM card and hers, so there would be no communication anymore.

“I knew that definitely they would trace the call. They might know I was the one that killed him. I called my brother and told him I was confused. I was afraid the police might trace her to my house, so I sold my house at an auction price.

“My house is located at Bakassi Market, Wumba, Apo. I thought by then nobody would suspect me but they would think it was kidnappers.

“When I put her SIM card in her phone, one number called but I didn’t know the person. The person said his name was Mr Igwe and he was looking for the woman. I gave my brother the phone.

“My brother was afraid. I told him this is what we would do for us to get out of this mess. If we say it is kidnappers, they would not trace it to us. Since that day, I did not call again, and I broke our SIM cards.

‘How we became friends’

“I met her on FaceBook two years ago. I came to Abuja in 2018 and met her. Before then, we were communicating on Facebook. And then we started the relationship. I drugged her because I wanted her to pass the night and go the next morning. I don’t know why I did that.

“I don’t even know the name of the drug. I just asked for medicine to make someone sleep at the chemist. It was in a sachet. I am not a kidnapper. I only did that to take suspicion away from me. I have never killed before. I am a welder by profession, but I also repair CCTV (cameras).”

Expressing regrets for his actions, Johnson advised men not to be lacing women’s drinks with drugs, saying it is dangerous.

Johnson said he had a girlfriend, Charity, who he met in church and they started dating in January.

Gideon, who he claims he called, said he could not report the matter to the police because it involved his brother.

He confessed that he suggested that they take the body in the vehicle she brought and dump her somewhere.

Gideon said: “I am not happy that I had to cover his sin. I asked him why it must be me that he called. I told him to take the lady out, maybe in the morning people would be able to identify her.

“He argued with me that very night. He said he wanted to put the lady in the soak-away at the backyard.

“When I came there, he had opened the soak-away already and I ran out. Since that day, I never went back to the house again until we went with the police to get the corpse on Thursday.

“I did not go to the police immediately, and that was a mistake I did. I was doing it because he is my blood brother and I would not be the one to call the police for him. I told him not to involve me. It was not until I was arrested that I told the police what happened.” The deceased’s son, Jonathan, said Johnson was not telling the truth.

“That is his own side of the story. From my own knowledge of people, anybody can say anything to sell their story. I don’t buy into that.

“Why would a woman want to throw away her marriage of 35 years. For who? A nobody? What does he have to offer? Is it not the same house we went to excavate the body from the back? So what exactly does he have to offer?

“Anyway, this is a matter I should not be talking about, especially with you guys. As a matter of fact, I know what you guys want is a good story,” he said.

He said his mother never went out except on business, to church, town-meetings, and the market.

Jonathan, who said his father died and was buried in May last year, said there was no way his mother would date Johnson.

Narrating their traumatic experience when their mother went missing, he said: “I didn’t live with my mother. I live in Kubwa, but my family house is in Gwagwalada. So the last time we spoke was on Monday 10 May.

“I visited the family house that weekend and I left on Monday morning and I told her I was heading back to my base in Kubwa. That was the last time we spoke face to face, and when I got back to my base, I called to tell them I was home.

“Fast forward to Friday the 15th, at about 8.30 to 9 am my younger one called me that she left the house on Thursday and that was then last they heard from her. So I did the needful; I reported to the police. I filled the form for missing persons. I did that at Gwagwalada.

“I did my own personal search with my friends. We traced the road from Gwagwalada to town, trying to see if we could figure out one or two things. Maybe there was an accident or something, but we could not pinpoint anything. That was on Friday.

“Throughout this period her line was down. So Saturday morning, as a lot of people had been trying her number, because we informed as many friends of the family as we could just to find out if she could be reached.

“There was a storm that night so we thought maybe she had difficulty getting to Gwagwalada that night and decided to stay over somewhere. She is not someone who goes out frequently. She only goes out on business, church and towns meeting and, of course, the market.

“These are the things that take her out of the house. So, that Saturday, we kept trying and it connected. It was the voice of a man that answered. It was actually a deep voice at that time. We asked to speak to the owner of the phone and the person informed us that he was a kidnapper and was with my mum and they would be needing us to pay the sum of five million naira to facilitate her release.

“So it was surprising, to say the least. We tried rallying around to get the money. We spoke to them that Saturday and Sunday and they stopped calling. But as at Saturday when we realized what happened, we knew it was a kidnap case and we reported the case again.

“It was no longer the case of missing person but a kidnap case. We did not hear from them again. So in our own little effort, we were still searching until we heard the people that were behind the disappearance of my mother had been apprehended.

“The police called me on Tuesday. We were told to come around on Thursday.”

According to the police, further findings had revealed that the victim, a widow, had been a Facebook friend of the principal suspect – Johnson Emmanuel, and was lured from her home in Gwagwalada to visit the suspect. The suspect thereafter took advantage of the visit, served her yoghurt laced with drugs and subsequently had her murdered.

“The suspect, having killed the victim and buried her remains in a septic tank, went ahead to reach out to the family of the victim using her phone and demanded N5 million ransom as pre-condition for her release,” a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP, Frank Mba, read on Thursday.

The police said the suspects led a team of investigators, on Thursday, alongside pathologists to a residence at Wumba District, Lokogoma, Abuja where the victim’s decomposing body was exhumed from a septic tank.

The exhumed body had been taken to the University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja for forensic examination.

The Police said investigations also revealed that the house where the deceased was killed and buried originally belonged to one of the suspects but was hurriedly sold off to a third party apparently to obliterate evidence.


COVID-19 claims 42 per cent of Nigerian jobs, says NBS [Nation]

  • Lagos may shut churches, mosques over face mask compliance
  • Aso Villa mosque re-opens
  • Ondo threatens another lockdown if cases increase

With the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic still unraveling, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says 42 per cent of Nigerian employees have lost their jobs on account of the disease.

The bureau, in a report just published, said the economic shock imposed on Nigerians by the pandemic exceeds whatever they may have experienced between 2017 and 2018.

The states are pressing ahead with their relaxation of the coronavirus induced lockdown.

In Lagos State, the government warned yesterday that any church or mosque that admits worshippers without face masks once they reopen would be shut down.

Mosques are to reopen on Friday, June 19, to be followed by the churches on Sunday, June 21.

The Aso Villa mosques reopened yesterday with President Muhammadu Buhari and other worshippers observing social distancing.

But the Ondo State Government threatened that it might return to lockdown if Covid-19 infections continued to increase.

The NBS, in a report entitled “COVID -19 Impact Monitoring May 2019”, said  coronavirus  impact on employment and income had  been widespread.

It said: “42 per cent of respondents who were working before the outbreak reported that they were not currently working due to COVID-19.”

It said the impact of COVID-19 “has been most strongly felt in the commerce, service, and agriculture sectors. 79% of respondents reported that their households total income have decreased since mid-March.”

NBS said some households struggled to purchase staple foods like yam, rice and beans during the seven days prior to the interview with 35-59 per cent of households who need to purchase these staple foods reporting that they were not able to buy them. 26 per cent of households reported not being able to access medical treatment when they needed it during the same period.

The report showed that many households have struggled to cope with these widespread shocks with 51 per cent of all households resorting to reducing food consumption.

The pandemic, according to NBS, has also affected children education.

Among households with children attending school prior to their nationwide closure in March, only 62 per cent reported that their children had engaged in any learning/educational activities since the closure.

Govt: how we’ll enforce compliance in Lagos worship places

Shedding light yesterday on the planned reopening of  places of worship in Lagos State, the Director General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, said officials would be deployed to strictly enforce all the guidelines and protocols announced  by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Mojola said parents are prohibited from taking their infants to religious gatherings.

Violation of the directive will attract sanctions against such parents, he said.

According to him, government expects that in families with infants, one of the parents would stay home to offer care while the other could attend church or mosque service.

Worshipers are required to observe the standard two-metre social distancing protocol from each other while seated in the church or mosque.

“While all event centres remain shut until further notice, those used for religious gatherings, could however open but strictly for that purpose and must observe all the protocols,” Mojola said.

The DG said that over a thousand applications had been received by government from owners and operators of all events, gyms and other social places for the resumption of business.

Sanwo-Olu himself went on Twitter yesterday to say that “Sharing of kettles during ablution is strictly prohibited.

“The decision to proceed, restrict, modify, postpone or cancel a worship service after a thorough risk assessment solely lies with the state government.

“All places of worship must nominate a person who would liaise with the state government to obtain a safety clearance for their premises.

“Crowd capacity must be limited to no more than 40 per cent of the approved occupying limits of religious centres by the state government with a maximum limit of 500 people irrespective of the size of the religious centre.

“We strongly advice members of the congregation to avoid food offerings (communion) when it is being shared from common dishes.”


A vanishing generation: How older Nigerians are dying out in UK [Nation]

  • Migrants recount perils of ageing through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Lament rising body-count among elderly health workers

Nobody presents as a fine corpse. Ask Olumide Ojo. The 19-year-old “will never get over” the image of his “very handsome grandpa” and roommate, Pa David, shrivelled and strapped to a stretcher en route the hospital. The 78-year-old wheezed for breath as he was wheeled into an ambulance, redolent of antiseptic, soon after it backed up their driveway in Brent, the United Kingdom (UK).

Grandpa David, a retired mental health worker, showed no symptom of the coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19 until “it was too late.” He presented atypically: he was occasionally delirious, which was earlier diagnosed as a consequence of infection of unknown source and acute kidney injury.

However, two days before he died, he suffered diarrhoea and manifested acute respiratory symptoms and fever typical of COVID-19. His family called emergency health services.

“Nobody could go with him. We had to follow the rules, stay back and self-isolate,” said his grandson, Olumide.

Just before the ambulance drove off, Olumide caught a forlorn glimpse of his grandpa; his head flailed to the left, drooped over his torso, pale and shrunken. The 19-year-old took a hard stare, accepting everything, forgetting nothing.

“He was my best friend. I wished he would stand up and walk,” he said. But Grandpa David didn’t. He was declared dead en route the hospital. Olumide was denied access to the funeral. The teenager and his two siblings, Maggie, 13, and Lola, 10, stayed at home while their parents attended the “rushed, dreary affair,” according to their mother, Shola, the only surviving daughter of the deceased.

“People are dying every day. It is startling. I fear if solution is not found quickly, the nation (UK) will be in mourning for too long. It is gloomy. I am within the age range of the vulnerable and I fear for myself and others in my age group,” said Victoria Akinkugbe.

Akinkugbe, 72, is wary of her fate. According to her, news of the elderly’s vulnerability to COVID-19 is quite worrisome. Corroborating her, Florence Magbagbeola, a retired hospice nurse, stated that she had never been “this scared” in her life. The 74-year-old lamented the death of a childhood friend, with whom she operated an unregistered nursing home and crèche for unregistered (illegal) immigrant families in Peckham and Kent.

“Coronavirus killed Derin. She just turned 70 last week. I couldn’t even attend her funeral. She was my best friend. The virus is cruel. One minute you are here, the next you are gone. It’s becoming very scary. I have never seen anything like this,” she said.

“Many of us older folk can’t even venture out of our homes. The pandemic has wrecked life as we knew it. The older you are, the more dangerous it becomes for you to move around. These are hard times.

“You stand the risk of catching the virus anywhere, even in the presumed comfort of your home. It’s riskier for the elderly who are health workers. They go out to fight the disease and save lives and many of them end up losing their lives.

“Recently, we heard about Eyitolami. She was just one of many Nigerian medical personnel that we have lost to COVID-19,” she said.

Until her death, Eyitolami Olaolorun, 60, worked at Wellington Hospital in St John’s Wood, a private hospital, where she cared for terminally ill children. However, she started displaying symptoms of COVID-19 in late March and died on April 16.

In a statement, her children said: “She was an excellent paediatric nurse. She was caring and compassionate towards all her patients and their families, so much so that some of them have become part of our extended family.

“Our mother meant the world to us, having sacrificed her best years raising four children on her own. She worked tirelessly to ensure we were loved, nurtured and educated.”

They added that the loss of their mother had left them “heartbroken.” Many more Nigerian families have been torn by grief at the demise of their loved ones.

A death toll of nearly 50,000 underlined Britain’s status as one of the worst-hit countries in a pandemic that has killed at least 345,400 worldwide; UK’s death toll presents a dire human cost that could define the premiership of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and also the fate of several Nigerians living in the UK.

Of the casualties are several Nigerians, some of whom are health workers and of the elderly age bracket, like Olaolorun. For instance, Dr. Alfa Saadu, 68, a locum (part-time) physician and retired medical director at the Princess Alexandra hospital, died on March 31, at the Whittington Hospital in north London, of COVID-19 complications.

He had nearly 40 years’ experience working with the Ealing NHS trust and other hospitals in London, and at his demise, his son, Dani, said of him: “He was a very passionate man who cared about saving people.

“As soon as you spoke to him about medicine or what was happening with the NHS, his eyes would light up – he was very passionate. He was working part-time as a locum as he just could not fully retire. He just loved medicine so much. He worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years in different hospitals across London and he loved to lecture people in the world of medicine; he did so in the UK and Africa.”

Edmond Adedeji, 62, was a doctor at Great Western Hospital until his death, after testing positive for COVID-19. Adedeji was being cared for in the hospital’s intensive care unit at the time of his death.

Then there was Carol Jamabo, 56, a caregiver and mother of two, who reportedly died from COVID-19 complications. Jamabo, who worked as a caregiver at the Cherish Elderly Care in Bury, Greater Manchester, died in April after testing positive for COVID-19. Jamabo became ill at her home and was taken to hospital where she passed away.

Jamabo moved to the UK from Nigeria in the early 1990s and served as a healthcare worker for over 25 years, working for the prison service and as a National Health Service (NHS) administrator at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Adekunle Enitan, 55, was an intensive care nurse at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, Kent, until his death on April 24. Enitan worked as an agency nurse for five years. The father of two, known to his colleagues as Ade, has been remembered by East Kent Hospitals foundation trust as a “kind and caring nurse, and a much-respected colleague.”

Onyenachi Obasi, 51, died on May 6 after spending five weeks on a ventilator. Until her demise, she worked as a nurse for 20 years and told her family it was her duty to help.

“In death, Obasi is fondly remembered as the ‘angel nurse’ who died from coronavirus while caring for patients afflicted by the disease. Her niece Ijeoma Uzoukwu, 30, said she had previously warned about a lack of personal protective equipment.

She said: “She was on the frontline, and from what we know, she wasn’t protected. I don’t know too much about it, but she did mention to my mum that she wasn’t protected properly. That’s all I know at the moment.’

Obasi, 51, is the latest healthcare hero to be named as the death toll of Britain’s health workers surpassed the 200 tally. She died five weeks after being placed on a ventilator at Queen’s Hospital, Romford. The mum-of-one, who had been living in Barking and Dagenham, had been working as a health visitor and nurse in Newham, east London, when she contracted the virus.


IGP orders manhunt for killers of 8 policemen in Kogi bank robbery [Sun]

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the deployment of detectives from the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Federal-SARS to Kogi State to fish out the killers of eight police officers gunned down during a robbery attack in the state.

The detectives have also been directed to fish out the criminals who attacked a commercial bank in Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi State and the Isanlu Police station.

Adamu, who gave the order in Abuja, also directed the Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) of Police in charge of the Zone-8 Police Headquarters, Lokoja, Yunana Babas, to as a matter of urgency, assess and review the security architecture in the state to prevent a repeat of the incident.

He however sympathised with the families of the police officers and others, who lost their lives in the course of duty during the encounter even as he called on the residents of Isanlu community and the people of Kogi State to remain calm and help the police with credible information that will help in the speedy arrest of the criminal elements.

The Kogi State police command Thursday night confirmed that it lost eight of its personnel in a deadly bank robbery which took place at  the Isanlu branch of a first generation bank earlier same day. The command said the robbers numbering about 25 came in two vehicles simultaneously attacked the bank and the divisional police headquarters in Isanlu. The police disclosed that the robbers used deadly weapons including dynamites and AK 47 rifles to gain access into the bank.

In the attack, eight police officers lost their lives among which were three policewomen while others sustained various degrees of injuries. The injured were later taken to the hospital for treatment while the corpses of the slain cops were deposited at the mortuary.

Meanwhile, Governor Yahaya Bello while expressing sadness over the attacks called on the police and other security agencies in the state to go all out to fish those behind the criminal acts. He commiserated with  the families of those who lost their loved ones and prayed for the repose of the deceased.


Edo guber: Why we’ll probe Obaseki, other aspirants’ certificates –APC [Sun]

The All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that it is determined to avert the incidence that denied the party victory in Bayelsa state, and as such will thoroughly screen the aspirants for the Edo governorship party primaries slated for June 22.

In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the ruling party urged party members and the general public to assist in scrutinizing the information, credentials and documents provided by the governorship aspirants and availing the screening committee of counter and correct information.

Disclosing that six aspirants bought and completed their expression of interest and nomination forms, the party’s leadership slated the screening of aspirants for Wednesday and Thursday June 10 to 11, 2020 at the party’s secretariat.

While warning that aspirants’ credentials will be displayed for claims and objections both at the national and state offices, the statement reads: “The six aspirants who have bought, completed and submitted the party’s expression of interest and nomination forms are Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Dr. Pius Odubu, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Osaro Obazee and Matthew Aigbuhuenze Iduoriyekemwen.

“In our bid to ensure due diligence and transparency in the screening exercise and learning from our recent shocking experiences, we are determined to avoid any lapses in the process.

“Therefore, we are making the submitted information and documents of the governorship aspirants available to our party members and the public for verification of claims and to support the screening panel with information or any objection to the claims contained in the submission by the aspirants.

“Consequently, the various submissions will be displayed at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja and in Benin City, the Edo State capital from Monday to Tuesday June 8 to 9, 2020 for claims and objections.

“We are inviting party members and indeed members of the public to assist the screening committee by scrutinizing the information, credentials and documents provided by the governorship aspirants and availing the screening committee of counter and correct information, if applicable.

“Recall that in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines, APC had earlier released its timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the 2020 governorship primary elections in Edo State.

“Accordingly, sales of nomination and expression of interest forms began at the APC National Secretariat from Wednesday  May 20 to Tuesday June 2, 2020.

The last day for submission of completed forms and accompanying documents was Wednesday June 3, 2020.

“As earlier stated, publication of claims and objections will be from Monday to Tuesday June 8 to 9, 2020. Screening of aspirants has been slated for Wednesday to Thursday June 10 to 11, 2020. This will be followed by screening appeal which will hold on Friday June 12, 2020. The primary election will hold on Monday June 22, 2020, while election appeal has been slated for Wednesday June 24, 2020.”


Insecurity: Miyetti Allah to roll out 100,000 vigilantes across Nigeria – Abdullahi Bodejo [Sun]

  • Herdsmen don’t need permission to occupy any land

The National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, has said that the Fulani herdsmen don’t need anybody’s approval or permission to occupy any land in any part of the country. He said the group’s own security outfit is set to roll out with some 5,000 to 100,000 vigilantes to start and deployed across all the states of the country. In this interview with VINCENT KALU, the leader of the Socio-Cultural Association, stressed that the Fulani race founded Nigeria, so, they will rule forever.

What is your view on the state of the nation?

Nigeria is moving, but the coronavirus has made everybody gentle. Before, people were saying whatever they liked, especially over the issue of Fulani herdsmen and farmers’ clashes. I miss the people who were always insulting me in the media because of my position on the issue; I don’t know what has happened, since coronavirus came, they left Fulani herdsmen issue to concentrate on their health; before, it was Fulani herdsmen did this, Fulani herdsmen did that.

Talking about the Nigerian economy, on the part of the Fulani, especially the cattle markets and other activities, nothing changed. Remember, they live their lives like refugees and seemed not to have rights. So, even the coronavirus hasn’t changed anything for them. Before, if they went to hospital, they were billed higher than others, it is still the same; if they want to travel to hajj, they are charged higher than others, if they boarded public transport, they were charged higher fares than others, it is still the same. So, it will be hard for them to observe any difference between how the country was before COVID-19 and now.

Why do they have to pay higher than others in these instances you mentioned?

If a taxicab sees a Fulani man, the place where they were charging N100, he would collect even N300. His own business is just to reach his destination. They are not involved in transportation business, they won’t ask because they are used to it. I asked some Fulani how much they paid from Abuja to Taraba, they said the difference was just N500 from what they used to pay. The same thing with hospital, if a Fulani goes to buy Panadol, which is N100, it will be sold to him for N300 because he doesn’t know.

You haven’t given the reason for this

There are three categories of Fulani in the country. Some Fulani are highly educated, some professors, some are technocrats, etc. This category doesn’t care about the Fulani in the bush. Another category are those who are not so educated, and are just around and parading themselves as the so-called leaders of the Fulani. The third category are Fulani people, don’t know about electricity, borehole and the infrastructures that give life a meaning; they drink water from the same source with their cattle in the bush. They are living their normal lives in the bush. That is the typical Fulani.

Amotekun is now in operation in the Southwest, how are your people cooperating with them because on Monday, it was reported that herdsmen killed three persons in Ondo community?

Their government allowed Amotekun to be doing their thing. In our own case, under my organization, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, we are trying to set up our own security outfit to deal with cattle rustlers, banditry around Fulani settlements. We are considering starting with 5000 personnel. While their own is Amotekun, our own name shall be unveiled soon. It is this coronavirus that has delayed its take off, because of this social distancing policy, as we are trying to be law abiding and helping to move Nigeria forward, but for the Fulani man, nothing concerns him with coronavirus.

The Nigeria Police is trying to secure everybody in the country, but we have observed that those involved in cattle rustling are people who have learnt  from Fulani on how to rear cows, or others who  don’t have cows anymore because of Benue, Plateau , Zamfara, Katsina, etc crises. For thousands of Fulani, their cattle have finished completely, and they don’t know how to do Achaba (commercial motorcyclist); they don’t know how to operate commercial transport service, so they don’t have anything to engage, as they no more have cattle, so we want to engage them to form our own vigilance group. They know the bushes and so can work with the Nigeria Police and stop the rustlers.

They call their own, Amotekun; since we are the majority in the country, we are supposed to have our own security because our people are living in different bushes across the country, where there is no security, no electricity, nothing. We are meeting, anytime from now, we make our plans public. We will first start with 5,000 personnel. We have not decided on its name, maybe, it may be called, Miyetti Allah Vigilante.

Will it operate only in the North or across the country?

It is going to be across the country because there is no any angle you cannot find the Fulani in this country. Like Amotekun, where the Houses of Assembly made laws to back it up, every place the Fulani find themselves, that is their own Assembly.

Will your security outfit use guns to defend your people?

They will not bear arms. We have sticks, which we use to control cows; that stick is enough to use for their defence.

These cattle rustlers are armed with guns, how can your security outfit match them with sticks?

Sometimes nothing concerns Fulani with guns; if they say they want to do something they will do it, and I don’t think that gun will make them fear. One is a person who is trying to steal and the other is trying to stop the thief, and this is why we are going to increase their number maybe from the initial 5000 to 100,000 or more, so that at any place you have between seven and nine of them, and these thihan three or four.

A community in Delta State, two weeks ago sacked Fulani settlement following incessant killings of their people by herdsmen, what is your position over this development?

Fulani herdsmen are not killers; they don’t kill. This is a strategy to push them out from that community. Any community that wants to sack the herdsmen, they create problem and use it to send them away from the community.

Communities have asked them to come and take accommodation and live with them instead of going to live in the bush

It is because of their activities; you can’t carry cows to enter a secretariat; you can’t carry cattle to come and live together with people. They live in the bush, but the reason you see many of them in the town is  because they don’t have any cattle, as a result of rustling and violence, and any person you see carrying maybe 25 cows will be looking for where to graze them.

Some people are alleging that the mass movement of Almajirai and others said to be herdsmen to the South is for sinister motive; to cause problem in the area. What do you say to this?

I’m not happy with the people involved in moving Almajirai from one state to the other because they are Fulani. They said their movement is because of coronavirus, but the committee I set up, said no Fulani man has tested positive for COVID-19, nationwide. Our fear is that moving these people is another strategy to go and infect the herdsmen inside the bush.

I don’t see reason for this movement because they are children. As a governor, it is up to you to make a place for them. That is why I remember former President Jonathan; he is not a Muslim, but he went and built places for these Almajirai in different states. No matter how you hate the former president, you must remember, he tackled the Almajiri issue far more than some people in the North, and I will not mention names. The Almajirai are Nigerians, they are not from Niger or any other country, and it is a culture in the North.

Why are they being taken to the South under the interstate border closure?

I don’t know who is taking them to the South. The only thing I know is their movement from one northern state to the other; they are trying to make every Almajiri to go back to his parent’s house. If they are taking Almajirai from North to South, maybe, their parents are there because Fulani are everywhere; for the fact that they don’t produce governors, senators etc in the Southeast, South-South and Southwest doesn’t mean that they are not in those regions, they are just lying low, not making noise. They are everywhere, if they want they will be producing elected officials, but that is not their problem; their problem is to look for where to graze their cattle; that is their business. If they exhaust their grazing area, they migrate to other area, they can from here go to Ghana, Senegal, and nothing concerns them about the state of the schools or infrastructure in that area.

It is reported that herdsmen have forcefully taken over 350 lands in the Southeast, what is your reaction?

In the first place, who owns the land? I don’t know any place in any local government in Nigeria, where Fulani have displaced people and settle.

They mean farmlands and bushes, not residential areas, where the herdsmen allegedly scare away the owners of the land

I have suggested before that there are places these herdsmen have settled, as a village head, chief or traditional ruler of that community, you should bring them to your place, make a Fulani chief among them, so that if any herdsman tries to scare these farmers, the Fulani chief will send his people to go and arrest him.

Some people are adorning Fulani attire to cause trouble in some places. Nobody has gone to those places to see if they are real Fulani. We have called our members, and they said they were not dragging land with anybody. The commissioner of police is there, the army is there.

Those areas the Fulani live, the traditional ruler should make a Fulani chief and bring him into his cabinet, for peaceful coexistence, it is a very simple matter.

You should know that the Fulani have a right to go and settle anywhere they like, it is in the constitution and you shouldn’t break any law. If Fulani herdsmen go into any bush and settle there, what is their offence?

If as they claimed that their cattle were destroying crops, what is the work of the commissioner of police, he should go and arrest them and charge them to court.

By the way, who has the land they claimed that the herdsmen have settled? I, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, if I decide to go inside bush and settle in any community, I won’t ask for anybody’s permission and be doing my activities, but I won’t offend anybody.

If the herdsmen decide to go and settle inside the bush, they won’t ask for anybody’s permission; the only thing they can see are the grass cutters and other bush meat, do you say they should take permission from these animals before they settle there?

Even the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, it was the Fulani that first settled there. After they settled in one place and leave, then farmers come and start farming, and town start springing up there.

It is only Fulani that can go and stay inside any bush they like. They have right to go and settle in any bush in this country without asking anybody for permission. It is not against the law in this country. Who would they go to take permission from, is it the animals in the bush? You see from the village to the bush they are claiming is theirs maybe over 100 kilometers. How can herdsmen go and settle in a bush that is over 100 kilometers away from where the people live and you expect them to go and take permission from anybody. Who owns the land?

I don’t see any place where people will try and drive away the Fulani; they have right in this country. They produced Nigeria. They produced the first prime minister.  If they produced the first president, another president, another president and so on, are they not the owner of the country? Fulani are ruling Nigeria and they must continue to rule the country forever. That is the truth.

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