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Gov. Akeredolu, son Babajide enmeshed in Ondo forest reserve takeover scandal

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Amid claims that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has plans to hand over Ondo’s forest reserve management to a firm linked to his, Babajide, the Ondo government has raised the alarm over a grand plot to blackmail Mr Rotimi, his immediate family and the administration.

Commissioner for information and Orientation Donald Ojogo said the planned smear campaign targeted the governor’s family.

“It has come to our notice that some unscrupulous individuals have perfected plans to blackmail the Akeredolu administration, using the first family as a target of their smear campaign,” stated Mr Ojogo. “The plan, which was hatched and orchestrated by these individuals, particularly, targeted the governor’s son, Babajide Akeredolu, on allegations of high-handedness and interference with serious government decisions, especially as it relates to the economic activities at the government reserves.”

Mr Ojogo added, “Succinctly, the purveyors of this heinous plot have perfected plans to lie against the governor and his son of attempting to take over the management of the forest reserves so as to corner the resources for personal gains.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Akeredolu handles the business of government with utmost respect and accountability. The government decision to ban all logging activities and subsequent lifting of the ban are all in the interest of the state. It is not only laughable but preposterous for any disgruntled group to suggest that Governor Akeredolu’s son is planning to man the ministry of natural resources for personal gains.”

Mr Ojogo urged the public to disregard the lies being peddled around by bad losers whose aim is to distract the governor from running the state.

A group, Ondo State Concerned Timber Merchants (OSCTIM), in a statement issued and signed on Sunday by its coordinator, Olawale Idris, had accused Mr Akeredolu of planning to hand over the forest reserve to a consultant company linked to his son.

(NAN)

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Bayelsa: Sea pirates attack oil fields, kill, abduct workers

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Suspected to be sea pirates attacked two oil installations, killing three and abducting seven oil workers in Bayelsa on Sunday.

The pirates ambushed their unsuspecting victims in Okoroma and Ogbokiri-Akassa communities of Nembe and Brass Local Government areas of Bayelsa, NAN learnt.

Sources close to the affected oilfields said the gunmen reportedly shot dead two staff of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and a personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The driver of their boat, an indigene of Okoroma community, is still missing, according to the local sources who witnessed the incident and narrated the same to a NAN correspondent.

According to the sources, in the ambush that occurred at Ogbokiri-Akassa in Brass Local Government area, six oil workers allegedly doing maintenance job close to their platform were kidnapped and whisked away.

It was further gathered that the Agip oil workers and their security personnel came under attack at about 6:00 a.m. while working close to a manifold in the deep swamp.

Spokesman of the NSCDC, Bayelsa command, Ogbere Solomon, confirmed the incident on Sunday evening.

Mr Solomon said one personnel of the command died in the ambush, while two others who were missing have been found and are currently receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa.

“Yes, our officers were ambushed and attacked by some unknown pirates while on their lawful duty of providing protection to some Agip oil workers close to Obama manifold in Okoroma community of Nembe Local Government.

“One personnel was killed while the other two that were missing have been found and are responding to treatment,” he said.

Tarinyu Joseph, the Youth President of the Okoroma clan, said indigenes of the area recovered the corpses of those killed.

He added that those injured were taken to the hospital while the boat driver, identified as his brother, is still missing.

(NAN)

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Imported ‘Loud’ intercepted on Lagos waterways

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NDLEA has seized 12,385 kilogrammes of “Loud’’ Indian hemp smuggled into Lagos from a neighbouring country through the waterways.

The spokesperson for NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, on Sunday described the drug as a strong variant of Indian hemp.

Mr Babafemi said that 12,385 pellets of the “Loud’’ Indian hemp were brought in through the Atlantic Ocean and ferried in boats to the Eko Atlantic Beach, Victoria Island.

The Indian hemp would have been distributed from the beach to drugs hotspots such as Lagos Island, Peti Alagba and others across Lagos and other states, he added.

He stated also that more than 50 narcotic officers stormed the beach on Saturday, November 27 and recovered the consignments along with two trucks and arrested three suspects.

Those arrested are Abdulkadri Zakari, 24; Ka’abu Sausu, 45 and Lawrence Adie, 27.

In another development, a 70-year-old woman, Beatrice Aigbedion, was among the suspects arrested at Irrua, Edo in connection with the seizure of more than 5,000 kilogrammes of assorted illicit drugs.

“After days of surveillance, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, November 24 stormed a warehouse at Uhiere, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo, where they recovered 4,261.5 kilogrammes of Indian hemp and arrested a suspect, Ikong Stanley.

“On Tuesday, November 23, 1,240 kilogrammes of Indian hemp was also seized at a warehouse in Uzebba, in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo.

“At the point of her arrest last Wednesday, Ms Aigbedion was caught with different quantities of Codeine cough syrup, Swinol and Rohypnol.

“Another dealer, Joseph Onyemaechi, 50, was also nabbed at Ikpoba Okha, Upper Sakpoba, Benin City, on Friday with different types of psychotropic substances weighing 2.055 kilogrammes,” Mr Babafemi stated.

Similarly, Gabriel Akioya and Isa Salihu were arrested on Thursday, November 25 at Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo with various quantities of Codeine, Tramadol, Swinol and Rohypnol.

Mr Babafemi stated that operatives raided Hampton Towers and Spa Hotel, Okpanam Road, Asaba, where Dobedient Etumudor and Thompson Chukwuemeka were arrested with different quantities of psychoactive substances.

He added that another drug dealer, Emeka Ben, was nabbed with 4.7 grammes of Methamphetamine on Asaba-Ibusa Road in Delta.

“Other suspects arrested on Thursday, November 25 in the state for dealing in Meth, Indian hemp, cocaine, and heroin were Ifeanyi Odibe, Uche Onwurah, and Justice Obika.

“In Kano, a drug dealer, Alhaji Bukar Malan Abdu, was arrested and 143 kilogrammes of Indian hemp recovered from him while 466 kilogrammes of the same drug was seized in the home of one Bashir Shuaibu, an indigene of Edo resident in Kano.

“On Thursday, November 25, a drug dealer in Maiduguri, Chima Obi, was arrested in a follow-up operation.

“The follow-up operation took place after the seizure of his drug consignment of 73.2 kilogrammes of codeine at an NDLEA checkpoint in Postiskum, Yobe, on the same day,” Mr Babafemi said.

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FG announces diversion on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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Starting from Monday, there will be a six-day six-day traffic diversion on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, announced on Sunday.

Mr Popoola, in a statement, said the diversion is to enable Julius Berger, the contractor handling Section One of the project, to lay asphalt between Arepo and Warewa, a distance of one and half kilometers.

He explained that there is the need to prepare the ground around Punch area hence the need for the traffic diversion to speed up construction works.

Mr Popoola added that the traffic diversion would be on the Lagos bound carriageway.

He appealed for understanding of road users, saying that adequate arrangements have been made for traffic regulatory agencies to manage the construction zone to avert gridlock.

“The Federal Government is desirous of completing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project by next year, so there is need to increase the tempo of activities on the road.

“Julius Berger will asphalt between Arepo and Warewa, therefore there is going to be diversion of traffic for six days.

“The public should please bear with the Federal Government,” he said. 

(NAN)

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