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Lagos community decries cemetery invasion by suspected ritualists, robbers

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Residents of Otuja Harmony Estate in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State have decried the continuous invasion of the Eyita Sabo Cemetery by suspected ritualists and robbers.

According to the residents, while ritualists harvest human organs in the cemetery, robbers use it as a hideout for criminal activities.

gathered that a suspected ritualist, Kolawole, was arrested on December 10, 2021 with a human hand and heart which he exhumed from a grave in the cemetery.

The secretary of the estate association, Adebisi Badejo, who alleged that the criminals operated unchallenged, said various solutions proposed to the local government chairman were not implemented.

He said, “We gave the council chairman six solutions. We asked the council to illuminate the cemetery, cut the grass, raise the fence and fortify security to wade off criminals using the place as their hideout. To our surprise, the advice was not heeded.

“The light installed in the cemetery is just three. In December last year, a suspect was arrested in the cemetery when he came to exhume a fresh corpse and cut off the hand and heart. The cemetery has become a threat zone where women are raped; their phones and other valuables are collected from them on a daily basis. We are also calling on the Lagos State Government and other political office holders from the zone to come to our aid.”

A resident, Ibrahim Ishola, told that it had become a norm for suspected ritualists to enter the cemetery and harvest human organs.

He said, “This is not the first time ritualists will scale the fence of the cemetery to exhume corpses and cut off any part of human bodies they wanted. Leaders in other communities make a lot of effort to ensure that the cemetery in their area is properly secured, but the reverse is the case in our community.

“It was after the suspect (Kolawole) who exhumed a corpse was arrested that the council chairman came to install light and cut the trees, but the light installed is not enough compared to how big the cemetery is. Sincerely, there is no corpse buried in the cemetery that is safe.”

Another resident, who identified herself simply as Iyabo, said she had been robbed several times in the cemetery area.

She said, “The day Kolawole was arrested, I was coming out of the toilet around 1am when I heard him asking the guards why they arrested him after he gave them money to access the cemetery.

“Immediately, one of the security men told him to drop his gun and the bag that contained the heart and hand he cut from the corpse. A few minutes later, the guards overpowered the suspect and arrested him with the exhibits.

“Sometimes when I am in my room, I hear people being attacked by robbers; those attacked are mostly women. They also rape them and collect their valuables. I am appealing to the council chairman to provide adequate power supply to the cemetery and the community to prevent further breakdown of law and order.”

When contacted, the Ikorodu LGA Chairman, Wasiu Adesina, said the council had started renovating the cemetery.

He said, “I am not aware of their complaints, but we are trying to improve on the condition of the cemetery. When we came in, we tried to improve on the standard and structure of the cemetery; I have started fencing the cemetery and we are now on the installation of solar power to ensure that people do not use it as a hideout.

“We are installing solar energy in form of streetlights in the community and the fencing is about 70 per cent completed. We also engaged the services of some vigilantes to walk around the cemetery and recently, they arrested one Kolawole, who came in to harvest a corpse.”

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2 killed, houses burnt as suspected herdsmen attack Benue

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

At least two persons have been reportedly killed after gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked Igama community in Ojugo wards, Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue State.

Sources from the affected community disclosed that the gunmen invaded the community last Tuesday afternoon and burnt many houses. The invaders were said to have stormed the community in broad day light and shot sporadically in all directions while the locals scampered for safety.

When contacted on telephone, the Chairman of the council, Mrs Amina Audu, confirmed the report, saying it was the third time in the last two weeks that the attackers invaded her council. She told newsmen that the attack was perpetrated by herdsmen without any form of provocation.

“Fulani herdsmen came and attacked the community and burnt houses, and a woman was found dead after several days,” she said.

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Mrs Audu, who noted that the incident was reported to the police, said some security personnel were detailed to the area to forestall any breakdown of law and order, adding that men of the Livestock Guards were also sent to the area but the herders quickly ran away before the security men arrived.

“They have attacked the community for three consecutive times since January 13, 2022. They will just come into the community and attack them. They normally come in the afternoon. It is because the security people have been stationed on ground that we did not record many casualties.”

Audu, however, disclosed that those who were killed were immediately buried because their bodies were already decaying by the time they were found. The council boss appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rise to the occasion and stop the marauding herders from taking innocent lives.

When contacted, the Benue Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), SP Catherine Anene, said she was yet to receive any information about the incident.

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Anti-open Grazing Law: Bayelsa govt goes tough on violators,

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State government has clamped down on violators of the Anti-open Grazing Law in the state.

To this end, it arrested 44 cows found grazing along Imiringi road, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Douye Diri had on March 10, 2021 signed into law the Anti-open Grazing Law known as Livestock Breeding Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law.

He also set up the Livestock Management Committee headed by the Commissioner for Agricultural Resources, Mr David Alagoa, with members drawn from the security agencies.

However, many farmers in Imiringi, Elebele and Emeyal in Ogbia Local Government Area, Tombia and Okutukutu in Yenagoa Local Government Area have been complaining of the destructive activities of cows despite the law.

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The farmers had lodged their complaint to Alagoa and the state task force to help arrest the situation before things got out of hand.

Alagoa had during a patrol at the weekend arrested the cows, while the herders escaped into the bush to evade arrest.

The arrest followed a complaint to the task force by farmers along Imiringi road near Megastar camp where the cows were said to have destroyed crops.

Alagoa said the task force would continue to take action to demonstrate that the state government would not condone flouting of its laws.

Meanwhile one of the farmers, Mr Tempo, explained that his farm at Elebele where he planted maize and cassava was destroyed by cows.

He urged the state government to take more action because any farmer that tries to confront the herders is usually threatened with attack.

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Boko Haram, ISWAP recruiting child soldiers – Army

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The Nigerian Army said it was studying the video of the Islamic State West Africa Province children fighters executing its personnel.

The video released by the ISWAP, according to the , was published on Tuesday by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activities.

In the video, a man in the Nigerian Army uniform, who claimed that he was with the army special forces, was shot twice in the head by a boy of about 12.

Shortly after, another soldier, who said he was captured in April 2021, was shot in the head by one of the three masked fighters behind him.

Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, stated that the action of the terrorists had been a long time practice in terrorism across the world.

He said the terrorists were trying to embark on recruitment drive with the video as many of their fighters had surrendered to troops.

Nwachukwu stated, “We are studying the video. However, the action of the terrorists has been a long time practice in terrorism across the globe.

“They have always taken advantage of the vulnerable in society, particularly women and children, to advance their evil cause.

“Recall that the terrorist groups, ISWAP/Boko Haram, have in the past used women and children as suicide bombers. They have also conscripted children and minors, who they engage as child soldiers, and women, who they use as sex slaves.

“Having been depleted by our troops, the imbroglio in their ranks and the massive surrendering of Boko Haram, the terrorists in a desperate move are embarking on a recruitment drive to shore up their strength with child soldiers, who they can easily indoctrinate, manipulate and cheaply manage financially.

“We have raised this alarm before now and have since commenced sensitisation in the North-East to guard against and block their recruitment drive.”

Nwachukwu urged residents of the North-East not to be deceived by the gimmicks of ISWAP terrorists into releasing their children and wards for their evil cause.

He assured them that troops would remain resolute in decisively countering the terrorists.

AP had quoted the Executive Director, SITE Intelligence Group, Rita Katz, as saying that ISIS “is now more desperate than ever to keep its name in the global discussion…given the fact that it no longer has a physical ‘caliphate’ outside of relatively small bases in different countries.”

The video, she said, “demonstrates the immense focus ISIS is placing on Africa” and puts a “spotlight on Nigeria as one of its strongholds and projecting itself as an adaptive, enduring force to the world.”

The UN children’s agency estimates that globally, more than 93,000 children were recruited and used in conflicts between 2005 and 2020.

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