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Sanwo-Olu best sponsor of Christian Pilgrims in South-West- NCPC Boss, Rev. Pam

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From Gyang Bere, Jos

The Executive Secretary Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam says Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has emerged the best sponsor of Christian Pilgrim Award in South West during the 2020 Pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Jordan.

Rev. Pam, who formally presented the award to Governor Sanwo-Olu at a sensitization visit to Lagos State said the commission was proud of the moral gesture of the Governor which has uplifted the spirit of the people.

He explained that the commission embarked on the 2020 maiden pilgrimage to the Kingdom of Jordan amid COVID-19 pandemic and recorded huge success with zero abscondment and mortality and morbidity rate.

Rev. Pam said after the successful exercise to a new Pilgrimage destination, the Commission considered it necessary to honour those who supported the Commission achieved the landmark.

“To this effect, Lagos State is the second highest sponsor of Christian Pilgrims in Nigeria during the 2020 pilgrimage after Plateau State and the first highest sponsor of Christian Pilgrims in South West”.

Rev. Pam in a press statement signed by the Head of Media and Public Relations, Celestine Turuka said the award was to encourage the Governor for his support to NCPC and Christian Pilgrimage in general.

He maintained that “We want the world to know that you have done a lot for the church and we encourage you to do more for only God will reward your support.”

Rev Pam stressed that Pilgrimage is not just about executing projects, but is divine and those who sponsor pilgrims to the Holy Land stand to gain spiritually.

He informed Governor Sanwo-Olu that the Commission would commence the 2021 main Pilgrimage to Israel, Jordan and Rome from February 2022.

He further disclosed that Israeli authorities would soon open their borders to international travels but with a caveat that every intending Pilgrim must be fully vaccinated.

Rev Pam further hinted that the Commission would embark on State of Readiness visit to Israel on 26th January, 2022 preparatory to the commencement of the 2021 Main pilgrimage exercise.

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He revealed that intending interested Pilgrims would have the opportunity of Visiting Rome as the Commission would dedicate a batch for intending pilgrims who would want to visit Rome.

The NCPC boss also stressed the need for fervent prayers for this year being a year with so many political activities.

He commended the Governor for effective and efficient manner in which he and his team handled and contained the global COVID 19 pandemic in Lagos State coupled with the infrastructural development.

Responding, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu commended the visionary and purposeful leadership of Rev Pam during his one and half year on the saddle.

He further commended the Commission for the feat it achieved with the success story of its maiden Pilgrimage to Jordan even in the face of the global pandemic.

Governor Sanwo-olu explained that despite the initial skepticism about the Jordan Pilgrimage, being the first time ever, ” God gave you the strength and wisdom to execute the plans”.

He stressed that the cardinal objective of his administration is to give the people renewed hope of better life.

He affirmed that governance started in the Bible and therefore leaders should be humble with leadership so that the people could be better citizens and live a fulfilled life.

He noted with delight that the vision of his administration is not different from NCPC vision, ” our vision is not different from the vision of NCPC”.

He reaffirmed that the NCPC award is” for all of us to do more in terms of advocacy, do proper counseling and representing the country well while on Pilgrimage”.

He promised to step up his effort in terms of sponsorship of Pilgrims and would do everything possible to ensure the state maintains its leading position in the South West.

“we want to assure you that we will give you the needed support,we will continue to do our best to ensure that the real essence of pilgrimage is achieved and do everything with conscience.”

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Human trafficking: Edo vigilante rescues 28 victims in Benin

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From Tony Osauzo, Benin

A team of local vigilantes has rescued 28 victims of human trafficking in Benin City, the Edo State capital. 

The state Coordinator, Edo State Community Vigilante Security Network, Oboh Emmanuel Otoide, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the weekend in Benin City.
He said the victims who were between the ages of 13 and 17 years were rescued during a stop-and-search operation by his men.
“The victims were rescued by our men around 2 am on Tuesday along Akpakpava Road in Benin City. Three suspects, including two drivers conveying the victims to their destinations were arrested during the operation and handed over to the Department of State Services for further investigations.

“Our preliminary investigations revealed that the victims were being moved from the South East, enroute Edo State, to the South West of the country,” he said.

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He added that in another operation, officials of the Edo State Community Vigilante Security Network arrested a man who robs people of their personal belongings while pretending to be insane.

“The man who identified himself as Olatunji was arrested around Baptist Church at Ring Road, Benin City and has been handed over to the Nigeria Police Force. Among the items recovered from the suspects include ATM cards belonging to victims of his criminal acts,”‎ Oboh stated.

He disclosed that the group is working assiduously with other security agencies in the state to secure the state.

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I’ll release Bayelsa commissioner when police free my father, says kidnapper

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abductors of the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito, have contacted the paramount ruler of his community, Otuokpoti, in the Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

Otokito’s assailants, believed to be operators of illegal crude oil refinery, also known as ‘kpofire’, had stormed his residence in the community on Thursday night and grabbed him from his bedroom at gunpoint into a waiting speedboat at the waterside and sped away.

They were said to have kidnapped Otokito for opposing their plan to set up an illegal crude oil refinery in the community’s forest.

learnt that the kidnappers’ leader called the community chief on the phone and informed him that the commissioner was in their custody.

But they were yet to contact the victim’s family more than 48 hours after they took him away to an unknown place.

A family source, who spoke in confidence on Saturday, said the kidnappers’ leader called the traditional ruler at about 5:30am on Saturday.

According to the source, the camp leader did not demand any ransom but stated that they would release Otokito only on the condition that his detained father was released by the police.

The source said, “They’ve not contacted the family but the actor (leader) called the paramount ruler that he actually did the kidnapping and the commissioner is with him.

“He called the paramount ruler at about 5:30am but did not demand ransom. The only seeming demand he placed is that his father held by the police should be freed. He threatened to come back to the community if his demand was not met.”

Before the incident, the gang leader had reportedly approached Otuokpoti community and held a meeting with some elders and youths, where he sought to set up an illegal bunkering camp around the community’s bush.

He and his men allegedly sealed the understanding reached at the meeting by providing bags of rice, lives goats and cash gifts, among other items.

However, Otokito got wind of the meeting and headed to the village and vowed that as a serving commissioner, he would not allow any illegitimate oil refinery to operate in the area.

He was said to have also confronted the leader of the gang and warned them to stay away from the forest, threatening to expose them if they attempted to carry out their nefarious business.

Apparently angered by the commissioner’s decision to abort their illicit plan, the armed oil thieves were said to have stormed Otokito’s house at about 11pm on Thursday and gained entrance through the kitchen.

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Kidnappers collected N3m ransom, killed my daughter, buried her in shallow grave – Dad

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Shuaibu Wa’alamu, father of an eight-year-old girl, Asma’u, allegedly abducted and killed by his neighbour in Zaria, Kaduna State, lamented how his daughter was killed by her abductors despite collecting N3m as ransom.

This is coming on the heels of the abduction and subsequent killing of a five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar in Kano by her teacher after collecting N6m ransom.

Asmau, who was said to have spent 42 days in the hands of her abductors was said to be kidnapped by one of their neighbours on the 9th of December, 2021, according to her father.

She (Asmau) was found killed by her abductors after collecting N3m from the parent.

The story which was first broken by a friend of the father, one Musa Ahmed, shared by Hausa Fulanii on Instagram, hinted that the little girl was kidnapped while on her way to buy a recharge card.

... read, “My friend’s daughter, an eight-year-old girl, had been kidnapped on her way to buy a recharge card in our neighbourhood.

“She was for the past 42 days with her abductors who demanded the sum of N3m which was given to them, but sadly, they killed the girl eventually.”

“It was said that perhaps the girl recognised her abductor who happens to be residing close to their house. In fact, she was playing with his kids almost everyday.

“They called her father demanding for additional money which he obliged and sent someone with the money.

“In the event of waiting for them, the guy was so furious because of the cool weather at night. He called the father and informed him he hasn’t seen anyone yet.

“Then, the father called the number and asked them to tell him the truth if they have killed the girl. Lo and behold, they said, they have killed and buried her in a shallow grave, four days ago.”

Speaking with newsmen in Zaria on Saturday, Wa’alamu said her daughter was abducted on December 9, 2021 and he immediately reported the case to the police after failure to return her daughter return home.

He said after some days, the abductors reached out to the family and first demanded a ransom of N15m which was negotiated and N2m was given to the abductors.

According to him, the hoodlums later called and demanded for another N1.045m as condition for releasing the little girl.

He declared, “My daughter was abducted on the 9th of December and when she failed to return home, I lodged a formal complaint with the police.

“After some days, the abductors began to call my number and demanded N15m. But we negotiated and I first gave them N2m.

“They collected the money in Rigasa area of Kaduna. Later, they called me again and demanded for another N1.045m as the only condition to release my daughter. I did not argue. But I gave the money to them.

“However, after paying the ransom as demanded on the 19th of January, they called me to tell me they killed her and switch off the phone. You see, from the initial stage, I was following her abductors and doing their bidding because of the fear of losing her. Now, they have killed her.

“I know those who abducted her and killed her. They are around us. I have strong evidence. I have told the police. And they are on it. In fact, the suspects have been arrested.”

However, the Kaduna State Police Command had yet to confirm the incident as there was no response from the state police command’s spokesman, Mohammed Jalige, when contacted as of the time of filing this report.

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