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Benue: Fear grips residents, travellers as kidnappers occupy Owukpa communities

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Owukpa, situated in the Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State, has transformed into a refuge for kidnappers. Currently, more than ten communities in the area are facing continuous attacks, instilling fear among the residents. Previously peaceful places like Ankpa, Odobe, Umufu, Ubafu, Atamaka, Ai-Fam, and their surroundings are now living in constant dread, as criminal elements wreak havoc without restraint.

Even commuters are not exempt from this menace. Over the past five months, the number of kidnapping victims has exceeded 100, with certain routes proving particularly dangerous. The Aho-Ankpa road and Atakama-Ugbugbu road have gained notoriety as focal points for criminal activities, along with the Orokam-Owukpa road and Okpoga-Aifam road witnessing multiple incidents. Travelers along these routes now express heightened concerns about their safety.

Recently, a family of eight was abducted on the Atamaka road, and the kidnappers, dissatisfied with the ransom delay, threatened to harm them. The victims, held captive for several days, shared their harrowing experience, revealing that the criminals were fluent in both Hausa and Fulani languages.

This surge in criminal activity has compelled Owukpa residents to travel in convoys to enhance their safety. Even during the festive season, a native named John was kidnapped on his wedding night, returning from Aho Ogbo market, emphasizing the urgent need for enhanced security measures. Engr Raymond and his wife, Mrs. Cordelia Agada, also fell victim to abduction along the Owukpa-Aifam-Okpoga road.

In response to the escalating threats, the women of Owukpa invoked the deity Ekwuanya in 2023 against any community member involved in kidnapping. However, this spiritual intervention seems to have minimal impact on curbing the prevailing menace.

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Despite the presence of local community guards, kidnappers operate with impunity. HRH Emmanuel Odeh, the traditional ruler of Ogbadibo, expressed deep concern about the security situation, citing the vulnerability of Owukpa due to its proximity to neighboring states, porous borders, and vast forest areas. He criticized the government’s inadequate response, highlighting the shortage of law enforcement personnel and the ban on civilian gun ownership, leaving residents defenseless against well-armed kidnappers.

Amos Agada, the Commander of Constabulary Police in Ehaje II, echoed these concerns, describing the situation as disturbing. He emphasized the urgent need for more government support, particularly in providing essential weapons to enhance the effectiveness of the vigilante group combating the security challenges in Owukpa.

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Why I may not hesitate to support Peter Obi in 2027 – Atiku Abubakar

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has suggested he might support Peter Obi, his Labour Party counterpart from the last election, in 2027.

The former Vice President, currently in merger talks with stakeholders from various opposition political parties, indicated he would back Obi if the Labour Party nominates him for the next election.

According to The Sun, Atiku made this statement during an interview with BBC Hausa Service.

It was recently reported by DAILY POST that Obi and Atiku had a closed-door meeting, sparking rumors about a potential merger of opposition parties ahead of the 2027 general elections.

Atiku confirmed the efforts of opposition parties to align in order to challenge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2027 election, saying, “We can merge to achieve a common goal. So, it’s possible and nothing can stop it if we so wish to achieve that.”

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Atiku added that if the new party decides it’s the turn of the South-East and chooses Peter Obi, he would not hesitate to support him.

“I have said repeatedly, and even before the 2023 general elections, that if the PDP decides to zone the presidential ticket to the South or South-East specifically, I won’t contest it.

“But I contested the 2023 presidential ticket because it was open to all members of the party,” Atiku explained.

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I once struggled with pornography – Bishop Oyedepo’s son, Isaac

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Isaac Oyedepo, son of Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Church, has admitted to having struggled with pornography at one point in his life.

Isaac revealed that he became involved with pornography during a trip to a European country.

Speaking on the podcast “Confession Box,” Isaac shared that he overcame this challenge with God’s help.

He explained: “My confessions are positive and meant to help others. I struggled with pornography before.

“I remember how it began; we traveled to a country, and I was alone in my room. I turned on the TV, and that’s how it started.

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“But God helped me overcome it quickly. Many people still struggle with it, and I think if someone who had previously struggled with it had approached me and showed me how to break free, I would have overcome it sooner.

“Some topics are often avoided, but today, many pastors and church members still struggle with this issue.

“You might be anointed and performing signs and wonders, but that doesn’t mean you are living right.

“There’s an old saying that if it works, it means you’re standing right, but I found out that’s not always true. There were times I realized I wasn’t right, but grace and mercy found me.

“For the sake of someone genuine in the congregation, God can bypass you to reach that person; this is my confession.”

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Alleged Corruption: Rights lawyer petitions Minister, seeks suspension of NSCDC CG, Audi

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Former Special Prosecutor for the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Properties, Tosin Ojaomo, has petitioned the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, regarding an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into corruption allegations against Ahmed Audi, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Ojaomo recommended Audi’s immediate suspension to ensure public safety and protect the integrity of the investigation from possible interference.

The petition, dated May 15 and made available to DAILY POST, was addressed to Tunji-Ojo and copied to President Bola Tinubu, Attorney General Lateef Fagbemi, and EFCC Chairman Olanipekun Olukoyede.

Ojaomo highlighted that the EFCC has been investigating the NSCDC for alleged financial mismanagement, making significant progress. He also mentioned a pending allegation against Audi regarding unexplained property acquisition filed with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CBB).

Ojaomo’s request is based on Section 8 of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Act, 2003 (as amended), and Section 11 of the Interpretation Act, 2004, which allow the minister to recommend the appointment and removal of the NSCDC Commandant General.

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The petition stated, “We are compelled to make this request as the investigation of the agency cannot be thoroughly and discreetly conducted if the current Commandant General of the NSCDC is allowed to continue in office while the investigation continues because most of the financial activities of the agency which form the subject matter of the investigation are conducted under the current CG’s watch.”

He further emphasized that the suspension would safeguard the investigation process and prevent possible interference. Ojaomo cited allegations linking Audi to a company, Keltes Security and Consultancy Limited, which allegedly received contracts from Tantita Security Limited, a company under the NSCDC’s supervision.

He concluded, “In view of these facts, it will be in the interest of public safety and to protect the integrity of the office to suspend Dr. Abubakar Audi, the current Commandant General of NSCDC, so that the EFCC can conduct a thorough and discreet investigation into the matter.”

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