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Tension heightens in Anambra as gunmen murder over 15 residents in two weeks

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Awka, Anambra State capital, is again under the siege of gunmen, believed to be cultists.

At the last count, over 15 residents have been murdered in cold blood within the last two weeks, including some victims who cannot be identified as cultists, promoting the belief that what is happening could be targeted assassinations.

DAILY POST has followed the developments, and reports that the major problem seems to be a struggle for the control of revenue windows, especially collection of taxes from bus drivers and commercial tricyclists.

Investigation shows that no fewer than 15 persons have been gunned down in just two weeks in the city.

The orgy of killings started on Easter Sunday when as much as six youths were reportedly gunned down.

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A source told DAILY POST that while the Easter merriment was being observed by Christians to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, the happiness of some people were cut short by gunmen.

“Some were felled at Okpuno area, behind Juhel, others were murdered around Eke Awka area and Obinagu,” a source said.

One of the incidents was said to have happened opposite Dike Park, around the Eke Awka Market, in Awka, the State capital.

According to sources, “The incident happened in the noon of Sunday, and also escalated to the Obinagu area, where some more persons were also gunned down by the cultists.”

It was gathered that one of the persons hit by the bullet was a staff of the Anambra State Judiciary, simply identified as Mr. Nwofor, who was said to be innocently going about his normal business before the cultists struck.

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A resident of Awka, who did not want his name mentioned, said: “I suspected that there would be cult killings during that period. You know that most wanted cultists have left town, but during festive periods, they always come home to celebrate, and their rivals use the opportunity to pay them back for their past atrocities, which may include that they have killed their members.”

Just seven days after the Easter killings, three other persons also suspected to belong to secret cults were gunned down in the city.

Though security operatives could not confirm the number, a source said that two of the victims were killed in her presence.

The source said: “Two tricycles were driving recklessly along Zik Avenue at Eke Awka. They were pursuing themselves. Around Eke Awka market, the tricycle at the front got stuck in the traffic, and one boy inside it alighted and started running.

“Two boys in the tricycle behind also jumped down and pursued him. He ran towards Parkers’ area, along Zik Avenue, and diverted into a road by the right, into a mechanic workshop.

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“The boys pursued him into the place, dragged him out and shot him to death. The incident caused pandemonium, and people were just running in all directions,” the source said.

Not done, two days after the same incident, another person described as Nwanayoeze, a popular Awka youth was gunned down around tricycle park, Unizik Junction.

Traders around Unizik Junction confirmed that Nwanayoeze was a very prominent youth in the entire area and also controlled revenue from tricycle operators in the area, and was feared by many people, even though they denied that he had any link with cultism.

The killings however did not abate. Thursday of the same week, a former president general of Amansea community in Awka North Local Government Area, Chief Cajetan Nwokike was killed.

On Friday also, at Unizik Junction, a man identified as Christian was gunned down. He is said to be an indigene of Enugu State, but manages a popular transport company in Awka that has fleets of luxury SUVs that ferry passengers to Abuja and Lagos.

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He was gunned down in the presence of his co-workers by gunmen who came in a yellow tricycle. Eyewitnesses said the assailants were not in a hurry to leave after the assignment, as they entered the tricycle and drove away slowly.

Earlier on Wednesday evening, gunmen caused pandemonium at Aroma junction.

A youth from Amudo Village in Awka, and said to be a former tricycle operator before transiting into a revenue collector was gunned down.

A source said the assailants trailed him from the Ifite area of the state capital and shot him at close range at a filling station which serves as a popular bus stop for buses and tricycles.

Business outfits in the area were forced to close and roadside traders abandoned their articles and fled.

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The major roads in the vicinity of the incident suddenly became empty, just as many people abandoned their cars and took to their heels.

Few hours later, residents of the town received news of another killing in the same junction. This time, an official of the Anambra Road Traffic Management Agency (ARTMA) was the victim.

A source said: “The man who was killed is an ARTMA official. He stopped some people who were driving a Toyota Sienna vehicle with tinted glasses, and the people shot him and drove off. It happened just close to me as I was boarding a vehicle this morning to go to Nnewi.”

The developments have heightened tension in the state capital and beyond, with residents not sure of who would be the next target.

“Security agencies seem to be overwhelmed; everyone is in panic mode,” a distressed resident told DAILY POST.

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In one of his responses to DAILY POST, Anambra State Police Command’s spokesperson person, SP Tochukwu Ikenga lamented that families of deceased people do not notify the police, so that investigation can commence.

He insisted that operatives were deployed to the areas of the incidents but no news of any killing was gathered.

DAILY POST however gathered that deceased person’s bodies are usually quickly removed by family members to avoid confiscation by police.

Meanwhile, in a recent press conference, the police stated its frustration, saying that most cult kingpins arrested by police were being freed by very influential people in the city.

The commissioner of Police in Anambra State, CP Aderemi Adeoye, who was represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department, DCP Akin Fakorede, said: “When those things that have happened over a period of time begin to happen again, the question people should ask is Why?

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“Could you imagine that the cultists we arrested, charged to court, and got remanded in prison custody that some powerful locals are going to the judiciary to lobby to get them released?

“And some have been released. And they are the ones unleashing this mayhem again! That is number one.

“Two, you must have heard of the AK-47 we recently recovered from a suspect in Awada. What the suspect told us was that they procured it for him to engage in a showdown with a rival cult group.

“Now, if that AK-47 was not recovered or had joined the recent cult-related clash, could you imagine what the casualty level would have been?

“We are already going after the cultists; and if we find that anybody is subverting justice, or is subverting due process, to get the cultists off the hook, they will face the music, notwithstanding whether the person is in the judiciary or civil populace,” he said.

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Currently, major stakeholders in Awka who are worried about the orgy of bloodletting have started working towards finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Three prominent sons of Awka, the member representing Awka South 1 constituency, Hon Henry Mbachu, the Managing Director of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) Mr. Ossy Onuko and the Transition Committee Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Mr Anagor ThankGod have teamed up to get security agencies to stop the killings.

Addressing newsmen on behalf of the three after a meeting, Onuko said “Finding a lasting solution to the security challenges is necessary as the elected and appointed officers owe it as a duty to the people to keep Awka safe not just for residents but for thousands of investors trooping into the city.”

DAILY POST, however, noticed on Friday evening that as a result of the frequent cases of killings, men of the Special Anti Cultism Squad (SPACS) have mounted guard at Aroma junction.

Meanwhile, a popular activist in Awka, Comrade Osita Obi, who spoke to DAILY POST, said it was unfair that Governor Soludo was yet to utter a word over the killings.

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He said: “Soludo is doing very well in infrastructure, but protection of lives and property is the major reason we elect leaders. He needs to say something.”

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Gov Yusuf reappoints Sanusi as Emir of Kano, orders ex-monarchs 48 hours to vacate seats

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Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has approved the reappointment of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II as Emir of Kano under the new laws.

The governor has given former emirs 48 hours to vacate their palaces and hand over Emirate Council properties to the Commissioner of Local Government, who also serves as State Deputy Governor.

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State has signed the Kano Emirates Bill 2024 into law, repealing the 2019 Emirate Councils Law that altered the state’s over 1000-year history.

By signing the bill, the governor declared that the 2019 law has been repealed and is now history.

The signing was attended by the Speaker of the State Assembly, Ismaila Falgore, Deputy Governor Aminu Abdussalam, Secretary to the State Government Abdullahi Baffa Bichi and others.

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The State Assembly has fulfilled one of its constitutional roles by signing the bill into law.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Europa League: Lookman nominated for Player of the Week

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Ademola Lookman has been nominated for the UEFA Europa League Player of the Week. The Nigerian international delivered an outstanding performance, scoring a hat-trick in Atalanta’s 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

His teammates, Davide Zappacosta and Ederson, have also been nominated for the award.

Additionally, Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie is in the running for the accolade.

Lookman previously won the Player of the Week award during Atalanta’s semi-final victory against Olympic Marseille, where he recorded a goal and an assist in the second leg of the match.

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National Council on Sports: Tinubu lauds Mbah over safe environment, support

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Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, praised Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, for creating a safe and conducive environment for the country’s sports stakeholders to gather for a national sports council meeting. Tinubu commended Mbah’s commitment to promoting sports, highlighting his administration’s satisfaction with these efforts.

Governor Mbah announced that his administration has partnered with the private sector to develop a state-of-the-art sports park aimed at enhancing sports development and talent discovery in the state.

During the inaugural National Council on Sports (NCS) meeting held in Enugu on Wednesday, President Tinubu, represented by the Minister of Special Duties, Hon. Zaphaniah Jisalo, emphasized the significant role sports play in a nation’s development. He noted that sports are not only a form of entertainment and recreation but also a business that warrants substantial investment.

Speaking on the theme “Sports for National Unity and Socio-Economic Growth,” President Tinubu urged Nigerians to view sports as a means to foster unity, promote health, and drive economic growth. He highlighted the opportunities sports provide for young people to develop character, discipline, and leadership skills, and called for innovative approaches to enhance sporting potential, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all Nigerians, regardless of gender, age, or physical ability.

Governor Peter Mbah emphasized that sports serve as a powerful unifying tool, transcending tribe, language, and creed. He highlighted Enugu’s rich sporting heritage, including the achievements of Rangers International Football Club, and urged stakeholders to invest in the sports industry through effective partnerships.

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Mbah stressed the significant economic impact of sports globally and encouraged both public and private sector investment in the industry. He noted that his administration’s partnership with private investors to build a state-of-the-art sports park would provide a platform for youth talent discovery and sports enthusiasm. The facilities at the sports park will include training areas, athlete housing, and a physical therapy and sports medicine center.

Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, remarked that Enugu was chosen to host the inaugural National Council on Sports due to its strategic importance in the nation’s sporting landscape. He emphasized the need for investment in sports infrastructure, talent development, and grassroots programs to nurture athletic talent, stimulate local economies, create jobs, and promote healthier lifestyles among Nigerians.

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