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How We Mobilised Food, Milk, Drinks, Tramadol To Release Kidnapped Ekiti School Pupils, Teachers —Family Sources

Abductors of pupils and teachers of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, Emure-Ekiti, Emure Local Government Area of Ekiti State have released the victims.

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Abductors of pupils and teachers of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, Emure-Ekiti, Emure Local Government Area of Ekiti State have released the victims.

The gunmen had on Monday ambushed the school bus conveying the pupils and staff to Eporo-Ekiti, a suburb of Emure, at a bad spot and whisked away five pupils and four members of staff, including the driver.

The kidnappers later reached out to the families of the victims and demanded N100 million ransom, but after much pleading, they reduced the amount on Thursday.

Nigerian Tribune gathered from relatives of the victims that the hostages were released in a forest between Owo and Oba-Akoko in Ondo State at about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday after payment.

However, the kidnappers killed the driver of the school bus, identified as Taiwo Olugbaye, in the forest.

One of the parents of the victims who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that members of the community and other indigenes, both home and abroad, contributed the ransom.

He stated that the kidnappers asked the family to bring the ransom, alongside other items such as food, drinks and tramadol to the forest.

The family source disclosed that the driver was killed by the kidnappers after he was said to have reneged in dropping the telephone numbers of his relatives to call for ransom.

According to one of the parents, “We have to thank God for the safe return of our children and wives from the forest after they were kidnapped on Monday.

“The kidnappers insisted on collecting ransom on Saturday and we rallied round the communities, including our people outside the country, to raise the ransom. They even collected a carton of tin milk, black bullet, fried rice with chicken, soft and energy drinks and tramadol from us.

“We were asked to take the money and the items to a bush in Ondo State, a farmstead called Ago Paanu, at about 7:00 p.m. It is between Oba Akoko and Owo. Before they could release our people, they confirmed the money and those items. We walked through the bush till about 1:00 a.m. when we saw the victims.”

On why the driver was killed, the source said: “The children told us that when they [kidnappers] were asking for telephone numbers of relatives to call from each of them, the driver told them he didn’t know that of his wife and school proprietor offhand; this made them angry and they hit him with their gun.

“For five days, he was said to be having issues after the injury he sustained and was shot dead on Saturday morning. The most painful thing is that his corpse was burnt in the bush, according to what the pupils told us.

“It was a bitter experience for the victims, especially looking at how the driver was killed. We appreciate the efforts of the state government and the security agencies.”

Recounting how they retrieved the victims in the bush, a parent who spoke at the premises of the hospital on condition of anonymity said: “The kidnappers were calling persistently that we should hurry up. They said we should meet them at Ikare junction. I wondered how they came to Ikare junction when they took the children at Eporo.

“When we got to Ikare junction, he said we should buy food, so we went to buy rice and meat. When we were about to get to Waterworks, he called that we should turn back, and then the kidnapper described a road that only big vehicles could pass. We decided that all of us should not go there so that they would not think that we came with policemen who could make them injure the abductees.

“When we told them we were on the path, he [kidnapper] said only two persons should come. He threatened to waste the kidnapped persons if more than two persons come. Only two continued while the rest of us sat on the road there. The driver of the vehicle and one person continued far into the forest and drove back. So, they now used a motorbike to trace the kidnappers to drop the money and the food.

“On collecting the money and food, they released the kidnapped persons. They used motorbike to bring the kidnapped persons to the road, it was then they called us to bring the vehicle to convey them.”

Nigerian Tribune visited the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH ) in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, where the eight victims were receiving treatment in line with the directives of the state governor.

Speaking, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Professor Kayode Olabanji, said the victims were being given necessary medical attention to ensure their full recovery from the trauma.

Olabanji said: “Very early today [Sunday], they were brought in and they were in various conditions, some of them were so dehydrated, we don’t know when last they took water or even food.

“Many of the pupils were in panic state; you could see that they were very terrified. However, immediately we brought them in, they were attended to by doctors, nurses and other specialists. We brought in those clinical psychologists who could work on them to allay their fears.

“They were given the initial resuscitation, including rehydration; they were given fluids; some who needed oxygen were given oxygen.

“After they had stabilised a bit, they were even given food too. They are much better; we will still carry out a few investigations to fully appraise their situation. But I can say with confidence that they are clinically stable and we don’t foresee any untoward eventuality.”

The police command in the state, through a statement by its spokesman, Abutu Sunday, who confirmed the release of the victims, said they were rescued by a combined team of police and other security agencies, including the Amotekun Corps, local vigilantes and hunters and the support from state and federal governments.

Abutu said: “While we sympathise with the family members of the driver who is suspected to have been killed by the abductors while in hostage, the command vows to continue with the operation and investigation until the perpetrators are arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.

“Meanwhile, the rescued victims have been handed over to the state government for medical examination and attention.”

When asked about the ransom payment, the PPRO said: “We are not aware of it; we heard it as a rumour.”

Meanwhile, the state governor, Biodun Oyebanji, who visited the victims at the hospital, commended President Bola Tinubu and the service chiefs for their support in rescuing the victims.

Oyebanji assured the people of the state and family members of the victims that the perpetrators would soon be arrested and brought to book, adding that security agencies are closing in on them.

The governor said he remained committed to the security of lives and property of citizens of the state and would continue to collaborate with relevant security agencies and the traditional institution in the war against criminals.

According to him, “We thank God for their safe return. I am excited and I give glory to God. I also thank President Bola Tinubu for his swift response and for giving specific directives. His intervention made the difference and I am thankful to him on behalf of Ekiti people. I am also thankful to the security chiefs for their support.

“They all put resources together and mobilised men and materials to ensure we rescue the children. All I can say is that we shall go after the criminals and we shall get them.”

Expressing his condolence over the death of the bus driver, Oyebanji said the government would not leave any stone unturned in the bid to apprehend the criminals, as well as those involved in the killing of the two traditional rulers.

“It is very sad. My condolences to the family. I have directed the deputy governor to pay a visit to the families and to the Elemure to commiserate with them. But what I can assure Ekiti people is that we will go after the criminals,” he said.

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Lagos Agog As Olusegun Aderiye Marks 70th Birthday Anniversary In Style

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The mega city of Lagos was thrown into celebration mood as an Erudite Scholar and a quintessential broadcast journalist Rev. Dr. Olusegun Aderiye celebrated his 70th PLATINUM jubilee anniversary and book launch in style.

The event which took place on Wednesday February 14th 2024 at Airport Ikeja Lagos stated with a Public Lecture titled, “The Imperative of Peace in a Troubled World” taken by Amb. (Dr) Martins Uhomoibhi (Fmr PS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria) and the formal unveiling of: “Journey to Stardom” An Autobiography of the celebrant.

Rev Dr. Olusegun Solomon Aderiye was born on 14 February in Ekiti State, then Western Region, Nigeria.

He attended Methodist Primary School, Apaara, Oyo, 1958, Ifaki Grammar School, 1968-72, University of Lagos, 1977 and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) 1981.

Olusegun was the Chief State House Correspondent, Nigerian Television Authority, 1985-89; Head, Current Affairs Department, African Independent Television, since 1998; Secretary, Nigerian Television Authority Ibadan Chapel.

He was a co-author of ECOMOG, Gabumo Publishing, Lagos in 1992.

Dr. Aderiye Creative Works includes Kilo Ndan Bi Wura, 1978, Awamaridi, 1979, Maje Nse 1981, My Lord is Good, 1983, What only God can do, 2023.

His National Awards are Nigeria Television Authority’s Reporter of the Year, 1983 and Nigeria Union of Journalists, since 1978.

 

The special guest of honour of the event was General Ibrahim Babangida GCFR (Former President of Nigeria) and Chief Bode George (Former Military Governor of Ondo State).

Dignitaries present at the event were Lagos state Governor ably represented by his commissioner of information and strategy Gbenga Omotoso, Speaker, Lagos State House of representative represented by one of the honourable members of the house, Steve Ogundipe.

Others were (Dr) Martin Uhomoibhi. Amb (Dr) Yemi Farounbi, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to the Philippines. The event was indeed an array of who is who in Nigeria.

 

The chairman in his remark describes the celebrant as a fine gentleman and a highly efficient, courageous and diligent media practitioner with a high sense of national patriotism and an unrepentant nationalist in broadcast journalism.

He prayed that God Almighty should continue to shower Dr. Aderiye with divine wisdom, guidance, good health, protection, prosperity and longevity, so he could continue to contribute his quota to national development in the years ahead.

Dr. Aderiye in his speech appreciates his lovely wife who shared the same birthday with him Deaconess Mary Kehinde Oluwakemi and family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances both in the physical and spiritual realms for their love, friendship and kind support all through these years.

He also thanks the VIPs, relations, friends and acquaintances who have come to honour his invitation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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London Operation: Air Peace, Norse Atlantic Sign ACMI Agreement On Charter

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Norse Atlantic Airways, yesterday, announced that it entered into an agreement with Air Peace for an ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) charter service.

This collaboration, according to the statement made available to LEADERSHIP, marks the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at providing seamless air travel solutions between London and Lagos, Nigeria.

Commencing in April 2024, the ACMI charter will operate four times a week, offering travellers convenient and reliable transportation options between these key destinations.

Norse Atlantic Airways will be using slots at London Gatwick allocated to Air Peace to facilitate this new route.

“We are thrilled to be working with Air Peace to launch this ACMI charter service between London Gatwick and Lagos. This collaboration represents an exciting opportunity to leverage our expertise in charter operations to deliver a reliable and high-quality service to Air Peace and their customers,” said Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO and Founder of Norse Atlantic Airways.

“Air Peace is delighted to have signed this partnership deal with Norse Atlantic Airways for the commencement of our London service. As we make a foray into the European market, we are confident that this strategic partnership will further position us to surpass the expectations of our customers, offering them superior air travel experience while we continue to optimise our operations for more innovative service delivery”, stated Allen Onyema, Chairman/CEO, Air Peace.

Norse Atlantic and Air Peace will continue to discuss potential longer-term partnerships between the two airlines to explore avenues for further collaboration and expansion in the future.

 

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N30bn To Govs: ‘My Statement Unverified’, Akpabio Recants

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has recanted his claim that state governors received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Government to address the biting economic hardship in the country by the distribution of palliatives to Nigerians.

Recall that Akpabio made the claim on Wednesday, February 22 while the Senate considered the report of its joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

The committee had interfaced with the economic management team of the government, led by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, to find out what the government had done to tackle hunger, food inflation, a free-falling naira exchange rate to the US dollar, among others.

In the course of deliberations on the matter by senators, Akpabio had repeatedly stated without mincing word that each state governor received an additional N30bn from the centre to address the challenges, besides the regular allocations the states draw from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Each of the 36 states received N30bn; they received N30bn”, he kept saying.

However, 24 hours later, governors began refuting the claim.

Prominent among them was the Governor of Akpabio’s own state, Akwa Ibom, Pastor Umo Eno, who not only said such an amount was not received by the state but also added that it was possible the Senate President was speaking with prophetic expectations.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also said much, dismissing Akpabio’s claim.

On Monday night, Akpabio’s office finally summoned the courage to recant his statement, saying that he acted on unverified information.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, in a statement on Monday night, appealed for calm, saying that Akpabio held the governors in high esteem.

Eyiboh’s full statement is reproduced below: “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance. During the session the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about N30b to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted. In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the Federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that State governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable Stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance. He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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