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Delta Bloodbath: Surrender Like Okuama Monarch, CDS Tells Suspected Killers

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The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, on Wednesday, said the traditional ruler of Ewu-Urhobo Kingdom in Delta State, His Royal Majesty Clement Oghenerukevwe Ikolo, Urhukpe 1, took the best decision by turning himself in after being declared wanted by the military in connection with the killing of 17 soldiers in the Okuama community of the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The CDS advised the seven other suspects declared wanted to take a cue from the monarch and equally turn themselves in.

Musa spoke on Wednesday while featuring on an Arise TV programme.

On March 14, 2024, the officers and soldiers of the 181 Amphibious Battalion were ambushed and killed by some hoodlum during a peacekeeping mission in the Okuama community.

The 17 military personnel, including four officers and 13 soldiers, were murdered during the mission.

Okuama and Okoloba communities have been embroiled in a lingering land dispute since 2023.

Last week, the military declared eight persons, including the monarch wanted in connection with the killing.

The suspects declared wanted were Prof. Ekpekpo Arthur, Andaowei Dennis Bakriri, Clement Ikolo Oghenerukeywe, Reuben Baru and Igoli Ebi.

Oghenerukevwe is the Ovie of Ewu-Urhobo Kingdom in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State and the traditional ruler of Okuama.

Others are Akevwru Daniel Omotegbono, aka Amagbein, Atata Malaw David and Sinclair Oliki.

The police in Delta State said last week that the monarch turned himself in shortly after being declared wanted, adding that he was subsequently handed over to the military.

Commending the decision of the monarch, the CDS said, “I’m happy with the traditional ruler who submitted himself, which is the best thing. I wish all those other ones that were in the pictures would also equally do the same.”

Giving an insight into how the hoodlums were able to overpower and kill the 17 military men, including the Commanding Officer, the CDS said the soldiers went to the community unharmed because their aim was dialogue.

He said the hoodlums, however, took advantage of that to eliminate the military personnel.

Musa said, “They were deployed legally; they were doing a legal operation and it was because the Commanding Officer felt the threat was not that high, that was why he went there and felt he could discuss with the individual. He did not go armed. If he had gone armed, he would erase everybody in that place, but he felt these were people he knew, these were Nigerians that he could talk to.

“And when he stepped up to talk to them with his team, they were rounded up and all shot, and not only shot, their body parts were cut, their hearts and private parts were removed.”

The CDS also knocked the argument from some quarters that the police, and not the military, should arrest and detain suspects.

The CDS said the military had the backing of President Bola Tinubu to arrest the suspects and recover missing weapons.

Among those who questioned the investigation approach was human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), who argued that murder was not a military offence and that the military could not arrest, detain, investigate and charge civilian suspects with any offence.

Citing the case between Dr Issa Perry Brimah v Nigerian Army, Falana said Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had held that the military could only make a formal report to the police on such matter.

“Otherwise, it would transmute to self-help. The duty of the defendant is to make a formal report to the appropriate authorities like the police and await the outcome,” Falana said.

Also, a former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, stated that the Nigerian Army was an interested party in the matter, adding that it should not be involved in investigating the incident.

However, speaking on Wednesday, the CDS maintained that the military was legally deployed and authorised to make arrests and interrogate suspects.

Musa said, “We are happy that the Commander-in-Chief has given us a mandate to recover the arms and to arrest the perpetrators. A lot of comments have been made by different kinds of people, some from lack of understanding.

“When you have a Joint Task Force, Joint Task Force involves members of the armed forces, that is the Army, Navy Air Force, we have the police, the DSS, every other security agency is part of it. So, when we have arrests, we have a joint investigation team, it is not like the army is taking the laws into their hands. Once we are deployed on operations, we have the right and the mandate to arrest all acts of criminality within that area.

“They were legally deployed and with their mandate, they are authorised to make arrests, they are authorised to interrogate, because we have a joint interrogation centre that works together as a team under the Joint Task Force.”

Musa described the killing of the 17 military men in the Delta State community as a deliberate act by the criminals, who were unhappy with the military’s onslaught against oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

He said, “The Okuama attack was premeditated. Just because they are a group of criminals, cultists, militants making a lot of money from crude oil theft, they believe they are above the law. And they did this deliberately.”

He described the operations ongoing in the community as a “measured response,” adding that the military was out to recover weapons and apprehend those responsible for the attack.

Musa said, “It was a measured operation, it was a measured response. We are conducting cordon-and-search operations to thoroughly search for our weapons and to arrest those who carried out this dastardly act.

“I’m sure you’re watching what’s ongoing in Ukraine-Russia, you’re watching what’s ongoing with Hamas and Israel. We’re not doing that. We’ll try to do things differently this time around.

“The aftermath definitely will be that gradually, when we finish the cordon and search operations, and cordon and search operation means we are searching every nook and cranny within the community because we know they have a lot of illegal money from crude oil theft, they have bought a lot of weapons.

“During the disarmament exercise that was conducted, a lot of them didn’t hand over all they had. And because it is in the riverine area close to other countries, they have ways that they also bring in weapons. It was because they had weapons that they were able to perpetrate this.

“So, it is for us to thoroughly clean this community and ensure that no weapons, no explosives, nothing is left there, and that none of them is hiding.”

PUNCH

 

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Disparaging Dangote Uncalled For, Creating Bad Waves For Nigeria – AFDB President, Adesina

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The president of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has spoken out in defence of the Dangote Refinery, addressing concerns about potential monopolistic practices.

In a statement shared by businessman Femi Otedola on Tuesday via X, Adesina expressed his shock at the controversy surrounding Dangote’s operations, warning that it is “creating bad waves for Nigeria globally.”

According to Otedola’s post, Adesina argued that monopolies often arise in industries with high entry barriers or capital costs, citing railways and large-scale refineries as examples.

He was quoted as saying, “Monopoly often exists where there are high barriers to entry or high capital costs. How many individuals or companies can do railways? How many can do refineries of the scale of Dangote Refineries? In a nation that has been importing refined petroleum products for several decades, the abnormal simply became very normal.”

The AfDB President emphasised the significant investment made by Dangote, stating, “No smart investor would make a $19.5 billion investment and want it to be undermined by importers.”

He highlighted manufacturing challenges in Nigeria, describing the business environment as fraught with policy uncertainties and reversals.

“To manufacture is extremely expensive and risky. This is even more so in Nigeria, given the very challenging business and economic environment, fraught with policy uncertainties and policy reversals, and where the self-defeating default mode of “simply import it” is always so easily rationalized and chorused to solve any problem,” he said.

Addressing concerns about anti-competitive practices, Adesina said, “Competition is good for everyone. But is Dangote refineries anti-competitive? What is the evidence? Has Dangote Refineries prevented any other company from setting up refineries? Why have others not done so? How come they have not done so for several decades?

“Was it Dangote that held them back? But Dangote refineries surely cannot be asked to ‘compete’ with importers of petroleum products. That is not competition. Let the importers set up local refineries and compete by refining in Nigeria. That is fair and justified competition.”

Adesina stressed the broader economic implications of the refinery, stating, “We cannot and must not undermine, disparage or kill local industries, talk less of one that is of this scale — a jewel of industrialisation in Nigeria. It is more than simply delivering the cheapest product to the market.

“It is about domestic supply security, driving (and yes, protecting) globally competitive industries, maximising forward and backward linkages in the local economy, job creation, reducing forex expenses and shoring up the Naira. We must not be myopic.

“This whole disparaging of Dangote is uncalled for. It is self-defeating. And it is very bad for Nigeria. Who will want to come and invest in a country that disparages and undermines its own largest investor? Investing is tough. Pettiness is easy. It sadly sends a signal that the price for sacrificing for Nigeria is to get sacrificed.”

 

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BBC To Cut 500 Jobs As It Attempts To Save £200m For ‘Transformation’ Of The Corporation

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The BBC has announced plans to cut 500 jobs as it attempts to save £200 million to drive the “transformation” of the corporation.

Chief operating adviser, Leigh Tavaziva said it is making the changes to improve its premium video offering and digital capabilities.

It comes as the BBC is already attempting to save £500 million as part of a plan announced two years ago.

Tavaziva said “significant activity” is already underway to make the corporation “more flexible”.

She said: “In March this year we announced a requirement for an additional £200 million of savings and reinvestment plans to drive the continued transformation of the BBC.

“This will support greater investment into premium video content and further develop our digital capabilities.”

She added: “To further build our digital capabilities, whilst targeting efficiencies, over the next two years we will continue to close and transfer roles in some areas and create new roles in growth areas.

“This will result in a forecast net reduction of 500 roles in the public service by March 26, with further growth in targeted areas planned in our commercial group.

“To support these changes we will today be launching a new voluntary redundancy scheme for staff.

“Our priority remains to protect and champion the BBC’s fighting role as the UK’s public service broadcaster, for all our audiences both local and global.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their continued efforts and commitments over the past 12 months.

“I am immensely proud of the exceptional content creativity, delivery, and innovation that our teams both provide and support every day.”

The BBC announced in March 2023 that it was to cut 1,000 hours of TV in order to save money, with half of that coming from sport.

In the same year, the corporation announced it was scrapping its in-house chamber choir, the BBC Singers, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.

In December 2022 it said that it was making £11m worth of cuts in local radio, which saw its 39 stations required to share content and broadcast less localised content.

Back in 2016, the BBC said it needed to cut £800m worth of costs, with £80m of that coming from news.

The move saw the Andrew Neil Show axed in 2020, along with 450 jobs in English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

 

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I Have No Blending Plant Outside Nigeria, NNPC Boss Kyari Replies Dangote

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari has said he does not own a blending plant outside Nigeria.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday, July 23, while reacting to claims that some officials of the NNPC have blending plants in Malta.

Reacting in a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), Kyari said he had been inundated with calls from family members and friends, asking if he truly owns a blending plant in Malta.

Kyari stated that he does not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world except a local mini-agricultural venture.

He also said he is not aware of any employee of the NNPC that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“I am inundated by enquiries from family members, friends and associates on the public declaration by the President of Dangote Group that some NNPC workers have established a blending plant in Malta thereby impeding procurements from local production of Petroleum products.

“To clarify the allegations regarding the blending plant, I do not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world with the exception of a local mini Agric venture, neither am I aware of any employee of the NNPC, that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“A blending plant in Malta or any part of the world has no influence over NNPC’s business operations and strategic actions.”

The NNPC boss threatened to sanction any official of the NNPC involved in such acts if they truly exist.

 

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