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Woman steals friend’s one-month-old baby in Abia

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One Adaeze Lawrence, 28-year-old, is currently in the custody of the Abia State Police Command for allegedly stealing her friend’s one month and two days old baby boy.

It was gathered that Lawrence gained the trust of the baby’s mother, Onyinyechi Owujie, and became her friend before she committed the crime.

The suspect, a hair stylist, was said to be a schoolmate of Owujie’s elder sister through whom she gained access to her (Owujie).

She reportedly requested that they celebrate the baby’s birth and absconded with the boy during the celebration.

The case was reported to the police following which she was arrested at her hideout.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Chioma Chinaka, in a statement, said credible intelligence led to the suspect’s arrest on Monday.

The statement read, “On August 14, 2023, around 4pm, the Abia State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Aba, received credible information and effectively apprehended one Adaeze Lawrence of Amaogbonna Road, off Osisikakwu Street in Aba.

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“She was found in possession of a baby boy who is one month and two days old.

“During interrogation, the accused confessed to abducting the child from Onyinyechi Owujie’s residence situated at 5, Cricke Road, off Nigeria Brewery, Aba.

“Investigation revealed that the suspect and the baby’s mother’s elder sister were schoolmates. The suspect took advantage of this relationship to gain the baby’s mother’s trust.

“The suspect, under the pretence of visiting her friend, requested to celebrate the new baby’s birth. On their celebration outing, she absconded with the baby.”

The statement further revealed that the suspect earlier denied abducting the child, claiming that he was hers, but after a medical report proved that she was not the biological mother, she confessed to the crime.

“Upon the suspect’s arrest, Adaeze Lawrence denied the crime, but medical examinations from the police clinic disproved her claims, leading to her confession. The child’s biological mother identified the baby, confirming the abduction on August 6, 2023,” the statement added.

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Chinaka said an investigation was ongoing on the case.

She also advised members of the public to be protective of their children and to know their whereabouts, especially when in a public place.

“The public is advised to maintain constant supervision of children and exercise caution when strangers take an interest in their children, especially in public places,” she said.

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Alleged N1.85bn fraud: Court remands two rural electrification agency officials

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A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the remand of two staff members of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in Kuje Correctional Centre over an alleged N1.853 billion fraud.

 

Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, ordered that Umar Laraye and Emmanuel Titus be remanded pending the determination of their bail application.

 

They were alleged to have defrauded the agency of N165 million and N261 million respectively under the “false presence of project supervision”.

 

Laraye and Titus are among four officials of REA being tried for alleged N1.85 billion fraud by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

 

On June 6, Usman Kwakwa, a staff of REA, was arraigned for allegedly stealing N298 million through the agency’s payment platform.

 

The judge had issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Laraye, Titus and Henrientta Okojie, another staff, after Osuobeni Akponimisingha, ICPC counsel, moved an oral application following their absence from court.

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The judge then scheduled June 13 for ICPC to produce Laraye and Titus in court, while Okojie’s case was fixed for June 14.

 

At the resumed court session on Thursday, the ICPC lawyer applied that the June 6 bench warrant be vacated against Laraye and Titus since the defendants were in court

 

Nwite granted the request accordingly.

 

After the separate four-count charges were read to them, the defendants pleaded not guilty and Akponimisingha applied for a trial date.

 

But Idoko Alhassan, who appeared for the two defendants, told the court he already filed bail applications for his clients.

 

However, Akponimisingha, in his response, said he was yet to receive copies of the bail application.

 

The judge adjourned the matter to June 20, adding that the prosecution was still within time to file a response to the bail applications.

 

In March, President Bola Tinubu approved the indefinite suspension of Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, the managing director of REA, as well as three executive directors of the agency, following findings obtained during a comprehensive investigation into the financial activities of the agency.

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However, Ahmad’s name did not appear in any of the charges by the ICPC. He is yet to be recalled from suspension.

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Three dead as military, police foil 15-man bank robbery operation in Abuja

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Three persons lost their lives in a gun battle during a collaboration between the Nigerian Police and the Military, as they foiled a planned 15-man bank robbery operation at the First Bank PLC in Abaji, Abuja on Thursday.

 

A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh, on Friday, said after receiving a distress call at about 5:00 PM, the FCT police, led by the Commissioner of Police, CP Benneth Igweh, in a combined operation with the military, mobilised to the scene, and repelled the attack simultaneously carried out on both Abaji Divisional Police headquarters, and the bank by the armed men, who attacked with dynamites in attempt to rob the bank.

 

The statement added that the security forces engaged the armed robbers in an intense gun duel, forcing them to scamper to safety with various degrees of bullet wounds.

 

The gun duel led to the apprehension of three suspects, namely, Usman (surname yet unknown), who was reported to be the gang leader, Nuhu Musa, 41; and Muhammed Aminu, 25, with grave degrees of bullet injuries.

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A yet-to-be-identified suspect was said to have been set ablaze by an irate mob at the scene, after being neutralised by the security forces.

 

One of the police operatives and the gang leader hit by bullets during the gun duel, were rushed to the hospital.

They were later confirmed dead by the doctor on duty, while others are still receiving treatment.

 

While a search operation is ongoing to apprehend fleeing suspects with bullet injuries, CP Igweh lauded the effectiveness of the combined operation, and reaffirmed the command’s unflinching commitment to ensuring that FCT remains inhabitable for criminals, noting that the safety of the residents of FCT is non-negotiable.

Meanwhile, Some residents of Abaji area council set the corpse of a suspected armed robber ablaze,.

A police officer said that the robbers first attacked the police station along Toto road where an inspector simply identified as Abila was shot dead.

He said the robbers, who alighted from two unmarked vehicles, started firing into the police station.

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“In fact, it is God that saved me because when the robbers alighted from the vehicle, they started shooting into the police station. While I managed to escaped, an inspector who had earlier escaped later turned back because they had shot him on the chest,” he said.

It was gathered that the gang proceeded to the FirstBank branch located at the roundabout and started shooting sporadically.

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Whitney Adeniran: Chrisland school had no permit to hold sports competition, witness tells court

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An official of the Lagos State Safety Commission has told the State High Court sitting in Ikeja that the management of Chrisland Schools Opebi, failed to obtain an event permit from the government agency before holding its sports competition.

Wahab Ariyo, a safety officer with the commission, who testified as the fourth prosecution witness in the trial of the school for negligence in the death of one of its students, Whitney Adeniran, also disclosed that the school failed to take a compulsory risk assessment test.

 

In March 2023, the Lagos State Government filed a 2-count charge of involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent acts against Chrisland School Limited and four others over the death of its 12-year-old Whitney.

 

The affected staff are the principal, Mrs Belinda Amao; the Vice Principal, Nwatu Victoria, and a teacher in the school, Kuku Fatai. The other defendant, Ademoye Adewale, is a cotton candy vendor at the Agege Stadium, the venue of the school’s inter-house sports competition.

 

On February 9, 2023, Chrisland School Opebi organised an inter-house sports competition at the Agege Sports Stadium for its students. One of its students, the late Whitney was said to have been electrocuted at the venue.

At the resumption of the proceedings on Thursday before trial judge, Justice Oyindamola Ogala, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martins, called his fourth witness, Wahab Ariyo.

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Ariyo introduced himself as an engineer and safety officer with the Lagos State Safety Commission.

 

He told the court that his duty in the office involved responding to emergencies in the state, and investigating accidents and incidents to uncover the root and immediate causes.

 

In relation to the instant charge, the witness told the court that the commission conducted investigations to ascertain the root cause of the fatality and to make recommendations to avoid further occurrence.

 

Ariyo told the court that it is important for schools and public events having 250 guests or more to obtain an Event Safety Permit. He said the permit can be obtained by visiting the commission’s website to register an event.

 

After this, the commission would give the requirements of the things to be put in place, to avoid accidents or emergencies at such events.

 

“Once we carry out risk assessment and all requirements are met, we then issue a permit,” he said.

 

“On the day of the event, the commission sends out marshals from its office to ensure that all safety conditions are in place.”

 

The witness also testified that for events with over 250 guests, there were further protocols such as ensuring the availability of ambulances, first aiders, and firefighting equipment.

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On the Chrisland School fatality, he told the court that the commission became aware of the incident on February 13, 2023, and promptly visited the scene at the Agege Stadium.

 

He explained that the visit was to ascertain what went wrong, adding that on arrival, the commission discovered that most of the evidence had been tampered with.

 

On account of this, Ariyo said the team took photos and interrogated the school management and those who witnessed the event.

 

The witness said that fortunately for the team, there was another school hosting its inter-house sports at the same Agege stadium. He said this presented an opportunity to have feedback on what happened as there were vendors at the scene.

 

His findings at the scene revealed that the school “failed to obtain an event permit” from the Lagos Safety Commission, adding that no risk assessment was conducted.

 

He also noted that there was no ambulance coupled with a poor emergency management system, poor emergency communication; no retainership hospital close to the venue.

 

He also told the court that a second visit made to the scene by the commission was solely to ascertain the claim by the school that the candy machine was not close to the event scene.

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The witness said that this visit showed that the candy machine was indeed close to the scene.

 

“We also discovered that no restrictions were made to the vendors using power generating sets and as a result, there was the possibility of straying wires dangling around. So, that confirmed our initial findings that no risk assessment was done,” he said.

 

The witness further told the court that if the same had been done earlier, all safety infractions would have been noticed and recommendations made to close the gaps.

 

“Our findings revealed that a school bus was used instead of an ambulance, which should have at least three certified nurses.

 

“We also noticed that the school had only one first aider, which is the school nurse and this is not acceptable. There was also no safety marshal,” he said.

 

At this point, the DPP sought an adjournment to enable him to tender Certified True Copies of some documents in evidence. The court granted the adjournment and Justice Ogala fixed July 1 for the continuation of the witness testimony.

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