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Cameroonian profs jailed for ‘sedition’ seek Nigeria’s intervention

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Six Cameroonian professors in Nigerian universities, alongside four others imprisoned in Cameroon, have appealed to the house of representatives for help.

The academics said they were arrested in Nigeria on the orders of the Cameroonian authorities over “frivolous allegations of plotting to destabilise the government” of President Paul Biya.

The professors were meeting to discuss the welfare of Cameroonian refugees who had fled to Nigeria, when they were arrested on January 5, 2018.

The academics, who claimed to be refugees and registered asylum seekers in Nigeria, alleged that they were illegally arrested and repatriated to Cameroon.

They were reportedly tried at a military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Kondengui maximum security detention facility in Cameroon.

In March 2019, a federal high court in Abuja ruled that the arrest and subsequent detention of the academics was illegal, unconstitutional and violated the deportees’ rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.

The UN Human Rights Special Procedures Working Group had asked the Cameroonian government to release the academics over rights violations.

‘OUR CLIENTS WERE ABDUCTED’

In March, the academics petitioned the house of representatives, seeking its intervention.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, Joseph Fru, counsel to the academics, said his clients were illegally imprisoned by the Cameroonian authorities.

“There is a clarification that we need to make that is fundamental and cardinal. They (our clients) were abducted. They were not arrested,” he said.

“When you say someone is arrested — there is a legal course for them to be picked up by the forces of law and order.

“And in a normal arrest situation, you have probable cause that you are being suspected of committing a crime and before you get to that point, there has to be a procedure you follow to get either an arrest warrant or search warrant that may lead to their apprehension.

“But when someone arbitrarily, without any legal course, is picked up and then held for as long as they were held in Nigeria before being sent to Cameroon, that is called an abduction.

“An abduction does not end when we know where they are. That illegal act continues and abides with them until that illegality is cured. And to this point, that illegality has not been cured, and that is why we are still in prison.

“The second thing is that they were not repatriated. You repatriate someone when you go through a legal channel and you exhaust all the legal processes and the court decides that they go back to where they came from to answer in that jurisdiction.

“Before you repatriate someone, there has to be a bilateral treaty that is observed. None of that in this case.”

Fru, who was flanked by family members of the academics, said relevant government agencies of the Nigerian government were missing at a hearing organised by the house of representatives committee on public petition on Tuesday.

He said the government agencies include the office of the attorney-general of the federation, secretary to the government of the federation, ministry of foreign affairs, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Services (DSS), and United Nations (UN) high commission country representative.

Fru expressed hopes that the house would intervene and secure the release of the professors.

“We adjourned for 11 June, 2024 because the committee is not happy with the fact that the last time, they were elements of the government of the executive arm that were required to be at the hearing but none of them showed up,” he added.

“So motions were moved and it was adopted that these entities should necessarily appear in the next hearing so that resolution to this can be taken.

“In the event they do not show up, the committee is ready to move forward. How they move forward depends on their deliberation and that is above my pay grade.

“The chairman said they were going to give these entities a last chance to appear so they can have enough information to go by and come up with a resolution.”

Crime

Chief Imam’s Sallah ram stolen in Jos

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The sacrificial ram belonging to Chief Imam Abdulkadir of the Mista Ali community in Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau State, has been stolen.

The theft occurred during a heavy rainstorm on the night before Eid-el-Kabir.

Malam Haruna Yaqub, another Imam in the community, revealed this incident during his sermon following the two Raka’at prayers. He criticised the act, calling it insensitive.

“The Ram of our Chief Imam, which he purposely bought to sacrifice, has stolen in the night. We are really shocked by the incident. We were surprised to hear this story. This means that people are not God-fearing. It is scary that people have gone to the extent of stealing ram meant for religious activity,” Yaqub said, according to Daily Trust.

Residents of the community also expressed their disappointment and called for heightened vigilance and security to prevent such incidents.

Meanwhile, the Chief Iman appealed to people to be God-fearing as he revealed the gravity of the act.

He urged them never to engage in stealing or any act of criminality, emphasising that everyone would be held accountable for their actions in the hereafter.

He said, “It is high time people repented and took the path of Allah. It is not too late. People should stop committing bad things and act according to Allah’s commandments.”

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Crime

Four arrested as NDLEA raids Lagos warehouse, seizes 82,000 bottles of codeine

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says its operatives have raided a warehouse containing a large consignment of codeine-based syrup.

The anti-drug agency said the warehouse was discovered in the Kirikiri area of Lagos state.

In a statement released on Sunday, Femi Babafemi, NDLEA spokesperson, said four suspects were arrested in connection with the warehouse.

“NDLEA operatives in Lagos state have uncovered an expansive warehouse stocked with a large consignment of codeine-based syrup, located at Comfort Oboh area of Kirikiri, where four persons connected with the importation and distribution of the opioid were arrested during an intelligence-led raid on the facility,” Babafemi said.

“Those arrested include: Kingsley Amanambu Obumneke, 38; Emeka Emmanuel, 48; Bonaventure Ugochukwu, 59; and Martin Dike, 56, while a total of 82,000 bottles of the opioid worth more than N600 million in street value, Toyota Tacuma truck and two buses used for distributing the substance were recovered from the premises on Monday 10th June 2024 when NDLEA officers conducted the operation.”

The NDLEA also arrested another suspect — Ibrahim Abdulhamid — with 29,100 pills of tramadol and other opioids as well as 3.9 litres of codeine syrup in the Alaba area of Ojo LGA, Lagos.

OTHER ARRESTS

In Abia state, NDLEA operatives raided an alleged drug cartel and arrested two suspects — Kelechi Monday Nwaobasi and Chinwe Rose Nwaobasi — for allegedly running the cartel.

The suspects were nabbed after NDLEA operatives raided their hideout in Abia and seized “methamphetamine consignments worth over N4.1 billion in street value”.

In Ekiti state, the NDLEA operatives destroyed 7.37 hectares of farmland used for planting psychoactive substances.

In Edo state, hectares of farmland used for planting cannabis were destroyed in Uhen forest, Ovia north-east LGA.

The NDLEA operatives also arrested one Emmanuel Ogechi with 11,200 pills of tramadol along Otukpo-Enugu road in Benue state.

Two suspects — Muhammad Abba and Samson Ehizogie — were also arrested with 3,550 bottles of ‘Akuskura’ a new mixture of psychotropic substances.

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Crime

Customs seizes N3bn worth of cannabis imported from Canada at Tincan port

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says its officers at the Tincan Island port in Lagos have intercepted a container loaded with 1,072 kilograms of cannabis worth N3 billion.

Adewale Adeniyi, comptroller-general of customs (CGC), who spoke to journalists on Friday, said the container was imported from Canada.

Adeniyi said the agency is collaborating with the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to fight against illicit drug trafficking.

The customs CG said the agency also seized 877 cartons of cough syrup with codeine imported from India.

“Three plastic drums concealing several packets of Cannabis Indica and 46 bags containing 2,144 packets of Cannabis Indica, all weighing 1,072 kg, were seized from 01x40ft Container No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada,” he said.

“The approximate street value of the illicit substances is N3,216,000,000, while 877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine—200 bottles of 100ml per carton—and 82 cartons of really extra diclofenac sodium 50mg tablets—600 packs per carton imported from India—were seized.

“The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964,339,348.00.”

Adeniyi lamented that some criminal elements are using the network of customs officers and terminal operators to undermine the system.

He added that there is a growing number of containers that are not examined in the ports but are being released to importers.

“The NCS will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks,” he added.

“Investigations are ongoing, and perpetrators will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“Let this seizure serve as a warning to those who engage in illicit activities that the NCS remains vigilant and dedicated to protecting our society.”

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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