Christchurch mosque attacks: Gunman pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism | Stuff.co.nz

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has entered shock guilty pleas, bringing relief to survivors and victims’ families.

Amid extraordinary coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning and admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act.

He’d previously pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was scheduled to stand trial on June 2.

GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
Fifty-one people died as a result of the March 15, 2019 attack.

Tarrant, who wore a grey prisoner sweater, was largely silent and emotionless throughout the hearing. He sat alone in a white room with a grey door at Auckland Prison, Paremoremo, where he’s held in maximum security.

The terrorist’s lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, appeared via video-link from another court room.

Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism via AVL in the Christchurch High Court.

The names of all 51 people killed were read to Tarrant, before he was asked how he pleaded to the murder charges.

He replied: “Yes, guilty.”

The same process was followed for the attempted murder charges.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF
Terrorist Brenton Tarrant pictured at his first court appearance, the day after the mosque shootings.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody, but has not yet set a date for sentencing, when the summary of facts would be made public.

Few people knew of the special hearing, which was only scheduled late Wednesday, on the eve of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Six New Zealand journalists attended. Also in court were the imams from both targeted mosques. An-nur (Al Noor) imam Gamal Fouda was visibly upset as the guilty pleas were entered.

JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
Mustafa Boztas still has a fragment of a bullet inside him.

The hearing concluded at 10.30am, but the judge suppressed the outcome for an hour to allow victims, who were unaware of the hearing, to be notified.

The decision to hold the hearing amid the national state of emergency was not made lightly.

Earlier in the week Tarrant indicated to counsel that he might change his pleas. A formal request was made on Wednesday that the matter be brought before the court.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF
Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur.

Mander said both the Crown and defence asked to have the hearing expedited, despite the severe health restrictions.

The courts were considered an essential public service that was able to deal with “priority proceedings without compromising people’s health”.

The judge said he felt the court had the capacity to safely hear the matter by limiting the number of people in court. In total, 17 people were present.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the last year following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

It was regrettable the Covid-19 restrictions prevented victims from attending, he said, but the imams had been asked to be present to bear witness to the proceedings.

“It was my assessment that taking the defendant’s pleas at this time was the appropriate course in the circumstances,” Mander said.

“The entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding, and I considered the need to take the opportunity to progress the matter was particularly acute coming as it has at a time when the risk of further delay as a result of Covid-19 was looming as realistic possibility.”

Mander said the defendant would not be sentenced before the court returned to normal operations.

The defendant had been remanded to a nominal date of May 1. It was hoped a sentencing date would be confirmed in the interim.

“It is fully anticipated that all who wish to attend court for the sentencing hearing will be able to do so in person.”  

On March 15 last year, Tarrant drove from his Dunedin home to Christchurch with an arsenal of guns and ammunition he’d amassed since moving from Australia to New Zealand in 2017.

The white supremacist entered Masjid An-nur (also known as the Al Noor Mosque) on Deans Ave as Friday prayers were beginning, about 1.40pm, and opened fire – killing and wounding dozens of people.

He then drove across town to the Linwood Mosque where he continued his shooting spree.

Tarrant was arrested a short time later after his car, a gold Subaru Outback, was rammed off the road by two police officers on Brougham St as he tried to make his way to a third target, though to be a mosque in Ashburton, where he planned to carry out another attack.

When police searched the vehicle they found several guns and petrol bombs.

NZ’S WORST MASS SHOOTING

In total, 51 people were killed in the terrorist attack, the worst mass shooting by an individual in New Zealand history.

Tarrant was the first person to be charged under NZ’s Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur, said he could not understand what caused Tarrant to change his plea.

“I’m both shocked and relieved. Shocked at the sudden change in plea, relieved that my family and I, along with other victims won’t have to relive it all through the courts.”

Muslim Association of Canterbury spokesman Tony Green said his immediate reaction was one of enormous relief and great gratitude.

“I think the victims will feel a huge weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Our position has always been to let justice take its course, but a trial would have put a lot of pressure on our families. If you look at the anguish caused by the trial of Grace Millane’s killer you can see how bad it would be for 51 families.”

Mustafa Boztas, who lay on the ground inside the Masjid An-nur with a bullet in his leg, pretending to be dead, said from Turkey he always knew Tarrant would be found guilty. 

“I feel he basically played with our minds and emotionally upset us more for no reason.”

Boztas said he would have stayed in the country instead of going overseas if he’d known Tarrant was going to plead guilty. 

“While it can’t undo the damage it has brought upon our community and country, it gives me hope that this help bring not only justice but some closure to those touched by this event.

“To the families, I hope this brings you peace, and a sense that love can conquer hate. While this closes the criminal proceedings for the shootings, please know there is still a long way to go in recovery for some of us, so thank you for your continued support.”

Yasir Amin, whose father 67-year-old Muhammad Amin Nasir was shot in the back by the gunman shooting from his car, said the guilty pleas were good news.

“It’s good to avoid a trial because we would be reminded of everything, every day of the six week trial. We’ve avoided that mental torture and we’re not in a situation where the outcome is not 100 per cent sure.”

Nasir was to undergo another operation on Monday but the operation was postponed due to Covid-19 measures. He had spent two months in hospital after the shootings and had another 20-day stay in December.

“He is now doing well. He goes for walks and eats well.”

Just about every organ in his father’s body except his heart had been damaged by the shotgun pellets, Amin said.

Nasir was shot about 200 metres from the mosque on Deans Ave. The gunman drove past Amin and his father, who were walking to the mosque along the footpath, when he aimed a shotgun at them from his car. Both ran for their lives but Nasir was shot. Their plight was captured by a motel CCTV camera. 

‘HE’S GOT TO PAY THE TIME’

Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, had no idea about the plea until called by Stuff.

“I feel sorry he did the crime, but he’s got to pay the time now.”

She declined to comment further.

Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso said support was ongoing for hundreds of victims who still need help coping with the trauma of the event and rebuilding their lives.

“We’re pleased victims no longer have to face the trauma of the trial.”

The victims had shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of a heart-breaking, shocking and senseless tragedy, Tso said.

“They have our utmost respect and promise that we will be here for them for as long as they need us.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the pleas were a “significant milestone in respect of one of our darkest days”.

“I want to acknowledge the victims, their families and the community of Christchurch – the many lives that were changed forever. They have inspired all of us to be a kind and more tolerant community.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would provide some relief to the many people whose lives were “shattered” on March 15.

“These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and other witnesses, the ordeal of a trial,” she said.

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FGM doctor arrested in Egypt after girl, 12, bleeds to death | Global development | The Guardian

A doctor has been arrested after the death of a 12-year-old girl he had performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on.

Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud bled to death at a private clinic in Manfalout, close to the city of Assiut, after her parents, uncle and aunt took her for the procedure.

Her parents and aunt were also arrested after reports of her death emerged.

The doctor, 70, carried out the procedure without anaesthesia, without a nurse present and without any qualifications as a surgeon, according to local prosecutors.

The surgeon, known only as “Ali AA” claimed the family brought the girl to him for “plastic surgery” on her genitals.

Family members reportedly admitted that they knew they were taking the child to undergo FGM, and that her mother and aunt had stayed in the room during the procedure.

FGM involves the removal of the clitoris and sometimes other external female genital organs. Tradition in some parts of rural Egypt demands that young women undergo FGM as a way of demonstrating sexual purity.

The police and officials carrying out investigations don’t care about domestic and sexual violence, including FGM

Egyptian authorities have struggled for years to eradicate the practice, despite a 2008 ban and new laws in 2016 criminalising parents and doctors who facilitate it. Under the new laws, anyone who performs FGM faces between three and 15 years in prison, while anyone accompanying girls or women to be cut faces up to three years in jail.

But campaigners warned at the time that the new laws were unlikely to combat the practice, given the lack of convictions of doctors and reliance on people to self-report. They also warned more girls could be taken to hospitals or other medical facilities to have the procedure, meaning that complications were less likely but so was public knowledge of the practice itself.

In 2013, 13-year-old Sohair al-Bata’a died as a result of FGM. Raslan Fadl was the first doctor to be convicted of FGM, serving three months of his sentence in a case considered a watershed in convincing Egyptian lawmakers to criminalise the practice.

Fadl was released after reconciling with the Bata’a family, a loophole in the law that campaigners say shields families and doctors from prosecution.

“FGM continues to occur because there is no desire from the political leadership to stop it. The state is tolerant of female genital mutilation despite the presence of law, and despite receiving funds and grants from abroad [to combat it],” said Reda El Danbouki, a lawyer and campaigner against FGM.

He said judges fail to apply the law because they “are affected by a culture which does not see FGM as a crime”.

He added: “The police and the officials carrying out investigations don’t care about domestic and sexual violence, including FGM.”

Danbouki criticised Egypt’s doctors’ syndicate for suspending convicted doctors rather than removing them permanently from the register.

According to Unicef, 87% of of females aged 15 to 49 have undergone FGM in Egypt. About 14% of girls under 14 have been cut.

An estimated 27.2 million Egyptian women and girls had been subjected to FGM in 2016, according to Unicef, out of a population of almost 100 million.

Rania Yehia, of Egypt’s National Council for Women, an initiative affiliated to the presidency, said that her organisation would continue to campaign to raise awareness.

Yehia maintained that the strength of tradition in rural Egypt makes the problem hard to combat, but blamed the persistence of the issue on external factors. “This habit comes from outside Egypt. It comes from elsewhere in the continent of Africa … not from north Africa,” she said.

Additional reporting by Adham Youssef

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Naira Marley soaring amidst controversies

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Naira Marley
Naira Marley

…Why he’s dominating Nigeria’s music scene

By BENJAMIN NJOKU

The Nigerian music scene in recent times has been saturated with lots of talented music stars, who are redefining the space and creating their own buzz. One of such wave-making stars is Azeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley.

Marley burst onto the country’s music space like ‘a colossus’ and suddenly stole the hearts and minds of many lovers of music in this part of the world. It still seems like the pop sensation dropped out of nowhere unto our collective music ears.

Before last year, not much was heard of the Agege-born rapper. Even after the release of his 2017 hit “Issa Goal”, which featured Olamide and Lil Kesh, Naira Marley was still not a name to be reckoned with in the Nigerian music scene. But it was after releasing his hit song, “Am I a Yahoo Boy” featuring popular musician Zlatan Ibile, where he alleged to have declared public support for internet fraud. Naira Marley became the name on everyone’s lips.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC had arrested him alongside Zlatan and three other persons. They slammed an 11- count charge bordering on credit card fraud, car theft and Cybercrime against Naira Marley. Thus started a legal battle that culminated in his detention for 35 days. Many believe the EFCC arrested him because of his alleged support for internet fraud and his claim that cybercrime is a form of reparation of the wealth stolen from Africa. That was the beginning of his journey to stardom.

While the trial lasted, the controversial singer was busy creating buzz on social media. His fans were not deterred from protesting against his arrest outside the EFCC headquarters in Lagos.

READ ALSO: Davido is the king of African music – Miraboi

Marley was quoted to have said in an interview that their rage was understandable. “Because they know the system. They knew what [the EFCC was] trying to do and they followed what happened. They knew I shouldn’t be getting arrested for what I’m saying. Freedom of speech! I should be allowed to be saying what I’m saying. But the EFCC said I was supporting fraud, because I said I have no problem with these people.”

Today, Marley remains one of the hottest artistes that have dominated the mainstream music chart in Nigeria and diaspora. His fan base has continued to increase on daily basis, just as he’s not free from troubles. Recall that in November, Marley set social media agog when he tweeted that a lady with a big butt was better than one with a Master’s degree. Few days later, the lewd singer alongside his siblings and cousins landed into another trouble after they were accused of stealing a car. But unfortunately, the court early this year dismissed the theft case and the singer walked away a free man.

Marley is a phenomenal singer who has a lot going for him. His journey from prince of Peckham to cult figure in Lagos, represents his evolution into a bonafide intercontinental rock star: selling out shows across Africa, and trailed intently both online and off by his mass of obsessive followers, called the ‘Marlians’.

Named after the Nigerian currency and known for his anti-establishment spirit and viral dance crazes, Marley’s wave connects the West African diaspora to their roots as he delivers his lines in a syrupy mixture of Yoruba and English.

Like Eedris Abdulkareem, Terry G and Bobrisky before him, Marley has been able to traverse between public hatred and adoration. On social media, he’s the most talked about Nigerian singer at the moment. While he’s yet to break into the international scene, Marley is currently enjoying the buzz he’s creating with his music back home. He’s in a lane of his own that politely ignores the commercialism of Afro-pop. To many, Marley is using his music to promote immorality and a generation of valueless youths, while to others, his music is awesome.

RnB singer, Asa described Marley’s music as “awesome.” Just as some twitter users once called out the ‘Puta’ hit maker after he declared that his songs can cure depression. They complained that his songs are noisy and senseless and “the only thing his songs can do is that it can cause depression rather than cure it.”

Since he burst onto the UK music scene in 2014, with Marry Juana, a song he wrote with his friend Ma Twigz, the Agege-born, Marley has been banging out hit after hit. In November 2019, the controversial singer sold out the almost 5000 capacity 02 Arena for Marlian Fest in three minutes. Tickets for the Marlian Fest which held on 30 December 2019 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels, Lagos also sold out. There was chaos at the venue as fans tried to gain entrance into the concert.

But believe it or not, Marley is a singer you will hate to love. At present, the rapper is not just the rave of the moment, he is arguably the most popular artiste in Nigeria today. But the negative influence of Marley’s songs on the youths is unimaginable. This Marlian fever, like the era of Makossa has taken over the streets of Lagos and everywhere you go, men, women, the young and the old, the affluent and the poor are quick to claim they are Marlians with glee; and the buzz word “I am a Marlian” hits you like an unforgettable dream.

The lewd singer currently has a huge fan base. They call themselves Marlians. His songs and dance steps are inspiring a new generation of morally debased youths, who follow him around. It seems the youth would be his followers for a long time, except something serious is done. They revel in being “outsiders’, and as a trademark, they are disrespectful of rules and agents of law enforcement.

From the dance step, ‘Soapy,’ that has popularised the habit of masturbation to his off and on life inside prison to his recent dance step called ‘Tesumole,’ Naira Marley has continuously been a source of controversy and confusion in the Nigerian music scene.

It’s not for nothing that a clergyman, Chris Omashola, early this year took to his Twitter page, where he shared a series of prophecies concerning Nigeria. He warned that Marley is a demon and his music is inspired by demons, to destroy the youths in Nigeria.

“In 2020, God told me, Naira Marley is A Demon, He is Satanic and should repent before it’s too late. His songs are demonically inspired to destroy the Destiny of The Youths of this generation, Nigerian youths should desist from calling themselves Marlians. #ACOProphecies2020,” he tweeted.

Marley’s fans have since dismissed the clergyman’s warning, as they sent him threat messages; while he himself reacted by sharing screenshots of the pastor’s leaked sex tapes with an interesting caption. “To all Naira Marley’s fans aka Marlian. Please what’s your final judgment on this #NairaMarley and Apostle Chris Omashola case.” . Then on another occasion he tweeted: “Jesus never went to church.”

That’s not all, a certain mother reportedly cried out on social media after her teenage daughter was suspended from school for being part of a Marlian cult. According to the woman, the school caught over 25 girls who were members of the cult, including her daughter.

The teacher had found underwear in one of the girls’ bags and when she was questioned, she revealed that she was part of a cult whose members do not wear underwear to school on certain days.

It was, however, ascertained that the girls don’t wear pants, while the Marlian boys don’t wear belts.

However, it’s said that being a marlian has its ups and downs, from the rumoured beltless trousers for boys and underwear free girls who all believe in the marlian philosophy. You suddenly behold a boy next door who identifies himself as a Marlian, and ready to dance his Marley’s latest dance steps , ‘ Shaku shaku and Soapy (a demonstration of someone pleasuring him or herself through dance) and you are taken aback.

Despite the legal battle and the backlash against him, Marley’s fan base continues to rise., just as the singer is not relenting on his resolve to rule his world. On December 30, 2019, Marlians thronged the Eko hotel venue of the maiden edition of his headlining show, ‘Marlian Fest’ to keep a date with their music idol. While performing at the show, the singer announced his new record label, Marlian Records and resident presented the four artistes who are signed to his music imprint. He equally won his first major award at the 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards, held at the Eko Convention Center, Lagos Nigeria.

The Marlian President beat Tiwa Savage (49-99), Chinko Ekun (Able God), Prince Kaybee (Banomoya), Shatta Wale (My Level), Burna Boy (On The Low), Rayvanny (Tetema), Zlatan (Zanku – Legwork) to clinch the award for Viewers’ Choice for his viral song Soapy. And it was a major boost to his music career. But one wonders how far Naira Marley can go in this journey?

The post Naira Marley soaring amidst controversies appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Colorado ‘Psychic Kay’ killer files murder case appeal

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‘Psychic Kay’ killer files appeal claiming attorneys failed to inform him of plea offer


Sady Swanson


Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 11:25 PM EST Jan 31, 2020
John Marks Jr. (right) is serving 48 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife of 20 years, Kathy Adams, 57, in 2010.
Fort Collins Coloradoan archive

The man sentenced to prison for the murder of the 57-year-old Fort Collins woman known as “Psychic Kay” has filed an appeal claiming his attorneys failed to properly advise him of potential plea agreements.

John Marks Jr., now 57, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sexual assault in the 2010 death of his wife, Kathy Adams, known as “Psychic Kay.” He was sentenced to 48 years to life in 2012 and is currently serving his sentence at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City. 

Adams’ body was recovered from a ravine off U.S. Highway 36 near the Boulder-Larimer County line in October 2010, according to Coloradoan archives. Marks was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder about two weeks after her body was found. Initial arrest documents indicated that Marks was abusive and Adams had planned to escape to Atlanta and live with family before she was killed.

Marks pleaded not guilty in his initial case and has maintained his innocence, according to his previous defense attorney. 

Online court records indicate documents were filed to reopen the case in 2015, and the first petition was filed May 2017. The appeal was filed under Colorado criminal procedure that allows for a request for post-conviction relief if attorneys provided ineffective counsel during a criminal case. If approved, the judge could order a new trial or a modified sentence. 

Cold cases: There are 1,700 cold cases in Colorado. Could genealogy sites be the key to cracking them?

On Friday afternoon, Marks appeared in a Larimer County courtroom, where his attorney argued to 20th Judicial District Judge Nancy Salomone that Marks’ criminal defense attorneys failed to properly inform him of an offered plea agreement during his 2012 trial.

During Friday’s hearing, the defense attorneys and prosecutors from the 2012 trial denied the assertion that a midtrial plea offer — or that any formal plea offer — was made in the case. 

Defense attorney Derek Samuelson was appointed to be Marks’ attorney about a year into the case — in fall 2011 — after the public defender’s office removed themselves due to a conflict of interest, Samuelson testified Friday. 

Police shooting: Berthoud family sues Larimer County for shooting, ‘raiding’ at their home last year

After his appointment, Samuelson said he reached out to now Second Assistant District Attorney Emily Humphrey, the lead prosecutor on Marks’ case, to suggest a potential plea offer of manslaughter instead of second-degree murder. Humphrey refused the suggestion, Samuelson said.

Shortly after that exchange, Samuelson said he met Humphrey and now Larimer County District Attorney Cliff Riedel, Humphrey’s supervisor at the time, at a coffee shop in September 2011 to discuss the potential for a plea offer.

An email sent after that meeting from Samuelson to another defense attorney assisting with the case — Lisabeth Castle — said the district attorney suggested they may be open to an offer involving Marks’ pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a heat of passion, which could have led to a lesser sentence.

The discussion was not an official offer, Samuelson said.

Per the district attorney’s office policy, according to testimony by Humphrey and Riedel on Friday, to minimize harm to the victims or the family in a sexual assault or murder case, prosecutors might tell a defense attorney what they might consider a fair plea offer first. Then, if the defendant comes back with interest in taking a plea offer similar to what they discussed, that’s when the prosecution would bring the idea of a plea agreement to the victim or the victim’s family, not before that point. 

“There was absolutely no formal offer made to (Samuelson),” Humphrey testified Friday.

After having the initial discussion with Humphrey and Riedel, Samuelson said he went to the Larimer County Jail to speak with Marks. Because pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a heat of passion would still likely mean decades in prison, Samuelson said Marks declined to move further with it.

“What he told me was motivating him was innocence,” Samuelson said.

Hey Google, what’s the news in Fort Collins? You asked Google. We answered. Find it all in the free NoCoAsks newsletter. Sign up today! 

Castle also testified that no midtrial offer was conveyed to her, and she was not aware of one being conveyed to Samuelson or directly to Marks. 

“And (if we did receive a midtrial offer) I think that’s something we would’ve encouraged him to take,” Castle testified.

The appeal hearing was initially scheduled to finish Friday afternoon, but attorneys and the judge agreed that a second day of testimony is necessary. Because of scheduling conflicts, a date for the second day of the hearing has not yet been scheduled. 

Samuelson, who was not able to finish testifying Friday afternoon, will resume his testimony at that hearing.

Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at sswanson@coloradoan.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.

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‘His killers must be brought to book’– outrage as police ‘torture’ mechanic to death

'His killers must be brought to book'-- outrage as police 'torture' mechanic to death

The alleged killing of Chima Ikwunado, a mechanic in Port Harcourt, Rivers, by some officers of the Nigerian police force in the state, has sparked outrage on social media platforms.

Comrade Phils, an activist, had taken to his Facebook page to disclose that the brother and a client of the deceased narrated to him how men attached to the E Crack, Mile 1 police station, carried out the act.

According to him, the client disclosed that he gave his car to the deceased to fix its air-conditioning system on December 19, 2019.

The next day, he tried reaching Chima, the deceased, via phone but he was unreachable. He then decided to visit the mechanic shop and still couldn’t find Chima and his car. Upon further inquiry from other mechanics at the shop, it was discovered that the deceased was apprehended by the police.

He said the client subsequently visited different police stations till he got to the Mile 1 police station and saw his car parked outside the Eagle Crack division.

The client said upon identifying himself as the car owner, he had a gun pointed at him and was chased out of the station. For fear of being shot at, he left as instructed.

As he went home to restrategise on how to tackle the issue, he said he was visited by Obinna, a brother to the deceased, who explained that Chima and some other colleagues were testing two cars, his and a Toyota Camry, after repairs.

Due to the terrible traffic at the time they decided to drive through a one-way route where they were apprehended by the police.

Obinna said that the policemen asked for bribes but were not satisfied with the amount offered by Chima and his colleagues and immediately accused them of stealing the two cars.

The police allegedly took the cash on them, a total of N150,000, handcuffed them and took them to the police station where they were subjected to “brutal torture”.

One of the arrested suspects, who couldn’t bear the torture anymore, confessed to them breaking into a lady’s home and stealing the cars.

With the knowledge of the reason behind the arrest, Chima’s client proceeds to claim his car. Accompanied by an Airforce commander, he takes copies of the original car documents to the station.

After much back and forth, the car was eventually released to him but Chima and his colleagues remained in the custody of the police.

On January 2, the client disclosed he received a call from a barrister who was defending Chima’s colleagues.

It was during this conversation, it was discovered Chima had died from the torture and his colleagues had been sent to prison with decaying sores from wounds inflicted on them during torture.

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The heart-wrenching tale has since sparked outrage on Twitter as users have united with the hashtag #JusticeForChima to register their annoyance.
“Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book,” a Twitter user demanded.
“To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.
I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.
Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed. #JusticeForChima,” another user said.
Here’s what some Nigerians had to say:
Chima deserves justice
Chima was a son
Chima was a brother
Chima was a husband
Chima was an expectant father
Chima was an employer of labor
Cha was an innocent citizen
Chima deserves justice
What happened to Chima can happen to anybody #JusticeForChima

— saggibabe (@iiamfloxycutey) 17 January 2020

Almost every family in Nigeria has a relative who is a police officer. Either nuclear or extended family. Pls let us start talking sense into their skulls. Ask them this question “what if I’m d one?” This wickedness mixed wit madness must stop #EndPoliceBrutality #JusticeForChima

— Iyalaya (@Lollylarry1) 17 January 2020

To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.

I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.

Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed.#JusticeForChima

— Mr Integrity (@Intergrity56) 17 January 2020

The police is our friend I’ve never understood that statement and I’m not sure if I ever will. U think that holding a gun to ur hand makes u a God, constantly disregarding the lives of civilians news flash #JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/R8lkqVulaj

— Dat stubborn girl😁💦💦❣️✍️ (@Jojo101Stan) 17 January 2020

I woke up to the sad news of the murder of one Chima In Portharcourt by men of @PoliceNG. We’re gradually getting to the point where citizens will take laws into their hands & challenge the madness of the @PoliceNG. The State CP must account for the life of Chima #JusticeForChima

— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFash) 17 January 2020

This country is so messed up. To imagine our law enforcement agencies are the ones doing the work of Armed Robbers and Hired killer. The governments are definitely sleeping. #JusticeForChima

— The Olanrewaju♠️ (@tobiloba_II) 17 January 2020

The Nigerian Police is the most corrupt, insensitive & reckless public institution in the world.

An institution that is supposed to protect our lives, is the same institution that indiscriminately murders our own people.

Such an alarming contradiction!#JusticeForChima
😢

— The King🖋 (@Kingsleymaximo) 17 January 2020

I always say this, if u ever hear I’m running for the office of d president or my husband is, I advice the Nigerian police force to ensure we dont win cos if we do, I will be coming for them all. I will even visit the sins of the fathers on d newer generations#JusticeForChima 😭 pic.twitter.com/E8T4OZYYJF

— Kate-Nnaji (@nnaji_kate) 17 January 2020

Somebody once said that the armed robber is far better than the @NigeriaPolice, it was fun to me but i later got into deep thought about it and saw some sense in it. Reading the story on #JusticeForChima makes me weep bitterly for my beloved country.😭😭

— Akin joshua a🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 (@Akinjoshua2017) 17 January 2020

The law is clear, it’s better to let a 100 criminal abscond than to convict one innocent person, the number of innocent persons the @PoliceNG has ruined their lives is unimaginable, innocent lives in prison and dead as a result of activities from rogue officers! #JusticeForChima https://t.co/9ylyPg6qzD

— jgagas🗨 PhD (affidavit) (@JGagariga) 17 January 2020

Nigeria is a failed state. The lives of common citizens can be wasted for no reason by the police.

I would have been dead like chima, or in prison like the other 4 boys 10 years ago from the hands of Area F police station in Lagos.

God is watching. #JusticeForChima https://t.co/8ws2otKaQy

— Truthfully (@Truthfully83) 17 January 2020

Because you’re police officer
Because you need money
Because you holds a gun
You guys beleive you’re a god
You guys have failed the citizens
The Nigeria government as been failing since 1960 and they are still failing till date!!! Back to back #JusticeForChima

— shellykeen (@Ade_kelvin94) 17 January 2020

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‘His killers must be brought to book’- outrage as police ‘torture’ mechanic to death – TheCable Lifestyle

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The alleged killing of Chima Ikwunado, a mechanic in Port Harcourt, Rivers, by some officers of the Nigerian police force in the state, has sparked outrage on social media platforms.

Comrade Phils, an activist, had taken to his Facebook page to disclose that the brother and a client of the deceased narrated to him how men attached to the E Crack, Mile 1 police station, carried out the act.

According to him, the client disclosed that he gave his car to the deceased to fix its air-conditioning system on December 19, 2019.

The next day, he tried reaching Chima, the deceased, via phone but he was unreachable. He then decided to visit the mechanic shop and still couldn’t find Chima and his car. Upon further inquiry from other mechanics at the shop, it was discovered that the deceased was apprehended by the police.

He said the client subsequently visited different police stations till he got to the Mile 1 police station and saw his car parked outside the Eagle Crack division.

The client said upon identifying himself as the car owner, he had a gun pointed at him and was chased out of the station. For fear of being shot at, he left as instructed.

As he went home to restrategise on how to tackle the issue, he said he was visited by Obinna, a brother to the deceased, who explained that Chima and some other colleagues were testing two cars, his and a Toyota Camry, after repairs.

Due to the terrible traffic at the time they decided to drive through a one-way route where they were apprehended by the police.

Obinna said that the policemen asked for bribes but were not satisfied with the amount offered by Chima and his colleagues and immediately accused them of stealing the two cars.

The police allegedly took the cash on them, a total of N150,000, handcuffed them and took them to the police station where they were subjected to “brutal torture”.

One of the arrested suspects, who couldn’t bear the torture anymore, confessed to them breaking into a lady’s home and stealing the cars.

With the knowledge of the reason behind the arrest, Chima’s client proceeds to claim his car. Accompanied by an Airforce commander, he takes copies of the original car documents to the station.

After much back and forth, the car was eventually released to him but Chima and his colleagues remained in the custody of the police.

On January 2, the client disclosed he received a call from a barrister who was defending Chima’s colleagues.

It was during this conversation, it was discovered Chima had died from the torture and his colleagues had been sent to prison with decaying sores from wounds inflicted on them during torture.

The heart-wrenching tale has since sparked outrage on Twitter as users have united with the hashtag #JusticeForChima to register their annoyance.

“Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book,” a Twitter user demanded.

“To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.
I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.
Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed. #JusticeForChima,” another user said.

Here’s what some Nigerians had to say:

I woke up to the sad news of the murder of one Chima In Portharcourt by men of @PoliceNG. We’re gradually getting to the point where citizens will take laws into their hands & challenge the madness of the @PoliceNG. The State CP must account for the life of Chima #JusticeForChima

— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFash) January 17, 2020

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠#JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/A2QCFcCxh3

— 🍫 Chinonso Viktor 🍫 (@iamdlaw2) January 17, 2020

Almost every family in Nigeria has a relative who is a police officer. Either nuclear or extended family. Pls let us start talking sense into their skulls. Ask them this question “what if I’m d one?” This wickedness mixed wit madness must stop #EndPoliceBrutality #JusticeForChima

To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.

I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.

Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed.#JusticeForChima

— Mr Integrity (@Intergrity56) January 17, 2020

Because you’re police officer
Because you need money
Because you holds a gun
You guys beleive you’re a god
You guys have failed the citizens
The Nigeria government as been failing since 1960 and they are still failing till date!!! Back to back #JusticeForChima

— shellykeen (@Ade_kelvin94) January 17, 2020

Nigeria is a failed state. The lives of common citizens can be wasted for no reason by the police.

I would have been dead like chima, or in prison like the other 4 boys 10 years ago from the hands of Area F police station in Lagos.

— Truthfully (@Truthfully83) January 17, 2020

Nigerian Police is your number one enemy!!!

I repeat, Nigerian police is your number one enemy!!

Fear them same way you fear armed robbers.

They’re not protecting us anymore, they’re killing us everyday.

Untill FG reforms police, Police is not your friend.#JusticeForChima

— Chukwuma Gordian™ (@chumagordian) January 17, 2020

This is extremely horrible and sad at the same time. Feels like a movie script that no one would ever imagine innocent lives are being treated like this.

Hopefully this won’t end up as one of the regular 24-hours social media noise without justice. #JusticeForChima https://t.co/QEsXPu5xxd

— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) January 17, 2020

The police is our friend I’ve never understood that statement and I’m not sure if I ever will. U think that holding a gun to ur hand makes u a God, constantly disregarding the lives of civilians news flash #JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/R8lkqVulaj

— Dat stubborn girl😁💦💦❣️✍️ (@Jojo101Stan) January 17, 2020

This story is so sad, I feel defeated reading this. How is this even a country? How do we live like this ?
Re the Nigerian police even human ?
Who did this to us? #JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/g1N0zL6ZKp

Chima deserves justice
Chima was a son
Chima was a brother
Chima was a husband
Chima was an expectant father
Chima was an employer of labor
Cha was an innocent citizen
Chima deserves justice
What happened to Chima can happen to anybody #JusticeForChima

— saggibabe (@iiamfloxycutey) January 17, 2020

When you caution a policeman against torture, they think you’re stoping them from doing their job but in the real sense, you’re actually saving them. How do you explain #JusticeForChima tweets to his parents/loved ones? How do the police culprits explain to their families too?

— M. M. Obono (@martobono) January 17, 2020

My heart bleeds for Nigeria. How did we get here? What happened to our values? Is it too much money or lack of it? No more regard for human lives… now we have to run away from the people who are meant to protect us???

There shall be no peace for the wicked!#JusticeForChima https://t.co/nM3HDzUtw6

— ‘Lekan ‘Feyisan (@Lekan_Feyisan) January 17, 2020

I stay in Port Harcourt & the rate the Police are extorting money from people is ludicrous. They & the bad guys work hand in hand. A thug will collect someone’s phone & wallet right in the Police nose & they’ll just ignore & in the end, they’ll get their shares #JusticeForChima

— 🇳🇬 ™Follow Me | Follow Tacha🔱🔱™ 🇳🇬 (@Mhizta_Daniels) January 17, 2020

The law is clear, it’s better to let a 100 criminal abscond than to convict one innocent person, the number of innocent persons the @PoliceNG has ruined their lives is unimaginable, innocent lives in prison and dead as a result of activities from rogue officers! #JusticeForChima https://t.co/9ylyPg6qzD

— jgagas🗨 PhD (affidavit) (@JGagariga) January 17, 2020

Somebody once said that the armed robber is far better than the @NigeriaPolice, it was fun to me but i later got into deep thought about it and saw some sense in it. Reading the story on #JusticeForChima makes me weep bitterly for my beloved country.😭😭

— Akin joshua a🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 (@Akinjoshua2017) January 17, 2020

I always say this, if u ever hear I’m running for the office of d president or my husband is, I advice the Nigerian police force to ensure we dont win cos if we do, I will be coming for them all. I will even visit the sins of the fathers on d newer generations#JusticeForChima 😭 pic.twitter.com/E8T4OZYYJF

— Kate-Nnaji (@nnaji_kate) January 17, 2020

Life is hard, Africa is difficult, Nigeria is hell!! Safe return to your home ain’t guaranteed even if you go to the next street. May my children not witness this hardship 🤢. May God give the deceased family the fortitude to bear the loss.#JusticeForChima

— timi (@kvng__timmy) January 17, 2020

The Nigerian Police is the most corrupt, insensitive & reckless public institution in the world.

An institution that is supposed to protect our lives, is the same institution that indiscriminately murders our own people.

Such an alarming contradiction!#JusticeForChima
😢

This country is so messed up. To imagine our law enforcement agencies are the ones doing the work of Armed Robbers and Hired killer. The governments are definitely sleeping. #JusticeForChima

— The Olanrewaju♠️ (@tobiloba_II) January 17, 2020

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Ripples over mechanic allegedly fortured to death by Rivers policemen

By Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt and Nicholas Kalu, Abuja

Nigerians are demanding justice in the case of a Port Harcourt mechanic , Chima Ikwunado, said to have been falsely accused of robbery and tortured to death by the  police.

Four other young men described as Chima’s friends who were similarly arrested and slammed with the same allegations are languishing in prison.

The police denied killing Chima.

They said autopsy showed that he died of ‘high sugar level.’

The five men were arrested on December 19, 2019 ostensibly for driving against traffic in the city by officers  from Mile One police station.

The police ,according to a man who claimed to be the owner of one of the cars being test driven by Chima,demanded bribe from the boys who said they had no money on them.

He said that the police proceeded to search the boys only to find various sums of money.

His story which was shared on Twitter had generated over 11000 angry reactions as at 4pm yesterday.

His account: “I gave my car to my usual mechanic to fix AC Gas on the 19th of Dec 2019. Called him several times on the 20th and did not get an answer. I decided to visit his shop physically at Ikoku to find out that my car and the mechanic are nowhere to be found. I asked fellow mechanics around and one said he saw when the mechanic was driving one way and he suspects that he might have been apprehended by the Police. My mind came down a bit after hearing this.

“I started visiting Police Stations in Port-Harcourt one after the other making enquiries until I got to Mile 1 Police Station and I saw my car parked in front of the Eagle Crack Police Division(a.k.a E-Crack). I felt relief thinking that the Police is my friend, I was totally wrong. I presented myself quickly at the front desk to say that the car belongs to me and I want to know the reason it got to this place. I was shocked to be pointed a gun by one of the officers and I was asked to leave before I get shot. Wow…. I wondered what crime I could have committed to present myself as the owner of my car. But I had to leave before I get shot.

“I got to my house and was drafting a strategy to attack this issue. It was exactly 2hours later when I noticed a knock on my gate. I opened my gate to see a young man who introduced himself as ‘Obinna the brother to Chima’. Chima is the name of my mechanic. He asked me my name which I told him and that he was directed by his brother to meet me. So I asked him quickly if he knew the reason for the arrest. He said Chima told him that he and his boys were testing two cars, 3 boys in a Camry and 2 boys in my car, after doing some work on them. The traffic in Port-Harcourt around that time was terrible and they decided to drive one way.

“The police apprehend them and asked them for money. They offered an amount which was not comfortable for the Police officers. The eyes of the Police officers were completely red looking for money to solve their Christmas matters as this usually happens during the Christmas festive period in Nigeria. The police officers immediately changed the case to robbery, accusing the boys of robbing the two cars.

“The officers asked the boys to raise their hands and searched their pockets. They found money in each of the pockets of the boys. According to Obinna, N97,000.00(ninety seven thousand naira) was found on Chima, N50,000.00 (Fifty thousand naira) on one of them, N16,000.00(Sixteen thousand) on another etc, totally over N150,000.00(one hundred and fifty thousand naira) in their pockets. In the minds of the Police officers; (we cannot afford to loose this money we have seen physically in their pockets. Our Christmas is guaranteed a success if we can obtain all the money). Which indeed they achieved.

“Hand cuffed all of them, took their money and their telephones and arraigned them to the Police Station. Getting to the station, hung this boys upside down in fan hooks and started brutality on them with various weapons. The youngest of them which is only 19yrs was almost at the point of death and accepted to confess whatever they ask him to say. He started making false confession about my car, he agreed that my car was rubbed and that, the car belongs to a lady and that, they jumped into the ladies compound, broke the glass of the car, opened the door and used a master key to start the car. Broke the gate and drove off.

“This was the information I got from Mr. Obinna. At least I know the reason why my car is there. So I made contact with the Nigerian Air force Base who sent 2 soldiers to accompany me in my next visit. The two soldiers arrived my residence and accompanied me.

On arrival at the Mile 1 E-Crack Division, the IPO in charge of the case was very rude to the air force soldiers, insulting them saying that this is purely a civilian case and a case of robbery. The soldiers got angry and asked me if they can start beating up the police officers, I calmly told them not to do so as it will make matters worse for the innocent boys in police custody. So I left with the officers. I then called the Air force Commander and updated him on current status, he asked me if I had copies of my car papers, I told him I would get them and revert to him accordingly.

“I searched in my house for the car papers and did not find. But I remembered that my driver was the one who renewed the papers not up to 2months back. So I asked my driver for the papers and he informed me that he forgot the original and photocopies inside my car. I asked him to call the man at Inland Revenue to print copies. I got the copies and contacted the Air force Commander again to let him know that I have the papers.

“The Commander joined me to the Police Station on 23rd of Dec 2019. We met the Commander of E-Crack, I noticed the name on his uniform as Benson. The Air force Commander introduced himself and introduced me as his brother. Mr. Benson called the IPO of the case to come and narrate the story. The IPO explained how the boys jumped into a lady’s compound, broke the glass of the car, used master key to start the car, broke the gate and drove off. That they, the police officers apprehended the boys at the point of sale. That the boys were communicating with the buyer from Aba and that one of the boys has already confessed to the crime.

“After hearing this, at first I was wondering if it was some Nigerian movie the man was narrating or was he talking about my car? The E-Crack Commander now asked the IPO to bring the boy who made the confession. The boy was brought in after 2mins limping seriously with smelling wounds. The E-Crack Commander now asked the boy to tell the truth that no one would torture him. The boy now started talking by saying that he is only an apprenticed under his boss ‘Chima’, that the car belongs to Chima’s customer, that he made the false confession because he was tortured almost to the point of death, at this point, he stretched his arms with handcuffs towards the commander showing him the smelling wounds.

“The E-Crack Commander now asked the IPO to return the boy. I now told the E-Crack Commander that I have copies of my car papers here which I got from the Inland Revenue today as my driver forgot the original papers as well as the photocopies in my car, is it possible for the IPO to check my car, get all the papers in it and we compare with what is in my hands. The E-Crack commander agreed and sent the IPO to get the papers.

“After 3mins, the IPO came back and said there were no papers in the car. Well, I have copies right in front of us, I asked the commander if the copies I am presenting can be verified, and he concurred. I left the station with the Air force Commander.

“On the 30th of December 2019. I returned to the police station and met the commander to verify if my presented documents have been verified. He called the IPO and the IPO confirmed that the documents are authentic. The commander now asked me my full name and I told him. He says that the name on the papers bears the same surname but different first name, why is this so? I explained that, the first name and second name on the car papers belong to my younger sister. He insisted that I must bring her to the station. So I called my sister and picked her up at her office and brought her to the station. I presented her to the commander.

“The commander asked how long she has been using the car and she confirmed that it is over 2yrs. He asked the IPO to release my car as well as the second car which was an old model Camry. Before leaving his office, I asked about the boys because I still have an unfinished business with my mechanic. He asked me how long I have known the mechanic, I told him that I have known the mechanic for more than 4years and that the mechanic fixes all my cars. The Commander now told me that he is investigating a case of cultism against all the boys. I wondered in my mind how a case of charged “Robbery” could change to cultism. I had no choice other than to leave the station with my car. On the 2nd of January 2020, I got a call from a barrister saying that he was engaged by the families of the boys in custody. That he has spoken with the Commander with regards to the case. That he was shocked to know that the commander was now working as a commander in that division as he has long known him. That in fact the man is his friend. He continued by saying that the commander told him that the case is a bad one, his boys have over worked. Speaking in pigeon saying “de case don spoil, my boys don over work” The Barrister did not understand. The barrister kept on insisting until the man opened up to say that my mechanic ‘Chima’ is dead. He was tortured to death.

‘The barrister now asked him where the corpse is. The Commander says that he does not trust him enough to reveal that kind of classified information. That the best thing he can do for the remaining four boys, is to look for a small charge to charge them, so that as soon as they get to the court, bail will be granted easily. He asked the barrister to come the next day. According to the barrister, as soon as he left the police station, the Commander immediately charged the boys to court that same day on the charge of my car robbery and cultism. After hearing this from the barrister I again thought, the police had released my car to me after verifying that it is my car and I never told them that my car was ever robbed, why did they still charge the boys for my car robbery? I later found out the answer which I will say shortly after. As I write this story, the remaining four boys are in prison custody with wounds getting rotten and smelling. Chima that the police killed is tagged as ‘At Large’. The answer to my question came out when the families of the deceased visited the court to see a copy of the charge sheet confirming that the police wrote on it that the owner of the car, which is supposed to me, confirmed to them that his car was stolen as described. I have never made such a statement anywhere. My car was never robbed.

Read Also: Family petitions police over attack on disputed land in Ogun community

“The families of the boys visited the prison in Port-Harcourt to see their loved ones and insisted to take photographs after seeing the wounds of some of them excreting water and decayed substances. The prison warders said each photograph will cost them N15,000.00 (Fifteen Thousand Naira) each. The families not being able to afford the money, left the prison sobering.

“At this moment of my life, I and my family members are very scared of the police. I wanted to send my brother out with my car, immediately I realized that his drivers license is in process. I got scared and did not engage him anymore, because if police can take a life because of “one way driving”, then it means they can take a life for not having Drivers License and many more.

“As I write this message, my wife is beside me shivering and saying that I should make the message anonymous, for fear that I could get killed by the police for making it public.

“Please if I get any mosquito bite, you know who is responsible.

“I came to know that the deceased mechanic got married just six months ago and that his wife is a few months pregnant.

“Again, the families of the 5 boys are in abject poverty and could not even afford lawyer fees to follow up the case. What a shame.”

The complainant gave the names of the other boys as:Victor Ogbonna,Osaze Friday,Ifeanyi Osuji and Ifeanyi Onyekwere.

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Four remanded over destruction of Sotitobire church

By Damisi Ojo, Akure

Another four young men have been remanded at Olokuta Correctional Service Centre by a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure over alleged murder, arson, malicious damage and stealing at Sotitobire Church in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

They are: Yusuf Owa, 27, Adebayo Adeyemi, 22, Adeleye Omowumi, 28, and Adu Babatunde, 27.

The accused were fresh suspects to be remanded in prison as 14 persons were earlier remanded in connection with the crisis, making the total number of 18 suspects at Olokuta Correctional Service centre.

The accused persons are facing a six -count-charge of felony, conspiracy, murder, arson and stealing.

According to the charge sheet, they committed the offence on December 18, 2019 at about 9:45am at Sotitobire Church, Oshinle, Akure, in the Akure Magisterial District.

The alleged offences were said to be contrary to sections 383 and punishable under sections 324, 516,319(1), 443(a), 451 and 390(a).

The defendants were alleged to have killed one Sergeant Sheidu Ocheopo (m) by smashing him to death with tyre rim and stones at Sotitobire Church, Oshinle, while performing his lawful duty.

They were also accused of setting ablaze Sotitobire Church Oshinle and Ajipowo branches, including Police Hilux patrol vehicle, AK47 rifle with breach No, 4777 and some vehicles belonging to individuals valued at N2 millions.

Other items that were set ablaze, according to the charge were; Toyota Siena, Range rover Jeep, Toyota venza, Toyota Camry and Lexus car valued at N250 million, belonging to Alfa Babatunde Olumoyo.

Also some church items like rug, amplifier, fans, and other valuables in the church, valued at N600,000 were said to have been stolen.

READ ALSO: 13 remanded over attack on Sotitobire church

The Prosecuting Police Officer, Inspector Uloh Goodluck, informed the court of his intention to move a motion on notice for the remands of the defendants at Olokuta, Correctional Service Centre.

Counsel representing the first defendant, Mr. M.O Ojo, and counsel to third and fourth defendants, Mr. Afe Felix, opposed the moving of the motion, drew the attention of the court to the fact that the motion before it was just serve in the court, adding that they need some time to file their counter affidavit.

While the counsel representing the second defendant Mr. John Olowookere, did not oppose to the prosecutor moving his motion for remand.

The Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanju, ordered that the defendants be kept at Olokuta Correctional Service Centre, pending when the move of motion on notice for the remand of the defendants.

She adjourned the case till January 20, 2020.

The Sotitobire Church Founder, Alfa Babatunde is expected to appear in court on Thursday for the hearing of his case of alleged kidnapping of one year old boy, Gold Kolawole, who got missing in his church in November 2019.

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Church Accountant Bags 18 Years for N15.5m Fraud – PRNigeria News

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Church Accountant Bags 18 Years for N15.5m Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Gombe Zonal Office on January 13, 2020, secured the conviction of one Ibrahim Aku before Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court.

Aku, an accountant at EYN Church of Christ (Ekilisiyar Yen Uwa Nigeria), EYN, Church of Brethren in Nigeria (CBN) in the state faced a six-count charge, bordering on forgery and obtaining money by false pretence.

He was investigated and prosecuted following a petition by the church through Rev. (Dr). Daniel Mbaya an Secretary General of the Church alleging that Aku defrauded the church of N15.5million between 2016 and 2018.

Investigations by the EFCC, revealed that the money was generated by the church members by offerings, donations and tithe.

The convict was entrusted by the church to deposit the church’s revenue into the church’s account with First Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, but he ended up diverting same, and forged bank tellers to balance the financial books of the church.

He was assisted to commit the crime by his friend, one Benefit Ishaku currently at large to whom he gave N500,000. His accomplice assisted him in forging the stamps of the banks, which were also used to perpetrate the fraud.

He was prosecuted using the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

He pleaded “guilty” to the charges.

Prosecuting counsel, S.E. Okemini, thereafter, urged the court to convict him as charged.

Justice Musa, thus, pronounced him guilty and sentenced him to 18 years in prison – three years on each of the counts, to run concurrently. He was not given an option of fine.

The trial judge, further ordered that he refund the stolen fund to the church, and that proceeds of the crime recovered from him should be sold and the proceeds remitted to the Church.

Tony Orilade
Acting Head, Media & Publicity
……….

EFCC Nabs Internet Fraudsters in Ibadan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Ibadan zonal office, between January 11 and 12, 2020, arrested eight suspected internet fraudsters in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The suspects, who are between the ages of 17 and 30 years old, were arrested at different locations across the ancient city. They are Abdulrahman Qozeem, Umoru Ibrahim, Umoru Abdulahi Gregory, Famous Ose Itahma, Umoru Shaibu Pedro, Durrele Oyeniyi, Umoru Evidence and Judge Okoye.

Their arrest was sequel to series of intelligence report, alleging that they were involved in internet-related crimes.

Items recovered from them include six expensive cars, various brands of phones, laptops, international passports and several documents suspected to contain false pretences.
They will soon be arraigned in court.

Tony Orilade
Acting Head, Media & Publicity

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MISSING BOY: Church deserted, family reveals how General Overseer lives in prison

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AdeyanjuBy Dayo Johnson, Akure

ALL the branches of Sotitobire Miracle Centre across Ondo State have been deserted after the razing of its headquarters and the General Overseer, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Centre, Akure after one-year-old Gold Kolawole went missing at the headquarters branch over a month ago.

Why plan to recompose NDDC board is against equity, justice — IGBINI

Uncertainty reigned over the church.

Reports said members may have been ‘defecting’ to other churches as the General Overseer spent Christmas and the New Year day in prison.

Many of the members with church stickers on their vehicles and bands on their wrists, it was learnt, have been removing them.

Irate youths had set the headquarters branch ablaze and went further to burn down the Ajipowo branch same day to show their displeasure over the missing boy’s case.

The development forced the police to deploy to the razed churches and the private residence of the clergyman after it was equally attacked and several vehicles damaged.

While the Department of State Service, DSS, which arrested Alfa, took the glory for doing something over the missing boy’s case, the police, which was accused of foot-dragging, arraigned 13 suspected arsonists in court in connection with the razed churches.

Prison walk

Then the DSS, in a surprise move, arraigned the clergyman in the Magistrate Court.

The court was jam-packed on arraignment day as members of the church trooped out to give their prophet moral support.

Police arraigns two FRSC personnel over alleged murder

Their hope that Alfa would be granted bail was, however, dashed.

Even the prophet, who was expecting that he would be released on bail, burst into tears as Magistrate Charity Adeyanju ordered that he be remanded in prison custody.

His church members also could not hold their tears as they wept profusely seeing their prophet being pushed into the Black Maria by prison wardens.

It was a pitiable sight as the church members and the clergyman wept like a baby.

While arraigning the General Overseer and six children teachers of Sotitobire Miracle Centre in court, the DSS accused them of conspiracy to kidnap and aiding kidnapping of Gold during a Sunday service at the headquarters of the church in Oshinle area of the state capital on November 10.

The six children teachers are Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo, Esther Kayode and Peter Anjorin.

Peter Anjorin was separately accused by the prosecutor of destroying evidence by secretly taking away evidence that would have aided speedy investigation of the missing child.

The charge against anjorin read, “That on the 10th day of December 2019 at about 2:00 pm at the premises of the Department of State Service, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State in the Akure Magisterial District, you did destroy evidence by secretly taking away vital evidence that would have aided speedy investigation in respect of the missing child (Gold Eninlaloluwa Kolawole) and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. I Laws of Ondo State 2006.”

The accused persons were brought to the court by operatives of the DSS around 9am in a white bus marked AKR – 54-AM.

The prosecutor, Joseph Dada, said the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 5(i) of the Ondo State Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Law, 2010 as well as under Section 516 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Volume I Laws of Ondo State 2006.

The charge sheet for all the suspects read, “That you Prophet Alfa Babatunde ’m’, Omodara Olayinka ’f’, Margaret Oyebola ‘f’, Grace Ogunjobi ‘f’, Egunjobi Motunrayo ’f’, Esther Kayode ’f’, Peter Anjorin ‘m’ and others now at large, on the 10th day of November 2019 at about 11:45 am at Sotitobire Praising Chapel, No. 48, Solagbade Street, Oshinle Quarters, Akure, Ondo State in the Akure Magisterial District, did conspire together to commit felony to wit: Kidnapping, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. I Laws of Ondo State 2006″.

Trial Magistrate Adeyanju, after listening to the arguments of the prosecutor and counsel to the defendants, Olusola Oke, ruled that she did not have the jurisdiction to try the alleged offences.

She then said that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody pending the conclusion of investigation and arraignment at the High Court and adjourned the case till January 17, 2020.

Recall that the mother of the missing boy, Modupe Kolawole, had taken him to the church while looking for miracle but ended up losing him to suspected kidnappers.

Modupe said she dropped the son at the church children section only to come back to discover that he had disappeared without trace since November 10.

Speaking after the court session, Oke said, “The prosecution presented two contradictory positions. There was an application filed where they alleged that the General Overseer confessed to the allegation of kidnapping.

“We challenged them to present the evidence of his confession but they did not bring something like that to court.

“Also, contrary to what we heard in the public domain about kidnapping, they were charged with conspiracy and aiding kidnapping. These are two different situations because if he actually kidnapped, it would be brought to the public that he kidnapped but apparently they have nothing against him.

“We believe that if the man indeed is culpable, he should be punished. But at the same time, there is no need to crucify somebody who has done no wrong.”

Also, 13 suspected persons were ordered to be remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Center by an Akure Magistrate’s Court for their alleged involvement in the killing of a policeman and the razing of Sotitobire Miracle Centre.

They were arraigned on six count charges of murder, arson, theft and vandalism.

The prosecutor, ASP Moses Adeosun, prayed that the defendants be remanded in prison pending investigation into the matter.

Ooni intervention

In a related development, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and his Olori, Naomi, are reported to have waded into the case of the missing boy.

The mother of the boy confirmed this to Sunday Vanguard.

“It is true that the Kabiyesi, the Ooni of Ife, and the wife invited us to the palace in lfe”, Modupe Kolawole said.

“We briefed the Kabiyesi and the Olori on how the incident happened over a month ago. “They sympathized with us and promised to get back to us”.

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, family sources said the embattled clergyman has turned the Olokuta Correctional Centre to a crusade ground and reportedly winning souls for Christ in the prison.

The sources said Alfa organised programmes for the prison inmates during Christmas and New Year day, thereby leading many of them to Christ.

Police promote 19 Officers in Ondo

They denied a report that the prophet took ill following alleged hunger strike.

The post MISSING BOY: Church deserted, family reveals how General Overseer lives in prison appeared first on Vanguard News.

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