Police arrest banker for hiring assassins to kill ex-husband

The Ogun Police command has arrested a banker for allegedly hiring hired assassins to kill her ex-husband, identified as Tochukwu Onyebuchi. The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu paraded the banker, Oluchi Tochukwu and the two suspected assassins Chigozie Smart (32) and Kingsley Ikechukwu (36) at the command’s headquarters in Abeokuta on Wednesday. He said, […]

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Earliest Hebrew mention of Jerusalem found on 2,700-year-old scroll

Israeli archaeologists Wednesday unveiled a 7th century BC text they said contains the earliest mention in Hebrew of Jerusalem outside the Bible, prompting officials to stress the Jewish connection to the city.

“For Israeli archaeology, this is the first mention in Hebrew of the city of Jerusalem outside the New Testament,” Amir Ganor of Israel’s antiquities authority told AFP as the papyrus was presented in Jerusalem.

The antiquities authority said the papyrus, found near the Dead Sea, was seized from traffickers after a lengthy investigation as it was about to go on sale on the black market.

It proved that “Jews were in this city 2,700 years ago,” said Ganor.

He said the timing of the announcement, amid a row with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, was a coincidence as it had been held up by the trafficking investigation.

A UNESCO resolution passed on October 18 criticised the Jewish state for restricting access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in annexed east Jerusalem, angering Israel which said it denied Judaism’s historical connection.

Culture Minister Miri Regev pounced on the find as “proof that Jerusalem has been and will forever remain the eternal capital of the Jewish people”.

Israel is furious that the UNESCO resolution refers to the holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City only by its Muslim name, Al-Aqsa or Al-Haram al-Sharif.

Jews refer to the site as the Temple Mount and it is considered the holiest site in Judaism.


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Clinton ally on emails: 'They wanted to get away with it'

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK

An email released by WikiLeaks shows that a top Hillary Clinton adviser was dumbfounded that aides to the White House hopeful failed to disclose her use of a private email server, suggesting “they wanted to get away with it.”

The email from Neera Tanden, who currently helps run Clinton’s transition team, is dated March 2, 2015, the day The New York Times revealed that Clinton had used a homebrew email server while serving as secretary of state rather than her secured government account.

While the FBI concluded earlier this year that federal charges against Clinton were not justified in the case, the issue has dogged her campaign to become America’s first woman president.

Tanden, the president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, was trading messages with John Podesta, who was at the time preparing to chair Clinton’s campaign.

“Why didn’t they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy,” Tanden wrote.

Podesta responded: “Unbelievable.”

Tanden later wrote: “I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it.”

Tanden suggested the decision to try to keep Clinton’s private email use secret could be traced back to Cheryl Mills, a close aide at the time, calling it a “Cheryl special.”

“Know you love her, but this stuff is like her Achilles heal (sic). Or kryptonite. she just can’t say no to this shit,” she wrote.

In a separate exchange released by WikiLeaks, Mills herself wrote to Podesta several days later, on March 7, 2015: “We need to clean this up — he has emails from her — they do not say state.gov,” referring to President Barack Obama.

In the exchange with Tanden, Podesta acknowledged that Mills, Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall and longtime aide Philippe Reines “sure weren’t forthcoming on the facts here.”

The Clinton campaign has not confirmed or denied the authenticity of the stream of messages leaked by WikiLeaks, but has accused Russia of directing the hack of Podesta’s emails in an effort to tilt the election in favor of Republican Donald Trump.

Other messages published by WikiLeaks show Podesta and Tanden discussing potential weaknesses of the Democratic candidate.

“Her inability to just do a national interview and communicate genuine feelings of remorse and regret is now, I fear, becoming a character problem (more so than honesty),” Tanden wrote on August 22, 2015.

In September 2015, Podesta wrote about the hit Clinton’s campaign took as a result of the revelations on her email practices, and how the candidate handled them.

“We’ve taken on a lot of water that won’t be easy to pump out of the boat. Most of that has to do with terrible decisions made pre-campaign, but a lot has to do with her instincts,” Podesta wrote on September 6, 2015.

“She’s nervous so prepping more and performing better. Got to do something to pump up excitement but not certain how to do that.”

Tanden then responded: “Almost no one knows better me that her instincts can be terrible. She does have to give time to allow new things to take hold.”

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Police plan 12 medical facilities for zonal commands

By Ngozi Uwujare

The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), in charge of Police Medical Service, Force Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Kaumi Ahmadu, has said the Nigeria Police would soon establish 12 additional standard medical facilities in the 12 zonal police commands.
He told Daily Sun in Abuja: “We are going to key into the National Health Act of 2014. There are lots of opportunities the police have not tapped into. We have collaborated with the Ministry of Health. They have accepted us to be a member of their technical working committee.
“We are going to contribute meaningfully in the deliberation to be forwarded to the National Assembly. The advantages that will come to the force in the National Health Act of 2014 are principally in the National Primary Health provision fund.”
He disclosed that the World Medical Relief (WMF) of the World Health Organization (WHO), partnered with the Nigeria Police to assist in the completion of the Maternal and Child Welfare Clinic, initiated by the Police Officers’ Wives Association (POWA), the establishment of a modern diagnostic canter and a standard hospital out of the numerous health facilities of the force:
“The donation of 20 number 40 FT containers of hospital equipment there will be training of medical personnel on the use and maintenance of the equipment to be donated, the training of over 20 law enforcement officers on investigation, crime scene and prosecution.”
Ahmadu stated that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, ordered that police retirees should be included in the national Health Insurance Scheme: “The scheme is a social health insurance established by the Federal Government via Decree 35 of 1999 now Act 35 of the National Assembly to operate as a public private partnership enterprise.
“The scheme would give the retirees a wide choice of health care providers from a comprehensive list of credible and certified hospitals nationwide. Pensioners do not need to run helter-skelter for help in emergency health situation as health care is already pre-paid.
“My vision for the medical center is to be the health care provider of choice for all police personnel their families and the communities we serve in Nigeria. Also, my mission is to continuously provide high quality health care services that conform to international standard.
“These include to adequately train and motivate professionals in a supportive looking environment; to collaborate with other stakeholders thereby having a health work force for effective police operations within and outside Nigeria.”
Ahmadu said 10 police medical doctors to be trained as consultants/specialists have been sent to various Nigerian universities: “When they finish their course, they will come in as a consultants/specialists. They will assist the police to establish directorates.
“We also proposed to establish a standard police hospital and diagnosed centre in Abuja, which follows the extension of other hospitals in the six geographical zones in the country.”

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At Kuje Prisons, inmates tell heart rending stories

…As 71 detainees receive WAEC certificates


History recently repeat itself behind the high walls of the Kuje Medium Prison, Abuja, when over 71 inmates were presented with the originals of their West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) certificates.
It was really a day of jubilation, singing, dancing and boundless joy. It was a time that happiness eclipsed the excruciating pains and agonies the convicted or awaiting trial inmates have been going through for years.
However, the occasion was not only for merrymaking as one inmate after the other retrospectively gave narratives of how their journey behind the high perimeter fenced prison walls started, their ordeals, the neglects and the bleak and hopeless future awaiting them.
In reality, they all have touching tear-jerking stories that encapsulated the failure of the legal and criminal justice administration system in Nigeria, the urgent need for total reforms and overhaul of the prison system which encourages several of the inmates to spend four to 11 years as awaiting trial inmates without prosecution.
While some of the inmates maximised every opportunity at their disposal by either engaging in skill acquisition or academic pursuits, others seem to have resigned to fate having been abandoned according to them by God and man.
The anger and pains boldly written on the faces of some of them are understandable having been constricted for years, missing not only their life targets but also going through the pains of their spouses abandoning them. For some of them, the world has come to an end.

My case file got missing for four years –Pastor George
Unlike others, Pastor George Ikechukwu’s prison experience was an admixture of joy and sadness. Although he has miraculously regained freedom, according to him, he still nurses the wound of spending over four years out of nine years as an inmate without trial due to missing case file.
While bringing message of hope to his former inmates and friends, Pastor George whose encounter with God freed him from imprisonment after nine years at Kuje Prisons, however, described his experiences as traumatic and frustrating:
“I have every reason to be grateful to God. I came into Kuje Prisons and left healthy after nine years as awaiting trial inmate. My family abandoned me while I was in prison because of the circumstances surrounding my imprisonment.
“I resigned to fate when my case file was nowhere to be found for four years. My case was not given any attention or was I even taken to court for the hearing because of the missing case file. It was a hopeless situation but things turned around for the better when I truly gave my life to Jesus Christ. Divine intervention came from churches and more importantly from my brother, Pastor Hillary Chukwuma, owner of an NGO, NUGA BEST.
“They were very much instrumental and helpful to my regaining freedom and I urge you my former inmates to worship God in truth and spirit. I urge you to promise God that if you leave the prison walls, you will continue to worship Him and not return to whatever was responsible for your journey into the prison.”
In a country where only few care to know the plights of prison inmates, NUGA BEST took up the challenge. Chukwuma, has invested time and money to create awareness and improve the welfare and reformation of prison inmates. He told Daily Sun:
“I have never been imprisoned. What I am doing was an inspiration from God. We are instrumental to the inmates preparing and writing WAEC and NECO examinations in prison. It is a programme we started since 2010 and I am happy that the programme has changed the lives of many inmates.
“We also facilitated enrolment of many of them into the NOUN where many have equally graduated. We are currently building a facility in Gwagwalada where the inmates would acquire skills in carpentry, soup making and many others. It is a massive structure comprising workshops and hostels for the inmates. We have resolved to ensure that the inmates will never remain the same after leaving prison.”

I’ve spent 11 years without prosecutor –Eze
For middle-aged Chinedu Eze, it was a crime that took him into the high walls of the Kuje prison sometime in 2005. Refusing to either explain the nature of the crime or admit guilty of it, Eze lamented that he has been abandoned for 11 years without anybody pressing charges against him:
“Sometimes, I wonder why I should be kept here indefinitely without any prosecutor. It was criminal offence that brought me to Kuje Prisons. But I have spent 11 years now as an awaiting trial inmate. For those years, my case has not been tried because there is no prosecutor. Sometimes, I wonder why they still keep in prison when no one is bringing charges against me.
“I want to believe that I am a victim of the criminal justice system in Nigeria which is hostile to the poor. I know my case would have ended since if I were from a wealthy family. We have done everything within our limit to reopen my case but nothing positive came out of it. In fact, my family members are frustrated because they don’t know what to do again to bring me out of this prison.
“It is not just possible to quantify what I have lost. Will I start with the lady I was almost concluding marriage with and even picked the wedding date before I was arrested who has abandoned me to marry another man? Should I quantify what I have lost in my blossoming ethanol chemical business or how much I have missed my family?
“I don’t blame my would-be wife for dumping me because having waited from weeks to months and years, hoping to see me regain freedom without success; she had to leave me because age is not always on the side of women. I bear no grudge against her because in fairness to her, she was visiting me at the initial stage of imprisonment but got tired and frustrated when it stretched endlessly.”
However, spending 11 years behind prison walls was not about sorrow and agony as he would be taking his final year examination with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to graduate in Peace and Conflict Resolutions.
For Eze, it was a case of misfortune to fortune, a case of recovering what locusts have eaten from him, a case of waking the sleeping giant in him and a case of blessing in disguise:
“I am a living example of how God can turn misfortune to fortune. After waiting for years to regain my freedom, I decided to take WAEC examination. The result was not impressive because I did not actually prepare very well.
“I sat again after adequate preparations and made an impressive result, getting six distinctions and three credits. The result encouraged me to explore more academic opportunities and that was how I gained admission into the NOUN to study Peace and Conflict Resolution. I give God the glory for supporting because I will be writing my final year examination before the end of this year.
“Perhaps, I will graduate before I leave this prison. My education was a case of opportunity meeting preparation. But I have to say that if I had this academic opportunity while I was outside, I would not have been a prison inmate today.
“The positive side of the crime that brought me to this prison has made me what I am today. I will ever remain grateful to an NGO, NUGA BEST and the churches that supported and made this achievement possible. My education would have perished as a dream if they have not intervened.”

My wife left with my child  –Cletus
A clean looking Peter Cletus may have spent four years as an inmate at Kuje Prisons, but those years of imprisonment have been agonising and tormenting. Cletus did not only suffer divorce from his three-year-old marriage but also a victim of circumstances:
“I have spent four years as an awaiting trial inmate for a case I know that I am innocent. I had treated one man at my chemist shop in Kabusa, an outskirt of FCT, after fighting with somebody. But when he died thereafter police arrested me on the charge that the drug and treatment I administered on him was responsible for his death not the beating he received during the fighting.
“The police did not visit Gwagwalada General Hospital where he died or conduct autopsy to ascertain the cause of his death. The biggest problem I faced since then was the stringent bail conditions given to me.
“How do they expect me to meet bail conditions like N50 million, a house worth N100 million with the original documents and two sureties ready to summit their traveling passports? They were all very tough bail conditions for a case I know that I am innocent.
“I spent over N500,000 to set up the chemist shop. The expenditure profile includes registration licence, renting of the shop and stocking it with drugs. The police locked the shop after my arrest till today and allowed the drugs to expire. Today, I don’t know whether to worry for my investment that have gone down the drain or the possibility of regaining freedom with the tough bail condition they gave to me.
“My wife has equally left me with my baby girl. I am still in shock over her behaviour even though we were not legally or traditionally married. Yes, it was Abuja marriage, but she would have waited for me as confirmation of her claim that she loved me.
“My imprisonment has denied me the opportunity of graduating as a medical doctor. It has been four years of frustration and I am only hanging on the hope of divine intervention and words of God.”

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Sweepers without glory

The world of Abuja street cleaners


They are the first to rise, while the rest of the world still snores. Under the sun or in the rain, they seldom default. They defy the sometime ugly glances of passersby to keep Abuja, the nation’s capital clean.
Like road traffic wardens, Abuja street sweepers are rarely celebrated. Road users and pedestrians only see clean streets. They hardly pay attention to those who ensure that empty cans thrown through the glasses of a moving car, sachet water nylons flung while walking and other disposables indiscriminately scattered on the streets are removed.
Everyday, they face the risk of being hit by careless and drunk drivers while sweeping the streets. They are neither given head helmets to protect them from hit-and-run motorists or given adequate sun-resistant fabric to fence off the biting sun. Under the rain, they are not provided with the necessary tools.
Worst still is the non-provision of caution signs by employers of these sweet sweepers to warn coming and speeding vehicles. Since their jobs are informal, they have no health or death insurance packages to fall back on whenever they suffer hazards during work hours.
A 27-year-old widow, Rebecca Felix, is one of the street sweepers in Abuja. Prior to her new job, she was a petty trader struggling to make ends meet. She told Daily Sun that she was relying on the meager income realized from her petty business to take care of her children.
Today, she has become one of the street sweepers in Abuja. She combines both the gains she realizes from her petty trade with her salary to take care of her children. It, however, appears that there is no difference, as the salary she earns as a street sweeper is next to nothing.
Although she is grateful to have got the job, she is disturbed by the challenges that accompany it. According to her, risks associated with the job far outweigh the stipends she earns as her salary. When she started the job, she was optimistic that it would meet her demands. But, as it stands now, she is completely confused.
“When my friend introduced me to it, she told me that as a street sweeper, I will be able to cater for my needs and that of my family. She said I could attend to some pressing needs without necessarily going into debt, but the story is different now.
“If I could find a better job apart from sweeping the streets, this would have been my last option. I needed to cater for my family. Since my husband died five years ago, it has not been easy. Getting this job was a miracle for me. At least, I have something to give back to my family.”
A motorist, Abdul, made a case for these sweepers: “The fact remains that it is very difficult to ignore the efforts of an average street sweeper in Abuja by the present administration. They defy the dangers involved to keep the city clean. They work so hard, often in difficult and high risk areas. The question is, do they earn wages commensurate to the risk they take?”
Another street sweeper, Ms Nneka Anosike, spotted on the Kubwa Expressway said her job seems easy but it is back breaking. She complained that many Nigerians are not environmentally-conscious and that they lack ethics of public responsibility:
“It is disheartening having cleaned the gutters, picking water sachets, tins and cans, swept the street, a person comes after you and litters right where you had already cleaned. Some throw things from the windows of their cars and this is so heartless. People need to change their attitude towards waste disposal.
“More so because when our supervisors come to inspect our work, they order us to start afresh no matter how much we explain that the litter was actually disposed after we had cleaned. Another major challenge is that after having swept and loaded waste into refuse bags pending collection by refuse trucks, some people empty the bags and take them away.
“This sets us back as our supervisors would come and instruct us to start from scratch, particularly because you often find that the emptied waste has been scattered by wind all over the place. The companies which collect recyclable waste in the city centre are creating problem for us. Some of the recyclables such as plastics are scattered all over the place as the trucks manoeuvre around the city.
“This calls for us, street sweepers, to pick up that waste and it is an unnecessary waste of time and energy. It would be nice for everyone who does business in the city to do so responsibly. The recycling companies should ensure that their trucks are well covered.”
Kate Ijeoma, a graduate of the University of Abuja, said doing such a job is dehumanizing, but she can do the job if she travels out of Nigeria to Europe. She stated that street sweepers abroad are treated with some level of professionalism and they are well paid.
Justina from Mabushi area in Abuja is married and has a child. She is a cleaner at Banex Plaza. There are four other women engaged in cleaning the place with her. She told her story:
“There is no way one will make efforts and achieve everything at a go. It requires perseverance and commitment though times. This job is stressful. A lazy person cannot engage him or herself without complaining and I also have to manage because it’s my only source of livelihood.
“I come here everyday from my place by 5:00am then we finish by 8:00am. After that, we gather the refuse bin and take it to the refuse dump where we normally dispose it. From there, we return to our various homes. At times, when we are doing our job, some drivers throw caution to the winds by driving recklessly and splashing water on us.
“My supervisor is a good woman. She always provides whatever we demand for though there are times when she replies with an impolite tone before she makes provision for your need. Whenever our salary is due for payment, she pays the exact day without wasting time.
“She always commends our good work. Not only that, customers also appreciate the fact that the premises are always clean when they come into the plaza. One thing with human beings is that they can never be satisfied no matter the length you go. At times she (supervisor) complains, but we are left with no other choice than to endure and comply. I am not really enjoying the job, but the fact that I am not educated, I have to do it rather than being idle.
“My husband supports and advises me all the time. His words are the only source of encouragement I have. He always tells me to put more effort in the job that there will definitely be light at the end of of the tunnel. Whenever I am not strong enough to come to work, I plead with my younger sister to assist me because my colleagues cannot leave their work to assist me. On a last note, I think people need to change their attitude towards waste disposal.”
Twenty two-year-old Happiness Ifeanyi from Area 1, works with a first generation bank as a sweeper. She comes to work by 6:00am everyday:
“We face challenges especially when customers mess up the place. Our boss is disciplined and hates excuses so she expects one to keep the premises clean. To me, the job is not stressful just that the pay is not enough for my up keep and I support my siblings with what I get from the this job.
“Our supervisor who happens to be my colleague has this ego because she sees herself as being privileged to be picked out among the rest. She often replies her colleagues in a rude manner.”

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