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Amaechi claims Nigeria is in dire need of drones, helicopters to tackle insecurity on rail track

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Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said Monday’s terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route would have been averted if there were drones and helicopters to carry out surveillance along the corridor.

This is even as the Minister said the Ministry of Transportation has made presentation to the federal government for the procurement of security equipment, regretting however that the Ministry was yet to get approval.

Amaechi stated these on Tuesday while leading top officials of the Ministry on an inspection of the scene of the incident.

Addressing newsmen, a visibly worried Amaechi said, “we need helicopters and drones. We are thinking about the possibility of employing natives until we get that equipment.

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“We have not been able to install security sensors because the procurement process is a bit difficult. It is typical of Nigerians.

“The process is tedious, the approval is also tedious. We have not been able to get the approval that will lead to the purchase of those items.

“If those items were here, drones alone will tell you that there are people around the rail tracks. There are equipment that picks sensors if you touch the track, but unfortunately, the process has not been able to get us that approval for us to import those items.

“The cameras in the train cannot pick what is happening outside. What you need is a camera that shows 100 metres away from the train. We have done all we need to do in the Ministry of Transportation and we have forwarded it to them for approval but we have not gotten approval.

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“The equipment we lost will cost about N3bn and we are about to place order for the ones in Lagos.”

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Amaechi warned of the dangers to come if security devices were not urgently procured to save lives on rail routes across the country.

“Even if they get us approval, it will take some months to acquire them from overseas, to install them. We need to do that to enable us see from Kaduna-Abuja, Itakpe-Warri, and from Lagos-Ibadan what is going on so that we don’t continue to lose lives because lives are important. If we had gotten the approval, we would have saved the N3billion and saved lives.”

While affirming the death of eight persons as a result of the attack, Amaechi said it is difficult to tell the number of missing persons, saying, “we don’t have all the figures of missing persons, kidnapped and those injured at the moment.

“The numbers we have is that there are eight casualties. There are 25 persons in the hospital and the total number of passengers are 398. So, we have to wait. The security agency, the Kaduna state government, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation are all trying to make contact with those on the manifest.

“There are few persons who are not on the manifest like the staff of the NRC, staff of the cleaning contractor. They are not on the manifest and we may not be able to completely account for them but for those on the manifest, calls are being made to reach them.”

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Coming short of asking citizens to understand the situation, the Minister added, “I am devastated and I honestly don’t know what to tell Nigerians anymore.”

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr. Fidel Okhiria said
“it is a very sad and unfortunate situation we have at our hands. Right from time when these things started happening on the roads, the only succour our people had were the trains.”

He urged the people to help the NRC identify criminals bent on wrecking havoc on innocent Nigerians using rail transportation system as their preferred mode of transport.

Following Monday night’s attack on a Kaduna-bound train by terrorists which left about eight people dead, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC has suspended services on the Abuja-Kaduna train corridor till further notice.

In a post on its official Twitter handle, @official_NRC, the corporation noted: “Dear passengers, due to unforeseen circumstances, train operation along the Abuja-Kaduna route has been temporarily suspended. Further communication would be given in due course.”

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Crime

Union Bank keeps mum as EFCC arraigns employee over fraud (Photos)

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former employee of Union Bank, Abdulmalik Salau, and two others for cybercrime and money laundering involving about N1.403 billion.

The other accused persons are Ismaila Atumeyi and Ngene Dominic. EFCC announced the arrest of the defendants in November.

The anti-graft agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the trio were arraigned before the trial judge, Tjinani Ringim, of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

They face 18 charges to which they all pleaded “not guilty” on Monday.

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Following their “not guilty” plea, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, called for the commencement of their trial, a request he anchored on the provision of section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

“Therefore, we will, with all humility, ask your Lordship for the acceleration of this trial.

My Lord, Section 300 of the ACJA also expects the prosecution to give a very brief summary of the case it has against the defendants,” the lawyer said.

How defendants allegedly diverted bank’s N1.4billion’

Mr Oyedepo also informed the judge that the prosecution had lined up six witnesses to testify against the defendants.

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He said the prosecution would, through the witnesses, show to the court “how the defendants agreed among themselves to hack into the database of Union Bank Plc, transferred funds belonging to the bank and its customers and used the proceeds of this unlawful activity to acquire properties for themselves.”

He added that the prosecution would show how the third defendant, a former member of staff of Union Bank Plc, allegedly worked with the others and “succeeded in hacking into the database of the bank”

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He alleged that the defendants, in different instalments, moved over N1.4 billion into the accounts of FAV Oil and Gas Limited and Atus Homes Limited.

The prosecuting lawyer added: “The exhibits that the prosecution will tender include the documentary exhibit that shows that the sum of $480,000 was found in the possession of the third defendant and that the sum of N326, 400 million cash was found in a black Escalade car in the possession of first and second defendants.

“My lord, the case is such that, in its nature, requires the cooperation of both the prosecution and the defence team to see its expeditious determination.

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“I, therefore, urge your lordship, pending the determination of the case, to remand the defendants in a correctional facility, where adequately trained personnel will see to their welfare and wellbeing.”

EFCC alleged that part of the offences allegedly committed by the defendant was contrary to and punishable under section 16(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.

Another of the offences was also said to violate section 18( a), 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

Defence lawyers deny allegations, apply for bail

Responding to the prosecuting counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde, the lawyer representing the first and second defendants, Messrs Atumeyi and Dominic, said: “No iota of evidence has been admitted against the first and second defendants.

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The defendants having pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, Mr Ayorinde said “they are constitutionally and legally under the presumption of innocence until otherwise determined by the court.”

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The defence lawyer added:* “In order to further the presumption of innocence of the first and second defendants, we filed on November 30, 2022, an application for bail seeking your lordship’s admission to bail of the first and second defendants pending the hearing and determination of the charge against them.

“The prosecution has responded to the application by serving on the first and second defendants a counter filed on 5 December 2022.”
He said in ensuring an expeditious and speedy dispensation of the case, he was prepared to move the application for bail immediately.

The application for bail for the first and second defendants is ready for hearing. The summons for bail is dated November 30, 2022. Since it seeks admission of the defendants to bail in very liberal terms, the grounds of the application are well stated in the summons,” he said.

Mr Ayorinde, who described the offence as bailable, stated that the defendants, “who were arrested and detained as far back as November 1, 2022,” would not jump bail.

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He maintained that the “incarceration of the first and second defendants ought not to continue, even if on some terms. Their rights to bail have not been taken away; the charges preferred against them are bailable.”

The third defendant’s lawyer, Babatunde Ogunwo, also denied the allegations levelled against his client and “adopted “wholeheartedly” the argument of Mr Ayorinde.

EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Oyedepo, opposed the defendants’ bail applications.

“In the very unlikely event that the court disagrees with our submissions, we pray your lordship to impose such conditions that will secure the attendance of the defendants, particularly the first and second defendants whose applications are being argued.”

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The judge adjourned until Tuesday for ruling on the bail application of the first and second defendants.

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One year old boy drowns after falling into bucket of water in Anambra

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A boy, 1, has d!ed after falling into a bucket of water in Nnewi, Anambra state.

The child’s parents reportedly left him in the care of his siblings when the tragedy occurred on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The siblings were busy playing when the child made his way to buckets of water arranged outside and fell into one.

He was found too late.

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Videos shared online show loved ones praying for the boy to come back to life. No one is seen performing CPR in the video.

Sadly, the boy gave up the ghost.

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Men who refuse polygamy contributing to prostitution – Ned Nwoko

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A Nigerian lawyer and politician, Prince Chinedu Munir Nwoko, popularly known as Ned Nwoko, has accused men who do not marry more than one wife of contributing to immorality in society.

The former lawmaker, who stated this in his recent interview with the Guardian, urged Nigerian men to emulate the northern men by marrying more than one wife.

He said: “Many women are out there without a husband, especially in the southern part of the country, and there is a high level of prostitution. If the southern men emulate their northern counterparts by marrying more than one wife, that could probably change the situation.

“An average southerner may have one wife with girlfriends, and he is spending money on the girlfriends, sometimes even more than his wife.

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“For instance, the man, who has three wives, concentrate on them, every money he makes is spent on his family, and he is more likely not to have a girlfriend or concubines. The money those with several girlfriends spend on them is a gift, not an investment in the family.”

Nwoko, who has multiple wives, noted that he and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, are serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.

Ned, who further claimed to have the same background as Ooni, explained that their grandfathers were kings and had served Nigeria in that capacity. “And we are now also serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.”

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