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FG to prosecute food vendors using transformer oil

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The Federal Government is making plans to prosecute users of PolyChlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs), popularly known as transformer oil, in frying “akara” (bean cake), plantain chips, chicken and other food items.

Prof. Babajide Alloy, a Consultant to the Federal Ministry of Environment, made the disclosure on Tuesday in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of a workshop in Calabar.

According to him, the consumption of food prepared from the chemical substance will expose the public to cancers of the lungs, heart, kidney and liver diseases.

“For a long time, PCBs was the cooling liquid used in electricity transformers, until the world found out that this oil was toxic ,and is trying to phase it out

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“Jail term awaits those caught using PCBs to fry akara, chicken and plantain chips at road side to sell to the public because the oil is toxic and carcinogenic.

“We found out that it is all over the place in Nigeria, dump-sites, and in old National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) compounds,” he said.

Alloy said a survey carried out by the ministry revealed that the oil was currently being used in making food like akara.

The consultant added that the unsuspecting public were being deceived by the likeness of the oil to the commonly used groundnut oil.

“Some food vendors now mix PCBs with groundnut oil to fry akara and sell to the general public.

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“Of course, they may not know how hazardous what they are doing is. This exercise is to sensitise policy makers and everyone of this malaise.

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“It is important to note that spillage of PCBs is always a danger when equipment is to be transported; it should, therefore, be transported only in sealed containers,” he said.

The workshop was organised for state councils, regulatory bodies, power operators and custom officers on application of PCBs regulations and guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of PCBs.

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Crime

Two jailed for stealing Dangote company’s armoured cables

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The Magistrate Court sitting in Ilaro, Ogun State, on Tuesday, sentenced Hussain Waziri aged 36 and Mustapha Aliyu, aged 33 years old, to one-year imprisonment for the two counts of conspiracy to steal and stealing made against them after pleading guilty to the offences.

Theheute learnt that Waziri and Aliyu were arrested last week Thursday by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ogun State Command, while stealing the armoured cables worth millions of naira within the Dangote Cement factory, Ibese, Yewa South Local Government Area of the state.

This was according to a statement from the Ogun State Commander of NSCDC, David Ojelabi, on Wednesday.

It was stated that an exhibit recovered from them was a special armoured cable, property of Dangote Plc, which is being used in transmitting and distributing power within the factory.

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The statement partly reads, “The arrested gangs who are serial cable thieves allegedly conspired, jumped over the perimeter fence and accessed the (DCP-I) cable yard within the power plant, with the intent to commit a crime.

“At approximately 0336 hours, during the routine patrol at the power plant duty post, the NSCDC armed personnel sighted Mustapha Aliyu and Hussein Waziri while committing the heinous crime.

“The suspects violently engaged the security personnel with dangerous tools in order to escape arrest. Mustapha Aliyu was overpowered and eventually arrested while Hussein Waziri escaped with the stolen cable.

“Unfortunately for him, the NSCDC personnel conducted an intelligence-based ‘search and arrest’ operation and at about 0436 hours of the same night, Waziri, who had earlier escaped from the scene where he carted away the special armoured electrical cable, was rearrested, within the geofencing of the Dangote Cement Transport [DCT-I ] by the alerted NSCDC personnel assisted by the Dangote security guards.”

The convicts were said to have been transferred to the NSCDC state headquarters for a thorough investigation and prosecution. It was during the investigation that they confessed to committing the crime.

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Having pleaded guilty to the counts, the court sentenced them to a one-year jail term for each of the two counts of conspiracy to steal and stealing. The term is however to run concurrently on each of the two counts.

Reacting to the arrest and the conviction secured at the court, the Ogun State Commandant of the NSCDC, Ojelabi, reiterated the commitment of the security agency to the protection of critical infrastructure and ensuring that crime is stamped out of Ogun State and Nigeria at large.

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Crime

Hoodlums kill Niger health worker during wedding ceremony

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A health worker, Umar Mohammed, was stabbed in the head at a wedding ceremony by hoodlums in Niger State

Niger State security agents have been battling hoodlums and other miscreants who have been running riot in the State, especially its capital, Minna, killing and maiming unsuspecting residents.

The incident occurred last Friday in the Gbegenu Area of Minna when Mohammed was said to be returning from his workplace and decided to attend the wedding ceremony.

According to an eyewitness and resident of Gbegenu who gave his name as Haruna Aminu, Mohammed had not stayed at the wedding for more than a few minutes when the hoodlums came for him with dangerous weapons.

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“I saw when Umar came there. He was returning from the private clinic where he worked. I cannot say whether he wanted to stay or continue his movement.

“It didn’t take long after he was there that these hoodlums, numbering over ten began shouting at top of their voices. They were welding dangerous weapons. Many people gave way for them while others were injured.

“Umar was attempting to leave the scene of the wedding when the hoodlum came after him and one of them stabbed him in the head with his dagger. He immediately fell to the ground with blood coming out from his head,” Aminu said.

Muhammed was said to have been rushed to the Minna General Hospital where he was confirmed dead by the doctors.

When Press contacted the Niger State Police Command spokesman, Wasiu Abiodun, he confirmed the incident and said two suspects were arrested in connection with Mohammed’s killing while others were still on the run.

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Abiodun sent a WhatsApp message where he confirmed the incident, “On 17/5/2024 at about 2200hrs, it was reported at Kpakungu Div that there was a wedding ceremony at Gbeganu area, while some miscreants from the Area reportedly led by one Ukasha and others armed with dangerous weapons attacked a victim named Umar Mohammed 35yrs.

“The victim was inflicted with serious injury on the head, and he was rushed to Gen Hospital Minna, where he later gave up the ghost and was confirmed dead by the Doctor.

“The police patrol teams were drafted to the scene and two suspects were arrested while others fled from the scene, however, effort is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing suspects as the incident is under investigation,” Abiodun stated.

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ICYMI: Oba of Benin accuses EFCC of corruption

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Oba of Benin, Ewuare II has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is aiding crimes in the country.

The monarch made the allegations when he received the new Benin Zonal Director of EFCC, Effa Okim in his Palace in Benin on Monday.

He cited a case involving unnamed former palace officials who were left off the hook after they were arrested for fraud and handed over to EFCC in Benin for investigation and prosecution.

The Oba alleged that some EFCC operatives allegedly handled the case with kid gloves, which led to the release of the culprits a few years ago.

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The monarch, who did not name the palace officials, expressed shock that the EFCC investigators allegedly swept glaring evidence of fraud against them (the palace officials) under the carpet.

While tasking the commission to fight crime without fear or favour, the Oba added,” We want to draw your attention to one or two grey areas in your operations”.

“No matter how much you try to support the EFFC from the palace, It is very difficult because they seem to listen to other parties. What I have been told is that they take instructions from the highest bidder.

“You know that I have been known for speaking the truth. I was not happy about certain things that happened with your predecessor.

“We get news from everywhere. We try to assist the EFCC. I even wrote a letter to the then-chairman who was removed from office.

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“I even sent an emissary to talk to him regarding certain elements in Edo State, particularly the palace.

“How can EFCC operatives, especially, the lady who handled the case I cited earlier behave like that? If I was asked to comment on her performance, I would score her zero. I do not know if she was doing an EFCC job or just dancing to the tunes of people who were giving her money.

“At the time we were trying to assist EFCC, the report we kept getting was negative and I was not happy about it,” Oba Ewuare II added.

The monarch, however, said the newly appointed Chairman of EFCC, Olanipekun Olukayode is on the path to greatness if he continues to demonstrate fidelity in his duties.

He also pledged the palace’s support to the state government in addressing social inequality and reducing social vices.

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Earlier in his address, Okim appealed to the Oba to support advocacy against financial crimes with Edo State ranking second behind Lagos State in the financial crime index in the country.

Recalling the historical ties between his state of origin, Cross River and Edo State, he solicited prayers and royal blessings to enable him to discharge his duties diligently.

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