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Akpabio Denies Sexual Harassment Allegation, Calls it ‘Litany of Lies’

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The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio has described sexual harassment allegations against him by Ms. Gbene Joi Nunieh, the erstwhile Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) as litany of lies.

Ms Nunieh in an interview she granted recently accused the Minister of corruption, sexual and workplace harassments, pipelines bombings, secret cult activities, abuse of office, amongst other.

The Minister in a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja by Anietie Ekong, his SA on Media, said there is no scintilla of truth in all the allegations peddled around by Ms. Nbnieh. “They are simply false! The Honourable Minister did not at any time, place or circumstance make any form of sexual advances to Ms. Nunieh, not even to put himself in a position or posture suggestive of sexual advances towards Ms. Nunieh, or any female staff of his Ministry or the NDDC.

“For the records, the Honourable Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON is happily married and contented with his wife. Together they are blessed with children, four (4) of whom are young women. The Minister is an avid believer of the Affirmative Action and that was visible in the appointments he made as a two (2) term Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015.

“Under his watch, he appointed several women into various high level positions as
Chairpersons of Local Government Councils, Magistrates, Judges, Heads of Parastatals, Directors, Permanent Secretaries, and Commissioners.”

The statement added that Akpabio is the first Governor in Akwa Ibom State to have a female Deputy Governor, and was also the first to appoint female Chief Justices of the High Court.

“He recommended women for ministerial appointments one of whom was the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, and supported for appointment the first female Vice Chancellor of the only Federal University in the State etc. He has always championed and still champions the cause of women and young children.

The statement added that Akpabio also stopped modern day slavery in his state, where young women and children were ferried away from the State to other states in Nigeria to be used for all sorts of menial chores as house maids and most suffered unimaginable unethical trade malpractices and maltreatments.

“He ensured that anyone caught in that trade was severely punished. He signed the Child Rights Law to protect children, especially the girl child from stigmatization and punishment by ordeal where some were executed or banished on allegation of witchcraft. The Child Rights Law also made primary and secondary education in Akwa Ibom State free and compulsory; educating the girl child was his topmost priority.

“The Honourable Minister has never taken his admiration and respect for his wife, Mrs. Ekaete Akpabio, Children and sisters, he therefore felt compelled to react to the malicious attack on his person by Ms. Nunieh bothering on allegations of sexual harassment. The Honourable Minister therefore finds the said allegation nauseating and a very cheap blackmail, for Ms. Nunieh to suggest or insinuate that he sexually harassed her, while she was the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC.

“The Honourable Minister also finds it appalling that, Ms. Nunieh, never deemed it fit to report the alleged incident to the police at the earliest opportunity she had, before, during or after her tenor as the Acting Managing Director on 17th February, 2020, if indeed the allegation was true. Waiting till July 10th and 13th 2020 when the National Assembly appears to be probing some of her actions as the Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee (“IMC”) exposes her motive, especially at a time when the momentum for the Forensic Audit Investigation of the NDDC is heating up and the truth is about to be unveiled for all to see? The critical question is who is afraid of the Forensic Audit at the NDDC? Who is Afraid of the Truth?

The Minister said Ms. Nunieh’s attacks are both personal and sponsored, saying those afraid of the truth, and who wish to bury it from seeing the light of the day, are strenuously behind Ms. Nunieh’s vicious campaign of calumny.

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Gunmen Kill Five Police Officers, Two Civilians In Rivers

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Gunmen have killed at least five policemen and two civilians in Rivers State.

The attack which occurred on Friday night was launched at a police station in Rumuji community, Emohua LGA, and a police checkpoint, known as C4i at the entrance of Emohua from Port Harcourt.

Emohua is a Local Government Area along the East-West road, connecting Rivers and Bayelsa state.

During the attack security vehicles were also burnt.

In another attack, a police station in Elimgbu in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area was attacked and three police officers were said to be beheaded.

One of the officers who was beheaded had his head taken away by the gunmen.

Although the Police are yet to confirm the attacks, a youth leader in the Local Government Area, residents of the communities confirmed the incidents to Channels Television.

This attack comes less than one month after gunmen killed three customs officers, five soldiers, and some police officers at different security formations in Ikwerre and Abua/Odual Local Government Areas.

The attacks in April prompted Governor Nyesom wike to impose a nighttime curfew at various entry and exit points of Rivers State between 8 pm and 6 am, and restriction of movement within the state from 10 pm to 6 am.

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We Didn’t Bathe for 56 Days in Kidnappers’ Den –Freed Afaka Students

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It was jubilation galore as 27 kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna were reunited with their families after 56 days in captivity.

Tears of joy flowed freely from both parents and their children. At about 3pm, the entire premises of the college, located along the Kaduna International Airport, opposite the Nigerian Defence Academy, erupted in jubilation as the students were being escorted by heavily-armed policemen in company with the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, and the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri.

Narrating their ordeal in the kidnappers’ den, one of the freed students, Zakariya Magaji, described the kidnappers’ den as hell, saying he would never wish the experience for his enemies.

“The bandits need prayers. All that we have to do is to pray for them for God to touch their hearts. As for me, I have forgiven them for whatever we went through in their hands. The experience was hell.”

A female student, Sarah Sunday, said she and her colleagues were subjected to all sorts of dehumanising conditions, including not being allowed to take a bath while in the bandits’ den.

Sunday said, “A lot of things happened while we were there. We were subjected to hunger. We were subjected to trekking and all sorts of dehumanising experiences. We were insulted but thankfully, they did not molest or kill any of us. They only beat us on the first day when they did a video of us.”

Asked if they were fed at all, Sunday said, “The boys used to go and fetch water for us to cook. We cooked tuwo with miyan kuka, and tuwo with dry okra. We only cooked rice once, and we cooked spaghetti once too.”

When asked whether the abductors used to leave them to go out for other operations, Sarah said, “Yes, they used to go out, but they always left some of their armed members to stay with us.

“Even our male colleagues who used to go and fetch water were always escorted to the stream by gang members bearing AK-47 rifles.

“Our living condition in the jungle was very bad. We never had a bath. We were exposed to the rain. Athough there was a hut that we always ran to hide whenever it was raining, still there was no escaping the rain because the hut was poorly built. But we have forgiven our kidnappers. And we pray that God will give them the chance to change for the better.”

‘Bandits said our abduction was to get govt’s attention

Also speaking, a freed student, Pamela Ibrahim, said the bandits said their grouse was with the government and vowed to unleash hell on Kaduna State.

Ibrahim said, “Before they released us, the kidnappers told us that they didn’t have anything against us (students). They said they kidnapped us because they needed the government to settle things with them and that they also wanted to be educated like other Nigerians. They need work and houses too.

“They said if the government doesn’t settle with them, they would continue to make sure that Kaduna State is unsafe. They said they meant it. Some of them are Nigerians, others are foreigners. They spoke mainly Fulani (language) and Hausa.

“There was an old man among them who prevented others from harassing us and anytime he was not around, we were beaten and insulted.”

In a jubilant mood, one of the parents, Ibrahim Hassan, said he was glad that his daughter was freed few days to her elder sister’s wedding.

Hassan said, “I was confused; my life was miserable throughout the time my daughter was with the kidnappers. I only depended on God.

“When I heard that some of the students of Greenfield University were killed, I became sad thinking that I would never see my daughter again but when I learnt they had been released, my joy knew no bounds, especially as her elder sister’s wedding comes up in Zaria tomorrow (Saturday). It is double joy for me.”

Another parent, Mr Friday Sanni, said before he could allow his two daughters – Victory and Rejoice – to return to the college, he must be assured of adequate security in the school.

Sanni said, “The truth remains that if my children must come back here, I must be sure that there is a serious security structure on the ground, that this kind of incident will not happen again.

“If in few months’ time nothing serious is on the ground, I will move my children out, because they are too dear to me.

“The first one will be 20 years old by September while the second one will be 18 by November. They are too dear to me to lose and I will not want this kind of experience again. I have never experienced this kind of situation before in my life.”

Speaking, the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, said the freed students had undergone medical tests and were fit to be reunited with their parents.

“As we speak, the victims are all clinically stable,” he said.

He urged the students not to allow their ordeal to discourage them from pursuing their education.

Speaking on the process leading to their release, Muri said, “The federal and the state governments as well as the acting Inspector-General of Police, the state police command, the military and other sister security agencies adopted the best modus operandi at our disposal and 10 of the students were first released on April 5 and 8 in two batches.

“With this sustained effort, the remaining 27 kidnapped students were subsequently released to the command on May 5, at about 4.10pm without any casualty.”

The police commissioner said concerted efforts were being made to also secure the release of the abducted students of Greenfield University, who had been in captivity since April 20.

The Provost of the college, Dr Muhammad Bello, who received the students, appreciated all those involved in the process to get the students released.

“You should not be discouraged from pursuing your dreams,” Bello told the students.

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Food Security: AFAN Set to Commence Court Action Against Agric Minister

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The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has initiated legal proceedings against the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono over his stance to destabilise the body’s internal democracy structure and impede farmers efforts at working harmoniously with the federal government in attaining food security.

In a release signed by the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the umbrella body of farmers in the country, Salisu Mukhtar, the body noted that the undue interference of the minister, rooted in vendetta by insistently recognising an illegal faction, was at cross-purposes with its constitution and counter-intuitive to the rule of law.

“Upon the appointment of Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono as HMA, who was once removed as acting Chairman of AFAN Kano State chapter in 2007 for misappropriating fertilizer, the undue interference in AFAN activities began.”
According to the body, AFAN being an NGO is not a department in FMARD and cannot be controlled or destroyed by any individual no matter how highly placed.

“Actions of the HMA which have become a mockery of the law include recognising an unconstitutional and illegitimate leadership faction of the association by playing host to them in his office on several occasions and accepting invitations by them in the full glare of the public, in spite of knowledge of the pending court case.

“This polarising act by a minister representing a constitutionally recognised administration of President Buhari, is undoubtedly antithetical to the rule of law and democratic norms, which are the bedrock of the administration he is serving under,” Murktar said.

The association is asking that the matter which is in Court 9 of the Federal High Court (FHC) before Justice Taiwo Taiwo should be allowed to be resolved, especially by the Plaintiffs who filed the suit in the first place.
“The minister’s actions are directly inimical to the economic progress of the sector which is also hinged on the leadership stability of the private sector stakeholders which AFAN represents.

“Farmers as an extension of the national polity, who participated in and voted overwhelmingly for this administration, are irked by the actions of the minister, which is inadvertently truncating the association’s efforts at enjoying internal democracy nationwide.

“To act in any way by the minister, the Plaintiffs’ lawyer or the Plaintiffs themselves, before the determination of the suit is lawless and adjudged a contempt of court.

“Justice must be allowed to take its course if AFAN is to continue to exist as the apex body of all farmer-associations by whatever name called in Nigeria,” Murktar said.

The body stated that AFAN was registered in 2005 by the CAC with reg: 18160 and three registered Trustees namely Murtala Nyako, Dr Shettima Mustafa and Chief Femi Coker as the apex body of all farmer-associations by whatever name called in Nigeria.

Murktar explained that: “President Olusegun Obasanjo advised then that Murtala Nyako should head the management of AFAN as National President and the duo of Chief Femi Coker and Shettima Mustafa to be deputies 1 and 2 respectively pending general election.

“All other officers were appointed as interim management members in the same manner.
“AFAN elections did not hold until after Abdullahi Adamu former governor of Nasarawa State became the President.

“The elections from the Wards of 774 LGAs to the 36 states plus FCT took nearly two years to be concluded.

“The National Election was conducted in 2014 and the elected Executives duly inaugurated.
“From this point on AFAN began to be recognized as the umbrella of all farmer-associations in Nigeria guided by its constitution as an NGO.”

AFAN on the 6th of May, 2021, served the minister a pre-action notice through their attorney A.O Okeya and Associates for legal actions against his person, for unduly interfering and recognising the Mr Faruk Rabiu faction in the capacity of leaders of the association.

The pre-action notice accused Rabiu’s faction of circulating letters to AFAN state chairmen across the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory, under the directive of the minister asking them to purchase inputs supplied by the ministry through them at exorbitant prices.

According to the association’s attorney: “We were informed that on the 26th of April, 2021, the said Faruk Mudi through his Counsel M.M Bakari Esq, wrote a letter to your office intimating you about an election conducted by them, which you directed the Permanent Secretary of your ministry to advise all agencies to recognise this illegal faction, knowing fully well that there is a pending matter at the Federal High Court 9 Abuja.”

“From the above, we demand that you desist from dealing, transacting, aiding and encouraging Faruk Mudi & Co to stop using your office to perpetrate injustice, as the leadership tussle is before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Take notice therefore that this is a pre-action notice, as we shall seek redress in the law court and demand for damages against your person for aiding Faruk Mudi & Co to defraud AFAN members. You are warned.”

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