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Senate Pushes For Use Of Drones To Fight kidnapping

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The Senate has initiated a comprehensive approach to the battle against kidnapping.

Part of this is the push for the use of drones, tracking of telephones which the kidnappers use to negotiate ransom payment and massive funding.

Besides, the launch of a national emergency call centre has been slated to facilitate a coordinated security phone number in emergency situation.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan spoke on this lawmakers’ approach to solving kidnapping and other forms of insecurity during the debate on a motion titled: “Urgent need for Security Agencies to intervene in the increased rate of kidnapping in the riverine areas of Ogun East Senatorial District and Securing the Waterways”. It was sponsored by Senator Lekan Mustapha (Ogun East).

Lawan said the National Assembly had requested the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno, to bring  a proposal for the acquisition of drones to be deployed across the country to facilitate the arrest of kidnappers.

He said Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami had received the nod to devise a means of tracking kidnappers through active mobile numbers used during negotiations.

The Senate President, who spoke of plans by the Federal Government to launch a National Emergency Call Centre, noted that an emergency phone number was already activated for the purpose of contacting the various security agencies in times of distress.

He said: “In the last one month, I’ve been holding regular meetings with security agencies, including the Ministers of Communications and the Federal Capital Territory.

“What we are trying to do is to get a better and result-oriented approach to fighting kidnapping and insecurity.

“We have insisted that no amount of resources will be too much because we need to protect our people and secure the country.

“It will remain a pipe dream if we continue to ask investors to come to Nigeria; even those in Nigeria will not invest properly if the security situation remains very dicey.

“This is something that the National Assembly will have to do together with the executive arm of government. We have to look for something out of the ordinary for funding.

“We have to go out of our way to look for resources outside the national budget. If we can release seven billion naira to Distribution Companies (Discos) or Generation Companies (Gencos), nothing stops us from looking for such money to address the security situation of the country.

“We have already given a request for the NSA to come up with the different designs and models of drones. We hope there should be drones properly deployed to ensure kidnappers are arrested.

”We have to find a way to be able to track kidnappers through phones. We should have launched the National Emergency Call Centre with a specific number about two weeks ago.

“We have tried to reconcile all security agencies to have one specific number instead of separate and different ones. We want the emergency call centres to be established across the country. At the moment we have only two major ones”.

In his lead debate, Senator Mustapha decried the recent increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around riverine communities in Ogun East Senatorial District, particularly Ode-omi, Makun and Iwopin in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun state.

He said that the activities of these criminals have forced law-abiding residents of coastal and riverine communities of the affected communities to flee their communities and livelihood out of fear.

The Senate in its resolutions, urged the Federal Government to direct the Inspector-General of Police to immediately instruct the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State, to beef-up the strength of his men to effectively secure all the affected creeks and communities.

The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to direct the Inspector-General of Police to immediately make available sufficient helicopters for aerial surveillance and gunboat to the Marine Police departments to enable the state command tackle the activities of militants.

The Senate also urged the Navy to establish a Naval Base in Makun-omi because of its strategic location between Ondo and Lagos State and its accessibility to both road and water.

Also, Wednesday the House of Representatives urged security agencies to ensure the immediate release of Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu and the apprehension and prosecution of her kidnappers.

Justice Iheme-Nwosu of the Court of Appeal, Benin Division, was abducted last month on the Benin-Asaba Expressway on her way to an assignment. Her police aide was killed by the assailants.

Shortly before she was kidnapped, another judicial officer Justice Abdul Dogo, of a federal high court in Akure, Ondo State, was taken away by gunmen. He was later released.

The House also urged the police to increase protection and security around judicial officers and their families across the country.

The resolution was sequel to the passage of a motion sponsored by Onofiok Akpan Luke (PDP Akwa Ibom) titled: “Urgent Need for Security Agencies to Ensure the Release of Hon. Justice Chioma Nwosu and Increase Security and Protection Around Judicial Officers Across Nigeria.”

The lawmaker said “judicial officers are charged with the fundamental responsibility of interpreting laws, adjudicating and resolving disputes, conflicts and controversies between persons (natural or artificial);

“The responsibility involves presiding over serious criminal matters and politically charged cases; convicting and passing sentence on hard criminals including drug dealers, kidnappers and murderers.

He said he was disturbed that judicial officers are becoming prey in the hands of criminals and the security of their lives and that of their family is under serious threat.

When Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase called for a voice vote on the motion, it was supported by most members.

It was thereafter sent to the House Committee on Police Affairs for treatment.

Lawyers in Imo State also called on the Federal Government to intervene in the kidnap of Justice Iheme-Nwosu.

The lawyers made the call yesterday in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Mr Chinonso Chikaire, one of the lawyers, expressed worry over Iheme-Nwosu’s kidnap and called on security agencies and other concerned bodies to weigh in on the matter.

Chikaire said that swift action was required to send the right message to the kidnappers and salvage the image of the country.

“It is worrisome that no word has been heard from the abductors yet. This is the more reason why the Federal government and its concerned agencies should intervene to salvage the image of Nigeria,” he said.

Another lawyer, Mrs Blessing Iweajunwa, noted that the boycott of court proceedings by the Imo chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) since Monday was a step in the right direction.

According to her, the move will enable relevant agencies of government to come to terms with the reality of Nwosu-Iheme’s abduction and its underlying consequences.

“Boycotting court proceedings for the sake of a Judge of the Federal Court of Appeal and former Judge of Imo High Court is a step in the right direction, it will send a message.

“The consequences of this abduction are gruel not just for the judiciary but more so for Nigeria,” she said.

The NBA in Imo boycotted court sittings in the state since Monday in protest for the kidnap of Nwosu-Iheme.

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Jonathan’s Kinsmen Celebrate PDP’s Defeat

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Kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Kolo, Ogbia Local Government Area trooped out to celebrate the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ward 9.

They took over the road leading to Ogbia Town immediately the results of the 13 units in Ward 9 were announced by electoral officials and APC was declared the winner of the ward.

Some of them flew the flag of APC while others used their brooms to sweep the road saying they had suffered under the current PDP government.

Some of them said they were given as much as N10,000 but that they rejected the money because they were United and determined to vote out PDP.

“We are happy because we won the PDP in all the units” one of them, who failed to mention his name out of excitement said.

Also in Eppie-Atissa in Yenagoa, residents took over the road jubilating over the defeat of the PDP in the area.

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Voting Ends As Collation Underway In Bayelsa Governorship Poll

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Voting has ended and collation of votes is in progress across Bayelsa in respect of Saturday’s Governorship elections, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports

NAN also reports that the election was generally peaceful, although pockets of violence were reported in some places.

Sources across the state indicated that the card readers functioned smoothly in most polling units.

In Yenagoa, a voter, Ebikeme Doubra, described the process as “peaceful except for isolated cases of attempts to snatch ballot box which was thwarted by security agents”.

“Some thugs attempted to disrupt the process and they were contained by security agencies in Ekeki and Opolo areas of Yenagoa, but other places were peaceful.

“The election was smooth and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be commended for the smooth conduct of this election. We expect them to ensure that our votes count,” Doubra said.

However, Gov Dickson of Bayelsa, who is serving his second term on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform and the party’s candidate, Sen. Douye Diri, have complained of electoral fraud and widespread violence.

Dickson made the allegation while speaking with newsmen shortly after casting his vote at Oruerewari, Polling Unit 005, Toru Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area.

He called for outright cancellation of the elections in Nembe Local Government Area where 20 people were reportedly killed by gunmen at a PDP campaign rally.

Dickson called on the Chairman of INEC to issue an order canceling the process in all the affected units, wards, local government areas, where election materials had been stolen or hijacked.

He also urged INEC to cancel the electoral process in areas “where officials have been kidnapped and held hostage to enable the APC cook up non-existing figures”.

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INEC Official Abducted In Lokoja

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An unidentified official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been abducted in SUBEB polling unit in Lokoja.

The abduction occured after gunmen shot sporadically into the air while voting was going on.

It was gathered voters scampered for safety before the gunmen went away with the official.

Meanwhile, voting has ended at Bishop Crowther LGEA Primary School Lokoja.

Sorting of votes and counting of ballots will commence by 2pm.F

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