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Councillors demand better protection from abuse and death threats

abuse

Councillors demand better protection from abuse and death threats

Council leaders have demanded urgent measures to tackle what they say is a tide of abuse against councillors, potentially including a specific law against intimidating public officials and a greater willingness to prosecute those who make threats.

A meeting of senior local government leaders from across England heard of regular death threats against councillors and routine abuse or accusations of corruption on social media and in comments under local newspaper website stories.

The executive advisory board of the Local Government Association (LGA), which groups together several dozen council leaders from various parties, had already begun gathering information about the issue before the killing of the Conservative MP Sir David Amess last week.

But in a meeting on Thursday, a series of councillors recounted receiving death threats, saying that the extent of intimidation risked seeing many people put off from putting themselves up for election.

“You shouldn’t have to be a brave superhero to want to stand and represent your community,” said Tudor Evans, the leader of the opposition on Plymouth council, who said he had once been sent a death threat because of a temporary traffic light scheme.

Evans recounted how the previous week in Plymouth, a man had gone into a cafe with a knife in his belt and made threats against local councillors.

Nick Forbes, the leader of Newcastle council, said he had quit almost all social media due to a “daily background” of messages containing homophobic comments or accusations of corruption.

Forbes said he and colleagues felt things were so bad that ministers needed to act. “In the same way that there is additional protection for, for example, police officers and NHS staff, we thought that there should be a specific offence of intimidating or harassing a public official,” he said.

Forbes said the police response to even direct threats was “patchy”, and called for officers and prosecutors to adopt a “zero tolerance approach to harassment”.

While saying that councillors had to make sure their discourse was “mature and sensible”, Forbes argued that some local papers played a role in fomenting hatred: “We need the media to take a responsible attitude, to not boiling complicated, complex issues down to good or bad, demons or heroes, providing clickbait and often using the language of aggression.”

Georgia Gould, the leader of Camden council in north London, said the extent of intimidation was such that councillors should be able to opt out of having their home address publicly visible. She said: “Most of us have probably received some kind of death threat, or other difficult visits to our homes, and I just don’t think it’s a safe situation.”

Isobel Seccombe, the leader of Warwickshire county council, who heads the LGA’s Conservative grouping, said she too had received threats, but was worried that it was becoming so routine that it was seen as inescapable.

She said: “That’s the problem, that we do accept this as a consequence of being a councillor. And our acceptance of it is, in a way, contributing to the problem.”

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24yr- old man arrested for being in possession of fake Naira notes

Police Operatives serving in Abakaliki (AI) Road Police Division of the Enugu State Command on April 10 arrested one Mmaduabuchi Okonkwo, 24, of Mkpologu, Emene, Enugu, at the Old IMT Bus Stop, Abakaliki Road, Enugu.

The suspect’s arrest is the sequel to his alleged possession and transaction of counterfeited Naira notes. A total of forty thousand Naira (₦40,000.00) suspected counterfeited one thousand denominated Naira notes were recovered from him.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect boarded a minibus from New Haven Junction to Old IMT Bus Stop, Enugu, and gave the driver one of the counterfeited notes.

The driver, however, scrutinized and observed that the currency was fake, thereby raising an alarm that led to the suspect’s arrest.

Upon interrogation, the suspect confessed to having paid the sum of twenty-five thousand (₦25,000.00) genuine Naira notes to his cohort at large for the counterfeited Naira notes worth fifty thousand Naira (₦50,000.00)

He further confessed to having spent ten thousand Naira (₦10,000.00) out of the fake notes, remaining the forty thousand Naira (₦40,000.00) that was recovered from him.

Confirming his arrest, the spokesperson of the command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, says the suspect will be arraigned and prosecuted once investigations are concluded.

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Niger Govt arrests over 30 illegal miners

Oyo Govt To Clampdown

The Niger State Ministry for Minerals Resources has disclosed the arrest of over 30 illegal miners at various locations, despite the ban on illegal mining in the state.

It also debunked the alleged killing of one person at an illegal mining site in Minna during a clash between restive youth groups last Friday.

The state Commissioner for Minerals Resources, Garba Yahaya Sabo, said the arrests were made from January to date across various mining sites in the state.

He explained that the Ministry has been given the mandate to protect, arrest and stop all illegal mining activities by miners, adding that those interested in mining must register with the state government so as to create employment as well as boost revenue generation.

Sabo, who lamented the lack of adequate manpower to help monitor activities of the illegal miners at mining sites, however, said desk officers will be stationed to keep an eye on mining locations across the 25 LGAs in order to keep the Ministry abreast with every development in the sector.

“Many of these illegal miners are criminals and their activities can pose serious security threat to the people of the state.

“Whenever, we chase them out of the mining sites during the day, these illegal miners usually gather again during the night under the pretense of mining gold and during such periods, launch out to commit various crimes in the state,” he revealed.

The commissioner also denied reports that a youth was killed at Maitumbi illegal mining site along Julius Berger Quarry site.

According to him, “The incident did not actually happen at the illegal mining site, but opposite the site at night. Nobody was killed during the youth clash on Friday there.

“The report in its entirety is fake, malicious and has no link to mining activity. It was designed to just tarnish the image of the Ministry.”

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NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40, 042 litres of illicit drugs seized in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, on Tuesday 16th April 2024 destroyed a total of 304,436kg kilograms and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

Speaking at a brief ceremony where the seized drugs were publicly destroyed in Badagry Lagos, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs followed court orders, even as he called for more public support for ongoing efforts by NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court”, the NDLEA boss stated adding that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types, “which include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.”

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the Agency in Lagos and Ogun states from January 2022 till date especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs. The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld.”

He expressed appreciation to traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs as well as other stakeholders who witnessed the ceremony.

“The destruction of these seizures complies with the NDLEA Act, which mandates the Agency to destroy all drug exhibits after prosecution. We want to say that your presence here is a testament to this important occasion. To this end, we appreciate all stakeholders and members of the public for witnessing this exercise”, he added.

He seized the opportunity to acknowledge the support of the Agency’s local and international partners, “especially the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA); United Kingdom NCA, Border Force; the Germans, the French; Indian NCB, among others who had worked with us on a number of busts. Similarly, we appreciate the Nigerian military and other law enforcement agencies such as the Customs; Immigration; Police; Civil Defence; FRSC; NFIU,NAFDAC and others that have been supporting our efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.”
While assuring that NDLEA will not relent in its effort to end the drug scourge in the country, Marwa called for more public support for the activities of the Agency. “The safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us. Every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency’s War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign to clean up our communities and cities. Together, we can make this country secure”, he added.

Lagos state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr. Olusegun Onilude expressed satisfaction with the efforts of NDLEA to tackle the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos state government appreciates NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried”, he stated.

He also thanked the Agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across Lagos State. “No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the Agency and its leadership”, he assured.

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