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David Amess killing: suspect referred to Channel counter-terror scheme in 2014

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David Amess killing: suspect referred to Channel counter-terror scheme in 2014

The suspect in the killing of the MP David Amess received extensive support under the government’s Channel counter-terrorism programme before his case was closed, the Guardian has learned.

Ali Harbi Ali was first referred to Prevent, the early intervention scheme designed to turn people away from the risk of supporting violence, as a teenager in 2014.

Each year a small proportion of the thousands referred to Prevent are then referred on to the Channel programme for more intensive support, overseen by a panel with expertise in deradicalisation and helping those deemed vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Both programmes are voluntary and do not involve criminal sanctions.

Ali’s months-long referral to Channel may raise questions for ministers, police and security services. Officials point out that seven years elapsed between him being on Channel and being arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder, and believe his engagement with Channel was properly handled.

Ali was referred to the scheme while he was attending an educational establishment in London in 2014 over concerns about him being drawn towards an Islamist ideology. A source with knowledge of the case said: “He went through the process and was discharged.”

He was among the higher cohort of concern of people referred to Prevent. He voluntarily accepted referral to the scheme and went though its processes.

This involved having his vulnerability assessed and accepting support, the source said, adding: “He was not thought to pose a threat of terrorist violence and the case was closed.”

Official guidance says individuals with a “terrorism vulnerability” should be helped by Channel while those who are thought to pose a “terrorism risk” require action to be taken by police. The source said: “If we can stop people at a young age becoming criminals, that is good for society and for them.”

In the year to March 2020 there were 6,287 referrals to Prevent and 1,424 referrals to a Channel panel, 697 of which were adopted because of concerns an individual was at risk of radicalisation.

Ali’s father is said by friends and former colleagues to have been an outspoken critic of terrorism during his time as a senior official in the Somalian government. That has compounded the family’s shock after Ali’s arrest at the scene where Amess was repeatedly stabbed while holding a constituency surgery at a church.

Amess was a Conservative MP in Essex for 38 years. His killing has been declared a suspected terrorist incident by police.

Ministers have commissioned a review of the Prevent and Channel programmes, led by William Shawcross, a former head of the Charity Commission.

Leaks on Monday suggested it would be fast-tracked in the light of Amess’s death, with proposals to make it more security-oriented, giving police a greater role in panels drawing up intervention schemes and expanding the role of the intelligence agency MI5.

But several in the policing and intelligence community expressed scepticism about that approach. Sir Peter Fahy, the former chief constable of Greater Manchester police, who was national lead for Prevent, said he was worried it could deter families and institutions from reporting concerns if the security involvement was more explicit.

“The danger is greater police involvement damages the confidence of families and friends and education professionals to make referrals, if they think it is more likely to go down the law enforcement and intelligence route,” he said.

“We have been trying to stress that Prevent is about safeguarding. If there is a stronger police involvement, it makes it less like safeguarding and closer to intelligence gathering or investigative basis for the programme.”

MI5 has been keen to operate at arm’s length from Prevent. A person who has worked closely with the intelligence agencies in the past said that if sharing information about individuals with the security service became the norm, “it is not easy to see why people should cooperate with it”.

Muslim communities have made a string of criticisms of Prevent, arguing that it unfairly targets them and has encouraged trivial referrals, including against children.

In June it emerged that an 11-year-old primary school pupil was referred to Prevent after a teacher mistook the word “alms” for “arms” when the boy said he wanted to give “alms to the oppressed”.

But a new report from the Henry Jackson Society, a rightwing thinktank, says Prevent and Channel have lost focus on Islamist extremism, which accounted for 22% of Prevent referrals and 30% of Channel cases last year, while 90% of those on MI5’s watchlist of current and former suspects were Islamist.

The report’s author, Dr Rakib Ehsan, said there was “an all too real prospect of Islamist extremists who present a significant security risk not being sufficiently monitored by the public authorities”.

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NDLEA declares couple wanted, arrests 4 cartel members over cocaine seizures

.…Intercepts China, UK-bound drug consignments concealed in steel bolts, shea butter; recovers 2,025 explosives in Niger, Kano, Sokoto

A couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), who runs a cocaine cartel from India has been declared wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

This followed the arrest of four members of the syndicate in Lagos where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses already traced to them sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babfemi disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Two members of the syndicate: Imran Taofeek Olalekan and Ishola Isiaka Olalekan were arrested on April 3, 2024 following their bid to export 3.40kg cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos.

While Imran was the courier conveying the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the head of the cartel, which investigation has now revealed to be Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun based in India.

Efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Abimbola Saheed who works directly with the baron was arrested on Tuesday 14th May at Abule Egba area of Lagos.

It was indeed Saheed who lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and equally dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.

During a search of Hamed house, NDLEA operatives recovered some phenacetine, a cutting agent for Cocaine, weighing 900 grams.

He confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested.
His arrest led to a follow up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20 Eyiaro street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and additional 400 grams of Cocaine recovered in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia.

In the same vein, NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations, DOGI, attached to a courier firm in Lagos on Wednesday 15th May intercepted two parcels, containing Cocaine and Amphetamine concealed in steel bolts and shea butter. While the cocaine weighing 587 grams, was concealed in eight steel bolt screws going to China, the Amphetamine consignment packed in vape pens and hidden in shea butter was going to the United Kingdom.

Attempt by Emeka Nwadiaro (a.k.a Mega) to export 3.6kg Loud, a strain of cannabis concealed in 36 water flasks to Dubai, UAE was also thwarted at a logistic company in Port Harcourt, Rivers state on Thursday 16th May while a swift follow up operation led to the arrest of the owner of the consignment, Emeka Nwadiaro in Onitsha, Anambra state same day.
While NDLEA operatives in Lagos intercepted a mercedes benz bus loaded with 840kg cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, at Olojo in Ojo LGA, Lagos, another suspect, Lawal Adam was nabbed along Otukpo road, Aliade, Benue state on Friday 17th May with 75,000 pills of opioids including tramadol and exol-5. Two suspects: Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25, were arrested along Owerri – Onitsha road, Imo state following the discovery by NDLEA operatives of a big gas cyclinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85kg.

 

In Borno state, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested at Mbulamel, Biu LGA on Thursday 16th May with 2kg cannabis and 33.55grams of diazepam, while Gaddafi Sani, 27, was arrested with 30 kilograms of cannabis along Abuja-Kaduna road, Kaduna.

In Yobe state, a consignment of 91.1kg opioids and 13kg cannabis going to Maiduguri, Borno state, was recovered from hidden compartments of a petrol tanker along Potiskum-Damaturu road by NDLEA officers who arrested the driver, Ismaila Ali.

No less than four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials intercepted in a Toyota hummer bus marked AGL 905 XX by NDLEA officers along Agaie – Lapai road, Niger state.

While the duo of Abdulrauf Shitu Adeyemi, 46, and Asmiyu Rahim, 45, conyeying the IED materials were arrested on the spot, follow up operations led to the arrest of Husaini Abdullahi, 25, at Sokoto main market, Sokoto and Nazifi Abdullahi, 37, at Naibawa Motor Park, Kano on Friday 17th May.

The Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed that all four suspects and the explosive materials be transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation.

In another operation, Muhammad Lawal, 42, was nabbed at Central Market Motor Park, Katsina State with 1,000 Ampoules of Pentazocine injection.

A total of 105kg cannabis was on Friday 17th May recovered from a house at Obola community, Owan West LGA, Edo state and a suspect, Gloria Oris arrested when NDLEA officers raided the area.

In Kwara state, two suspects: Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were on Saturday 18th May arrested with 83kg cannabis and tramadol at Boriya, Baruten LGA, and Offa respectively.

With the same vigour, the various commands of the Agency across the country continued with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaign in the past week. Some of them include: WADA sensitisation lecture for students and teachers of Government Girls Science secondary school, Malumfashi and Government Girls Science Secondary School, Daudawa, Katsina; Government Girls Science College, Tunga Magajiya Rijau LGA, Niger state; students and teachers of St. Theresa’s College Oke-Ado, Ibadan, Oyo state; students of Government Girls Secondary School, Tudun Wada, Kano; students of Dein secondary school, Imobi secondary school and St. Columbas Grammar School, Agbor, Delta State.

While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Imo, and Edo Commands of the Agency as well as those of DOGI for their outstanding feats in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the efforts have further affirmed the cardinal role of NDLEA in the security architecture of the country.

He equally applauded their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures to create a fair balance between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities.

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Osun Transport Masterplan to Be Ready Soon-Governor Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke has announced his administration’s plan to release to the public the Osun State Transport Master Plan to facilitate integrated connectivity for the Osun economy.

The Governor made the announcement on Thursday while commissioning the Osun State Computerised Vehicle Inspection Testing Center at Osogbo.

The Governor who narrated a series of ongoing reforms being delivered by his government said “The test center right here is the first of its kind among other interventions of our administration to reposition the State’s Transportation sector

According to the State Governor, “Our government is pursuing reforms across the transport sector. We ensure that Commercial Motorcycle operators across the State are registered under a database with a rider’s jacket and identification card for safety purposes. Mini-buses, popularly known as (Korope) have also been registered and numbered for easy identification and security.

“We have introduced single ticketing to all commercial drivers in the State through the Osun State Transport Management System (OSTMS) to guide against leakage of revenue.

“It is equally my pleasure to inform the public that our administration is working on a Transportation Master plan for Osun state. We are focused on a multimodal plan that will integrate all modes of transportation within the state. It will lay our objectives and strategic agenda for land, air, and water transportation.

“The plan is to regulate, plan, and develop an efficient and well-integrated transport system that will serve the public interest, enhance mobility, and deliver a secure and environmentally friendly Public Transportation System in different areas across Osun.

“The plan is central to our five-point agenda as it focuses on connectivity within and outside the state. Osun is centrally located in the heart of Yorubaland.

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Adeleke speaks on collapse of OAU amphitheatre

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun has promised to pay the medical bills of students injured in the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife, Amphitheatre roof collapse.

The affected students are receiving treatment at the University Health Centre and the Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife.

Adeleke, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dipo Eluwole, sympathised with the management of the University and parents of the affected students on the unfortunate incident.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, in Ile-Ife on Saturday.

The commissioner was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Bamire, and other principal officers of the University, and visited the two health facilities where the students are receiving treatment.

He expressed happiness that the affected students are responding to the treatment.

Eluwole lauded the university management for its quick response to the emergency and prompt medical attention given to the students.

Speaking to the four students being treated at the University Health and Medical Centre, the commissioner commended their bravery and wished them quick recovery.

At the Neurological ward of the University Teaching Hospital where two other students are being treated, Eluwole pleaded with their parents to see what happened as a natural occurrence.

He, thereafter, informed the vice chancellor that the Gov. Adeleke pledged to bankroll all medical expenses that may be incurred in the course of the treatment of the students.

Responding, the vice-chancellor thanked the governor for being so kind and loving, stressing that his fatherly role to the students and the good people of Osun is commendable.

A torrential rain on Thursday morning, accompanied with a whirlwind affected a part of the ceiling of the Amphitheatre as it fell off and injured some students.

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