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Insurgents, bandits will be crushed- COAS assures

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has reiterated the commitment and determination of the Nigerian Army to ensure the total defeat of insurgents, marauding bandits and all other forms of external and internal aggression disturbing the peace of the country.

Lagbaja gave the assurance in his Easter Message to troops and families of personnel of the Nigerian Army on Sunday in Abuja.

He urged all officers and soldiers to use the season to pray for continued operational successes and continue to espouse the values and virtues of love, peace, and sacrifice in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.

The COAS said he had ensured the implementation of quality training and equipping towards combating the myriads of security threats confronting the nation.

He said the Nigerian Army, under his leadership, had continued to record tremendous successes in various operations at home and abroad, especially in the ongoing Operation Hadin Kai in the North East and other internal security operations nationwide.

“As we continue to push towards the final onslaught on the adversaries troubling our nation, I assure you that the welfare of officers and soldiers, including training and provision of the needed equipment, will always be prioritised to enable us to discharge our constitutional responsibilities effectively.

“Let me use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you, my officers and soldiers, for your doggedness in tackling the numerous security challenges bedeviling us as a nation.

“You have displayed much commitment, courage, resilience, and professionalism. For this, I say well done and charge you not to rest on your oars until we have eliminated all forms of threat to our country.

“While still grieving the recent unwarranted and gruesome murder of our colleagues in Okuama Community of Delta, which occurred on March 14, I urge you all to remain steadfast, diligent, and committed to the discharge of our constitutional responsibilities.

“I encourage you to continue to pray for the repose of the souls of our departed colleagues who paid the supreme price for the noble cause of keeping our beloved country safe.

“I will continue to prioritise the welfare of our officers, soldiers, and families, including those of our departed colleagues,” he said.

Lagbaja also charged personnel to use the Easter celebration to offer prayers against all forms of negative forces militating against the peace and progress of the nation.

He also expressed hope that the spiritual exercise of the Lenten Season and the lessons learnt would imbue them with greater zeal and dedication to their constitutional duties.

The Army chief commended President Bola Tinubu for his continuous support to the Nigerian army and the confidence reposed in him to lead the nation’s army at this period in its history.

“I wish to reaffirm our unalloyed loyalty in the defence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our fatherland,” he added.

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Oyebanji, Fayemi, NASS members, APC leaders eulogize Omotosho at commendation service

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji on Wednesday led former Governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, National and State Assembly members, members of the State Executive Council, Party leaders and other prominent personalities to pay glowing tributes to the late APC Chairman, Barrister Paul Omotosho at a special commendation service organized by the state government in Ado-Ekiti.

Omotosho, who died on March 5th, after a brief illness, was, until his death, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Ekiti State Chapter.

“You will not walk alone. I shall stand by you. The Government and the party will stand by you”, Governor Oyebanji assured the children and wives of the late Omotosho during his emotion – laden speech at the special tribute session held at Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado- Ekiti.

The commendation service had in attendance former Governor Kayode Fayemi (who was represented by former Attorney General in the State, Mr Wale Fapounda, SAN; the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Monisade Afuye, Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye, and three former deputy Governors- Prof Modupe Adelabu; Surv. Abiodun Aluko and Chief Wole Alabi as well as members of the Ekiti State Caucus in the National Assembly.

Oyebanji described the late Chairman as a committed, loyal, and party leader whose selflessness and sacrifices contributed immensely to the growth and development of the party and the state at large.

The Governor maintained that the late omotosho was a true friend, a burden bearer, confidant and a devoted community leader, adding that his demise has left a great vacuum within the party, the state and the nation at large.

While assuring the family that his government will continue to support them and stand in the gap of their father, the Governor said he is consoled with the fact that the deceased lived a fulfilled life and left an indelible mark in the development of the state.

“To me personally, I have lost a true friend, I’ve lost a confidant, I’ve lost a brother, a burden bearer and a soul mate. The truth of the matter is not how far but how well, Mr. Continuity left at his own time, I believe strongly that it was his own time to go. We don’t like it, and it is painful because death did not give us a chance to even try to save him.

“I know we are not happy about this and it is a trying moment for us as a party, as a state and as a government, but one thing I know is there is God in heaven who sees the affairs of men. To the children, to the family, as long as i am on this seat as the Governor of this state, you will not walk alone. That’s the assurance I am going to give you”. The Governor asserted.

In his on tribute, the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr. Fayemi, whose tribute was read by Barrister Wale Fapounda, described the late Omotosho as a dedicated leader, a unifier, and a pillar of the party in the state.

Dr Fayemi explained that the deceased was a tireless leader and a steadfast supporter of the party’s principle who ensured that under his watch the party achieved significant victories in recent elections and gained the trust of Ekiti people.

While calling on the APC members in the state to remain resolute in making the deceased proud by carrying on with his legacies of integrity, the former Governor maintained that Omotosho’s contributions and sacrifices for the party will never be forgotten.

Other speakers at the evening of tributes include Mrs. Fola Richie, who spoke on behalf of the state executive council members (2010 – 2014), where the late Omotosho served as as State Commissioner; Chief Bayo Idowu, on behalf of Afenifere; Dr Dele Ebunola, who spoke on behalf of Social Democratic Party (SDP); Prof Mobolaji Aluko, on behalf of the state executive council; Hon Sola Elesin, on behalf of APC, Ekiti State chapter; Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye, on behalf the State House of Assembly, and Senator Yemi Adaramodu, who spoke on behalf of National Assembly members.

Others were Chief Jide Awe, who spoke on behalf of APC elders; Chief (Mrs) Ronke Okusanya, on behalf of Women in Politics; and Mr Ojo Oluwasegun Samuel, who spoke on behalf of local government chairmen.

They all eulogized the late Omotosho as a man of integrity and a truly honest and hard working politician and public servant, who was selfless and result- oriented.

A pall of silence descended on the Adetiloye Hall, venue of the event during the viewing of a documentary detailing the life and times of the late Omotosho was shown the audience. Many wept profusely after the documentary which preceded a short sermon and prayer of the family of the deceased.

Barrister Paul Omotosho who died on March 5th would be buried in his home town, Imesi Ekiti on Friday.

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Alleged N84bn fraud: Yahaya Bello’s absence stalls arraignment

The immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello was absent at the Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday.

The former governor was to be arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over alleged money laundering offence involving N84 billion.

Counsel for the EFCC, Kemi Phinro, earlier told the court that Bello was absent from court for his arraignment because he was being protected by someone with immunity.

Justice Emeka Nwite subsequently adjourned the suit to to April 23rd.

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Navy raises alarm over menace of stowaways in Lagos waters

US Navy tries to salvage fighter jet that fell into South China Sea

The Nigerian Navy has decried the growing menace of stowaways in Lagos waters, saying it apprehended about 75 stowaways from August 2023 to April 2024.

This is contained in a statement by the Director of Information, Navy, Commodore Aiwuyor Adams-Aliu, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adams-Aliu said the Nigerian Navy was concerned by the upsurge in cases of stowaways in Nigerian waters.

He said that migration as a stowaway was illegal, dangerous and was considered a security threat to shipowners.

Adams-Aliu said the Navy had, in line with the strategic directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, deployed advanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) equipment to vector Quick Response Teams (QRT) to all parts of Nigeria’s territorial waters.

He said the Nigerian Navy apprehended five stowaways in August 2023 on MSC Martha Vessel in Lagos Channel; eight on Charminar Panama in September 2023 in Lagos Fairway Buoy and 11 on Guangzhou Highway Panama in October 2023 in Lagos Channel.

According to him, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) defines a stowaway as someone who is secreted on a ship, or in cargo without consent of the shipowners or the master or any other responsible person

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