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Nigerian blogger regains freedom after two days in police detention

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Nigerian blogger regains freedom after two days in police detention

Utitofon Ukpong, a blogger in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria’s South-south, was on Wednesday released on bail at a magistrate court in Uyo after spending two days in police detention.

Mr Ukpong publishes a popular blog, Sitippe Ke Akwa Ibom, which focuses on the happenings around Akwa Ibom state.

He was arrested on Monday and detained at the police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, for allegedly publishing defamatory materials against a senator and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, his lawyers told PREMIUM TIMES.

He was granted bail in the sum of N10 million and two sureties in like sum showing evidence of ownership of property within the jurisdiction of the court, after the Chief Magistrate, Effiong Effiong, listened to the charge and the arguments from the prosecution and the defence counsels.

The case was adjourned to December 21 for trial.

Lawyers to the blogger told PREMIUM TIMES his arrest was a case of mistaken identity.

“Instead of letting him go with apologies, the police detained him while a fresh petition was quickly authored against him,” Ewa Okpo Edmund, one of the lawyers to the blogger, said.

Mr Edmund said the blogger was arraigned after much pressure was exerted on the police by his lawyers and the press community in Akwa Ibom.

“I cannot be intimidated or blackmailed. Whatever a man sows, that shall he reap,” Mr Ukpong wrote on Facebook, shortly after regaining his freedom.

The blogger was represented in court by Abasiodiong Ekpenyong, Toyo Jimmy, Ekanem Morgan, Ewa Okpo Edmund, and Ini Emembong, who is a lawyer, as well as the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom.

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Bus fails break, falls on Ojota Bridge

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A bus conveying gallons of palm oil, bags of beans and other goods lost its control and fell on Ojota Bridge on Sunday night.

According to eyewitnesses the driver of the vehicle who was alone came out with bruises, and the vehicle was subsequently pulled to the roadside.

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Lassa Fever kills one, five infected in Kebbi

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First Lassa fever conference holds in Abuja

 

The Kebbi State Government on Sunday confirmed one death from six cases of Lassa Fever in the state.

Dr Assad Hassan, Epidemiologist at the state Ministry of Heath, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi, that the cases were recorded between February and April.

Hassan told NAN that four of the victims were from Birnin Kebbi; while the remaining two were from Bunza Local Governmment Area (LGA) of the state.

“The persons confirmed to be infected with the disease are between 23 to 65 years, and they include four males and two females,’’ he said.

According to him, one of the female patients was the one that died within hours of arrival at the Federal Medical Centre in Birnin Kebbi.

He said the blood sample taken from the deceased tested positive to Lassa fever.

“The medical doctor that attended to the deceased was also infected with the fever but has been treated and discharged from hospital,’’ he added.

Hassan further explained that the last confirmed case was on April 27; and refuted reports that two children had died last week as a result of the fever.

“In response to the outbreak, there has been continuous sensitisation of health care workers on Lassa Fever detection and infection, prevention and control measures within the hospital setting.

“Similarly, advocacy, social mobilisation and community engagement has been carried out in all the 21 LGAs of the state,’’ Hassan said.

The epidemiologist also advised communities to keep food and drinking water in rodent-proof containers and to also bring sick family members to the hospital early enough for treatment. (NAN)

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Court sentences kidnapper Evans’ 2 Gang Members to 41 years in prison

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Evans didn’t make statement to police under duress - Witness

 

Two former members of billionaire kidnapper, Evans’ gang have been sentenced to 41 years imprisonment by court.

During an Ikeja High court sitting in Lagos State on Monday, witnessed Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced the convicts, Kelvin Emenike Ukoh and Emeka Obasi for the abduction of one Ugoje Jude, a shipping agent, and his staff, Miss Piriye Gogo in August 3, 2012.

The convicts were members of the kidnapping gang headed by billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans. They were arraigned in 2013 alongside three others: Uche Igbani, 28, Chibuzor Osuagwu, 33 and a 36-year-old woman, Onowu Ngozi, on a 14 count-charge bothering on conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder.

Ugoje and another staff, Piriye Gogo were kidnapped by the gang who and were later taken to an unknown destination by their leader, Evans.

Miss Ugoje narrated the entire ordeal before the court including how she almost got raped and how she was saved by the police patrol she saw and flagged after the three men took away Jude while holding rifles.

Jude also testified in court, he said his abductors initially ordered him to pay N10m for his release but after negotiations, they accepted N5m.

Justice Taiwo after listening to the testifiers convicted and sentenced Ukoh and Obasi to 5, 15 and 21 years for conspiracy, kidnapping and armed robbery respectively, while the other three; Igbani, Osuagwu and Ngozi were discharged and acquitted by court.

 

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